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FootballCritic compiled the list and awarded its 'Football Championship Belt' to the best players for each year since the 1970s.
And the publication has created a star-studded list featuring the likes of legendary Brazilian duo Ronaldo and Ronaldinho, Arsenal hero Thierry Henry and Dutch icon Johan Cruyff.
Messi and Ronaldo, who are seen as two of the best players in the history of the sport, dominated the rankings from 2007 until 2020.
FootballCritic has also added second and third contenders behind each of the winners in its rankings.
Posted below are the best players every year for the last 50 years, according to FootballCritic.
1970: Pele (2nd contender: Gerd Muller & 3rd contender: Franz Beckenbauer)
1971-73: Franz Beckenbauer (2nd contender: Johan Cruyff & 3rd contender: Gerd Muller)
1973-1977: Johan Cruyff (2nd contender: Franz Beckenbauer & 3rd contender: Kevin Keegan)
1977-1979: Mario Kempes (2nd contender: Zico & 3rd contender: Kenny Dalglish)
1979-1982: Zico (2nd contender: Karl-Heinz Rummenigge & 3rd contender: Diego Maradona)
1982-1985: Michel Platini (2nd contender: Karl-Heinz Rummenigge & 3rd contender: Diego Maradona)
1985-1988: Diego Maradona (2nd contender & 3rd contender: N/A)
1988-90: Marco van Basten (2nd contender: Franco Baresi & 3rd contender: Ruud Gullit)
1990-1992: Lothar Matthaus (2nd contender: Marco van Basten & 3rd contender: Michael Laudrup/Jean-Pierre Papin)
1992-1994: Romario (2nd contender: Roberto Baggio & 3rd contender: Hristo Stoichkov)
1994-96: George Weah (2nd contender: Alan Shearer/Eric Cantona & 3rd contender: Matthias Sammer)
1996-98: Ronaldo (2nd contender: Zinedine Zidane & 3rd contender: Dennis Bergkamp)
1998-00: Rivaldo (2nd contender: Zinedine Zidane & 3rd contender: Luis Figo)
2000-02: Zinedine Zidane (2nd contender: Luis Figo & 3rd contender: Raul/Oliver Kahn)
2002-04: Thierry Henry (2nd contender: Andriy Shevchenko & 3rd contender: Pavel Nedved)
2004-06: Ronaldinho (2nd contender & 3rd contender: N/A)
2007-09: Cristiano Ronaldo (2nd contender: Lionel Messi & 3rd contender: Fernando Torres)
2009-12: Lionel Messi (2nd contender: Cristiano Ronaldo & 3rd contender: Andres Iniesta)
2012-14: Cristiano Ronaldo (2nd contender: Lionel Messi & 3rd contender: Gareth Bale)
2014-15: Lionel Messi (2nd contender: Cristiano Ronaldo & 3rd contender: Neymar)
2015-17: Cristiano Ronaldo (2nd contender: Lionel Messi & 3rd contender: Neymar)
2017-20: Lionel Messi (2nd contender: Cristiano Ronaldo & 3rd contender: Kylian Mbappe)
Featured Image Credit: PA
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