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The 50 best players in the world in 2021 ranked

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Ronaldo, Messi, Haaland, Mbappe, and co all feature amongst the best players in the world, but the No 1 slot belonged to a surprise name.


Manchester City midfielder Kevin De Bruyne has been ranked as the world’s best player in 2021. Lionel Messi and Robert Lewandowski complete the top three in this surprise list.

Football magazine FourFourTwo has released its annual list of best players around the world and made some questionable choices.

From De Bruyne being crowned as No 1, Cristiano Ronaldo down in 10th-place, or fan-favorite N’Golo Kante barely making the top 30, this list will no doubt leave a lot of football fans baffled.


1-10: Ronaldo only 10th?

While rating Ronaldo as ‘the biggest big-game player in the world’, FourFourTwo ranked him in only 10th-place. The ageless Portuguese scored 36 goals in yet another record-breaking campaign for Juventus. But the Bianconeri’s shattered Serie A title defense and Champions League last-16 exit obviously went against him.

De Bruyne, who won back-to-back PFA Player of the Year awards this month, instead took the crown as the best player in the world.

Neymar, meanwhile, got the nod over Paris Saint-Germain teammate Kylian Mbappe for fourth-place. Tottenham striker Harry Kane and Inter Milan’s Romelu Lukaku also bagged a top 10 spot.

1.Kevin De BruyneManchester City
2.Lionel MessiBarcelona
3.Robert LewandowskiBayern Munich
5.Kylian MbappePSG
6.Harry KaneTottenham
7.Erling HaalandBorussia Dortmund
8.Bruno FernandesManchester United
9.Romelu LukakuInter Milan
10.Cristiano RonaldoJuventus

11-25: Manchester City dominate

Five Manchester City players made the cut between 11th and 25th places in winger Riyad Mahrez, midfielder Ilkay Gundogan, defenders Ruben Dias and Joao Cancelo, and goalkeeper Ederson.

Thomas Muller finished as the best of the rest outside the top 10 spots in 11th-place. The Bayern Munich star provided 11 goals and 21 assists in only 32 Bundesliga appearances last season.

Atletico Madrid’s Jan Oblak wins bragging rights as the world’s best goalkeeper in 2021 in 12th.

11Thomas MullerBayern Munich
12Jan OblakAtletico Madrid
13Joshua KimmichBayern Munich
14Mohamed SalahLiverpool
15Karim BenzemaReal Madrid
16Leon GoretzkaBayern Munich
17Riyad MahrezManchester City
18Ruben DiasManchester City
19Jadon SanchoBorussia Dortmund
20Ilkay GundoganManchester City
21EdersonManchester City
22Joao CanceloManchester City
23Manuel NeuerBayern Munich
24Serge GnabryBayern Munich
25Son Heung-minTottenham

26-40: Kante ranked in 27th

After his Champions League title-winning heroics, N’Golo Kante has arguably become a top contender for the Ballon d’Or. It seems, though, not everybody agrees. After all, the Chelsea midfielder is only 27th on FourFourTwo’s list.

Blues teammate Mason Mount also made the cut in 40th-place following a superb season at Stamford Bridge.

26.Virgil van DijkLiverpool
27.N’Golo KanteChelsea
28.Bernardo SilvaManchester City
29.Alphonso DaviesBayern Munich
30.Phil FodenManchester City
31.Trent Alexander-ArnoldLiverpool
32.Raheem SterlingManchester City
33.Marcus RashfordManchester United
34.Andrew RobertsonLiverpool
35.Antoine GriezmannBarcelona
36.Raphael VaraneReal Madrid
37.Thibaut CourtoisReal Madrid
38.Frenkie De JongBarcelona
39.Luka ModricReal Madrid
40.Mason MountChelsea

41-50: Ibrahimovic rounds off the list

Despite his 40th birthday less than four months away, Zlatan Ibrahimovic is still ranked amongst the world’s best. The AC Milan striker fired home 15 goals in only 19 Serie A appearances last season.


Former world-record signing Paul Pogba is in 41st-place and two spots above Real Madrid captain Sergio Ramos.

41.Paul PogbaManchester United
42.Achraf HakimiInter Milan
43.Sergio RamosReal Madrid
45.Jack GrealishAston Villa
46.Toni KroosReal Madrid
47.Sadio ManeLiverpool
48.Marco VerrattiPSG
49.John StonesManchester City
50.Zlatan IbrahimovicAC Milan