The best football players in the world – 2024!

As we venture through the year 2024, it is time to look back at those who have not only written their names in the annals of football history, but who continue to captivate audiences with their exceptional skills on the pitch. These players represent the pinnacle of achievement in the football world, demonstrating skill, resilience and unwavering commitment to the beautiful game.

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1. Lionel Messi – PSG & Argentina

The years go by, but Messi’s class and place among the best players in the world have never been in doubt. Last season, he scored double figures in goals and assists in Ligue 1 and won the championship. At the World Cup, he shone with a brilliance that has convinced many that he is the best to ever touch a football.

2. Neymar – PSG & Brazil

Now 30, Neymar is still one of the most breathtaking talents in the world. His ability to outwit opponents, confuse defenders with his nimble toes or make a decisive impact in the final third has ensured that he is strongly supported by  voters. The Brazilian superstar has already been involved in 20 goals in 14 Ligue 1 games this season.

3. Erling Haaland – Manchester City & Norway

Haaland’s impact in the Premier League since moving to Manchester City for a bargain €60 million in the summer has been frightening: the 22-year-old has already scored 18 goals in 13 league games, including three hat-tricks. It is to be expected that Haaland will continue to terrify defences in the Premier League in 2023.

4. Karim Benzema – Real Madrid & France

Benzema’s exploits with Real Madrid last season earned the 35-year-old the Ballon d’Or – the oldest winner since 1954. A hat-trick in 17 minutes against Paris Saint-Germain on the way to the Champions League title was just one of many highlights. An injury cost the veteran the chance to lead France’s journey at the World Cup.

5. Kylian Mbappé – PSG & France

When he won the World Cup with France in 2018 at the age of just 19, Mbappé was tipped as the successor to Pele. He has fulfilled his promise and developed into one of the best footballers ever. The 24-year-old won his fourth Golden Boot in Ligue 1 last season, not to mention another championship. PSG fans are delighted that the rumours of a move to Real Madrid have died down for the time being.

6. Kevin De Bruyne – Manchester City & Belgium

De Bruyne was involved in 33 goals in the league last season, in which Manchester City won the title, and was voted Player of the Year. His consistent level and boundless creativity continue to impress.

7. Luka Modric – Real Madrid & Croatia

The former Ballon d’Or winner, who dictates the tempo for both Real Madrid and Croatia, is still one of the best midfielders of this generation and is characterised by his class on the ball and great vision. If this World Cup was his last, it was a glittering farewell to international football.

8. Robert Lewandowski – FC Barcelona & Poland

Lewandowski has left no stone unturned following his move from Bayern Munich to Barcelona. And while defenders in the Bundesliga should be happy not to have to face him again, defenders in LaLiga are struggling to contain a player who has already scored 18 goals in his first 18 games for Barcelona.

9. Mohamed Salah – Liverpool & Egypt

It is testament to the high standards Salah has set for himself throughout his career that – despite being criticised for not leaving his opponents standing as often as he did in 2021 – he ended the year with another Premier League Golden Boot and a domestic cup double for Liverpool.

10. Sadio Mané – Bayern Munich & Senegal

2024 was certainly the best year of Mané’s career: The 30-year-old led Senegal to their first African Championship title, won both the FA Cup and the League Cup, reached the final of the Champions League and finished second in the Ballon d’Or ranking. It was a bitter injustice that a late injury cost him his participation in the World Cup.

11. Cristiano Ronaldo – Clubless & Portugal

The 37-year-old’s recent troubles at Manchester United have not turned Ronaldo into a bad player overnight and he is still a superstar capable of winning games for his country and, when he finds one, for his club. Last season he scored 18 league goals and was named in the Premier League team of the season.

12. Vinícius Júnior – Real Madrid & Brazil

Vini made his breakthrough in the 2021/22 season when he played a key role at Real Madrid and won the league and Champions League double. He scored 22 goals in all competitions, but none was arguably as important in his career to date as the winner against Liverpool in the Champions League final.

13. Son Heung-Min – Tottenham Hotspur & South Korea

Son won the Premier League Golden Boot in the 2021/22 season after scoring 23 goals. And although he was slow to get going this season, he proved his class with a stunning hat-trick in 13 minutes against Leicester City and a real moment of brilliance in the win over Portugal at the World Cup.

14. Harry Kane – Tottenham Hotspur & England

Kane has already scored twelve goals in 15 league games for Tottenham Hotspur this season. Although the World Cup ended in disappointment for him, he still became England’s second-highest scorer in Qatar.

15. Bernardo Silva – Manchester City & Portugal

Manchester City’s playmaker, who was on the verge of leaving the Etihad Stadium in pre-season but stayed after all, has proven time and again in recent weeks how important his intelligence, versatility and skill are to Pep Guardiola’s team.

16. Casemiro – Manchester United & Brazil

Since he has played his way into Erik ten Hag’s starting eleven at Old Trafford, Casemiro has proved why the Red Devils were so keen to spend €70 million on the experienced defensive midfielder. At 30 years of age, he could be one of the key building blocks in ten Hag’s rebuild at United.

17. Phil Foden – Manchester City & England

Foden’s continued development is a joy to behold. And even non-Manchester City fans are enjoying the blossoming of one of the greatest talents England has ever produced. Constantly inventive, dangerous between the lines, a velvety first touch – how outstanding will the 22-year-old become?

18. Thibaut Courtois – Real Madrid & Belgium

Courtois, the best goalkeeper in the world, was instrumental in Real Madrid winning the Champions League for the 14th time with a 1-0 victory over Liverpool in Paris. The Belgian goalkeeper made a series of outstanding saves in the final.

19. Virgil van Dijk – Liverpool & Netherlands

Van Dijk remains the best centre-back in the world, exuding calm and authority at the heart of Liverpool’s back line. He has already achieved great things at Anfield and more silverware is expected to follow.

20. Jude Bellingham – Borussia Dortmund & England

Bellingham, the world’s most successful teenager, is not yet 20 years old but has already captained Borussia Dortmund in the Champions League and played for England at the World Cup.

21. David Alaba – Real Madrid & Austria

Alaba, who won the league and Champions League double with Real Madrid last season, took over the legendary number 4 shirt from Sergio Ramos and started the season with a goal in the 2-0 UEFA Super Cup win over Eintracht Frankfurt.

22. Gabriel Jesus – Arsenal & Brazil

Since joining Arsenal from Manchester City in pre-season, Jesus has settled in well as a leading player at the Emirates Stadium and has been directly involved in ten goals in his first 14 league games for the Gunners.

23. Jamal Musiala – Bayern Munich & Germany

Musiala would have had the potential to be named in the team of the tournament at the World Cup had Germany not been knocked out so early. He proved that he is one of the biggest talents in world football with his technical ability, acceleration and flair for tight situations.

24. João Cancelo – Manchester City & Portugal

Cancelo soared to new heights last season, bursting forward from the right side of Manchester City’s back line and making a splash in the final third of the pitch. He was involved in eight Premier League goals last season.

25. Joshua Kimmich – Bayern Munich & Germany

Kimmich brings dynamism, energy and intensity to the centre of Bayern Munich’s midfield. He is comfortable when he has the ball at his feet and his defensive awareness ensures that the German champions are rarely caught off guard.


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