1. Lionel Messi
La Pulga Atómica (the Atomic Flea) has remained at the top of this list for over a decade now, and at 33, he’s still going strong. In fact, sensational stats and seasons have become second nature for him. Despite missing Barcelona’s first four games of the season due to injury, Messi is likely to win La Liga top scorer for the seventh time in his career with 22 goals so far and three games left to play. Along with those 22 goals, Messi has 20 assists in the league so far, beating his own personal record of 18 in a season and totaling 42 goal contributions in 30 league games. For any player, that’s the season of a lifetime. For Lionel Messi, that’s business as usual. In all competitions, Messi has 27 goals and 24 assists and is hoping to lead Barcelona to its first Champions League title since its treble win in the 2014-15 season. Messi is also the most recent player to win the Ballon d’Or, just barely beating out Liverpool defender Virgil van Dijk by seven points. Despite Barcelona’s managerial problems and uncertainty towards the future of the club when Messi leaves, the Argentinian forward has been playing some unstoppable and exciting soccer as per usual and recently scored his 700th career goal.
2. Robert Lewandowski
The Polish professional footballer currently plays for Bayern Munich and is the captain of the Poland national team. He is popular among fans for his positioning, technique and finishing. Considered to be one of the best strikers in the world, they claimed the Polish Player of the Year a record eight times. In 2020, he received IFFHS World’s Best Top Goal Scorer Award. This year, Lewandowski won the Best FIFA Men’s Player Award and the UEFA Men’s Player of the Year Award.
3. Cristiano Ronaldo
As long as he’s around, he’ll be up near the top of the list. Cristiano Ronaldo is 35 years old, playing in Italy for only his second year, and still racking up absurd numbers in front of goal. Ronaldo has contributed to half of all of Juventus’ goals this season with 28 goals and 6 assists in the 28 games he’s played in the league and a total of 39 goal contributions in all competitions. He is currently challenging Lazio’s Ciro Immobile for the Capocannoniere (Serie A top scorer) and has been Juventus’ star player in what looks to be a title-winning campaign. Having won the Champions League with both of his former clubs, Ronaldo will want to complete his personal treble this season when the tournament restarts in August. What’s even more impressive is that Ronaldo is managing a goal a game in the league with less help from his teammates than he’s had in the past. Out of the 20 teams in Seria A, Juventus ranks 16th in crosses this season and 14th in both accurate crosses and assists from crosses. Ronaldo has the most headed goals in the history of soccer, so the lack of crossing ability has made a significant dent in his goal tally this season. Yet, he’s still one behind the leading scorer.
Despite struggling with injury this season as well as not having played since early March due to Ligue 1’s decision to end the season early rather than restart play after lockdown, Neymar Jr. comes in third on my list. This should indicate just how incredible the Brazilian winger is when fit. In only 15 league games this season, Neymar recorded 13 goals and 6 assists. In 22 games in all competitions, those numbers increase to 18 goals and 10 assists. In his three seasons at Paris Saint-Germain, Neymar has not managed anything close to a fully fit season, but his world-class ability is as clear as day whenever he’s on the field. The only reasons that Neymar hasn’t won the Ballon d’Or are Messi, Ronaldo, and injuries. Without those three factors, Neymar would easily be a contender, if not a shoo-in, for the best player of all time. Besides the Ballon d’Or, Neymar’s next objective is to win the Champions League with PSG. Into the quarterfinals of the tournament after beating Borussia Dortmund on aggregate in the Round of 16, Neymar will be fit and hungry for the title.
5. Kevin De Bruyne
The Belgian footballer impressed everyone in the Premier League playing for the club Manchester City. He is considered one of the best players in the world with all the abilities to be the best midfielder. He has been awarded some popular awards such as IFFHS Men’s World Team, the UEFA Team of the Year, the UEFA Champions League Squad of the Season, and the ESM Team. He has been featured in the IFFHS World’s Best Playmaker, Premier League Playmaker of the Season, the UEFA Champions League Midfielder of the Season, the Bundesliga Player of the Year and the Footballer of the Year.Read
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