In 2015, football fans were asked to name the best player after Ronaldo and Messi

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Who is the best player in the world apart from Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi?

Right now, your safest bet would be Liverpool's Virgil van Dijk, who has joined both players in the nominations for the FIFA's 'The Best' award and is also widely fancied for the Ballon d'Or.

Does that mean that Van Dijk has the same raw ability as Ronaldo and Messi? Sorry Kopites, probably not but that doesn't mean that he hasn't enjoyed a better 12 months than them.

Plus, it's a debate that has come just one year on from Luka Modric - fresh from winning the Champions League and reaching a World Cup final - breaking the duo's Ballon d'Or duopoly.

He was, in other words, the first player in almost a decade to clearly mark themselves as the best player in the world aside from the usual suspects. 

Best player other than Ronaldo and Messi?

The likes of Neymar, Andres Iniesta, Antoine Griezmann and Manuel Neuer have also claimed the position before, even if they weren't so successful in breaking Messi and Ronaldo's hold.

But no matter how you look at it, the debate will always prove an interesting one and its fascinating to see how it has evolved over the years.

And a 2015 video by Goal has started to appear in recommended columns on YouTube again, where they asked football fans who they thought the world's third best player was.

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Football fans asked in 2015

We won't make any secret of the fact Robert Lewandowski emerged as the obvious choice for most people, while Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Neymar were also widely fancied.

Let's be honest, though, there's nothing too exciting about those answers and what makes the video truly brilliant - it has bagged over 3 million views - is some of the whackier responses.

We're not sure the lad who nominated 'Yaya Sanogo' was being serious, but the Manchester City fan who said 'Wayne Rooney' and the United supporter picking 'Chris Smalling' certainly were.

You can peruse the entire video down below:

We can't help but chuckle when one United fan passionately declares that Anthony Martial will, one day, be the best in the business and screamed down the microphone to reiterate the point.

Alexis Sanchez was a common answer amongst Arsenal fans in particular and while that wasn't a terrible suggestion at the time, it shows just how much can change in the space of four years.

It's a similar situation with Thomas Muller who, despite playing an important role for Bayern Munich, has seen his stock and goal-scoring fall through the floor since 2015. 

Real Madrid v Barcelona - La Liga

Above everything else, though, it reiterates how Ronaldo and Messi are constantly transcending the shuffling pack of 'third best players' beneath them - and often coming out on top.

Whether it's Neymar, Van Dijk or dare we say Sanogo chasing at their heels, the brilliant duo will still produce moments of brilliance and probably a massive haul of Ballon d'Or titles.

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