Ronaldo's head, Messi's brain, Salah's left foot: The ultimate footballer's body

  • Kat Lucas

There’s really no such thing as the ‘perfect’ footballer. 

Granted, Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo are probably the closest thing we’ve got. 

Even the duo have their detractors who are keen to point out their ‘weaknesses’, though. 

What would the ultimate footballer look like? You’d have to combine the attributes of the very best in the world – and that’s exactly what ESPN have done. 

Mind: Lionel Messi

Messi is probably hard-done-by not to feature in a few more categories, but it’s his decision-making that sets him apart. The Argentine always knows the *exact* moment to pick out a pass or when to shoot. 

Head: Cristiano Ronaldo

Ronaldo has scored no fewer than 65 headers in his career – almost a 10th of his overall goals. His superhuman leaps even in his later years mean he’s always sure to compete in the air. Olivier Giroud and Harry Kane were also considered. 


Right foot: Kevin De Bruyne

His crosses from the right saw him notch up 20 assists last season and he’s one of the most technically gifted players the Premier League has seen. De Bruyne gets the nod over Toni Kroos and Ronaldo.  

Left foot: Mohamed Salah

Salah has been picked over Gareth Bale for the sheer variety of types of goal he’s scored for Liverpool with his left boot. 

Pace: Kylian Mbappe 

Self-explanatory. Some say Gerard Pique is still chasing him. Marcus Rashford gets an honourable mention in the list. 


Strength: Erling Haaland 

The Mbappe vs Haaland debate is one which may rage on for a generation, but part of the Norwegian’s strength is… quite literally, his strength. The Borussia Dortmund striker has bulked up enormously since he was at Molde and it helps him power past Bundesliga defenders with ease. 

Movement: Robert Lewandowski 

Sergio Aguero and Edinson Cavani miss out here. Lewandowski won’t be in action against England due to injury, so Three Lions defenders won’t be sweating over how to keep tabs on him. Probably the best striker in world football right now, the Poland international is able to move into space, draw defenders out, and trick opponents with his false runs. 

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