Messi, Neymar, Fernandes: The world's 10 best playmakers have been ranked

  • Kobe Tong

Playmakers are the puppeteers behind some of football’s greatest moments. 

While the traditional number 10 might be dwindling in the age of 4-3-3 formations, make no mistake that the world’s best clubs still have a creative magician pulling the strings somewhere on the pitch.

Whether that’s Toni Kroos dropping deep as a quarterback for Real Madrid or Jack Grealish bombing in from the left wing, playmaking brilliance can transpire in countless different ways.

World-class playmakers

And with playmakers often providing the moment of magic or final touch that leads to goals – something that’s quite important in football, don’t you know? – their importance can’t be understated.

As such, there’s good reason to think that having a world-class playmaker can be the difference between simply challenging for Champions League qualification and conquering Europe as a whole.


Now, that’s all well and good, but who exactly are the best playmakers in the business? There are plenty of top-class contenders across the sport, so it’s by no means an easy question.

But it’s one that the Daily Star sought to tackle by compiling their list of the 10 best playmakers in football based on current form – and it’s clear that they rate the Premier League‘s cohort.

Manchester United will do GREAT business this summer (Football Terrace)

Top ten playmakers in the world

That’s because no less than six stars from England’s top-flight have made the list with creative wizards from La Liga, Ligue 1 and the Bundesliga also throwing their hat into the ring.

But enough chit-chat, let’s see what they make of the world’s best playmakers in the first half of 2021 by checking out their top ten ranking down below:

10. Jack Grealish (Aston Villa)


9. James Rodriguez (Everton)

8. Martin Odegaard (Arsenal)

7. Thiago Alcantara (Liverpool)

6. Toni Kroos (Real Madrid)

5. Thomas Muller (Bayern Munich)


4. Neymar (Paris Saint-Germain)

3. Bruno Fernandes (Manchester United)

2. Kevin De Bruyne (Manchester City)

1. Lionel Messi (Barcelona)


Lionel Messi named the best in the world

Depending on your definition of a playmaker, there’s good reason to think that Luka Modric, Papu Gomez or potentially even Christian Eriksen should be above some of the lower-ranked stars.

But we’re not going to split hairs about the Star’s positional criteria because there are plenty of world-class creators in the top ten and it’s a football legend who claims the gold medal.

I wouldn’t go as far as saying that Messi is a better playmaker than De Bruyne, personally, but I think it’s pretty clear from where I’m stood that they are the best two passers in the sport.


Beyond that, Muller deserves credit for becoming an assist machine at the Allianz Arena, while Neymar is without a doubt the most creative and innovative playmaker in the beautiful game.

However, regardless of who you think deserves to finish first, it’s clear that these ten players have at least one thing in common: they’re darn entertaining to watch and that’s the beauty of their position.

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