Messi, Ronaldo, Suarez: The top 10 players of the last 10 years have been ranked

Messi, Ronaldo, Suarez: The top 10 players of the last 10 years have been ranked

The task of narrowing down the greatest footballers of the last 10 years is no easy task, particularly when you are limiting yourself to a mere 10 selections.

The sheer wealth of talent around the world means that there are many top-class performers who could make the cut.

However, 90min have taken the plunge and broken down their elite 10 players to have played between 2011 and 2021.

Lists like this will always attract controversy, with the limited number of spots meaning that some fabulous players will inevitably be overlooked - and there's certainly a whole host of big names that have missed out here.

With that said, let's take a look at the 10 players that did make it into the countdown.

The top 10 players of the last 10 years (2011-2021), according to 90min

Gareth Bale has won the Champions League on four occasions with Real Madrid

10. Gareth Bale

This ranking certainly isn't based on the last few years, where the Welshman has struggled for both minutes on the pitch, as well as form.

However, in the early part of the last decade, Bale was borderline unplayable for opposition defenders at times. 

A controversial choice, but the Real Madrid man has been truly exceptional when at his best. 

Karim Benzema has scored more than 200 goals for Real Madrid

9. Karim Benzema

In another time period, the French striker might well have ranked higher on a countdown like this.

Forced to play fiddle to play second fiddle to Cristiano Ronaldo as he broke goalscoring records for fun at Real Madrid, Benzema has hit over 100 goals for Los Blancos since the Portuguese superstar moved to Juventus in 2018. 

Andres Iniesta spent 16 years at Barcelona between 2002 and 2018

8. Andres Iniesta

One of the best creative midfielders ever to play the game, Iniesta was majestic for Barcelona during the first half of the decade.

Making top-level football look ridiculously easy at times, Iniesta was a driving force behind Barca's success both domestically and in Europe. 

N'Golo Kante is a two-time Premier League winner

7. N'Golo Kante

Leicester City bagged themselves an absolute bargain when they snagged dynamic midfielder Kante from Caen in August 2015 for just £5.6m.

Helping the Foxes to a sensational Premier League triumph in his first - and only - season at the King Power, it didn't take Kante long to make his mark in England.

Chelsea didn't need much convincing to part with £32m to bring the Frenchman to Stamford Bridge a year later, where Kante scooped up his second-successive Premier League title win in 2016/17. He even starred as the Blues defeated Manchester City in last season's Champions League final. 

90min refer to Kante as the 'best Premier League player of the last 10 years, without doubt' - and it's a tough point to argue.

Suarez has been a huge success wherever he has played over the last decade

6. Luis Suarez

Over the last decade, success has followed Luis Suarez wherever he's been.

Part of a Liverpool side that narrowly missed out on the 2013/14 Premier League title, the Uruguayan moved on to Barcelona where he picked up four La Liga titles and a Champions League crown.

Suarez then departed for Atletico Madrid in 2020, winning La Liga yet again - in a debut season where he scored 21 goals. 

Sergio Ramos spent 16 seasons at Real Madrid before leaving over the summer

5. Sergio Ramos

His summer move from Real Madrid to Paris Saint-Germain might have turned into a complete debacle, but for the 16 seasons prior, he was the heartbeat of the Real Madrid defence.

Five La Liga championships and four Champions League wins while at the Bernabeu prove Romas' quality.

One of the greatest defenders of all time, he is richly deserving of his place on this list.

 

Luka Modric won the Ballon d'Or award in 2018

4. Luka Modric

One of only three players to lift the coveted Ballon d'Or trophy in the last ten years (the other two might just get a mention shortly), Modric picked up the award in 2018.

Outstanding for Real Madrid across much of the last decade, the 36-year-old is still producing the goods in the centre of the park for the La Liga giants.

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Robert Lewandowski has never scored less than 20 goals in a season in the last ten years

3. Robert Lewandowski

There are no two ways about it, Lewandowski's goalscoring record over the last 10 years is mindblowing.

Notching at least 40 goals in six of the last 10 seasons is a frightening return. What's even more impressive is that he seems to be getting better with age.

His 55 goals in 47 games in the 2019/20 season would almost certainly have guaranteed Lewandowski the 2020 Ballon d'Or award - had the ceremony not been cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Cristiano Ronaldo still frequently scores vital goals for Manchester United

2. Cristiano Ronaldo

The top two in this countdown were never really in doubt. On this occasion, second place goes to Ronaldo, winner of no less than four Ballon d'Or trophies across the last decade.

A standout performer for Real Madrid, Juventus and now (once again) Manchester United, Ronaldo also become the top scorer in international football history earlier this year.

Few that have ever played the game can come close to the accomplishments of Ronaldo, except for...

Lionel Messi picked up six Ballon d'Or awards while at Barcelona

1. Lionel Messi 

Messi himself has also raised four Ballon d'Or trophies over the last ten years. He just pips Ronaldo to the top spot based on his outstanding service to Barcelona, where he picked up six La Liga titles and two Champions League trophies - as well as a whole host of individual awards.

Fans around the world were also delighted to see him finally lift a major international trophy with his native Argentina this summer as he captained the side to Copa America glory. 

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