Messi, Ronaldo, Mbappe, Salah: The top 100 players of the 21st century ranked

Cristiano Ronaldo

If there’s one thing football fans love in this world, it’s a debate.

You won’t be able to go to a pub on a Saturday afternoon and not hear a fan from one club telling a fan from another club that their players are better.

So, to try and settle this one and for all, the team over at FourFourTwo have ranked the 100 best players from the 21st century.

The list is going to cause some controversy, and ironically, probably even more debate, so let’s jump right into it and not waste any more of your time.

The list of footballers ranked from 81st to 100th is rather interesting, with a mix of some current players, as well as some top stars from yesteryear, as can be seen below.

Interestingly, six out of the 20 players ranked from 81 to 100 either currently play for Man United, or have played for Man United in the past, just going to show the dominance of the Red Devils since 2000.

  • 100. Trent Alexander-Arnold
  • 99. Miroslav Klose
  • 98. Rivaldo
  • 97. Luca Toni
  • 96. David De Gea
  • 95. Deco
  • 94. Javier Zanetti
  • 93. Mesut Ozil
  • 92. Edwin van der Sar
  • 91. Carlos Tevez
  • 90. Arturo Vidal
  • 89. Hernan Crespo
  • 88. Thibaut Courtois
  • 87. Thiago Silva
  • 86. Juan Roman Riquelme
  • 85. Fernando Torres
  • 84. Henrik Larsson
  • 83. Raphael Varane
  • 82. Raheem Sterling
  • 81. Ryan Giggs
Ryan Giggs

The next 20 names also make for some rather interesting reading, with 11 of the players ranked, such as Mohamed Salah and Harry Kane, still plying their trade in the Premier League at the moment.

  • 80. Alexis Sanchez
  • 79. Edinson Cavani
  • 78. Ivan Rakitic
  • 77. Harry Kane
  • 76. N’Golo Kante
  • 75. Kylian Mbappe
  • 74. Jan Oblak
  • 73. David Silva
  • 72. Alessandro Nesta
  • 71. Wesley Sneijder
  • 70. Cesc Fabregas
  • 69. Fabio Cannavaro
  • 68. Mohamed Salah
  • 67. Raul
  • 66. Bastian Schweinsteiger
  • 65. Cafu
  • 64. Marcelo
  • 63. David Beckham
  • 62. Ruud van Nistelrooy
  • 61. Paolo Maldini
Cesc Fabregas

There is often a debate about who is the better Premier League centre-back, between Nemanja Vidic, Virgil van Dijk and John Terry, but FourFourTwo has solved that, by putting them in 60th, 54th and 44th places respectively.

The list also shows the recent dominance of Man City, with three of the names ranked from 41st to 60th having lined up for the blue half of Manchester.

  • 60. Nemanja Vidic
  • 59. David Villa
  • 58. Eden Hazard
  • 57. Roberto Carlos
  • 56. Paul Scholes
  • 55. Angel Di Maria
  • 54. Virgil van Dijk
  • 53. Michael Ballack
  • 52. Radamel Falcao
  • 51. Antoine Griezmann
  • 50. Petr Cech
  • 49. Pavel Nedved
  • 48. Xabi Alonso
  • 47. Kevin de Bruyne
  • 46. Carlos Puyol
  • 45. Yaya Toure
  • 44. John Terry
  • 43. Toni Kroos
  • 42. Luis Figo
  • 41. Vincent Kompany
Virgil van Dijk

The next 15 names, ranked from 26th to 40th also feature some incredible talents, with the likes of Didier Drogba, Sergio Aguero and Gareth Bale.

This portion also features a strong Chelsea contingency, with four of the 15 names featured having played for the London outfit.

  • 40. Didier Drogba
  • 39. Frank Ribery
  • 38. Francesco Totti
  • 37. Patrick Vieira
  • 36. Frank Lampard
  • 35. Gianluigi Buffon
  • 34. Claude Makelee
  • 33. Andrea Pirlo
  • 32. Rio Ferdinand
  • 31. Andriy Shevchenko
  • 30. Sergio Busquets
  • 29. Gareth Bale
  • 28. Robert Lewandowski
  • 27. Iker Casillas
  • 26. Sergio Aguero
p1emeis4dog321fdjg2818t21kdj10.jpg
Rio Ferdinand

Now, we’re getting into the business end of things, with the players between 11 and 25 being ranked, so expect to see some of the very best to ever step onto a pitch, with eight of the 15 still playing to this day.

  • 25. Neymar
  • 24. Gerard Pique
  • 23. Ashley Cole
  • 22. Arjen Robben
  • 21. Steven Gerrard
  • 20. Thomas Muller
  • 19. Sergio Ramos
  • 18. Philipp Lahm
  • 17. Ronaldo (R9)
  • 16. Wayne Rooney
  • 15. Samuel Eto’o
  • 14. Luka Modric
  • 13. Zlatan Ibrahimovic
  • 12. Dani Alves
  • 11. Karim Benzema

The final ten will also likely cause a stir, particularly amongst the Team Messi and Team Ronaldo fans.

Also, such as been the dominance of Spanish football over the last 21 years, that only one of the players in the top ten (Manuel Neuer) didn’t play for either Real Madrid or Barcelona.

  • 10. Luis Suarez
  • 9. Kaka
  • 8. Manuel Neuer
  • 7. Thierry Henry
  • 6. Zinedine Zidane
  • 5. Ronaldinho
  • 4. Xavi
  • 3. Andres Iniesta
  • 2. Cristiano Ronaldo
  • 1. Lionel Messi
Lionel Messi
News Now - Sport News