It’s hardly a surprise that the best players in the world right now – the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi, Kylian Mbappe, Kevin de Bruyne and Harry Kane – hail from countries that are ranked highly in the FIFA world rankings in the form of Portugal, Argentina, France, Belgium and England respectively.
However, sometimes great players can come from countries not necessarily known for their football. The following 5 players – who all star for big sides in top European leagues – hail from countries who currently sit outside FIFA’s top 100 ranking.
#1 Marvelous Nakamba – Aston Villa and Zimbabwe (ranked #111)
Aston Villa’s all-action midfielder Marvelous Nakamba has made a largely seamless transition into the Premier League this season after joining the Midlands club for a fee of €12m in the summer of 2019.
Nakamba has thus far made 19 appearances for the Villains, and has quickly become a fan favourite due to his intense work-ethic, tough-tackling style and strong range of passing.
Unfortunately for the midfielder though, it’s unlikely we’ll ever see him star at a World Cup in the foreseeable future at least; Nakamba represents 111th ranked Zimbabwe, who have never qualified for international football’s marquee tournament in their history and were infamously expelled from qualification for the 2018 edition after failing to pay the salary of their former coach.
While this is obviously a sad state of affairs for Nakamba, who previously played in the Netherlands and Belgium with Vitesse and Club Brugge, he’s undoubtedly the most successful player produced by the African country in recent years.
When he was signed by Villa in the summer, it was confirmed that he’d have a statue of himself built in Zimbabwean town Hwange after becoming just the 4th player from the country to appear in the English football league.