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Top 10 Greatest Football Players of This Decade

  • These ten footballers have cemented their legacy as the greatest to ever grace a football field this decade.
Abid Khan
ANALYST
Top 5 / Top 10
Modified 06 Jan 2020, 20:31 IST

#5 Neymar

He is on his way to greatness
He is on his way to greatness

Despite being heavily criticized for his mannerisms on the ground, there's no denying that Neymar has all the credentials in the world that makes him one of the most influential players of this decade.

The Brazilian Golden Boy came into prominence very early in his career, and was the most pivotal member of his club Santos F.C.; helping them to win two successive championships.

Having proved his value on the ground, Neymar's skill-set and ability to unlock the defence is a treat to the eyes.

The Brazilian is able to create spaces through his versatility and productivity with his feet. His next move to Barcelona saw him win the treble and scored 68 goals for the Spanish club during his tenure.

If International duties are anything to take into consideration, then the 26-year old has been influential for his nation, by scoring decisive goals for the squad, and is also the third highest goalscorer for his national team, trailing behind Pele and Ronaldo.

The Champions League winner is on his way to greatness, and his time at PSG has been worthwhile.

Despite being the most expensive player in the world, the Brazilian has been able to back it all up, and deliver when it's necessary.

With 18 club trophies in his arsenal, the superstar has just begun, and could possibly propel his credibility to become one of the greatest to ever grace a football pitch.


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#4 Gianluigi Buffon

The greatest GK of all time
The greatest GK of all time

There's no way you can address the best goalkeepers in the world without mentioning the name of Gianluigi Buffon. Buffon is undoubtedly one of the greatest goalkeepers in the history of the sport, if not the greatest.

After starting his professional career with Parma in 1995, the Italian quickly ascended to become one of the most promising young comers in the Serie A territory.

Having won three trophies with Parma during his entire tenure in the club, Buffon made his way to Juventus for a world record free then of €52 million and quickly cemented his position as the last of his kind in that position.

His proficiency in the GK position is a testament to his incredible vision and love for the game, and if statistics and records are anything to take into consideration, then Gianluigi Buffon may very well be the greatest modern-day goalkeeper that ever lived.

The 41-year old Icon is the most capped player in the history of the Italian National team with 176 caps to his name, and is also the most capped European international player ever.

While his national side did fail to make it to the World Cup 2018, there's no denying that Buffon has solidified his mark in the Italian football legacy with his incredible agility and visionary approach towards the game.

He is the only goalkeeper in history to have won the UEFA Club Footballer of the Year Award after leading his side to the UEFA Champions League Final in 2003.

While the 'Superman' is still yearning for a European club glory with PSG on the biggest stage, Buffon's legacy will remain etched in history as one of the football's greatest.


#3 Andres Iniesta

Is Iniesta one of the greatest that ever lived?
Is Iniesta one of the greatest that ever lived?

Some of the greatest footballers of our generation who have scratched and clawed their way to reach the top of the hill have done it whilst being extremely humble and disciplined on the field.

One of them is Andres Iniesta. There are no significant adjectives in mind when throwing light upon the extremely illustrious life and career of Spanish's greatest, Andres Iniesta.

After ascending to the top to Barcelona from La Masia, Barcelona's youth academy, Iniesta made his first-team debut in 2002 when he was just eighteen, and went on to become perhaps the most decorated Spanish footballer of all time, let alone this generation.

His incredible versatility as a midfielder earned him various accolades for his club and country, with almost 33 trophies with Barcelona under his belt.

There's no denying that a central, more offensive midfielder propels a team to unimaginable heights, and the same remains the case with Andres Iniesta.

His offensive mannerisms and undeniable craft catapulted class in Spanish football and made us fall in love with his technicality as a footballer.

While legions of football fans continue to pick Ronaldo and Messi over Iniesta, it's hard to argue that the World Cup winner is in a class of his own.

Having won several La Liga trophies, four UEFA Champions League titles, 2010 FIFA World Cup, and UEFA Euro Cup twice, Iniesta has registered his name in history as one of the most accomplished midfielders of this generation.

His individual accomplishments speaks for themselves and are undoubtedly a testament to his greatness as a very humbled and disciplined footballer.


#2 Cristiano Ronaldo

Undoubtedly, an icon
Undoubtedly, an icon

While I do understand that the comparisons between Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi have been going on for years and shall continue forever, let's not forget how dominating they have been for over a decade.

Cristiano Ronaldo is undoubtedly one of the greatest footballers to ever grace a football pitch and remains in a stratosphere of his own in the world of professional football.

His willingness to constantly uplift himself has worked for him, as the Portuguese Striker has been pretty influential in leading his club and country to many accomplishments throughout the course of his fantastic career.

Currently leading Juventus from the front, Ronaldo is a goal-scoring sensation with his incredible body of work and his intensity towards creating chances leaving the opposition high and dry.

With a record five Ballon d'Or awards in his belt, he is the first player to win European Golden Shoes which only is a testament to his eccentric style of play and impressive prowess as a talented footballer.

There's no denying that he is possibly the greatest European player to ever play in the UEFA Champions League and if statistics are anything to take into consideration, then Cristiano Ronaldo may very well be the greatest European performer of our generation.

His immense speed and eye for the goal have ascended his credibility as the highest official goal scorer in Europe's top five leagues, with his sensational statistics in UEFA Champions League only justifying his resilience as a footballer.

Having won a whopping 27 trophies in his career, including 5 UEFA Champions League titles, the Portuguese Striker is still hungry to give more to football and lead the Italian Giants to Champions League victory this season.

The 34-year old Superstar has accomplished everything that a professional footballer dreams of and he is genuinely the greatest Real Madrid player of all time and continues to be a sensation for football all over the globe.


#1 Lionel Messi

The King of football
The King of football

In my humble opinion, Lionel Messi is the most complete footballer I have ever seen grace a football field and while legions of fans may still continue to compare Messi with Ronaldo, we need to understand that both belong in a class of their own.

With almost 794 appearances for both his club and country, Messi has rocketed 646 goals and 266 assists which makes him possibly the most ruthless performer of this generation.

While Cristiano Ronaldo has scored a whopping 678 goals throughout the course of his career, there's no arguing that the Portuguese has appeared in 946 games for both his club and country.

Having also won a record five Ballon d'Or's, Messi has spent his entire professional career playing for Barcelona where has been a significant component in winning a club-record 32 trophies.

His agility and versatility as a forward has brought him more glory and recognition than any other footballer on the planet, with the Argentinian holding the record for most goals scored in La Liga, a La Liga season, an entire calendar year, EL Clasico, and a club football season in Europe.

Moreover, the No. 10 holds the prestigious record of scoring the most number of hat-tricks in the UEFA Champions League, with eight to his name.

Having been Barcelona's all-time top scorer, the Argentinian has always been adulated for his quickness and sharpness as an excellent footballer and has been pinned as a magician by many football fans and pundits from all over the globe.

There's no denying that the fans have always had a hard time in finally drawing the lines between Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, let's just appreciate that we've been fortunate to see these two run riot in football fields with their excellent versatility and prowess.


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Published 15 Feb 2019, 14:59 IST
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