Best Soccer Players in the World (Updated for 2024)

Who are the best soccer players in the world? Let’s be frank — due to the constantly changing world of soccer, this is a tremendously difficult question to answer. 

And yet, we gave our best to provide you with a list of the crème de la crème in soccer. So, if you are curious about the best players in the world — keep on reading. 

Our Pick for the 10 Best Soccer Players in the World for 2022

  • Lionel Messi
  • Cristiano Ronaldo
  • Neymar Jr.
  • Kylian Mbappe
  • Sadio Mané
  • Pernille Harder
  • Vivianne Miedema
  • Lucy Bronze
  • Wendie Renard
  • Dzsenifer Marozsán

Best Soccer Players in the World (General Stats and Facts)

best soccer players in world

In the following section, we present exciting stats and facts on soccer players worldwide. 

Some of these include the youngest soccer player of all time, the first female soccer player who became an international star, the world’s oldest soccer player to participate in an official game, and more. This is just a small portion of interesting facts about the most popular sport in the world.

1. According to many, Jan Oblak is the best soccer goalie in the world.

(Sport Bible)

Just recently, this Slovenian professional soccer player, who currently plays as a goalie for Atletico Madrid, performed an unbelievable double save in the game against Real Madrid. 

In fact, Oblak was dubbed the “Man of the Match” in the game with Real. According to numerous reports and reviews, Oblak may be the best goalkeeper on the globe.

2. Didier Drogba is considered one of the best African soccer players ever.

(Sport Bible)

According to recent sources, Drogba was voted the best African professional player in the history of soccer, surpassing Yaya Toure and Samuel Eto’o.

According to Twitter poll results from 2019, a whopping 50.8% of voters said that Drogba is the most outstanding African soccer player of all time. She is followed by Samuel Eto’o (25.3%), Yaya Toure (14.7%), and Mo Salah (9.3%).

3. Kunishige Kamamoto is considered one of the best Japanese soccer players of all time.

(The Olympians)

Kamamoto is currently a part of the Japanese government’s House of Councilors. He is famed for being among the best soccer players of all time of Japanese origin (if not the best!). 

In fact, in 1968, in the Mexico City Games, Kamamoto managed to score seven goals. This made him the only Asian soccer player ever to become the Olympic Games’ top scorer.

4. Lev Yashin is regarded as one of the most influential and best Russian soccer players ever.

(The Focus)

Not only do many think that Yashin is the best goalkeeper in history, but also the most influential. Namely, he is believed to be the original goalkeeper to command his authority on the defense in front of him. Nowadays, this is a trait commonly seen in soccer.

Apropo, Russians are incredible in sports, according to the facts on track and field records. Namely, the Russian Yelena Isinbayeva set the record for women’s Olympic pole vaulting in 2008.

5. Mia Hamm is the first professional soccer player to become internationally famous.


Mariel Margaret Hamm-Garciaparra is considered the best women’s soccer player who played forward in the US national team. In 1991 and 1999, the team was the winner of the World Cup championships. They also won gold medals in both the 1996 and 2004 Olympic games.

Believe it or not, Hamm earned the title of the Women’s World Player of the Year (2001–02) by FIFA — twice!

6. Ezzeldin Bahader is the oldest professional soccer player to participate in an official game.


When talking about the best soccer players of all time, one must always mention Ezzeldin Bahader. He is the professional who set the Guinness World Record for the oldest soccer player to play in an official game — at 74 years and 125 days.

As a side note, the oldest soccer player to ever participate in the FIFA World Cup is Essam El Hadary.

7. Mauricio Baldivieso was the youngest professional soccer player in history, making his debut at 12.

(Give Me Sport)

According to facts about the best soccer players, in 2019, Harvey Elliot, a Liverpool player, became the Premier League’s youngest professional soccer player in history at only 16 years. 

However, the following year, Luka Romero (RCD Mallorca) broke Elliot’s record by making his first appearance at the age of 15.

Although Elliot’s and Romero’s achievements are outstanding, they do not compare to the professional debut of the 12-year-old Baldivieso in 2009. 

8. Ahmed Hassan set the world record for the most capped international soccer player, with 184 appearances.


Although Hassan didn’t make our list of the best soccer players for 2021, his achievements are worth mentioning. 

As a reminder, the former Egyptian professional soccer player currently bears the title for the most capped international player — he made an unbelievable 184 appearances for Egypt’s national team. 

However, Sergio Ramos (Spanish player) aims to break Hassan’s record, having had 177 appearances in 2020.

Best Male Soccer Players

In the upcoming section, we present the names of the professional soccer players many regard as the best of the best in the industry. We will focus on male players from different countries first.

1. Lionel Messi


Many people claim that Lionel Messi is the best soccer player in the world, and it’s not hard to see why. This right-winger player has scored  71 goals and 142 caps during his lifetime and is the proud owner of a plethora of awards, including:

  • The best FIFA Men’s Player in 2019
  • Six-times winner of Ballon D’or
  • Three-times UEFA Best Player in Europe
  • Twenty-times top scorer
  • Olympic medalist

Finally, according to the latest statistics, this FC Barcelona player is worth 80 million euros (over $95 million) at the time of writing. Messi was also instrumental in Barcelona’s famous tiki-taka style of play, largely thanks to his superb ball control, which is essential for this strategy.

2. Cristiano Ronaldo


Many would argue whether Ronaldo is the best in the world, but one thing is sure — he is at the top of the list of the best Portuguese soccer players. This left-winger is the triple winner of the UEFA Best Player in Europe award and is the Ballon d’Or five-time Champion.

Moreover, among many awards, Ronaldo achieved the following:

  • Seventeen-times top scorer
  • Five-times Player of the Year
  • Ten-times Footballer of the Year
  • European Champion
  • Five-times Champions League winner

Based on the latest data from 2021, this Juventus player is worth 50 million euros (over $71 million).

3. Neymar Jr.


Neymar has been called one of the best Brazilian soccer players, and here’s a bit of what he achieved:

  • Three-times top scorer
  • Champions League winner
  • Footballer of the Year
  • FIFA Club World Cup winner
  • Olympic medalist

Based on the last year’s data, this Paris SG player from Brazil was worth 128 million euros in 2020.

4. Kylian Mbappe


Kylian Mbappe Lottin plays as an attacker-center-forward for Paris Saint-Germain and is considered one of the best French soccer players.

Among many awards, he is also:

  • World Cup winner
  • Two-times top scorer
  • Player of the Year
  • Four-times French Champion
  • Two-times French Cup winner

Last year, the market value of Mbappe was 180 million euros. Moreover, at the time of writing, he is considered to be the most valuable soccer player.

5. Sadio Mané


Sadio Mané is the left-winger for Liverpool, but he is also one of the best soccer players of all time from Senegal. 

Mané is the owner of the African Footballer of the Year award and English Champion in 2020. Also, he is:

  • Top scorer
  • Two-times Austrian Champion
  • Champions League winner
  • Two-times Austrian Cup winner
  • FIFA Club World Cup winner

In 2020, Sadio Mané ‘s market worth was 120 million euros.

6. Kevin De Bruyne


When researching the best Belgian soccer players, one name kept popping up time and time again — Kevin De Bruyne. This Manchester City player has won many prizes, including:

  • The English FA Cup
  • Footballer of the Year
  • Two-times English Champion
  • German Cup winner
  • Belgian Champion

In 2020, De Bruyne’s market value was 120 million euros.

7. Erling Haaland


Haaland was among the best soccer players in 2020, and he is on the list this year as well. Moreover, he is only 20 years old, making his achievements even more impressive.

Moreover, he was:

  • The Footballer of the Year in 2019
  • Two-times top scorer
  • Austrian Cup winner
  • Austrian Champion
  • Belgian Cup winner

In 2020, Haaland’s market value was 100 million euros — but at the start of 2021, it has grown to 110 million.

8. Virgil van Dijk


In comes one of the best Dutch soccer players — Virgil van Dijk, the center-back of Liverpool. 

More importantly, van Dijk can boast with some of the following awards:

  • UEFA Best Player in Europe
  • Player of the Year
  • English Champion
  • Scottish Champion

In 2020, his market value equaled 80 million euros.

9. Mohamed Salah


You can’t talk about the best soccer players in the world without mentioning the name of the Egyptian right-winger for Liverpool, Mohamed Salah. 

Also, some of his achievements include being:

  • Two-times top scorer
  • Two-times African Footballer of the year
  • Two-times Player of the Year
  • Two-times English Champion
  • Champions League winner

As for his market value, this Egyptian was worth 120 million euros in 2020.

10. Eden Hazard


Without a doubt, the Belgian left-winger for Real Madrid is one of the best European soccer players. During his career, Hazard managed to score 32 goals and 106 caps!

Some of his most notable achievements include:

  • French Champion
  • English FA Cup winner
  • Two-times English Champion
  • Spanish Super Cup winner

At the time of writing, he was worth only 40 million euros. However, in 2018, his market value was 150 million euros.

Best Female Soccer Players

Next up, we have the powerful women of professional soccer. Let’s find out who made the list and what their top achievements are.

1. Pernille Harder


Pernille Harder is seen as the best female soccer player in the world for 2020, but she is likely to top the list for 2021 as well.

The forward for Chelsea F.C Women and Denmark women’s national football team is the:

  • DFB Women’s Cup winner
  • Women’s Bundesliga Champion
  • UEFA Women’s Player of the Year
  • Germany’s Women’s Footballer of the Year
  • Women’s Bundesliga Champion

2. Vivianne Miedema

(Goal, International Champions Cup)

Vivianne Miedema is the forward of Arsenal W.F.C. and Netherlands women’s national football team — and most importantly, among the top female soccer players in 2020.

Some of her most notable honors include:

  • UEFA Women’s Euro
  • Barclays F.A. Women’s Super League
  • F.A. Women’s Continental Tyres League Cup
  • Bundesliga

At the time of writing, she is also an all-time top scorer in the Women’s Super League history.

3. Lucy Bronze


Lucy Bronze, the player for Manchester City and England’s National Football Team, deserves a spot on this list of best female soccer players in the world for many reasons.

In 2020, Bronze won the Best FIFA Women’s World Player award, but she is also a winner of the following:

  • Division 1 Féminine
  • Women’s FA Cup
  • Coupe de France Féminine
  • UEFA Women’s Champions League

4. Wendie Renard

(FB Ref)

Considering her incredible achievements during her career, it’s not difficult to see why we believe the defender for the Olympique Lyonnais and the Women’s National Football Team of France among the world’s best soccer players.

In fact, Renard is the proud owner of the following awards:

  • Three-times Division 1 Féminine Champion
  • Four-times Champions League Champion
  • Five-times FIFA FIFPro Women’s World XI
  • 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup All-Star Team

5. Dzsenifer Marozsán


Another one of the best female soccer players of all time is Marozsán, the midfielder for the Olympique Lyonnais and Germany women’s national football team.

Here are a couple of her most significant achievements:

  • Germany’s footballer of the year
  • UEFA Women’s Champions League
  • French Championship
  • Best player in the first French league

In fact, many people call her the best soccer player in Lyon.

6. Amandine Henry

(Sport Mob)

Henry is a midfielder for the Olympic Lyonnais and France’s women’s national football team. The achievements and awards we listed below are just some of the things that made her deserving of the title of being one of the world’s best female soccer players.

Here are some of Henry’s most significant achievements and awards:

  • Twelve-times winner of Division 1 Féminine
  • Eight-times winner of Coupe de France Féminine
  • Six-times winner of UEFA Women’s Champions League

In case you wondered, Amandine Henry’s net worth is around $1 million.

7. Samantha Kerr


Why do we believe that Kerr is one of the all-time best female soccer players? Well, for starters, this talented Australian forward for Chelsea F.C. Women and the country’s national soccer team is a multiple title holder.

Not only was Kerr named the number one in the Guardian’s Top 100 Best Female Footballers in the World, but she is also a two-time Ballon D’or nominee. She is also a four-time PFA Women’s Footballer of the Year winner.

Moreover, Kerr has been named:

  • International Player of the Year
  • Young Australian of the Year
  • ESPY Best International Women’s Soccer Player

8. Caroline Graham Hansen


Hansen is the forward for FC Barcelona Femení and the women’s national football team in Norway. So we really couldn’t leave her name out of this comprehensive list of the best women’s soccer players in the world

Just look at these achievements and judge for yourself:

  • DFB-Pokal Frauen winner
  • Three-times Norwegian Women’s Cup winner
  • Three-times Frauen-Bundesliga winner

As a side note, she was shortlisted for FIFA Best Women’s Footballer Award in the Top 10 (2019) and the UEFA Women’s Player of the Year Award in the Top 10 (2019).

9. Julie Ertz

(Sports Show)

Debating about the best American soccer players is quite an active topic among soccer fans. Based on our research and thoughts, this title can easily go to Julie Ertz, the defender for the Chicago Red Stars and the US women’s national soccer team.

Her most honorable achievements include:

  • FIFA FIFPro World XI in 2015
  • USA Soccer Young Female Athlete of the Year in 2012
  • Algarve Cup in 2015
  • Tournament of Nations in 2018
  • Three-times winner of the SheBelieves Cup

10. Delphine Cascarino

(FB Ref)

Cascarino’s young age didn’t stop her from being named one of the best soccer players in history. She is a forward for Olympique Lyonnais and France’s National Women’s Team.

Take these titles into consideration:

  • Three-times Division 1 Feminine Champion
  • Three-times Champions League Champion
  • 2020 FIFA FIFPro Women’s World XI

Overall, we believe she has a bright future ahead of her, and we can hardly wait to see what she does next!


Ultimately, some of our readers may disagree with our list of the best soccer players in the world, while others will agree. Whatever the case is, we did our best to rank these professional soccer players according to their achievements and potential.

Nevertheless, we hope you enjoyed this article on the best soccer players in the world — trust us, it was thrilling to do the research!


Who is the No 1 soccer player in the world?

Based on research and our personal opinion, the top soccer players globally include Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo, Neymar Jr., Kylian Mbappe, and Sadio Mane (among many more).

If you’re wondering why these professionals made our list of the best soccer players in the world, we’ve got the answers.

Messi is the only player to win six Ballon d’Or awards (also named the best FIFA men’s player and twenty-times top scorer).

Ronaldo is a five-time winner of Ballon D’or, three-times UEFA best player in Europe, and seventeen-times top scorer.

At the same time, Neymar Jr is a triple top scorer, two times Spanish Champion, and named the player of the year in 2011. Not only that, but he has been named one of the best soccer players in the world for 2020 too.

As for women, the top of the list features Pernille Harder (winner of the FIFA FIFPro Women’s World XI award), and Vivianne Miedema (also a winner of the FIFA FIFPro Women’s World XI award)

Finally, Lucy Bronze also made the list of the best soccer players in the world (winner of the prize for the Best FIFA Women’s Player, UEFA Women’s Player of the Year Award, PFA Women’s Player’s Player of the Year, and double winner of the FIFA FIFPro Women’s World XI).

Since many factors determine what makes a professional soccer player outstanding in the industry, take our answer with a grain of salt.

Were you aware that almost half of all US adults made a sports bet at least once during their lifetime? With that sports betting stat in mind, it’s good for you to know which teams and players are the most successful.

Who are the top 10 soccer players of all time?

These best soccer players in the world are:

  • Alfredo Di Stéfano (forward)
  • Diego Maradona (second striker, attacking midfielder)
  • Ferenc Puskás (forward)
  • Franz Beckenbauer (sweeper)
  • George Best (attacking midfielder, forward)
  • Johann Cruyff (attacking midfielder, forward)
  • Michel Platini (attacking midfielder)
  • Pelé (attacking midfielder, forward)
  • Zico (attacking midfielder)
  • Zinedine Zidane (attacking midfielder)

So, there you are, the best of all time. Other honorable mentions we believe deserve to be on this list include:

  • Eusébio
  • Marco van Basten
  • Rivaldo
  • Ronaldo
  • Giuseppe Meazza
  • Xavi
  • Dennis Bergkamp
  • Garrincha

Here’s an interesting fact for you — in 1911, the first broadcasting sporting event took place in Missouri. Since then, there have been some incredibly influential players.

Who is the best female soccer player 2020?

Pernille Harder currently plays as a forward for the national team in Denmark and English FA Women’s League club Chelsea.

In 2020, Harder became the winner of the DFB Women’s Cup, the Champion of Women’s Bundesliga, the top scorer for the Women’s Bundesliga, UEFA Women’s Player of the Year, and the Women’s Footballer of the Year in Germany.

Hence, we firmly believe that the best female soccer player’s title for 2020 goes to none other than Harder.

Who is the best male soccer player in the world?

The title for the best male professional soccer player is debatable. Messi is the best for many fans, while others claim it is Kevin De Bruyne, Cristiano Ronaldo, or Erling Haaland.

Let’s briefly go through why we believe Messi is the world’s best soccer player:

  • Named the Best FIFA Men’s Player in 2019
  • Six-times winner of Ballon D’or (2009,2010,2011,2012,2015,2019)
  • Three-times UEFA Best Player in Europe
  • Twenty-times top scorer
  • Ten-times Player of the Year
  • Four-times Champions League winner
  • Ten-times Spanish Champion
  • Six-times Spanish Cup winner
  • Eight-times Spanish Cup winner
  • Three-times FIFA Club World Cup winner
  • Under-20 World Cup Champion
  • Three-times UEFA Supercup winner
  • Olympic Medalist