100 Best Male Footballers 2021

Can you name the top international football players in the world in 2021 according to a panel of 219 judges organized by the Guardian?
Quiz by SoccerPunk
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Last updated: December 25, 2021
First submittedDecember 25, 2021
Times taken15,684
Average score46.0%
Rating4.42
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#
Club
Player
1
Bayern Munich
Robert Lewandowski
2
Paris Saint-Germain
Lionel Messi
3
Liverpool
Mohamed Salah
4
Real Madrid
Karim Benzema
5
Chelsea
Jorginho
6
Paris Saint-Germain
Kylian Mbappé
7
Borussia Dortmund
Erling Haaland
8
Manchester United
Cristiano Ronaldo
9
Chelsea
N'Golo Kanté
10
Manchester City
Kevin De Bruyne
11
Chelsea
Romelu Lukaku
12
Paris Saint-Germain
Gianluigi Donnarumma
13
Paris Saint-Germain
Neymar
14
Manchester City
Rúben Dias
15
Tottenham Hotspur
Harry Kane
16
Manchester United
Bruno Fernandes
17
Juventus
Federico Chiesa
18
Bayern Munich
Joshua Kimmich
19
Atlético Madrid
Luis Suárez
20
Chelsea
Édouard Mendy
21
Barcelona
Pedri
22
Juventus
Leonardo Bonucci
23
Liverpool
Sadio Mané
24
Juventus
Giorgio Chiellini
25
Manchester City
Phil Foden
26
Inter Milan
Nicolò Barella
27
Chelsea
Mason Mount
28
Bayern Munich
Thomas Müller
29
Manchester City
Raheem Sterling
30
Inter Milan
Lautaro Martínez
31
Real Madrid
Vinícius Júnior
32
Paris Saint-Germain
Ángel Di María
33
Atlético Madrid
Jan Oblak
34
Liverpool
Trent Alexander-Arnold
35
Manchester City
Ilkay Gündogan
36
Bayern Munich
Manuel Neuer
37
Paris Saint-Germain
Marco Verratti
38
Paris Saint-Germain
Achraf Hakimi
39
Tottenham Hotspur
Son Heung-min
40
Real Madrid
Luka Modric
41
Bayern Munich
Serge Gnabry
42
Bayern Munich
Alphonso Davies
43
Liverpool
Virgil van Dijk
44
Paris Saint-Germain
Marquinhos
45
Manchester City
Bernardo Silva
46
Atlético Madrid
Rodrigo De Paul
47
Chelsea
Kai Havertz
48
Chelsea
Antonio Rüdiger
49
Barcelona
Memphis Depay
50
Chelsea
César Azpilicueta
#
Club
Player
51
Villareal
Gerard Moreno
52
Aston Villa
Emiliano Martínez
53
Real Madrid
Thibaut Courtois
54
AC Milan
Simon Kjær
55
Real Madrid
David Alaba
56
AC Milan
Zlatan Ibrahimovic
57
Fiorentina
Dusan Vlahovic
58
Chelsea
Thiago Silva
59
West Ham United
Declan Rice
60
Manchester City
Riyad Mahrez
61
Manchester City
Jack Grealish
62
Napoli
Lorenzo Insigne
63
Manchester City
João Cancelo
64
Bayern Munich
Leon Goretzka
65
Real Madrid
Toni Kroos
66
Lazio
Ciro Immobile
67
Liverpool
Alisson
68
Real Madrid
Casemiro
69
Manchester United
Paul Pogba
70
Chelsea
Reece James
71
Atlético Madrid
Marcos Llorente
72
Borussia Dortmund
Jude Bellingham
73
Roma
Leonardo Spinazzola
74
Manchester City
Kyle Walker
75
Manchester City
Ederson
76
Atlético Madrid
Antoine Griezmann
77
Leicester City
Kasper Schmeichel
78
Manchester United
Luke Shaw
79
Bayer Leverkusen
Patrik Schick
80
Liverpool
Roberto Firmino
81
Inter Milan
Marcelo Brozovic
82
Barcelona
Sergio Busquets
83
Atalanta
Duván Zapata
84
Atlético Madrid
João Félix
85
Lille
Burak Yilmaz
86
Real Sociedad
Mikel Oyarzabal
87
Porto
Luis Díaz
88
Liverpool
Diogo Jota
89
Ajax
Dusan Tadic
90
RB Leipzig
Dani Olmo
91
River Plate
Julián Álvarez
92
Manchester City
Rodri
93
Ajax
Sébastien Haller
94
Paris Saint-Germain
Keylor Navas
95
Arsenal
Bukayo Saka
96
Atalanta
Joakim Mæhle
97
Liverpool
Fabinho
98
Barcelona
Gavi
99
Leicester City
Youri Tielemans
100
Tottenham Hotspur
Pierre-Emile Højbjerg
+3
Level 73
Dec 25, 2021
Surprised not to see Maguire on the list and relieved not to see Hazard…!
+1
Level 65
Dec 25, 2021
I needed a laugh.
+5
Level 74
Dec 27, 2021
maguire? c'mon man
+4
Level 73
Dec 27, 2021
I don't especially like Maguire and I am not English at all, but very objectively speaking he was undoubtedly the best defender at Euro 2020. When I see TAA (who is rather highly ranked) and Luke Shaw who played like a complete amateur in the second half of 2021, I found it absurd to notice Maguire didn't make the list at all...
+2
Level 56
Mar 8, 2022
C'mon, Maguire is an absolute joke. And at Euro 2020 Chiellini and Bonucci were insanely clear.
+1
Level 56
Jun 14, 2022
recency bias makes us see maguire as an absolute joke after the 21/22 season, but he was very good before united collapsed
+4
Level 71
Dec 25, 2021
and where is Marko Livaja?
+3
Level 70
Dec 29, 2021
I'm shocked his former teammate Alibec is not in the list either
+8
Level 83
Dec 26, 2021
The lack of respect for Jordan Henderson is astounding. The difference he makes in the Liverpool starting XI can hardly be overstated. Captain on one of the most formidable clubs in the world. Not flashy, though. Just one of the hardest-working players you'll find.
+1
Level 55
Jan 3, 2022
This. He's better than Rice, Rodri and even Fabinho.
+2
Level 70
Dec 26, 2021
Some very very strange names on this list, and a few surprising omissions. And, no, @Alberici, Harry Maguire is not a surprising omission. Varane is though. He is good, Harry Maguire, is not.

Quiz could do with a bit more time, a hundred names, plus thinking time is far from easy in the time allowed. Fair enough if that’s the idea, but I think it’s a little tight, especially given some of the names are blinking hard to spell.

+1
Level 48
Jan 1, 2022
Narrative in football is everything to these rankings. Maguire isn't there because two penalty shootouts didn't go his way. The first one he couldn't influence as he was injured for the Europa League final. Second shootout Maguire was playing and scored his penalty. If De Gea saves one or one of Rashford, Saka and Sancho score then the narrative completely changes and he'd probably be top 30 in the rankings.
+2
Level 73
Dec 27, 2021
At the moment, Julian Alvarez is the least-known/guessed player. A quick glance only - but is he the only one on this list not playing for a European club? I wonder if the people choosing for The Guardian follow the sport outside Europe (or even outside Spain, England, France, Germany, and Italy). I know - those are the world's best leagues, but still.
+2
Level 73
Dec 27, 2021
Unlikely that they even bother with non-European leagues. To be fair, there's not a whole lot worthy of being bothered with.
+3
Level 70
Dec 29, 2021
Palmeiras won the 2nd consecutive Libertadores, the biggest trophy outside of Europe, and there are maybe two players who could enter a big European club's rotations, let alone making the difference. They're all either done with European football either not yet good enough for it. Brasileirao's top scorer, Hulk, is 35; the 2nd, Gilberto, was playing in an average Turkish club a couple of years ago. Any Southampton starter could become one of the best Brasileirao players let alone MLS or J-League...

Big south-american talents leave for Europe as soon as they show potential. And we're talking about the most competitive leagues outside of Europe. It's sad but it is what it is...

+1
Level 57
Dec 27, 2021
McGinn of Aston Villa ???
+5
Level 57
Dec 27, 2021
9 from PSG ??? Must be a joke. Despite the millions from the Qatari slave drivers they did not even win Ligue 1 !!
+2
Level 70
Dec 29, 2021
This quiz is about the best players, not the ones that won trophies. I'd rather have in my team Messi, Di Maria, Donnarumma, Marquinhos etc than Maignan, David or Yilmaz (which are pretty good footballers as well).
+1
Level 73
Mar 15, 2022
Honestly I'd much rather have Maignan than Donnaruma in my team
+1
Level 51
May 5, 2022
Did you not see the Euros?
+2
Level 57
Dec 27, 2021
Schmeichel ??? He never comes for a cross and spends the whole match complaining to the ref.
+2
Level 57
Dec 27, 2021
Pogba ? The player that the Man Utd fans and management want rid of !! He had the worst year ever in 2021 !
+1
Level 71
Dec 31, 2021
+1
+1
Level 65
Dec 27, 2021
Neymar has fallen in the ranks so much, just a few years ago he was undoubtedly a top 5 player.
+4
Level 73
Dec 27, 2021
This is the proof that no good can come from signing for PSG...
+3
Level 65
Dec 27, 2021
Yes, Neymar would still be top 10 if he stayed at Barcelona and with Messi for longer. They could have definitely won more champion's league trophies.
+1
Level 70
Dec 29, 2021
From 2015 on PSG has been a way better club than Barcelona, with or without Neymar. You can argue if he chose the right club or not but PSG surely had more chances to win CL
+6
Level 43
Dec 27, 2021
How is Shaw there and robertson isn't?
+1
Level 21
Dec 27, 2021
agreed
+2
Level 71
Dec 27, 2021
Phonzie Davies is on fire!
+1
Level 39
Dec 27, 2021
The purpose why I only earned 33/100 wasn't that I have no clue of football, I was just too lazy to type 100 names in HAHA.
+1
Level 56
Jun 14, 2022
HAHA
+2
Level 53
Dec 27, 2021
"Villarreal" is missing an "r" here
+6
Level 62
Dec 28, 2021
Best MALE footballers? Wouldn't "100 best footballers" have been adequate? No females will ever be close to the top 100.
+3
Level 87
Jan 3, 2022
Ever since the U.S. women won the women's cup it's become fashionable to assume they are physically equal, player for player. I say fashionable instead of mandatory PC because I don't want to get cancelled.
+3
Level 33
Dec 29, 2021
I think coman deserves to be there
+1
Level 70
Dec 29, 2021
Great quiz this list is accurate. Some unexpected names (Maehle, Alvarez, even Memphis Depay) but pretty normal when you make a list of 100.
+1
Level 33
Dec 29, 2021
Fraudinho top 5? What a joke.
+1
Level 73
Mar 15, 2022
You're mistaken! Fraudinho is ranked 13th
+1
Level 54
Jan 1, 2022
Frenkie de Jong? Robertson?
+1
Level 11
Jan 7, 2022
mahele i don t never remember
+1
Level 56
Jun 14, 2022
having gavi on this list is next level incompetence