Best Football Players in the World: Top 10 Players of 2024

The debate over who is the best football player in the world has been ongoing since the departure of Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo from the European football stage. This has left room for several rising megastars to throw their names, talents, and achievements into the conversation. Erling Haaland, Kylian Mbappe, Jude Bellingham, and other established names are all contenders for the title of ‘the best.’

This list of the best football players in the world is based on more than just current form. It takes into account domestic and international achievements, as well as various stats and figures from this season and recent prior campaigns, to build a comprehensive picture of the current best players in world football. RadioTimes.com has brought together this definitive list of the top ten football players in the world in 2024, providing insight into the players who have emerged as the new stars of the game.

10. Lautaro Martinez (Inter Milan)

Lautaro Martinez, the 26-year-old Inter Milan striker, has earned his place among the top 10 football players in the world with his impressive performances. He is often compared to his retired compatriot Sergio Aguero for his tenacity, clinical finishing abilities, and physicality beyond his size. Martinez has consistently scored 20 league goals per season for several years and is currently scoring a goal per game in the highly competitive Serie A. He is a dogged and tenacious player who makes defenders regret their profession.

9. Rodri (Man City)

Rodri is an integral part of Manchester City’s success, serving as a midfield conductor and a combative midfielder. He is a tall and physically strong player with a combination of skill and drive of an attacking midfielder. He is known for scoring critical goals in crucial moments, including his performance in the Champions League final.

In mid-January 2024, Rodri reached a milestone of 50 games undefeated for City, demonstrating his importance to the team. When he is on the pitch, City is the best team in world football and is almost unbeatable.

Rodri’s presence in the midfield provides City with the muscle they need to win battles in the middle of the park. He is also capable of drifting high up the pitch, creating chances for his teammates.

Overall, Rodri is widely regarded as one of the best defensive midfielders in the world, and his performances for Manchester City have only reinforced this reputation.

8. Vinicius Jr (Real Madrid)

Vinicius Jr is a 23-year-old Brazilian professional footballer who plays as a winger for La Liga club Real Madrid and the Brazil national team. Since joining the club in 2018, he has made over 200 appearances in all competitions, and his performances have made him one of the most promising young players in the world.

Vinicius’s greatest strength is his explosive pace, which allows him to leave defenders in his wake with ease. He is also known for his quick feet and excellent ball control, which make him a nightmare for defenders to mark.

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Despite his youth, Vinicius has already established himself as a key player for Real Madrid, and he is widely regarded as one of the most exciting prospects in world football. With his combination of speed, skill, and vision, he is sure to be a force to be reckoned with for many years to come.

7. Lionel Messi (Inter Miami)

Lionel Messi is widely regarded as one of the greatest football players of all time, with an impressive record of achievements and accolades. Although his reign at the top of the rankings has come to an end, he still remains a worthy entrant in this esteemed list.

Despite losing some of his blistering pace, Messi’s intelligence and manipulation of the football means his control over the result of games remains as strong as ever. He continues to dominate games – both subtly and explicitly – for club and country. His performances directly inspired Argentina to Copa America and World Cup trophies, and he transformed rock-bottom MLS team, Inter Miami, into cup finalists in the space of a month.

Messi’s presence in the growing, exuberant yet ultimately lower quality MLS may mask his decline, but he has still managed to make a significant impact on the league. He joined Inter Miami in June 2023 and helped the team reach the cup finals in his first season. He was also named to the MLS Team of the Matchday for Matchday 3 of the MLS 2024 regular season.

Here are some of Messi’s notable achievements and contributions:

  • Seven-time Ballon d’Or winner and World Cup Champion
  • Three-time winner of the Best FIFA Men’s Player award
  • Helped Argentina win the 2022 FIFA World Cup and the 2023 Copa America
  • Joined Inter Miami in June 2023 and helped the team reach the cup finals in his first season
  • Named to the MLS Team of the Matchday for Matchday 3 of the MLS 2024 regular season

Messi’s time at the top may have come to an end, but his legacy as one of the greatest football players of all time is secure. He is a true magician on the field and will always be remembered as the GOAT, the undisputed, undoubted, best ever.

6. Kevin De Bruyne (Manchester City)

Kevin De Bruyne had a relatively quiet season in 2022/23, but still managed to create 22 goals and score nine in 42 matches across the Premier League and Champions League combined. Despite injury issues, De Bruyne remains one of the most talented players in the game, with an ability to make extraordinary achievements seem ordinary.

De Bruyne is widely regarded as the greatest crosser of a ball in Premier League history. His vision and ability to split defenses with a single pass are unmatched, making him a dangerous and effective player.

De Bruyne is a complete player, with a lethal ability to take set-pieces, unexpected physicality, and genuine speed off the mark. He possesses an insatiable desire to win, making him a multi-faceted and unpredictable player. With a strong end to the 2023/24 season, he could rise even further up the list of the world’s best players.

Overall, Kevin De Bruyne is a high-spec footballer who comes equipped with all the trimmings you could possibly hope for in one player. He is a top, top player, but with his unique set of skills, he is a multi-layered box of tricks that is a nightmare for any opposing team.

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5. Jude Bellingham (Real Madrid)

Jude Bellingham is a generational talent and is widely regarded as one of the best young players in the world. He has already made a name for himself at Dortmund, Real Madrid, and on the international stage. Bellingham’s all-action, dynamic presence saw him transform from teenage wildcard to instant starter for England at the World Cup 2022.

Bellingham’s displays for Dortmund put them firmly in title contention against the Bayern Munich juggernaut, spurned only by goal difference, before making the move to Real Madrid where he has added an abundance of goals to his arsenal. He is the complete package in midfield already, with his physically imposing, immense ball carrying and precision passing skills.

Bellingham is a player to watch at Euro 2024 this summer, and he has enough confidence to claim Zinedine Zidane’s No.5 shirt at the Bernabeu. With his talent, he is expected to continue to soar at his current trajectory and become one of the greatest players of his generation.

Here are some key points about Jude Bellingham:

  • All-action, dynamic presence
  • Instant starter for England at the World Cup 2022
  • Physically imposing with immense ball carrying and precision passing skills
  • Added an abundance of goals to his arsenal at Real Madrid
  • Expected to become one of the greatest players of his generation.

4. Mohamed Salah (Liverpool)

Mohamed Salah is a consistent and durable player, having scored 31, 31, and 30 goals in his last three seasons respectively across all competitions. He has also been available for 51 appearances in each of the last three campaigns, indicating his reliability and fitness. Salah’s playing style is relatively simple, but he remains an enigma to halt. As a touchline-hugging, direct winger, he has the ability to drive inside as he approaches the box, making it difficult for defenders to anticipate his moves.

Salah’s ability to score goals is remarkable, and if he continues to score at this rate, he could hit the 200 Premier League goals mark, which would be an incredible achievement for any player, let alone a winger playing out wide. In addition to his goal-scoring prowess, Salah has also collected medals in the Premier League, Champions League, FIFA Club World Cup, and Emirates FA Cup since arriving at Liverpool in 2017.

3. Erling Haaland (Man City)

Erling Haaland is a 23-year-old Norwegian striker who currently plays for Manchester City. Haaland has been a prolific scorer since he joined the Premier League, scoring 22 goals in just 15 games in the 2022/23 season. This total would have been enough to win the Golden Boot in seven Premier League seasons.

Haaland’s physicality, finishing ability, and turn of pace make him one of the best strikers in the world. He has a knack for improvising and scoring goals by any means necessary. Despite injury problems, Haaland has continued to score a goal per game in the Premier League.

The next few years should be explosive for Haaland, and if he proves his consistency over several years, he will undoubtedly be considered one of the greatest strikers of all time. Haaland’s potential is limitless, and he has already established himself as one of the best players in the world.

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2. Harry Kane (Bayern Munich)

Harry Kane’s move to Bayern Munich has been a revelation for the football world. The Premier League’s all-time leading scorer has taken the Bundesliga by storm, showcasing his world-class talent in a league that is known for its physicality and competitiveness.

Kane has been a consistent performer for Bayern Munich, scoring around 30 goals per season with a plethora of assists and contributions. In the 2023/24 season, he has been averaging well above a goal per game in the league and is on course to break Robert Lewandowski’s single-season record of 41 goals with an incredible tally of 45 goals in the 34-game season.

What sets Kane apart from other strikers is his exemplary finishing, exceptional positioning, and uncanny playmaking ability. He has the unique ability to play the No.10 and No.9 roles simultaneously and effectively. His playmaking ability allows him to pick a pass from deep, swing a cross in, and create chances for his teammates.

Kane has achieved all of this in a Tottenham team that was not at his level, and he has continued to display his world-class talent at Bayern Munich. He is widely regarded as the greatest natural No.9 in world football right now, and his performances have cemented his place among the best footballers in the world.

Overall, Harry Kane’s move to Bayern Munich has been a resounding success, and he has proven that he is one of the best footballers in the world. His performances have been exceptional, and he has set a new standard for strikers in the Bundesliga.

1. Kylian Mbappe (PSG)

Kylian Mbappe is a football megastar, who has proven his ability and mentality on the global stage for both club and country. He is often portrayed as a dramatic soap character in the ever-brewing psychodrama between PSG and Real Madrid, but his character and mentality shown throughout the World Cup has elevated him to the very top of the ladder.

Mbappe is one of the fastest footballers ever seen on the field, with shooting technique like no other. He can strike the ball on the run or with immense power from a dead standing start. He can finesse shots low into the corners or drill the ball high and rising into the roof of the net. If you offer him an inch of the goal, he will punish you mercilessly.

Although Mbappe has made a mockery of Ligue 1, his form on the global stage for both club and country puts him out in front. His World Cup final hat-trick will go down as the stuff of legends – a big-time performance from a big-time player.

Mbappe’s career feels like it is on hold right now, but he is likely to become a Real Madrid player in the summer. He will slot in beautifully alongside Vinicius Jr and Jude Bellingham in the Spanish giants’ attacking line-up.

In conclusion, Kylian Mbappe is currently one of the best football players in the world. His talent and mentality have been proven on the global stage, and he has the ability to punish opponents mercilessly. With a potential move to Real Madrid on the horizon, Mbappe has the opportunity to remind the world why he is one of the best players in the game.

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