100 Footballers In The World 2018 (Nos. 10-1)

There are many footballers in the world. We’ve compiled a list of some of them.

To coincide with The Guardian’s excellent list of the 100 best male footballers in the world — compiled by a panel of 225 experts from 69 nations — we here at The18 have compiled our own list over the last couple years. There are no experts involved, there’s no rhyme or reason for anything, but we do hope you’ll join us on this adventure into the bowels of the beautiful game.

The18’s 100 Footballers In The World: 2017

The18’s 100 Footballers In The World: 2016

Today, we unveil our final 10 names on the list. Buckle up. (Scroll down for today's entries.)

100 Footballers In The World 2018: 100-71

#100: Tesapara (Club Sporting 2 de Mayo | Paraguay)

We begin our list with a dog, because we want to give you a good sense of how this’ll go. We have reservations about making Tesapara No. 100 — there’s a general agreement that the dog who became assistant manager of Paraguay’s Club Sporting 2 de Mayo after being fed an empanada should be 99 spots higher on this list. 

#99. Artem Dzyuba (Zenit | Russia)

The 6-5 brick shithouse of a man became a national icon after his performances leading the line for Russia at the World Cup, scoring three goals. We often think of black grizzly bears when we think of Russia, and Dzyuba embodied that raw power out on the pitch.

#98. Landon Donovan (Leon | USMNT)

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The American legend came out of retirement in 2018 and absolutely redefined excellence and the sporting landscape of Mexico’s Liga MX. His stats from Leon are hugely impressive: six appearances for a total of 112 minutes, zero goals, zero assists, one brawl and a paycheck of $185,000 per month.

#97. Herve Renard (Morocco)

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Coming in ahead of Donovan on the strength of his hair is French dreamboat manager Herve Renard. Renard was the hunk on the touchline for Morocco at the World Cup, and although it was his side that got the shaft in Russia, a lot of people wouldn't mind his *redacted*

#96. Ballou Tabla (Barcelona | Canada)

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The 19-year-old Canadian international completed his rise from the Montreal Impact youth team to training alongside Lionel Messi at Barcelona in 2018. He’s currently doing work for the reserve team, and Canada’s 2026 World Cup chances rest on the shoulders of him and …

#95. Alphonso Davies (Bayern Munich | Canada)

See what we did there? The 18-year-old Davies is the other great hope of the Canucks, and we can't wait to see him do his thing in Bavaria.  

#94. Yenith Bailey (Panama women's national team)

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Seventeen-year-old Panama goalkeeper Yenith Bailey captured the hearts and minds of viewers everywhere when facing 17 shots from the USWNT during the CONCACAF Women’s Championship. Although she conceded five goals in the game, she pulled off 12 saves, including a string of improbable stops on a woman more than twice her age, one Carli Lloyd. 

#93. Freddy Adu (Las Vegas Lights | USMNT)

The 29-year-old phenom made a triumphant return to football in 2018 with Las Vegas in the USL. He scored one goal and added one assist in 14 appearances, and his movie review page on The18.com continues to be much better than Rotten Tomatoes.

#92. Neymar (PSG | Brazil)

We saw Neymar cry this year; we watched him as he rolled; we still know he's poetry in motion. 

#91. Kylian Mbappe (PSG | France)

Kylian Mbappe youth highlights

Mbappe cracks the top 100 (and he's ahead of Neymar, tehe) this year because he really helped our SEO game in 2018. How fast is Kylian Mbappe? Why don't you Google it and FIND OUT.

#90. Ellll Chucky Lozano (PSV | Mexico)

#89. Bobby Boswell (Goodnight, sweet prince)

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The 2006 MLS Defender of the Year and holder of three caps for the USMNT retired in 2018. Your memory lives on at The18, Bobby.

#88. Ronaldinho (Banned from Barcelona Legends)

It wasn’t a great year for Ronaldinho with regards to politics and his bank account, but who cares when you deify athletes! The buck-toothed freak can still serve up a flick or two.

#87. Diego Maradona (Wherever all the wine is)

Maradona's stint in charge of Ascenso MX side Dorados was better than anything else in 2018. He answered his phone during games, mumbled his way through interviews, chugged Red Bull to stay awake on the touchline, earned a ban for the final by threatening to punch the other coach, was spotted drinking beer during said final and then fought with fans after losing said final. 

#86. Romelu Lukaku (Manchester United | Belgium)

It began during the World Cup third place playoff ...

And it's continued to this day ...

#85. Harry Kane (Tottenham | England)

He edged Lukaku to the Golden Boot, and Kane edges him here. BUT ...

#84. Jonathan Gonzalez (Monterrey | Mexico)

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In the year of "How Do We Fix U.S. Soccer?", one word to the wise was the story of Jonathan Gonzalez. The California kid’s switch from the U.S. to El Tri still hurts.

#83. Paul Aguilar (Club America | Mexico)

The best goal celebration of the year.

#82. Catarina Macario (Stanford women's soccer)

#81. Francisco "Kikin" Fonseca (Living large)

#80. Efrain Alvarez (LA Galaxy | Mexico)

He only turned 16 this year, but we're hoping that Alvarez makes the step from LA Galaxy II in the USL (12 goals and three assists in 17 games) to the senior side in MLS come 2019.

#79. Hatem Ben Arfa (Rennes | France)

The feel-good story of 2018: Ben Arfa made $12.3 million without playing a game for PSG last season, and now he's back to scoring bangers with Rennes.

#78. Josh Sargent (Werder Bremen | USMNT)

Two goals in his first six USMNT caps? We haven't seen this sort of impact since the Grown Ass Man back in 2004.

#77. Brent Kallman (Minnesota United)

There’s so much to like about Brent Kallman. He graduated from Woodbury High School in Minnesota, and he’s been with Minnesota United since the club’s NASL days. The boy’s all heart.

What’s more, the club pays him in peanuts, so it was a pretty awesome story when he nearly doubled his salary by taking home $62,111 at a poker tournament in November.

#76. Marouane Fellaini (Manchester United | Belgium)

2018 was the year of the Fellaini. His ability to be a weeping willow demoted Paul Pogba to the bench, and then he nearly killed a man.

#75. Nigeria Home Kit (Nigeria)

Nigeria home kit

It's the funky green lines. You love the funky sauce. 

#74. Vagina Stadium in Qatar

The Al Wakrah Stadium is coming along nicely for the 2022 World Cup, and thankfully, it's going exactly according to plan. 

Vagina Stadium

#73. Andres Iniesta (Vissel Kobe | Spain)

Iniesta has joined Hulk in providing us with weekly bangers from the Far East. It's much appreciated.

#72. Andre Villas-Boas (Off-roading)

AVB is the only member of our list who actually does motorsports, but what do you expect from the man with the greatest life of any human on the planet?

#71. Eder (Lokomotiv Moscow | Portugal)

Eder is slowly falling on our list, but he's still got a few years left thanks to this banger.

100 Footballers In The World 2018: 70-41

#70. Loris Karius #69. Sergio Ramos

Loris Ramos

It was in this moment that Ramos sneezed on Karius and gave him an STD.

#68. Ousmane Dembele (Barcelona | France)

A hero of our time: plays video games all night, never sets an alarm, misses training, scores clutch bangers. Repeats the cycle all year.

#67. Rapid Man (Colorado Rapids)

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#66. Dario Benedetto (Boca Juniors | Argentina)

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#65. DaMarcus Beasley (Free Agent FC)

With the Dynamo trailing the Sounders 4-0 in the 87th minute of an October MLS game, the 36-year-old full back marauded forward and made the score 4-1. Whenever the ESPYs are, this is sure to win.

#64. FIFA 10 Wayne Rooney

Wayne Rooney


#63. Matt Miazga   #62. Diego Lainez

Miazga vs. Lainez

A budding bromance. 

#61. "The Next Messi"

It was a huge year for The Next Messi. The dude was everywhere, showing so much potential and promise. He's going to be "The Next Messi" for sure.

#60. Karamoko Dembele (Celtic | Scotland)

We don't know where he's gone since 2016, but we suspect that he's improved some.

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#59. Sambu (Club Leon)

#58. DJ Martin Solveig (Ballon d’Or Ceremony)

#57. Backflip Penalty Guy (Rubin Kazan)

#56. Michael Oliver’s Garbage Bin Heart (Anti-Juventus)

#55. Croatian Firefighters (Gainfully Employed)

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#54. Erin Cuthbert (Chelsea | Scotland women’s national team)

#53. This Heineken Champions League Ad

#52. Adebayo Akinfenwa (Wycombe Wanderers) 

The strongest player in FIFA 19, and the 36-year-old scored 17 goals in 42 appearances in League Two last season. 

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#51. Lionel Messi Lookalike (Not Employed We Imagine)

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#50. Lieke Martens (Barcelona | Netherlands)

#49. Mario Balotelli (Nice | Italy)

After getting his career back on track in France and earning a recall to the national team, the 28-year-old has scored zero this campaign in 10 appearances while manager Patrick Vieira recently revealed how he wants to fight him. Nothing to see here.

#48. Phil Jones (Manchester United | England)

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#47. Rodrigo Palacio (Bologna | Argentina)

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#46. Peter Crouch (Stoke | England)

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The guy wrote a book that has a 4.28 rating on Goodreads after 352 reviews. The 37-year-old also managed five goals in the Premier League last season. He’s a real renaissance man. 

#45. Douglas Costa (Juventus | Brazil) 

Entered as a sub for the ineffective Gabriel Jesus against Belgium in the 58th minute. His half hour on the field was insane, and it almost sent Brazil through to the semis.

#44. Michael Bradley (Toronto FC | USMNT) 

If 2017 was great for Toronto, it’s really worth noting how bad 2018 was: TFC suffered a drop-off of 33 points. Bradley had zero goals and two assists in 32 appearances, and the nine games he spent playing center back really shouldn’t be spoken of. 

#43. Ricardo Quaresma (Besiktas | Portugal)

#42. Fan Favorite Andre Gomes (Everton But Loved In Barcelona | Portugal) 

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#41. Joe Hart (Burnley | England) 

Although getting Panenka'd by Andrea Pirlo is the better highlight, Hart vs. Paul Pogba's walk-up is a good one too.

100 Footballers In The World: 40-11

#40. Ante Rebić (Eintracht Frankfurt | Croatia)

The ultimate mad lad of 2018. No one knew him before the World Cup, but he's all any one thinks of after.

#39. Kerlon (Half Man Half Seal)

The Brazilian phenom is now 30, and he’s been retired since October of 2017, so he’s slipping down our list some, but not that much. 

#38. Zack Steffen (Manchester City | USMNT) 

He brought Manchester United legend Wayne Rooney’s first season in MLS to an abrupt end in the playoffs, and then he promptly transferred to Manchester City. Already a Citizen legend, really. Also, his mind was shaped and molded by Gregg Berhalter, so he's a soccer genius. 

#37. Wolf Nine Carroll (Signed By Quest Records | Released From The Label)

Andy Carroll’s baby boy is the future of the target man position. He also has, potentially, the greatest terrace chant of all-time

#36. Cristiano Ronaldo (Juventus | Portugal)

Not the Brazilian Ronaldo, the other Ronaldo, but not Ronald Reagan either.

#35. Cristiano Ronaldo Jr. (Juventus) 

Now the Junior one.

#34. Thiago Messi (Barcelona)

The six-year-old's drawing skills are improving.

#33. Riccardo Orsolini (Bologna | Italy) 

We are watching. We are waiting. 

#32. Ricardo Ferrino (Las Vegas Lights)

Some people say Manuel Neuer is the world's best sweeper keeper, but all of those people have never seen Ferrino play ball.

#31. Luka Modric (Real Madrid | Croatia) 

Only three goals for Real Madrid and two for Croatia, so not a great year. 

#30. Crystal Dunn (North Carolina | USWNT)

The 26-year-old scored eight goals and added seven assists in 24 games for the NWSL’s best-ever team, but she continues to be jettisoned to left back for the USWNT. We don’t really get it either.

#29. Giovani dos Santos (LA Galaxy | Mexico)

Another player who’s been slowly falling since one moment from many years ago, but woof. What a moment.

But probably not worth $6.5 million per season.

#28. Alexandre Pato (Tianjin Quanjian | Brazil) 

Did you know he still isn’t 30? Did you know he’s still scoring wonder goals out in China?

#27. Bastian Schweinsteiger (Chicago Fire | Chicago Fire World Cup Team)

He’s now appeared in a total of 60 matches for the Fire, although his 2018 season certainly got a lot less coverage than 2017 (because Chicago was terrible). But the 34-year-old might charge back up this list in 2019 …

#26. Sam Kerr (Chicago Red Stars | Australia) 

#25. Edinson Cavani (PSG | Uruguay)

"I am a footballing worker — I am not a star."

#24. Toni Kroos (Real Madrid | Germany)

#23. Diego Godin (Atletico Madrid | Uruguay) 

We’re a bit sad we didn’t get Uruguay vs. Argentina at the World Cup to once and for all decide the winner of that fantastic Gatorade ad, but we can still cherish these Godin vs. Messi moments forever and ever.

#22. Dries Mertens (Napoli | Belgium) 

HAVE SOME PANAMA!!!! The most overkill goal of all-time, but a beauty.

#21. Bernardo Silva (Manchester City | Portugal) 

The Amazon fish-frog man bloometh.

#20. Denis Cheryshev (Valencia | Russia) 

And to think our humble little media company got to interview the Russian godhead a few months before the World Cup ...

#19. 2019 MLS SuperDraft No. 1 Pick (FC Cincinnati) 

Probably better than 2017's Abu Danladi and 2018's João Moutinho, but worse than 2015's Cyle Larin and 2016's Jack Harrison. 

#18. Benjamin Pavard (Stuttgart | France)


#17. Marco Reus (Borussia Dortmund | Germany)

Holy shit he made it to the winter break without getting hurt!

#16. Isco (Real Madrid | Spain)  

They don't love him like they used to at the Bernabeu, but those people never know what they've got until it's gone.

#15. Lucas Torreira (Arsenal | Uruguay)

He's much loved at The18.

#14. Alisson (Liverpool | Brazil)

Maybe not as handsome as Loris Karius, which could come back to haunt Liverpool.

#13. These Three People (Chernobyl United) 

#12. The Boiler (West Brom)

#11. Viktor Claesson (Krasnodar | Sweden) 

100 Footballers In The World 2018: 10-1

#10. Fabio Quagliarella (Sampdoria)

September 2018

December 2018

#9. Christian Pulisic (Borussia Dortmund | USMNT)

Goddamn you, Jadon Sancho.

#8. Jadon Sancho (Borussia Dortmund | England)

NOOOOOOOOOO! *see above* 

#7. Gareth Walker | (Your Despised Rival)  

Gareth Walker, bruv

#6. Sam Klomhaus (The Mountain Mail | Behind A Paywall) 

#5. Lionel Messi (Barcelona | Argentina)

You can’t argue with the Ballon d’Or, y’all. 

#4. Steve Nash (The Voice Of The Champions League)

No one in America knows soccer like the two-time NBA MVP, and his fandom for Tottenham really shines through during do-or-die moments on matchday six of the Champions League. 

#3. James Milner (Liverpool) 

#2. This Guy (Mexico)

#1. Gourav Mukhi (Jamshedpur FC | Super Sweet 16)

Gourav Mukhi

"Yes, I too like playing Halo on the DreamCube."

Back in October, this dashing young man became the Indian Super League’s youngest-ever goalscorer when netting against Tim Cahill’s Bengaluru at the tender age of 16. Unfortunately, he’s since been suspended for six months because it turns out he’s 28. 

You should never cheat to gain an advantage, except when it’s this boldfaced.

Like, if you’re going to participate in the Olympic 400 meter dash but show up driving a Ferrari with a top hat on the roof and a spectacles-mustache disguise on the windshield, then that should be allowed — it’s up to the rule makers to stop it before the race begins.

That, in essence, is what Mukhi pulled off for a little while, and that should be commended.

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