The18’s Favorite (And Least Favorite) XI Of The Decade

We compiled lineups of our favorite and least favorite players of the decade.

We’re nearing the end of the decade and we here at The18 have watched a whole lot of soccer over the last 10 years. So to commemorate the end of the era, we’ve compiled a best XI of our favorite soccer players — and our least favorite soccer players. 

While other outlets are doing Best XIs for the decade, we wanted to go a different route. Anyone can say Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo were the two best male players of the decade; who really cares about that? What’s more interesting, to us, is who people choose to like and dislike. 

The18 isn’t just about providing highlights and statistics, it’s about providing a cultural backdrop for everything that happens around the sport of soccer. And more than anything else, sports engender love and hatred. So what better way to tap into that than by doing an end-of-decade list about our favorite and least favorite players somewhat separate from footballing ability. 

With that in mind, don’t be surprised when you see how Ronaldo and Messi were treated on these teams. Just because they’re GOATs doesn’t mean we’re not sick of creating content about them. As for the rest of the players, we just kind of went with our gut on who we like and who we dislike.

To be certain: We full expect everyone to disagree — that’s kind of the point of lists like this.

Our other end-of-decade content included a look at the best goals of the decade. We took that list quite seriously, even if we had Baby Yoda reacting to each goal with a cute gif, each more adorable than the last.

This list of our favorite soccer players, you’ll immediately notice, we took even more seriously, definitely ensuring every player appeared this decade, for sure. But nothing took as much effort to pare down as our list of least favorite soccer players. We just hate so many people.

So without further ado, here is The18’s Favorite XI of the Decade, followed by our Least Favorite XI of the Decade. Each selection includes a link in part showing why we love or hate them.

The18’s XI Favorite Soccer Players

Favorite Soccer Players

René Higuita

Wendie Renard
Vincent Kompany
Julie Ertz

N’Golo Kanté
Kelley O’Hara
Lieke Martens
Christian Pulisic

Zlatan Ibrahimovic
Megan Rapinoe

The18’s XI Least Favorite Players

Least Favorite Soccer Players

Hope Solo


Sergio Ramos
Jaelene Hinkle

Michael Bradley
Marouane Fellaini
Carli Lloyd
Dele Alli

Lionel Messi
Alex Morgan
Cristiano Ronaldo

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Our faves & least faves of the 2010s 

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Feel free to let us know on Instagram what you think of the list. Just keep it civil.

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