To coincide annually with The Guardian’s excellent list of the 100 best male footballers in the world — compiled by a panel of 239 experts from 63 different nations — we here at The18 have compiled our own list over the last few 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: 2018
The18’s 100 Footballers In The World: 2017
The18’s 100 Footballers In The World: 2016
The18's 100 Footballers In The World 2019
#100. Steve Nash (The Voice Of The Champions League)
Steve Nash peaked at No. 4 on our list last year, but he's plummeted down 96 spots as we're less convinced than ever that he's actually a footballer.
@antogriezmann @stevenash pic.twitter.com/OgcAXKQY69— FC Barcelona (@FCBarcelona) December 28, 2019
#99. João Félix (Atlético Madrid | Portugal)
He's mainly here on the strength of that incredible FIFA 20 ad, but also because he’s Kaká reincarnate.
Joao Felix lit up his @atletienglish debut with a run reminiscent of a certain @LaLigaEN legend @gary_bailey1, @KaylynKyle & @TRongen break down biggest moments from Atleti's win in today's Coach's Corner.Full video: https://t.co/m0aMrBfXrH pic.twitter.com/vNh6Va4aeG
— beIN SPORTS USA (@beINSPORTSUSA) August 18, 2019
#98. Catarina Macario (Stanford | USWNT)
We need her on the 2020 Olympic squad, please.
"MORE MACARIO MAGIC!"Catarina Macario opens up the scoring and gives No. 1 Stanford a 1-0 lead.#NCAASoccer | @stanfordwsoccer pic.twitter.com/fvHMO9tix6
— NCAA Soccer (@NCAASoccer) November 24, 2019
#97. Katie Meyer (Stanford | USYNT)
And her Stanford teammate too.
Katie Meyer of @StanfordWSoccer is your new favorite soccer player. pic.twitter.com/eDPZ0DN7Cl— RADIO.COM Sports (@RDCSports) December 9, 2019
#96. Kenneth Kronholm (Chicago Fire)
The American was in the German second division before signing for Chicago in May, and he's got balls of steel.
#95. Erling Braut Håland (Borussia Dortmund | Norway)
The Norwegian phenom introduced himself to CONCACAF in a big way at the U-20 World Cup.
Throwback to when Erling Haaland scored NINE goals in one game at the U20 World CupBorussia Dortmund are in for a treat pic.twitter.com/CFP2FtzutA
— Goal (@goal) December 30, 2019
#94. Mapi León (Barcelona | Spain)
This Twitter video continues to earn us one steady "like" per day.
A quick look at the Spanish defender Mapi Leon pic.twitter.com/RG1XCs1utq— The18 (@the18com) June 17, 2019
#93. Fred (Manchester United | Brazil)
Nominative determinism says that he’s not very exciting or good, but that didn’t stop Fred from playing football in 2019.
TBT when Rashford did this to Fred pic.twitter.com/UKwHq9CyA0— Be4o Special One (@BeboSpecialOne) December 27, 2019
#92. Paulo Dybala (Juventus | Argentina)
Much like whoever’s managing Argentina, we don’t really understand La Joya, but he scores incredible goals.
Still trying to figure out how Paulo Dybala made this #GroupStageThrowbacks pic.twitter.com/b1iRUewFY8— B/R Football (@brfootball) December 23, 2019
#91. Gyasi Zardes (Columbus Crew | USMNT)
Our favorite goal call of 2019: “GYASI ZAAARDES. RIGHT PLACE, RIGHT TIME.”
#90. Kitty Cat (Real Salt Lake)
The best moment of the 2019 Leagues Cup (other than the fact that it was won by Cruz Azul).
Can we adopt this cat? pic.twitter.com/8eXQcaxQZC— Major League Soccer (@MLS) July 25, 2019
#89. Alex Song (FC Sion)
#88. Billie Simpson (Cliftonville FC | Northern Ireland)
We cannot stop watching this goal.
Billie Simpson scores a volley from the half way line for @CVilleLadiesF pic.twitter.com/SwLT1Mk0TG— Soccer AM (@SoccerAM) August 13, 2018
#87. Wendie Renard (Lyon | France)
I still have dreams where the Fox Sports commentators tell me that Wendie Renard is a threat on set pieces.
Wendie Renard reads this the whole way. Her positioning and timing is impeccable. Her finish? Cool, calm and collected. A zen-like own goal.
(via @FOXSoccer) pic.twitter.com/rrj1QqlY8O— The18 (@the18com) June 12, 2019
#86 and #85. Sean and Matty Longstaff (Geordie Brothers)
It should be a law that your central midfield pairing must be blood.
Matty Longstaff getting his MOTM award..."I thought Sean was the best player, but I will take it"#NEWMUN pic.twitter.com/c9J71i4ftG
— Football Daily (@footballdaily) October 6, 2019
#84. Michael Bradley (Toronto FC | USMNT)
"My best years are still in front of me."
#83. Adam Lallana (Liverpool | England)
Liverpool rondo better than Barcelona at the moment, and that's why they're the best team in the world.
Whatever you think of him, Adam Lallana has a sumptuous first touch pic.twitter.com/6i8fvZAO2Z— The Red Debate (@TheRedDebate) September 21, 2019
#82. Bernardo (Brighton | Brazil)
Why is Bernardo trying to injure his Brighton teammate Andone before kick-off pic.twitter.com/mPocQ0eI7l— Football Daily (@footballdaily) August 24, 2019
#81. FIFA 20 Franck Ribéry (Fiorentina)
#80. Sam Klomhaus (The Livingston Enterprise)
A fall of 74 places for Sam despite the gradual acceptance of his radical idea for a Turkey Derby.
#79. Sam Kerr (Chelsea | Australia)
All the inspiration we needed to make it through 2019.
Sam Kerr is El Capitan. #FIFAWWC pic.twitter.com/fpDNIRqTjG— Conman Fleming (@ConmanFleming) June 13, 2019
#78. Antoine Griezmann (Barcelona | France)
The best salad in the game.
#77. Giovanni Reyna (Borussia Dortmund | USYNT)
Giovanni Reyna, son of Claudio, scoring for Borussia Dortmund against Barcelona in the Uefa Youth League #BVB #USMNT pic.twitter.com/u1OGbs7ov9— James Nalton (@JDNalton) November 27, 2019
#76. Christiane Endler (PSG | Chile)
Six world-class saves against the USWNT.
Best women's goalkeeper in the world?Christiane Endler put on an absolute SHOW for Chile to prevent a much bigger @USWNT win. #FIFAWWC pic.twitter.com/d0ijySmEs6
— FOX Soccer (@FOXSoccer) June 16, 2019
#75. Harvey Elliot (Liverpool)
The first FIFA Create A Player to escape his digital prison and play professionally.
Harvey Elliot looking more like David Silva than David Silva. Unbelievable talent. #LFC | #MKDLIV | #CarabaoCup | @HarveyElliott07 pic.twitter.com/s349codtw5— Footy Feels (@FootyFeels) September 25, 2019
#74 and #73. Juan Cuadrado and Yerry Mina (Dance Off)
Juan Cuadrado and Yerry Mina had a dance off, and it was
— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) August 4, 2019
#72. "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.
#71. Zlatan Ibrahimović (AC Milan)
It was a quiet year for Zlatan. He took up watercolors and maintained a 365-day vow of silence.
Should they ever come back
└ Amazing skills.mp4#IZBACK pic.twitter.com/ksOUVN0loT— AC Milan (@acmilan) December 28, 2019
#70. Andrés Iniesta (Vissel Kobe)
How's that for a pass on the volley?!An Andres Iniesta special sets up a third goal for Vissel Kobe in Fernando Torres' last ever match pic.twitter.com/4Ve9CON8v7
— Goal (@goal) August 23, 2019
#69. VAR (Mr. Worldwide)
#68. Alphonso Davies (Bayern Munich | Canada)
Alphonso Davies is what happens when you don’t hold your homegrowns hostage @MLS. pic.twitter.com/1Y6lSfhzX6— MLS Buzz (@MLS_Buzz) December 18, 2019
#67. Teemu Pukki (Norwich City | Finland)
One more look at that Teemu Pukki screamer pic.twitter.com/pyxrDgpUpT— NBC Sports Soccer (@NBCSportsSoccer) August 17, 2019
#66. Kelley O'Hara (Utah Royals | USWNT)
#65. Martin Ødegaard (Real Sociedad | Norway)
#64. Lionel Messi (Barcelona | Argentina)
Still too reliant on his left foot.
An angle only he could find...This Leo Messi GOLAZO has been nominated for the 2019 Puskas Award. #LaLigaSantander pic.twitter.com/eD0WkPNrXt
— LaLiga (@LaLigaEN) August 19, 2019
#63. Adama Traoré (Wolves)
Adama Traore gets Wolves right back in it pic.twitter.com/jotEDf03D5— B/R Football (@brfootball) December 27, 2019
#62. Konstantinos Mavropanos (Arsenal | Greece)
Arsenal are in advanced talks to sign Konstantinos Mavropanos. pic.twitter.com/LzKTHC8p0E— EPL Bible (@EPLBible) January 3, 2018
#61. Jessica McDonald (NC Courage | USWNT)
Welcome to France, son!!! #FWWC2019 #HesHere pic.twitter.com/JYwjbxeMv9— Jessica McDonald (@J_Mac1422) June 26, 2019
#60. Takefusa Kubo (Mallorca | Japan)
We believe in the 18-year-old Japanese phenom.
#59. Christian Pulisic (Chelsea | USMNT)
100% healthy but thank you guys for the concern— Christian Pulisic (@cpulisic_10) December 30, 2019
#58. Raúl Jiménez (Wolves | Mexico)
Raúl Jiménez vs. the big six:vs. Liverpool
vs. Manchester United
vs. Manchester City
He has directly contributed to 25 goals for Wolves so far this season. pic.twitter.com/CJIDngjVXV
— FourFourTweet (@FourFourTweet) December 27, 2019
#57. Kylian Mbappé (PSG | France)
.@KMbappe All 44 Goals In 2019 pic.twitter.com/1bAlwbYsQI— mbappegoals (@mbappegoals_) December 25, 2019
#56. Khadija “Bunny” Shaw (Bordeaux | Jamaica)
HISTORY FOR JAMAICA!Havana Solaun scores the Reggae Girlz' first-ever #FIFAWWC goal, off the nice Bunny Shaw assist. pic.twitter.com/xpgyUxRPc5
— FOX Soccer (@FOXSoccer) June 18, 2019
#55. Deyna Castellanos (Florida St. | Venezuela)
Deyna Castellanos: "It is in the interest of capital not only that artists die quickly, but also that, prior to their deaths, their art be exacted for as little compensation as possible. Art is seized and sold at maximum profit while artists congratulate themselves on dying." pic.twitter.com/S8AuuwQOhd— Zito (@_Zeets) September 4, 2018
#54. Freddie Ljungberg (Arsenal)
#53. Hussein Abdulghani (Al-Ahli | Saudi Arabia)
The man’s 42 but still going strong for Al-Ahli at left back.
#52. Kazuyoshi “King Kazu” Miura (Yokohama FC)
Coming in at number 52, it’s 52-year-old King Kazu. People talk about the longevity of Ronaldo, Zlatan and Messi, but this is the man who started the trend of playing until your legs fall off.
years old and still playingHappy birthday to the phenomenon that is King Kazu Miura! pic.twitter.com/GiwuEWt6yg
— FIFA.com (@FIFAcom) February 26, 2019
#51. Luka Modrić (Real Madrid | Croatia)
Luka Modrić is so damn sweet that I can't relate pic.twitter.com/xzkF1fx1SF— may (@modricfielder) December 27, 2019
#50. Luka Modrić Jr. (Real Madrid Infantil B)
This isn't actually Luka's son, but a Luka-looking child named Paulo Iago Álvarez Morón.
— LaLiga (@LaLigaEN) December 29, 2019
WHAT a STRIKE from @realmadriden's Mini-@lukamodric10! #LaLigaPromises pic.twitter.com/qqfRz0tsD1— LaLiga (@LaLigaEN) December 28, 2019
This kid is special. Save him @realmadriden pic.twitter.com/S49WQiHXBp— Woolwich (@ChipsterSir) December 30, 2019
#49. Philippe Coutinho (Bayern Munich | Brazil)
According to Transfermarkt.com, no player’s market value plummeted in 2019 like Coutinho’s. After beginning the year worth $156M, he’s now worth $78M.
#48. Diego Lainez (Real Betis | Mexico)
#47. Chris Wondolowski (San Jose Earthquakes | USMNT)
The leading American goalscorer in MLS last season with 15 goals in 32 games, is it his time to shine for the USMNT?
#46. Efrain Alvarez (LA Galaxy | Mexico)
#45. Mubarak Wakaso (Alavés | Ghana)
With nine yellow cards and one red in 15 games, Wakaso is currently Europe’s most aggressive player.
#44. Luis Alberto (Lazio | Spain)
He never made the grade at Liverpool, but only Kevin De Bruyne has registered more assists than Luis Alberto in Europe this season — he’s got 11 in 16 games.
Deserved a goal, not sure how it would have gone down in the stats though. Luis Alberto, assist with 'shoulder'. pic.twitter.com/kN4yZVHUkg— World Football Index (@WorldFootballi) December 31, 2018
#43. Hatem Ben Arfa (Enfant terrible)
He’s still without a club, but the streets will never forget.
#42. Brek Shea (Atlanta United | USMNT)
When you're supposed to be stretching over the sticks but @BrekShea can walk right over them pic.twitter.com/dV9P6HZWjG— Atlanta United FC (@ATLUTD) February 7, 2019
#41. Alexandre Pato (São Paulo | Brazil)
He just turned 30 in September. That’s wild.
When Milan's Alexandre Pato turned on the jets and scored at the Camp Nou after just 24 seconds of the game pic.twitter.com/M33qbQDUQd— B/R Football (@brfootball) July 28, 2019
#40. Ravel Morrison (Sheffield United | England)
He’s only played 14 EPL minutes this season and is reportedly about to be cut loose by Sheffield.
Ravel Morrison - the scorer of two of the finest volleys in England training history... pic.twitter.com/tWVuJ8Vbjm— 888sport (@888sport) April 8, 2019
#39. Weston McKennie (Schalke | USMNT)
#38. Stefan Frei (Seattle Sounders)
Just recently named to MLSsoccer.com's Team of the Decade but still waiting for his first USMNT cap.
#37. David Zalzman (Táchira)
The 95th and final selection of the 2019 MLS SuperDraft. He's now in Venezuela.
#36. Sócrates (Brazil)
#35. Troy Parrott (Tottenham | Ireland)
The 17-year-old is the future, unless that future involves a bunch of mannequins.
Troy Parrott having problems with a mannequin pic.twitter.com/Y0GvuJItYS— Hxtspur (@hxtspur) October 31, 2019
#34. Karamoko Dembélé (Celtic)
16 year old Karamoko Dembele ending careers like it’s nothing. No mercy. pic.twitter.com/tW36SC5j9G— Tekkers (@TekkersMedia) December 16, 2019
#33. Iranian Lionel Messi Lookalike
#32. Vivianne Miedema (Arsenal | Netherlands)
Day four in the countdown of our top five goals of 2019...Turn your sound on for this absolute worldie from @VivianneMiedema #BestOf2019 pic.twitter.com/DLNYZymtdV
— Arsenal Women (@ArsenalWFC) December 29, 2019
#31. Sukanya Chor Charoenying (Thailand)
2019 World Cup stats: 90 minutes played, seven saves, 13 goals conceded.
#30. Allan Saint-Maximin (Newcastle United | France)
allan saint maximin’s highlights so far this season - the worlds best dribbler pic.twitter.com/L9dFq1V4qS— max (@shxIvey) December 24, 2019
#29. Still This Coach After Many Years
#28. Ansu Fati (Barcelona | Spain)
Messi and Ansu Fati warming up pic.twitter.com/SOnMnTdMqi— ` (@AntoxMessi) December 24, 2019
#27. Duckens Nazon (CONCACAF Gold Cup and Nations League Legend)
Goal @FHFHaiti! Duckens Nazon 6th goal in #CNL give the Haitians the 1-0 lead! #TheDreamStartsNow pic.twitter.com/Edo4gNewLI— Concacaf Nations League (@CNationsLeague) March 24, 2019
#26. Fortnite Soccer People
Playing soccer with some randoms #fortnite #soccer #meme pic.twitter.com/1vFkdviB78— xOmnicideNinex (@xOmnicideNinex) April 3, 2019
#25. Conor Coady (Wolves)
0 - Conor Coady played 87 hours & one minute of top-flight football in the 2010s without attempting a single shot at goal. This is the longest without a single shot of any outfield player this decade within the top five European leagues. Focused. pic.twitter.com/hv0twHg5zZ— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) December 30, 2019
#24. Erin Cuthbert (Chelsea | Scotland)
Erin Cuthbert!!!What. A. Strike. pic.twitter.com/o3N4wzzsL8
— BBC Sport (@BBCSport) May 29, 2019
#23. Almoez Ali (Al-Duhail | Qatar)
If Qatar’s going to win the 2022 World Cup, this dude’s going to need to score 30.
Not to be outdone, Almoez Ali answers right back with a stunner of his own! Paraguay-Qatar has become golazo central, just as everyone expected entering #CopaAmerica
— Planet Fútbol (@si_soccer) June 16, 2019
#22. Josh Sargent (Werder Bremen | USMNT)
#21. Yago Pikachu (Vasco da Gama)
Yago Pikachu humilhando a defesa do Flamengo pic.twitter.com/xlj1aRNUqF— Insta:@bibliavascainaa (@bibliavascaina) November 14, 2019
#20. Divock Origi (Liverpool | Belgium)
They're calling it the finest sporting moment of the decade…
#19. Magnus Carlsen (King Of The Chess People)
The undisputed chess world champion for six years now, Carlsen also recently reached the heights of sixth in the global fantasy Premier League table (pretty impressive considering there are over seven million players worldwide).
#18. Iñaki Williams (Athletic Bilbao | Spain)
Two of our favorite goals of 2019 and they’re both all about speed. Hot, nasty, badass speed.
#17. Phil Jones (Manchester United | England)
#16. Vincent Kompany (Anderlecht | Belgium)
A goal of the year, a goal of the decade, @VincentKompany ladies and gentleman pic.twitter.com/EaQVZ00BlO— NBC Sports Soccer (@NBCSportsSoccer) December 31, 2019
#15. Megan Rapinoe (Reign FC | USWNT)
#14. Taylor Twellman (?!)
#13. Junior (Neymar Jr Comics)
Die shuttle dusters.
#12. FC Cincinnati (Hell Is Definitely Real)
A new MLS record with 75 goals conceded, including five or more goals allowed in five different matches (one of those being a 7-1 defeat to Minnesota).
#11. Mesut Özil (Arsenal)
#10. Crystal Dunn (NC Courage | USWNT)
A World Cup title, NWSL championship and the ability to play anywhere she damn well pleases.
A DAGGER FROM DUNN!Crystal Dunn puts @TheNCCourage up 3-0 in the #NWSLChampionship pic.twitter.com/g2AD8N5DOk
— espnW (@espnW) October 27, 2019
#9. Ajax Golden Generation 2018-19
They’re even creating triangles after conceding. Unbelievable philosophy pic.twitter.com/z7pg6xPFf3— JR (@N1noBr0wn) May 8, 2019
#8 and #7. Knowledge and Talent (Zimbabwe national team)
#6. Cory Bailey (Harold Soccer Academy)
Her transformation from science nerd to soccer genius was more captivating and unexpected than Leicester City’s Premier League triumph.
#5. Ola Aina (Torino | Nigeria)
Don’t understand this assist from the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations and never will.
This backheel Assist by Ola Aina is World Class & the goal scored by Ighalo a beauty
— femi (@TheFemiJoseph) June 22, 2019
#4. Marcelo Bielsa (Leeds United)
Extraordinary scenes in the Championship todayAfter a controversial goal from his Leeds team, manager Marcelo Bielsa ordered his players to let Aston Villa score an equaliser. pic.twitter.com/89sjrc4G4p
— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) April 28, 2019
#3. Dejan Stanković (Switzerland Beach Soccer)
The 34-year-old unit was our favorite player of the 2019 FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup and it wasn’t even close.
#2. Pibe (2020 Copa América Mascot)
In celebration of all the good boys that frequently invade the pitches of South America, CONMEBOL put forth its greatest idea ever with the creation of Pibe for next summer’s Copa América.
#1. DaMarcus Beasley (Riding Off Into The Sunset)
Miss you already.
DaMarcus Beasley's beautiful strike got James Harden out his seat!#LeaguesCup pic.twitter.com/n3qraaHQMh— ESPN (@espn) July 25, 2019