The 20 Best Footballers of the Decade

Let’s not kid ourselves. We all know that the 2010s was a decade dominated by two players; not 20.

Those two footballers are called Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi.

You’ve probably heard of them.

In the 2010s, they’ve scored a combined 1,026 goals (and counting), they’ve won a combined 41 trophies and eight Ballons d’Or between them (four each, if you’re wondering).

However, while Messi and Ronaldo were the footballing protagonists of the decade, and while you probably are just reading this article to see who between them we’ve named the number one best footballer of the decade, there are plenty of other players on this list – and they’re all pretty good.

– We have a footballer who has won more trophies than any other footballer ever.

– A footballer so good he won the Ballon d’Or during CR7 and Messi’s decade of dominance.

– A footballer who revolutionised the game, and changed it forever.

And here they all are, ranked by the 90min team from 20-1. So, enjoy…or at least try to.  

20) Arjen Robben

By ?Jude Summerfield

You would imagine watching the same magician pull off the same trick for roughly 17 years would become a bit boring by the time of said magician’s retirement. 

Not Arjen Robben. 

The Dutchman captivated audiences around the world with his enigmatic style and wand of a left foot, and fans never tired of watching the winger cut in from the right, work a yard of space, and curl a strike into the top corner with such outrageous power.

Robben succeeded wherever he played, winning league titles in the Netherlands, England, Spain and Germany, and also starred as the Netherlands punched above their weight to secure second and third place finishes in the 2010 and 2014 World Cups.

Arjen Robben: The Flying Dutchman Who Became a Modern Legend at Bayern Munich

19) Mohamed Salah

By ?Robbie Copeland

Iconic simply doesn’t cover it for ?Salah, and his attitude towards the game has not only helped return Liverpool to what many believe they should be, but redefined what is expected of a modern attacker. He bears no arrogance and takes nothing for granted, yet carries himself with the confidence of a forward so cocksure that he could tell you the sky is orange and your first response would be to get your eyes checked.

Having long-since shaken the ‘Chelsea reject’ tag to become one of the most clinical forwards in the world over the course of the last five years, he will play out the remaining four years on his Liverpool deal, and potentially beyond, with nothing to prove to anyone but himself.

And that’s a prospect that may lead a generation of left-backs just not to bother. 

Mohamed Salah: The Humble King Who Conquered Rome and Took Liverpool By Storm

18) Sergio Aguero 

By ?Ed Alexander

From his breakthrough years as a teenager at boyhood club Independiente, to his glorious career with Manchester City, ?Sergio Aguero has been lethal. Goals are his food and drink, with the Argentine often hitting crucial winners for the Sky Blues since arriving from Atletico Madrid for £38m.

None have been more important, more iconic, than that last-gasp effort against QPR in 2012, when Aguero immortalised himself with one swing of his right boot. The striker painted Manchester blue in an instant, bringing to an end the misery of his adoring City supporters. From that moment on, the club has been transformed, and Aguero has been at the forefront of a devastating revolution.

Sergio Aguero: The Man Who Painted Manchester Blue With One Kick of a Football

17) Manuel Neuer 

By ?Max Cooper

It wouldn’t be a list of the world’s greatest players without the man who revolutionised the art of goalkeeping forever. Manuel Neuer was the perfect sweeper-keeper, and the German international became the benchmark for all budding goalkeepers, demonstrating a composure and skill on the ball to match his unbelievable cat-like reactions.

The 2014 World Cup winner was crowned UEFA Goalkeeper of the Year from 2011-2015, as well as lifting seven consecutive Bundesliga titles and a Champions League trophy with Bayern Munich.

Neuer will go down as the greatest goalkeeper of his generation, not only because of his logic-defying saves, but also for the fact that his bold style of goalkeeping changed the way every shot-stopper plays the modern game today. 

Manuel Neuer: The Bayern Munich & Germany Legend Who Revolutionised Goalkeeping

16) Eden Hazard 

By ?Tom Gott

From ripping it up in Ligue 1 to terrorising Premier League defenders, everything ?Eden Hazard has done in football has looked easy. The Real Madrid man has made a career out of making the impossible seem well and truly possible. The perfect blend of speed, agility and dribbling, there simply isn’t much that Hazard can’t do.

Capable of accelerating faster than Manchester United’s glory days disappeared, defenders around Europe have struggled to come anywhere close to Hazard when he has the ball at his feet. The Belgian magician had fans of both Lille and Chelsea in tears when he left, which speaks volumes of the impact he had on both clubs.

Eden Hazard: The Brilliant Belgian Who Mesmerised Fans Across the World

15) Zlatan Ibrahimovic 

By ?Ed Alexander

Dare to Zlatan. Dare to attempt the unthinkable. Dare to tear up the script and walk your own path. Zlatan Ibrahimovic is more than a mere footballer – he is an inspiration to countless fans, the world over, showing people that they do not need to conform to achieve success.

The Swede has collected over 500 goals, 13 league titles, and nine Ballon d’Or nominations in a marvellous, record-breaking career. Representing clubs from across Europe – plus LA Galaxy in the States – Zlatan has gained a reputation as a traveller who comes to visit, looks around, and conquers all before him.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic: The Man Who Needs No Introduction

14) Toni Kroos 

By ?Andrew Headspeath

Rejection, injury and being criminally underrated have had virtually zero impact on Kroos’ trajectory. For the last ten years, ?Kroos has continued to play with an unwavering assurance in midfield, whether further forward or from deep. His clinical, low-profile style, ironically, has made him stand out in Galactico-studded teams, while helping him to a trophy cabinet with enough precious metal to match the GDP of some countries.

Consistently topping assist and passing accuracies charts; at pretty much any point in the last ten years if someone asked you to name the best central midfielders in the world, chances are Toni Kroos would’ve been in your top three answers.

Toni Kroos: The Underrated Jahrhunderttalent Who Was There for the Biggest Occasions

13) Giorgio Chiellini

By? ?Jack Gallagher

Giorgio Chiellini, above any other player of the past ten years, proved time and time again that he can, and will, do everything in his power to win.

Throw his body in front of every venomous shot? Check.

Head anything that comes within 20 yards of the penalty box? Check.

Leap into a 50/50 that he was 100/100 going to come out of feeling worse for wear? Check.

You name it, if it meant that Juventus or Italy would win, he would do it.

In an exorbitant number of the 507 games he has played for Juventus, Chiellini has busted his head wide open, broke his nose, turned his knee, rolled his ankle, had abdominal influenza (yes, the sh*ts), and STILL played on. STILL performed at the highest level. STILL dragged his team to famous win…after famous win…after famous win. 

That’s why Chiellini makes this list. He’s a winner, through and through. 

Giorgio Chiellini: The Juventus Legend Who Has Always Found a Way to Win

12) Marcelo 

By ?Ross Kennerly

Tasked with assuming the slot left for him by the legendary Roberto Carlos, few could have expected ?Marcelo would take ownership of that role as impressively as he has done.

An ever-present in the Real Madrid side, his consistency and tenacity were pivotal in his side’s domination of a competition that would become his niche. His predecessor claimed ‘just’ a trio of Champions League titles, while Marcelo’s boundless energy and Brazilian flair saw him accumulate that in just three seasons.

Taking into account the countless club successes and individual accolades that have glittered Marcelo’s career, the fact he is the only left-back on this list speaks for itself.

Marcelo: From Favela Kickabouts Under Grandad’s Watch to 4 Champions League Wins

11) Robert Lewandowski 

By ?Ben Carter

He might not have made it into 90min’s Definitive All-Decade XI, but Robert Lewandowski could have thrived in any team in history.

Poland’s best-ever player has the perfect balance of pace, power and technique, and Lewandowski is ageing like a fine wine, with his best years looking like they’re still to come.

The Bundesliga’s most prolific foreigner is among the most underrated players in football history and is deserving of a seat at the table in discussions over the who is the best striker of all time.

Robert Lewandowski: Bayern Munich’s Best Foreign Player & Europe’s Most Underrated Star in History

10) Neymar Jr. 

By ?Ben Carter

A global icon with limitless talent, ?Neymar was unsurprisingly tipped to succeed Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo on world football’s throne throughout the early stages of his career.

The Brazilian has single-handedly produced some of the most iconic footballing moments of the 21st century and is even responsible for the greatest comeback in Champions League history.

Neymar’s career is far from over but he has a cloud hanging over him, unlike any other Ballon d’Or contender before him, with many still waiting for the Brazilian to put his unparalleled ability to use by reaching the pinnacle of the beautiful game

Neymar Jr: Brazil’s Generational Talent Who Dictated the Greatest Champions League Night in History

9) Gareth Bale 

By ?Jamie Spencer

Incredibly, ?Gareth Bale was once considered ‘cursed’ and a ‘jinx’ at Tottenham because he wasn’t on the winning side in a Premier League game in his first two years at the club. But he set himself on a path to superstardom with a famous Champions League hat-trick against Inter in 2010, utterly tormenting Maicon that night, and was soon the most expensive player in the world.

At Real Madrid, he has suffered with injuries and has had to battle sky high expectations, but a personal haul of four Champions League titles speaks for itself. What’s more, Bale was certainly not a passenger in those triumphs; as he played crucial roles in the final in 2014, 2016 and 2018.

Gareth Bale: The Cursed Talent Who Went on to Conquer Europe Four Times

8) Dani Alves 

By ?Chris Deeley

?Dani Alves, with eyes that could stare through your soul and enough gold medals to make a dragon’s eyes water with jealousy. Dani Alves, who’s won 25 club titles in this decade alone. Dani Alves? Dani Alves. 

The two-time Copa America winner should’ve been past his peak halfway through this decade, if that. Full-backing is a young, quick man’s game – especially in the modern era. Except Dani Alves has never played the traditional full-back game, because Dani Alves is better than other full-backs, all other full-backs, always, forever.

He ends this decade at the age of 36, playing back in Brazil after winning seven league titles in three different ‘top five’ leagues in the 2010s. He was, as a free agent, at 36, the player of the tournament at the Copa America 2019. Dani Alves is eternal. All hail Dani Alves.

Dani Alves: The Maverick Who’s Just Too Good to Be Copied

7) Franck Ribery 

By ?Max Cooper

Franck Ribéry is one of the Bundesliga’s most decorated servants, and his time at Bayern Munich will be remembered for his majestic grace on the ball, his tormenting of desperate full-backs and a consistent end product.

Ribéry was the star of Bayern’s left flank for 12 years, and won the Bundesliga title an unbelievable nine times. He also lifted the Champions League and reached a World Cup final with France in 2006.

Despite his advancing years, the diminutive Frenchman continues to light up the footballing stage, and is now the key player in an exciting Fiorentina side. The fun never stops with Franck. 

Franck Ribery: The Serial Entertainer Who Was Born to Win

6) Luis Suarez

By ?Wilf Dutton

Reserves of emotion are what make Suarez ?Suarez. They are what separate him from the other preeminent – and non-Lionel Messi/Cristiano Ronaldo – striker of his generation: Robert Lewandowski.

Where the Pole is all freakish efficiency, eastern European stoicism and mechanical majesty – yes, in this case ladies and gents, the international stereotypes really do ring true – Suarez is pent up South American passion.

Sometimes it’s controlled, sometimes it overflows with dire consequences, but it’s always there, pumping his blood, pervading his being, providing his motivation, pushing his talent to the edge.

It’s why he’s here. And it’s why he’ll stand the test of time.

Luis Suarez: The Uruguayan Heel Who Never Bit Off More Than He Could Chew

5) Andres Iniesta

By ?Matt O’Connor-Simpson

When he was 15 years old, Andres Iniesta impressed Pep Guardiola so much that the Man City manager (then a mere Barcelona player) turned to Xavi and said: “You will retire me, but this kid will retire us both.” 

He was right, on both accounts. 

Iniesta may not have been as flashy as some of the other members of this list but he was one of the best. The midfielder made the sublime look simple and impossible look even simpler. The enigmatic architect behind the best Barcelona team of all time, no wonder there were tears when he departed the Camp Nou pitch for the final time.

Andrés Iniesta: The Enigmatic Architect Behind the Best Barcelona Team in Modern History

4) Sergio Ramos

By ?Andrew Headspeath

Since the turn of the decade, ?Ramos has won two La Liga titles, four Champions Leagues, four World Club Cups, the Copa del Rey twice (dropping one off a bus), the Euros and the World Cup.

For all his flaws and controversy, he will enter 2020 still at the pinnacle of football, named in FIFPro’s World Team of the Year – somewhat questionably mind you, but still there.

The hair has changed, the teeth have been whitened, the beard styled and the tattoos added but Ramos is still the apex predator, still the box-office centre-back, still football’s Big Bad, still one of the best around.

At the beginning of episode one in El Corazón de Sergio Ramos, there is also some B-roll of Madrid’s famous Puerta del Sol square, and the plaque that marks ‘Km.0’ (kilometre zero) from which all roads in Spain are measured. Ramos, for whatever else he might be, is ‘kilometre zero’ when comparing all other defenders, captains, villains and heroes.

Sergio Ramos: Football’s Big Bad Who Has Dominated the Sport Like No Other

3) Luka Modric 

By ?Jack Gallagher

You already know the reason ?Luka Modric is number three on the list of the greatest footballers of the past decade. 

It’s simple:

Luka Modric is number three on 90min’s list of the top 20 greatest footballers of the decade because he is one of three players during said decade to win the Ballon d’Or. 

See, simple. 

Luka Modric: The Only Other Ballon d’Or Winner of the Decade

2) Cristiano Ronaldo 

By ?Jamie Spencer

What more can you actually say about ?Cristiano Ronaldo that hasn’t already been said a thousand times over? This is a man with five Ballons d’Or, five Champions League titles and nearly 700 career goals for club and country, yet who is never truly satisfied and works harder than anyone to ensure he achieves his ever-higher targets.

Talent alone will only get a player so far and Ronaldo understood that from an early age. His utter dedication to his craft is second to none, while the incredible attention to detail he puts into looking after himself is what has kept him at such a high level for more than a decade. Most players never reach his level – certainly none can sustain it for long – bar just one other…

?Cristiano Ronaldo: The GOAT Contender Who Knows There Is No Substitute for Hard Work

1) Lionel Messi 

By ?Wilf Dutton

There is no current footballer comparable to ?Lionel Messi. Not one. Which is pretty incredible, not just because Cristiano Ronaldo exists, but also because – since his breakout all those years ago – the number of players that have attempted to emulate him has been staggering.

Every country across every continent has their own punditry-patented ‘Messi’ – the German Messi (Marko Marin, RIP), the Scottish Messi (Ryan *checks notes* Gauld?), the North Korean Messi (Jong Il-Gwan) etc etc – some of which we’ve been foolish enough to pledge our faith in. But these are all imitators, fakes, FRAUDS. 

They pale in comparison to the pasty champ. Because, when it’s all said and done, this world’s only big enough for one growth hormone-treated 5’7 footballer. And he needs no national prefix. 

He’s just Messi. Or the GOAT.

?Lionel Messi: One Man to Rule Them All & in the Darkness Bind Them


Bayern Munich CEO ‘Can’t Imagine’ Thomas Müller Departure Amid Game Time Concerns

Bayern Munich CEO Karl-Heinz Rummenigge has said that Thomas Müller remains unlikely to leave the club in the forseeable future, despite the 30-year-old finding his role within the side restricted to substitute appearances in recent weeks. 

Müller has been an intrinsic part of the Bayern side since his debut ten years ago, and has assisted four goals in his seven Bundesliga appearances this season despite the German champions’ indifferent start to their title defence. 

Though he has appeared in every one of their domestic matches, only three have come from the start, as it appears he has lost his automatic starting spot to Philippe Coutinho. The Barcelona loanee has occupied Müller’s previously-monopolised number ten role in each of their last three games – including last weekend’s defeat to Hoffenheim. 

Philippe Coutinho

Naturally, the German’s lack of starts have led to some speculation over his future, and after reports in Germany claimed he would ?consider leaving the club in the near future if his situation doesn’t change, the player himself opened the door to a potential exit when he said he is ?’too ambitious’ to remain as a substitute

But Rummenigge has moved to pour cold water on reports, saying the relationship between the club and the player means he ‘cannot imagine’ the ?Bayern icon leaving any time soon.

?“I can not imagine that,” he said of reports could leave, as quoted by the ?Express.

“The relationship between Thomas and ?Bayern is totally intact and will remain an important part of our club.

Thomas Mueller,Joshua Kimmich

“If Thomas would sit contentedly on the bench, he would be in the wrong club. That’s the reaction we even want, but he still has to deal with the situation seriously.

“He’s exemplary.”

Müller is closing in on 500 appearances as a Bayern player, a milestone he will hit with five more outings for the ?Bundesliga champions. In that time, he has netted 186 goals and registered 171 assists, helping them to eight league titles in ten years, so it is easy to see why Rummenigge is keen to keep him in place.


Estonia 0-3 Germany: Report, Ratings & Reaction as Ilkay Gündogan Brace Seals Victory

Estonia hosted three-time European Champions Germany at the A. Le Coq Arena on Sunday night as an Ilkay Gündogan brace helped the Germans ease pase Estonia in a crucial Group C tie.

Emre Can was dismissed on the 14-minute mark after a bringing down Frank Liivak on the edge of the penalty area, instantly putting the visitors on the back foot.

It was a cagey first-half display and in truth, Estonia had the better chances throughout the first 45 minutes despite Germany having the lion-share of possession. Konstantin Vassiljev was the standout performer in the first half with two attempts, and Marco Reus saw his thunderbolt free-kick rattle the frame of Lepmets’ goal from 25 yards out. 

Germany started the second-half well, pressing forward and they were subsequently rewarded in the 51st minute when Gündogan capitalised on a lucky ricochet, hammering home into the bottom left-hand corner from the edge of the box.

Germany’s second goal was a near carbon copy of the first, another lucky deflection falling to Gündogan who drove his effort into the bottom left-hand corner of the net. 

Timo Werner then added a third, cutting inside from Gündogan’s pass and finishing past Lepmets in the 71st minute.


Key Talking Point

A red card for the opposition would usually provide an advantage for Estonia, however today this was simply not the case. After Emre Can saw red in the 14th minute, Germany came together and went into overdrive, eventually seeing off a resolute host side who have picked up only one point in this campaign so far.

The home side only have themselves to blame after failing to capitalise on their one-man advantage, eventually allowing Germany back into the game whereby the four-time world champions illustrated their quality.

All in all another poor performance from Estonia, who remain winless and stay at the foot of Group C after seven games so far this qualifying campaign.

Player Ratings

Starting XI: Lepmets (6); Baranov (7), Tamm (7), Mets (7), Pikk (7); Antonov (6), Kams (7), Ainsalu (6); Vassiljev (8*), Liivak (6), Sappinen (5)

Substitutes: Zenjov (5), Kaït (5), Ojamaa (5)


Key Talking Point

This game really could have been a real banana skin for Joachim Löw’s side, especially with Can’s reckless red card coming so early on in the match. The away side struggled to cope defensively and Estonia will be kicking themselves for not taking advantage of an uncharacteristically nervy looking German side.


However, following the half-time interval, Germany came out the better side and got their reward six minutes into the second half. Gündogan’s second came five minutes later and it was that goal which scuppered any chance of an Estonian comeback. The Sinisärgid looked defeated, and the third goal soon followed, completely deflating the home side.

The necessary win keeps Germany level on points with the Netherlands at the top of Group C, with Northern Ireland breathing down their necks in third.

Player Ratings

Starting XI: Neuer (5); Klostermann (6), Can (0), Süle (5), Halstenberg (5); Gündogan (9*), Kimmich (6), Havertz (7); Reus (8), Brandt (7), Waldschmidt (6)

Substitutes: Werner (7), Serdar (5), Amiri (N/A)

Star Player

As you may have guessed, Ilkay Gündogan was the star performer for Germany on Tuesday as his two goals and assist allowed Die Mannschaft to (eventually) cruise past Estonia.

The Manchester City midfielder ran the show, transitioning well from defence to attack and made box-to-box runs which allowed him to get on the end of pullbacks from the wide area. The 28-year-old carried out his manager’s instructions perfectly and Löw will be thrilled with his star performer.


The 59-year-old Germany manager will be happy with the way his side complemented each other, especially in the second half. Kai Havertz would drop deep to retain possession and looked extremely composed for a 20-year-old, whilst Marco Reus would run in between the half-spaces to give Havertz an option for the pass.

Looking Ahead?

Germany return to action on 16 November as they face Belarus at home before finishing their campaign three days later against Northern Ireland. Two wins are a must as they hope for a slip up from Ronald Koeman’s side.

Meanwhile, Estonia travel to Amsterdam to face the Netherlands at the Johan Cruyff ArenA in gameweek eight for their final (unlikely) chance for a win in this campaign. 


A Way Too Early Assessment of Bayern Munich’s Summer Signings

?We might only be seven games into the new campaign, but none of the pre-season title contenders are currently sitting in the Bundesliga’s top two spots.

With Borussia Mönchengladbach and VfL Wolfsburg taking Germany’s top flight by storm, there’s already started to be some finger-pointing at the Bundesliga’s established hierarchy of Bayern Munich (3rd), RB Leipzig (5th) and Borussia Dortmund (8th).

But how much have the new signings played a part in the slow start for Germany’s Rekordmeister this season?

Ivan Periši?

Ivan Perisic

It might not have been the signing that fans were hoping for after countless links with Manchester City’s Leroy Sané, but the arrival of Ivan Periši? on loan from Inter was presented as a short-term, risk-free arrival ahead of 2019/20.

With Bundesliga experience already under his belt thanks to a four-year spell at Borussia Dortmund and Wolfsburg, Periši? has taken little time to adapt to life at the Allianz Arena and he’s already made six appearances for the club.

The 30-year-old hasn’t stepped up in Bayern Munich’s biggest games so far this season, but with two goals and two assists already, Periši? is doing exactly what he was brought in to do, while he’s also ready to feature more regularly on the off chance that Kingsley Coman picks up another injury.

Grade: B-

Jann-Fiete Arp

Jann-Fiete Arp

Jann-Feite Arp’s move to Bayern Munich has been one of the worst kept secrets in German football over the last two years, but the 19-year-old finally joined the club in a £2.7m move from Hamburger SV.

He still hasn’t made an appearance under Niko Kova? and he’s only been included in one matchday squad – he was an unused substitute against Mainz – but Arp did feature for Bayern’s second team in the 3. Liga earlier this season.

Arp will be unavailable for the time being after having to undergo an operation on a broken wrist, but the teenager will still find it tough breaking into the first-team as long as Robert Lewandowski keeps up his current run of form. 

Grade: D

Benjamin Pavard

Benjamin Pavard

It was always going to be a difficult step up for Benjamin Pavard following his £31.5m move from relegated Stuttgart, but the France international has actually ended up being an ever-present for Bayern Munich (excluding the DFL Supercup) this season.

Most well known for becoming a World Cup winner as a right-back, Pavard has spent the majority of his club career playing through the middle and he’s already featured in both positions under Kova?, as well as in an unnatural left-back role.

Pavard picked up a goal and assists against Mainz on matchday three and even set up Serge Gnabry’s first of four goals in their Champions League win at Tottenham.

Grade: A-

Mickaël Cuisance

Michael Cuisance

Problems off the pitch might have seen Mickaël Cuisance become surplus to requirements at Gladbach, but with a transfer fee of just £10m and change, the 20-year-old was another low-risk addition for Bayern Munich this summer.

He’s rated highly thanks to his early performances at Gladbach and Cuisance’s raw talent has already seen him make two senior appearances for the Rekordmeister, while he’s also scored with their second team in the 3. Liga.

There aren’t any expectations on Cuisance to blossom into a world-class player this season, but the France Under-20 international is already making an impression on Bayern Munich’s hierarchy and he could get more opportunities as the season progresses.

Grade: C

Philippe Coutinho

Philippe Coutinho

Arguably the biggest transfer of the entire summer transfer window, Philippe Coutinho decided to call time on his Barcelona career by joining Bayern Munich on a season-long loan – which includes an option to buy for £109m.

Just like when James Rodríguez moved to the Allianz Arena from Real Madrid, Coutinho has been one of the most impressive players in the Bundesliga so far this season, where he’s already been directly involved in four goals.

The 27-year-old already appears to have a telepathic connection with Lewandowski and as each matchday goes by, it’s going to get harder and harder for Bayern Munich to decide against making Coutinho’s move a permanent one.

Grade: A

Lucas Hernandez

Lucas Hernandez

Bayern Munich broke their transfer record during the summer to land Lucas Hernandez from Atlético Madrid, arriving in £72m deal to add to the club’s core of French players.

Just like Pavard, Hernandez is most well known for his role as France’s left-back during their World Cup win in 2018, but the 23-year-old was initially being used as a centre-back in his first few games at Bayern Munich.

Hernandez has since switched back to left-back at Bayern Munich following an injury to David Alaba, and while fans are still waiting to see their new record signing at his best, the former Atlético Madrid star hasn’t really put a foot wrong either.

Grade: C

For more from Ben Carter, follow him on Twitter!


The Top 15 Footballers Ranked by Their Followers on Twitter

There is only one way to decide which footballer is truly the greatest in the history of the sport.

The amount of goals they’ve scored is irrelevant, as are their on-field performances and silverware collection. Even the number of individual awards they’ve racked up makes no difference to their claim of being the GOAT. All that matters is how many Twitter followers they have.


That instantly rules ?Barcelona legend Lionel Messi out of contention, but surely no one believed he was the world’s best footballer, right? The Argentine steers clear of most social media sites, though many of his colleagues are rather prolific with their tweeting.

Here’s a look at the 15 most followed footballers on Twitter, with several surprise inclusions on the list.

15. Xabi Alonso


Followers: 11.9m

Xabi Alonso was an expert at performing under pressure during his playing days, with his club trophy haul hitting double figures in the Spaniard’s final season as a professional.

He’s equally adept at handling the stress of getting his point across in 280 characters or less, regularly posting insightful, heart-warming messages, whilst also throwing in the odd picture of himself looking classy. He always looks classy.

14. David de Gea


Followers: 12.4m

It’s official: David de Gea is the finest goalkeeper the game has ever seen. As the highest ranking shot-stopper on this list, the ?Manchester United stalwart beats off the likes of Oliver Kahn and Iker Casillas to earn that illustrious title.

The 28-year-old owes much of his prestige to the Red Devils, who have provided a platform for De Gea to show his skills to the world, though he isn’t a million miles behind United’s official Twitter account in terms of followers.

13. Sergio Aguero

Followers: 13.4m

Despite securing the treble in 2018/19, ?Manchester City’s star-studded team has failed to dominate the social media sphere, much like how they’ve struggled to conquer Europe.

Talismanic forward Sergio Aguero is – pretty unsurprisingly – the Sky Blues’ best performer when it comes to Twitter. Given he’s the club’s greatest goalscorer of all time, that seems appropriate.

12. Luis Suarez

Luis Suarez

Followers: 15.8m

English football supporters don’t have much love for Luis Suarez, yet their distaste for the Uruguayan has had no obvious impact on his popularity across the globe.

The Barcelona striker has hit many goalscoring landmarks since leaving his home country in 2006 and you’re likely to find him celebrating them with his growing army of followers.

11. Sergio Ramos

Sergio Ramos

Followers: 16.5m

Sergio Ramos has plenty to say about plenty of things, often giving his two cents on topic via a thread of tweets. Whether or not you agree with what he writes, the World Cup winner’s musings are always of interest.

No player in the history of ?La Liga has amassed more yellow and red cards than Ramos, demonstrating his bullish attitude, with that hot-head of his making for some memorable posts on social media.

10. Wayne Rooney

Followers: 17.1m

Sadly misrepresented as a bad guy by the UK press, Wayne Rooney has shown his delicate, compassionate side on Twitter in recent years.

Wazza’s sentimentality is actually quite touching, the former England captain frequently uploading images of his young children or a tribute to the DC United fan-base. 

9. Radamel Falcao

Radamel Falcao Garcia

Followers: 17.4m

If you have 25,000 people awaiting your arrival at a new club, you’re probably no stranger to the limelight. As Radamel Falcao stepped off the plane to finalise his move to Galatasaray in September, that was the sight that greeted the veteran forward.

It’s no wonder the Colombian icon has so many followers after a stellar career in Europe. More than just a goal machine, Falcao made his name by scoring stunners on the regular for the likes of Porto and ?Atletico Madrid. Let’s just forget about how his two years in England went.

8. Gareth Bale

Gareth Bale

Followers: 18.2m

Gareth Bale is the poster boy of Welsh football, but his 18.2m fans can’t all come from the land of dragons – the country’s population is almost six times smaller than his Twitter following.

Though the winger has been in conflict with ?Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane since the latter’s return to the Bernabeu, Bale remains positive in his posts, handing out praise for teammates and always offering reasons to be cheerful.

7. James Rodriguez

Followers: 18.5m

Falcao may be big on social media, yet he isn’t the top-ranking Colombian. That honour belongs to silky playmaker James Rodriguez, who’s currently working his way back into the hearts of Real Madrid supporters.

Los Blancos’ fan-base were distinctly underwhelmed following his £64m switch from Monaco in 2014, leading to a loan spell at ?Bayern Munich. 

Rodriguez is looking back to his old self having returned to Madrid in the summer, yet his poor performances in recent seasons did little to harm his online reputation.

6. Gerard Pique


Followers: 19.5m

Football may not be the only factor in Gerard Pique’s successful stint on Twitter – the fact he’s married to superstar singer Shakira would have no doubt boosted his follower numbers.

Still, the centre-back had to work hard to make himself so well-known, finding his way back to boyhood club Barça in 2008, before helping the Catalans win three ?Champions League titles, amongst many other trophies.

5. Mesut Ozil


Followers: 24.3m

It seems you don’t need to have the backing of your own fans to grow your online following, as demonstrated by Mesut Ozil. ?Arsenal supporters lost their patience with the German several seasons ago, but the good people of Twitter have nonetheless pledged themselves to him.

There are countless footballers in far better form than Ozil, with the vast majority of them having a strong relationship with the crowd. However, only four of his competitors can beat the midfielder when it comes to tweeting.

4. Andres Iniesta

Followers: 24.5m

A stylish, virtuoso talent like Andres Iniesta was always going to prove a hit on Twitter. Of course, choosing to end his playing days in Japan was also useful in gaining new followers from Asia.

As is the case with many players on this list, the Spaniard is fond of posting inspirational messages, along with dramatic shots of him in action and homages to his beloved Barcelona.

3. Kaka

Ricardo Kaka

Followers: 29.7m

No one on the planet has a bad word to say about Kaka. He’s just such a likeable human being and that’s reflected in his online presence.

The Brazilian hung up his boots in 2017 following a brief stay in the MLS with Orlando City, yet his Tweeting days are far from over. Kaka remains rather active on the website, letting fans know how he’s spending his time post-retirement.

2. Neymar

Neymar Jr.

Followers: 44.4m

There’s a sizeable gap between third place and second. Given that the runner-up is a man of Neymar’s standing and prestige, that is to be expected. Everyone knows exactly who the Paris Saint-Germain forward is.

His world-record €222m transfer to France was staggering news, although it wouldn’t have added much to Neymar’s celebrity. The 27-year-old has always been in the public eye, with his mesmerising skill-set leaving viewers speechless since his teenage days at Santos.

1. Cristiano Ronaldo

Followers: 80.4m

Cristiano Ronaldo is always trending on Twitter. People are invariably talking about the Portuguese phenomenon, discussing his rivalry with Messi, stupidly-good goal count, and countless other topics.

More than just a footballer, Ronaldo is a global brand, which is demonstrated by his status as the sixth most-followed person on the social media website. 

Sure, Barack Obama is the overall winner, but has the former president mastered the knuckle-ball technique?

For more from ?Ed Alexander, follow him on ?Twitter!