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5 Best Footballers Of The 21st Century

As the 2017/18 season approaches, we look at the players who have been involved in the action over the past 17 years to determine who are the best footballers of the 21st Century.

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Without further ado, these are the 5 Best Footballers Of The 21st Century.

5. Ronaldinho

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Ronaldinho’s career seemed to tail off earlier than it should have but that, in no way, takes away from what he did at his peak.

It was with Barcelona that Ronaldinho became the greatest player in the world at the time. He seemed capable of doing anything, bewildering defenders with his skill, technique and sheer audacity to pull off tricks others wouldn’t even attempt in training sessions.

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In four of his five seasons with Barcelona, he was irresistible and a joy to watch. In addition to his World Cup success with Brazil in 2002, he won the Ballon d’Or in 2005, FIFA World Player of the Year in 2004 and 2005, and was named in the FIFPro World XI three times.

4. Andres Iniesta

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Iniesta oozes class, everything he does is of the highest quality. A graceful midfielder, Iniesta is exceptional on the ball, capable of gliding past opponents with ease, and also has wonderful passing and shooting abilities. He has won 25 trophies with Barcelona, including seven La Liga titles and four Champions League winners medals.

With Spain, Iniesta was pivotal in their 2008, 2010 and 2012 Euro and World Cup successes, scoring the all-important winning goal in the 2010 World Cup final.

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Iniesta has played 559 games for Barcelona and won 102 caps for Spain. He has made the FIFA FIFPro Team of the Year six times and has been nominated for the Ballon d’Or three times, finishing second, third and fourth.

3. Xavi

xavi_hernandez_comiatIf you are considered the greatest Spanish footballer in history by many, considering the amazing success they’ve had of late and some of the incredible older players they produced, you must be a special player. Xavi is just that.

Xavi has had an unbelievable career, the majority of which was spent at Barcelona. He made his debut in 1998 and went on to become the club’s all-time appearance maker. He’s represented them over 700 times.

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The playmaker has eyes in the back of his head, and there simply hasn’t been a more influential player in his position for many, many years. It took a while for Xavi to be fully appreciated at Camp Nou though, a little like Scholes, but slowly but surely he became one of the first names on the team-sheet.

He was a major part of Pep Guardiola’s awe-inspiring side that won two Champions League and three La Liga titles between 2008 and 2012, and his partnership with Andres Iniesta in the middle of the park has to go down as one of the best ever. For Spain, the diminutive maestro earned 133 caps, and he won two European Championships and one World Cup. He has been a stunning footballer and remains a class act to his day.

2. Cristiano Ronaldo

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It was obviously a very difficult decision between Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo for second place on this list, but the consistency of the Portuguese forward earned him second spot.

Ronaldo’s goal scoring is quite remarkable. He is now Real Madrid’s all-time top scorer, despite having only played 315 games for the club, compared to Raul’s 930. Ronaldo’s career totals show that he has scored 449 goals in 638 games for Sporting Lisbon, Manchester United and Real Madrid, as well as 75 goals in 143 caps for Portugal.

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By the age of 22 Ronaldo had already been nominated for the FIFA World Player of the Year and Ballon d’Or awards. He has been named in the FIFPro World XI for eight consecutive seasons and won the Ballon d’Or three times. Whether or like him or not, you simply cannot deny his greatness.

1. Lionel Messi

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The greatest player of this century and possibly on his way to being the greatest player of all time, there is not much left to say regarding Lionel Messi. The ludicrous list of achievements held by the Argentine is widely known and been written and talked about millions, if not billions of times.

He has the most goals in a single season, most goals in a calendar year, most goals in Catalan derbies, most goals in El Classico derbies. Not only is Messi the all-time top scorer for Barcelona, he is the all-time top scorer in La Liga, and holds the record for the most assists in the league’s history.

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He has won the Ballon d’Or five times, more than any other player, and he could easily add to that tally in the coming years. The list of achievements and accolades go on and on. He has spent his entire career, to date, with Barcelona, where he has a career total of 418 goals in 493 games. Messi is known for his incredible balance, poise, technique, pace on the ball, passing and finishing abilities. At the age of 28, Messi has won 25 trophies with Barcelona, including

He has spent his entire career, to date, with Barcelona, where he has a career total of 418 goals in 493 games. Messi is known for his incredible balance, poise, technique, pace on the ball, passing and finishing abilities. At the age of 30, Messi has won 29 trophies with Barcelona, the only trophy missing from his cabinet is of course the World Cup.

He has to be considered #1 on this list, and it’s not even that close.

 

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