3. Thomas Muller
He might not be the most skilled player on this list; the best passer or the easiest on the eye, but a No.10s job is to help his team score goals, and nobody on the planet has done that better than Thomas Muller over the past 12 months.
Much of the Müller debate stems from his somewhat abstract position on the football pitch. The homegrown Bayern hero is a square peg that can’t be pigeon-holed, championing a style that has been leaving pundits and opposition players alike scratching their heads for over a decade. He is neither pure center-forward, second striker, attacking midfielder nor winger – but a little bit of all four and much more besides.
His movement, work rate, and unselfishness in front of goal are key to Bayern’s success, while striker Robert Lewandowski broke records and praised Muller’s skillset as a massive reason for his success in front of goal.
2. Lionel Messi
Named as the best playmaker in the world by IFFHS in 2015, 2016, 2017, and 2019, Messi is probably the greatest ever to play this game. Endowed with unrivaled skill, determination and self-belief wrapped up in flair, the Barcelona star is the veritable heartbeat of his club side. Playing some truly scintillating football in La Liga, Copa del Rey, and the Champions League. His skill has led him to many individual honours as well as to his team.
His short, strong legs allow him to excel in short bursts of acceleration while his quick feet enable him to retain control of the ball when dribbling at speed. Former Barcelona manager Pep Guardiola once stated, “Messi is the only player that runs faster with the ball than he does without it.”
Messi is predominantly a left-footed player; with the outside of his left foot, he usually begins dribbling runs, while he uses the inside of his foot to finish and provide passes and assists
Cultivating pure genius at every opportunity, he sees things that others cannot and continues to imbue the game with an erudition that has ingrained itself in our minds through his many incredible passes, deceptive nutmegs, and mazy dribbles, all done to benefit his team.
1. Kevin De Bruyne
De Bruyne isn’t the best footballer in the world, but he’s arguably the most complete. Creative, powerful, skillful and dynamic, the Manchester City man can pass, shoot, dribble, tackle and cross – and all with either foot.
Manchester City have been one of the best English teams over the past few seasons. Their brilliance is down to team-work. However, Kevin De Bruyne has stood out among all – Kevin de Bruyne.
Known for his immaculate technique, a wide range of passing skills, and ability to score spectacular long-range goals, De Bruyne has been key to City’s consistent performances in both the Premier League and Champions League.
He was awarded the IFFHS’ best playmaker in the world award in 2020.