21st Century Football Players

Vote for Your Favourite 21st Century Football Players

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 1 
Cristiano Ronaldo
(One of the Greatest Football Players of All Time)
Cristiano Ronaldo
529
Birthdate: February 5, 1985
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Funchal, Portugal

Widely regarded as one of the greatest players of all time, Portuguese football player, Cristiano Ronaldo, is one of the world's highest-paid athletes. He is a versatile attacker capable of playing on either wing as well as through the center of the pitch. He has the distinction of being the first European to score 100 international goals.

 2 
Lionel Messi
(One of the Greatest Football Players of All Time)
Lionel Messi
417
Birthdate: June 24, 1987
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Rosario, Argentina

Considered one of the best football players in the world and a prolific goal scorer, Lionel Messi has shattered and created numerous records in his playing career. Regarded by another soccer legend, Diego Maradona, as his successor, the Argentinian superstar is also one of the world’s highest paid athletes.

 3 
Kylian Mbappé
(French Football Forward - Considered One of the Best Players in the World)
Kylian Mbappé
129
Birthdate: December 20, 1998
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Paris, France

Regarded as one of the best footballers of the current generation, Kylian Mbappé became only the second teenager to score a goal in the final game of a World Cup. Known for his explosive speed and dribbling skills, Mbappé made an impact at a young age. Very mature for his age, he also believes in giving back to society.

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 4 
Neymar
(Brazilian Professional Football Player Who Plays as a Forward)
Neymar
195
Birthdate: February 5, 1992
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: State of São Paulo, Brazil
Amongst the best football players in the world presently, Neymar is a part of Brazil national team and French club Paris Saint-Germain. The prolific goal scorer debuted with Santos and played for Barcelona before joining PSG in a deal that made him the world’s most expensive player. He led Brazil national team to its first Olympic gold medal in 2016.
 5 
Zlatan Ibrahimović
(One of the Greatest Football Strikers of All Time)
Zlatan Ibrahimović
189
Birthdate: October 3, 1981
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Malmo, Sweden

Swedish professional footballer Zlatan Ibrahimović currently plays as a striker for Serie A club A.C. Milan. Widely regarded as one of the best strikers of his generation, he is one of the most decorated active footballers in the world.  He is Sweden's all-time leading goalscorer. He is a brash person and has been involved in several violent incidents with teammates.

 6 
David Beckham
(English Former Professional Footballer Who was One of the Greatest Midfielders of His Generation)
David Beckham
182
Birthdate: May 2, 1975
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: London, England
David Beckham is a former English footballer who was football superstar on-field and a heartthrob off-field. A former player for Manchester United, Real Madrid and Milan, among others, Beckham was a free-kick specialist, a brilliant crosser of the ball and the first English player to win league titles in four countries. His passion for football, charisma and fashion style have made him an international sensation.  
 7 
Diego Maradona
(One of the Greatest Football Players in the History of the Sport)
Diego Maradona
135
Birthdate: October 30, 1960
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Lanús, Argentina
Died: November 25, 2020

Nicknamed The Golden Boy, Diego Maradona is considered one of the greatest footballers of all time. Thanks to his popularity and controversial personal life, which includes drug abuse issues and addiction to cocaine, Diego Maradona became a world-renowned counterculture icon. He was also an iconic figure in popular culture.

 8 
Pele
(One of the Greatest Football Players of All Time)
Pele
71
Birthdate: October 23, 1940
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Tres Coracoes, Brazil

Brazilian football legend Edson Arantes do Nascimento, better known as Pele, was named the Football Player of the Century by the IFFHS. He called football “The Beautiful Game” and was one of the world’s highest-paid athlete for a while. His 1279 goals in 1363 games is a Guinness World Record.

 9 
Harry Kane
(One of the Best Football Strikers in the World)
Harry Kane
169
Birthdate: July 28, 1993
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Walthamstow, United Kingdom
A brilliant striker known for his impressive ability to score goals, Harry Kane is an English football player who leads the national team of England and also plays for Premier League club, Tottenham Hotspur. Harry Kane has been named the Premier League Player of the Month six times and received the Golden Boot twice.
 10 
Zinedine Zidane
(French Professional Football Manager and Former Player Who Played as an Attacking Midfielder)
Zinedine Zidane
85
Birthdate: June 23, 1972
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: La Castellane, Marseille, France

Amongst the greatest footballers of all time, Zinedine Zidane led France to victories in the FIFA World Cup in 1998 and the European Championship in 2000. Later, the three-time FIFA World Player of the Year took up the position of Real Madrid manager and carved yet another success story by winning major titles like Champions League and UEFA Super Cups.

 11 
Ronaldinho
(Brazilian Retired Professional Football Player Who Played as an Attacking Midfielder)
Ronaldinho
74
Birthdate: March 21, 1980
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Porto Alegre, State of Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil

Regarded as one of the best football players of all time, Ronaldinho played a crucial role in Brazil’s victory in 2002 FIFA World Cup. Later, he helped FC Barcelona win two La Liga and a UEFA Champions League title. The two time FIFA world Player of the Year, who retired in 2018, was known for his technical skills and creativity.

 12 
Ronaldo
(Brazilian Retired Professional Footballer Who Played as a Striker)
Ronaldo
86
Birthdate: September 18, 1976
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Rio de Janeiro, State of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Ronaldo Luís Nazário de Lima is a Brazilian retired professional footballer who played as a striker. Widely considered one of the greatest players of all time, he played for Brazil in 98 matches, scoring 62 goals. He was named FIFA World Player of the Year three times. He retired in 2011 and has since established himself as a successful businessperson.

 13 
Gareth Bale
(Welsh Professional Football Player Who Plays as a Winger)
Gareth Bale
125
Birthdate: July 16, 1989
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Cardiff, Wales

The charismatic Welsh footballer player, Gareth Frank Bale played for Southampton football club and Tottenham Hotspur extensively before joining Real Madrid in 2013 for a fees that exceeded Christiano Ronaldo’s earlier record fee. Known for his speed and accuracy, Gareth Bales is also the captain of Wales national team and plays for Tottenham Hotspur, on loan from Real Madrid.

 14 
Robert Lewandowski
(One of the Most Successful Football Players in Bundesliga History)
Robert Lewandowski
79
Birthdate: August 21, 1988
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Warsaw, Poland

Considered one of the best football players in the world, Robert Lewandowski plays for Bundesliga club Bayern Munich and leads the Poland national team as its captain. Known for his exceptional goal scoring ability and striking skills, Lewandowski has earned several accolades including Polish Player of the Year title for eight consecutive years. Besides, he is also a venture capitalist.

 15 
Paul Pogba
(French Professional Football Midfielder)
Paul Pogba
84
Birthdate: March 15, 1993
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Lagny-sur-Marne, France

Paul Pogba is a prominent football player for the English club Manchester United; in 2016 he was transferred from Juventus to Manchester United for a then-world record transfer fee of £89.3 million, which remains the highest paid fee by any English club. Also an important member of the France national team, he helped France win the 2018 World Cup.

 16 
Luis Suarez
(Uruguayan Professional Football Striker)
Luis Suarez
80
Birthdate: January 24, 1987
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Salto, Uruguay

Controversy’s favorite child Uruguayan professional Luis Suarez has been in the news for an infamous handball and also for biting opponents. He now plays for Atlético Madrid and has previously represented Barcelona and Liverpool, winning 19 trophies in his career to date. He is Uruguay's leading goalscorer of all time.

 17 
Wayne Rooney
(English Professional Football Manager and Former Player Who Played as a Forward and Midfielder)
Wayne Rooney
112
Birthdate: October 24, 1985
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Croxteth, Liverpool, England

Regarded as one of the best football players of the current era, Wayne Rooney is the record goal-scorer for the Manchester United FC and England national team. Originally a boxer, Wayne continues to pursue boxing as a recreational activity. Wayne has been controversy's favorite child for many years now; from allegations of infidelity to legal issues, he has faced them all!

 18 
Karim Benzema
(French Professional Football Player Who Plays as a Striker)
Karim Benzema
46
Birthdate: December 19, 1987
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Lyon, France

Karim Benzema is a French football player often described as strong, powerful, and immensely talented striker. Over the years, Karim has gained the reputation of not missing an opportunity to score a goal once he gets inside the penalty area. In 2010, he got into legal trouble after visiting a 16-year-old prostitute in Paris. The charges were dropped in 2014.

 19 
Thierry Henry
(Former French Professional Football Player, Coach and One of the Greatest Strikers of All Time)
Thierry Henry
52
Birthdate: August 17, 1977
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Les Ulis, France

A football coach, Thierry Henry began his career as a player with Monaco team and later also played for Arsenal and Barcelona. A lethal striker, he became a record goal scorer for both France and Arsenal. He played a crucial role in the French victory in 1998 FIFA World Cup and Arsenal’s win in Premier League and the FA Cup.

 20 
Gianluigi Buffon
(One of the Greatest Goalkeepers of All Time)
Gianluigi Buffon
64
Birthdate: January 28, 1978
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Carrara, Italy
Gianluigi Buffon is an Italian footballer, often considered the greatest goalkeeper of all time. The first goalkeeper to receive the Golden Foot Award, Buffon was included in Pelé's FIFA 100 list in 2004. He is also well-known for his charity work; in 2019, he was named a Goodwill Ambassador for the United Nations' World Food Programme.
 21 
Kaká
(Brazilian Former Professional Football Payer Who Played as an Attacking Midfielder)
Kaká
46
Birthdate: April 22, 1982
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Gama, Federal District, Brazil

Regarded as one of the best footballers of his generation, Kaká is a Brazilian retired football player. He is one of eight footballers to have won the Ballon d'Or, the UEFA Champions League, and the FIFA World Cup. Also known for his humanitarian work, Kaká has been working with the United Nations, as part of its World Food Programme initiative.

 22 
George Best
(Northern Irish Professional Footballer Who Played as a Winger)
George Best
50
Birthdate: May 22, 1946
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Belfast, Northern Ireland
Died: November 25, 2005
Manchester United winger/midfielder George Best was the 1968 European Footballer of the Year and was placed sixth on the FIFA Player of the Century list. A skilled dribbler, the Northern Irish player was also known for his stunning good looks and his affinity for women and alcohol. 
 23 
Alan Shearer
(One of the Best Strikers of His Generation and One of the Greatest Players in Premier League History)
Alan Shearer
39
Birthdate: August 13, 1970
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Gosforth, England
Former Newcastle United striker Alan Shearer has also worked as a BBC football pundit and a football manager. The Euro 1996 Golden Boot-winner has also represented Southampton and Blackburn Rovers, winning the 1994-1995 Premier League with the latter. With 260 goals, he became the Premier League’s leading goal-scorer.
 24 
Eric Cantona
(One of the Greatest Footballers of His Generation)
Eric Cantona
46
Birthdate: May 24, 1966
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Marseille, France

Eric Cantona is a French actor, filmmaker, and former football player. During his playing career, Cantona was a key player for the popular football club Manchester United and is often credited with reviving the club's reputation as a footballing force. Nicknamed King Eric by Manchester United fans, Eric Cantona continues to enjoy an iconic status within the club.

 25 
Francesco Totti
(Italian Former Professional Football Player Who Played as an Attacking Midfielder and as a Forward)
Francesco Totti
47
Birthdate: September 27, 1976
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Rome, Italy

Italian footballer Francesco Totti is known for his 25-year stint with Roma. Nicknamed “The Golden Boy” and “The Gladiator,” he led Roma to win the Serie A and the Coppa Italia. He was also part of the 2006 FIFA World Cup-winning Italian team. He was named to Pele’s FIFA 100

 26 
Gary Lineker
(One of the Greatest English Football Strikers)
Gary Lineker
49
Birthdate: November 30, 1960
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Leicester, England

Gary Lineker is a British former football player who currently works as a sports broadcaster. Considered one of the greatest British strikers of all time, Gary Lineker is the third-highest goal-scorer for England. During his 16-year playing career, Lineker never received a red or yellow card, due to which he was honored with the FIFA Fair Play Award in 1990.

 27 
Dani Alves
(Brazilian Professional Footballer Who Plays as a Right-Back)
Dani Alves
31
Birthdate: May 6, 1983
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Juazeiro, State of Bahia, Brazil

Dani Alves is a Brazilian professional footballer. He currently plays as a right-back for La Liga club Barcelona and the Brazil national team. He is widely considered one of the greatest full-backs of all time. With 46 titles at the senior level and 47 official titles overall, he is the most decorated player in the history of football. 

 28 
Patrick Vieira
(French Professional Football Manager and Former Player)
Patrick Vieira
49
Birthdate: June 23, 1976
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Dakar, Senegal

Patrick Vieira is a football manager and former footballer. Vieira, who was an important member of the France national team, is currently serving as the manager of Crystal Palace Football Club which competes in the Premier League. Widely regarded as one of the best players of his time, Vieira helped his team win its first FIFA World Cup in 1998.

 29 
Luís Figo
(One of the Best Portuguese Football Players of All Time)
Luís Figo
26
Birthdate: November 4, 1972
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Almada, Portugal
Portuguese former footballer Luís Figo has had successful stints with Barcelona, Real Madrid, and Inter Milan. He made a La Liga record with 106 assists, the second-highest in the league. He participated in two World Cups for Portugal and was named the 2001 FIFA World Player of the Year.
 30 
Rivaldo
(Brazilian Former Football Player Who Played as an Attacking Midfielder)
Rivaldo
24
Birthdate: April 19, 1972
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: State of Pernambuco, Brazil
Brazilian former footballer Rivaldo is known for his powerful strikes and has had successful stints with the clubs Barcelona and Milan. He is the seventh-highest goal-scorer for Brazil and was part of the 2002 FIFA World Cup-winning team. Post-retirement, he appeared in the film I Am Not Salvador
 31 
Roberto Baggio
(Italian Former Professional Football Player Who Played as an Attacking Midfielder or as a Forward)
Roberto Baggio
30
Birthdate: February 18, 1967
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Caldogno, Italy
Italian former footballer Roberto Baggio is the only Italian to score goals in three World Cups, in 1990, 1994, and 1998. He was the FIFA World Player of the Year in 1993. Nicknamed “The Divine Ponytail" for his peculiar hairstyle, he also became the Goodwill Ambassador of the UN’s FAO.
 32 
Roberto Carlos
(Brazilian Former Professional Football Player Who Played as a Left-Back)
Roberto Carlos
17
Birthdate: April 10, 1973
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Garça, São Paulo, Brazil

A major force behind Brazil’s World Cup win in 2002, Roberto Carlos was born into a poor peasant family and grew up working on his family farm. He soared to fame during his 11-season stint with Real Madrid, winning four La Liga titles and three UEFA Champions Leagues with them.

 33 
Sergio Busquets
(Spanish Professional Footballer Who Plays as a Defensive Midfielder)
Sergio Busquets
21
Birthdate: July 16, 1988
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Sabadell, Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain
Height: 6'2" (188 cm)
 34 
Romário
(One of the Greatest Football Players of All Time)
Romário
29
Birthdate: January 29, 1966
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Rio de Janeiro, State of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
One of the most prolific goal scorers in the history of football, Romario has had an engaging and electric presence both on and off field. He starred in Brazil's 1994 FIFA World Cup triumph and was named the Player of The Tournament, earning a Golden Ball. He later turned to politics after he bid adieu to the field.
 35 
Luka Modrić
(Croatian Professional Football Player Who Plays as a Midfielder)
Luka Modrić
40
Birthdate: September 9, 1985
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Zadar, Croatia
Real Madrid midfielder Luka Modrić has won 17 big trophies for his club. He had a difficult childhood, growing up amid the Croatian War of Independence. He has played for Tottenham Hotspur, and in 2018, he led Croatia to their first football World Cup final and won the Golden Ball.
 36 
Franz Beckenbauer
(One of the Greatest Football Players in the History of the Sport)
Franz Beckenbauer
29
Birthdate: September 11, 1945
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Munich, Germany
Died: January 7, 2024
German former footballer Franz Beckenbauer spent most of his career with Bayern Munich, winning championships such as the European Cup. He won the World Cup for West Germany twice, first as a player in 1974 and then as a manager in 1990. He was also a Sky Germany analyst.
 37 
Andrés Iniesta
(Spanish Footballer Who is Regarded as One of the Greatest Midfielders of All Time)
Andrés Iniesta
28
Birthdate: May 11, 1984
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Fuentealbilla, Spain
Spanish midfielder Andrés Iniesta, who now captains the Japanese club Vissel Kobe, has had a 22-year stint with Barcelona, serving as a captain in three seasons and winning nine La Ligas and four UEFA Champions Leagues. He scored the winning goal to help Spain win the 2010 FIFA World Cup.
 38 
Johan Cruyff
(One of the Greatest Football Players & One of the Best Managers Ever)
Johan Cruyff
24
Birthdate: April 25, 1947
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Amsterdam, Netherlands
Died: March 24, 2016
Dutch midfielder/forward Johan Cruyff pioneered the idea of Total Football, along with coach Rinus Michels. The first three-time Ballon d'Or-winner was known for his signature move, the Cruyff Turn. He made it to FIFA 100 and ranked second only to Pele in an official World Player of the Century poll.
 39 
Xavi
(Retired Spanish Footballer Who Played as a Midfielder)
Xavi
21
Birthdate: January 25, 1980
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Terrassa, Spain
Former Barcelona footballer Xavi won multiple trophies with the team, such as the La Liga and the UEFA Champions League. Famous for his tiki-taka style, he also helped Spain win the FIFA World Cup in 2010. After playing for the Qatari club Al-Sadd, he began coaching the team.
 40 
Alisson
(Brazilian Professional Footballer Who Plays as a Goalkeeper)
Alisson
13
Birthdate: October 2, 1992
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Novo Hamburgo, Brazil
Height: 6'4" (193 cm)
 41 
Manuel Neuer
(German Professional Football Player Who Plays as a Goalkeeper)
Manuel Neuer
23
Birthdate: March 27, 1986
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Gelsenkirchen, Germany

Considered one of the greatest goalkeepers of all time, Manuel Neuer is a German football player. He is the captain of German national team as well as his club Bayern Munich. Described as a sweeper-keeper due to his unique playing style, Neuer was part of the German team that won the 2014 FIFA World Cup. He was adjudged the best goalkeeper of the decade from 2011 to 2020 by IFFHS.

 42 
Mohamed Salah
(Egyptian Professional Football Player Who Plays as a Forward)
Mohamed Salah
59
Birthdate: June 15, 1992
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Nagrig, Egypt

Egyptian professional footballer Mohamed Salah is considered one of the best players in the world. Known for his finishing, dribbling, and speed, he plays for the Premier League club Liverpool and the Egyptian national team. He has been named the CAF African Footballer of the Year twice. His fans and the press have nicknamed him "The Pharaoh."

 43 
Arjen Robben
(Dutch Former Professional Football Player Who Played as a Winger)
Arjen Robben
12
Birthdate: January 23, 1984
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Bedum, Netherlands

Widely considered one of the best Dutch soccer players of all time, Arjen Robben is known for his long-range shots, ball control, speed, and dribbling skills. He helped his national team reach the finals of the 2010 FIFA World Cup, which they lost to Spain.

 44 
Philipp Lahm
(German Former Professional Footballer Who Played as a Full-Back)
Philipp Lahm
12
Birthdate: November 11, 1983
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Munich, Germany
Height: 5'7" (170 cm)
 45 
Oliver Kahn
(German Football Executive and Former Professional Player Who Played as a Goalkeeper)
Oliver Kahn
21
Birthdate: June 15, 1969
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Karlsruhe, Germany
Height: 6'2" (188 cm)
 46 
Marcus Rashford
(English Professional Footballer Who Plays as a Forward)
Marcus Rashford
53
Birthdate: October 31, 1997
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Manchester, United Kingdom

Marcus Rashford is a prominent football player for the Manchester United Football Club and England national team. He became the youngest British footballer to score in his debut match for England. He uses his popularity to fight against issues like child food poverty and homelessness in the United Kingdom. He is often praised for his political activism.

 47 
Peter Schmeichel
(Danish Former Professional Footballer Who Played as a Goalkeeper)
Peter Schmeichel
28
Birthdate: November 18, 1963
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Gladsaxe Municipality, Denmark
Height: 6'3" (190 cm)
 48 
Eden Hazard
(Belgian Professional Football Player Who Plays as a Winger /Attacking Midfielder)
Eden Hazard
57
Birthdate: 1991
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: La Louvière, Belgium

One of the best Belgian footballers of all time, Eden Hazard is also regarded as one of the best players of the current generation. Thanks to his ability to retain possession among other footballing skills, Hazard is often compared with players like Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi.

 49 
Sergio Agüero
(Argentine Former Professional Football Player Who Played as a Striker)
Sergio Agüero
35
Birthdate: June 2, 1988
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Buenos Aires, Argentina
Argentine footballer and Manchester City striker Sergio Agüero was the youngest footballer of the Argentine Primera División, at 15. From scoring two goals in the semi-final to help Argentina win the 2008 Olympic gold medal, to being the fourth-highest goal-scorer of Premier League, he has many feats to his credit.
 50 
Antoine Griezmann
(French Professional Footballer Who Plays as a Forward)
Antoine Griezmann
53
Birthdate: March 21, 1991
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Mâcon, France

Antoine Griezmann is a French football player. A key member of the France national team, Antoine Griezmann helped his team win the 2018 FIFA World Cup by scoring a goal and assisting another in France's 4-2 win against Croatia. Also an esports enthusiast, Griezmann launched an esports organisation called Grizi Esport in 2020.