21st Century Football Players

Find out more about the greatest 21st Century Football Players, including Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo, Zlatan Ibrahimović, Jamie Vardy and Tom Brady.

This ranking is based on an algorithm that combines various factors, including the votes of our users and search trends on the internet.

Vote for Your Favourite Football Players

 1 Neymar

Neymar.
50
Famous As: Footballer
Birthdate: February 5, 1992
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Mogi das Cruzes, 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.

 2 David Beckham

David Beckham.
45
Famous As: Former English Footballer
Birthdate: May 2, 1975
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Leytonstone, 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.  
Recommended Lists:

 3 Zlatan Ibrahimović

Zlatan Ibrahimović.
40
Famous As: Football Player
Birthdate: October 3, 1981
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Malmö, 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.

 4 Gareth Bale

Gareth Bale.
35
Famous As: Footballer
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.

 5 Robert Lewandowski

Robert Lewandowski.
27
Famous As: Footballer
Birthdate: August 21, 1988
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Warsaw

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.

 6 Gianluigi Buffon

Gianluigi Buffon.
21
Famous As: Footballer
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.

 7 Thierry Henry

Thierry Henry.
16
Famous As: French football Coach
Birthdate: August 17, 1977
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Les Ulis, Essonne, 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.

You May Like

 8 Luka Modrić

Luka Modrić.
11
Famous As: Footballer
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.

 9 Andrés Iniesta

Andrés Iniesta.
7
Famous As: Footballer
Birthdate: May 11, 1984
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Fuentealbilla
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.

 10 Wayne Rooney

Wayne Rooney.
34
Famous As: Footballer
Birthdate: October 24, 1985
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Croxteth, Liverpool, England, United Kingdom

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!

 11 Ronaldo

Ronaldo
8
Famous As: Footballer
Birthdate: September 18, 1976
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Rio de Janeiro, State of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

 12 Kaká

Kaká.
7
Famous As: Footballer
Birthdate: April 22, 1982
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Brasília, Federal District

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.

 13 Xavi

Xavi.
6
Famous As: Footballer
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.

 14 Paolo Maldini

Paolo Maldini
8
Famous As: Footballer
Birthdate: June 26, 1968
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Milan, Lombardy, Italy

Paolo Maldini is an Italian former professional footballer widely regarded as one of the greatest ever defenders. He played primarily as a left-back and central defender and was affiliated with Milan and the Italian national team. Currently, he is serving as the technical director for Milan. He is also the co-owner of the USL Championship club Miami FC.  

 15 Zinedine Zidane

Zinedine Zidane.
19
Famous As: Football Player
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.

 16 Peter Schmeichel

Peter Schmeichel
5
Famous As: Football player
Birthdate: November 18, 1963
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Gladsaxe Municipality, Denmark

 17 Bobby Charlton

Bobby Charlton.
6
Famous As: Football Player
Birthdate: October 11, 1937
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Ashington, Northumberland, Englan

Widely considered one of the greatest players ever, Bobby Charlton was an important member of the England national football team that emerged victorious at the 1966 FIFA World Cup. The recipient of several prestigious awards, including the Ballon d'Or, Charlton received a knighthood in 1994. He is the second-highest goalscorer for England.

 18 Kylian Mbappé

Kylian Mbappé.
42
Famous As: Footballer
Birthdate: December 20, 1998
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Bondy

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.

 19 Paul Pogba

Paul Pogba.
31
Famous As: Footballer
Birthdate: March 15, 1993
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Lagny-sur-Marne, Seine-et-Marne

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.

 20 Harry Kane

Harry Kane.
33
Famous As: Footballer
Birthdate: July 28, 1993
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Walthamstow, England
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.

 21 Eden Hazard

Eden Hazard.
26
Famous As: Footballer
Birthdate: January 7, 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.

 22 Radamel Falcao

Radamel Falcao
9
Famous As: Football player
Birthdate: February 10, 1986
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Santa Marta, Colombia

 23 Romelu Lukaku

Romelu Lukaku.
16
Famous As: Football Player
Birthdate: May 13, 1993
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Antwerp

Romelu Lukaku, the Belgian football player, is known for his goal-scoring abilities. He plays in the forward position and can also play as a winger. He has scored more than 50 international goals while playing for the men’s national team of Belgium. Inter Milan, Chelsea, West Bromwich Albion, Everton and Manchester United are some of the clubs he has played for.

 24 Sergio Agüero

Sergio Agüero.
13
Famous As: Footballer
Birthdate: June 2, 1988
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Buenos Aires
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.

 25 Jamie Vardy

Jamie Vardy.
17
Famous As: Footballer
Birthdate: January 11, 1987
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Sheffield, United Kingdom

Considered a late bloomer in the world of soccer, Jamie Vardy became the oldest player to win the Premier League Golden Boot award when he scored the maximum number of goals during the 2019–20 Premier League season. Apart from his goal-scoring abilities, Jamie is also known for his direct approach and relentless running.

 26 Jadon Sancho

Jadon Sancho
15
Famous As: Football player
Birthdate: March 25, 2000
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Camberwell, England

Jadon Sancho is an English professional footballer who currently plays for Premier League club Manchester United and the England national team. He is known for his technical skills as a winger and formidable pace. He started playing as a young boy and was part of the England youth team that won the 2017 FIFA U-17 World Cup. 

 27 Antoine Griezmann

Antoine Griezmann.
26
Famous As: Footballer
Birthdate: March 21, 1991
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Mâcon

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.

 28 Sergio Ramos

Sergio Ramos.
11
Famous As: Footballer
Birthdate: March 30, 1986
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Camas, Seville

Spanish footballer, Sergio Ramos, is known for his defensive skills and also for his ability to play offensively and score goals. He plays for the Premier League Club, Real Madrid. Ramos was a member of the Spanish national side which won the European Championship in 2008 and 2012 and the World Cup in 2010. 

 29 Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.
25
Famous As: Footballer
Birthdate: June 18, 1989
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Laval

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is a footballer who plays as a forward and is the captain of the Gabon national team. He is known for his pace and finishing and is said to be one of the best strikers in the world. He plays for the English club team, Arsenal. He has played for other clubs as well like AC Milan and Borussia Dortmund.

 30 Kevin De Bruyne

Kevin De Bruyne.
10
Famous As: Footballer
Birthdate: June 28, 1991
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Ghent

Often described as a complete football player, Kevin De Bruyne is also widely regarded as one of the best players of his generation. Over the years, he has had a major impact on the Manchester City Football Club, helping his team win several games. He is also a key player for the Belgian national football team.

 31 Philippe Coutinho

Philippe Coutinho.
12
Famous As: Footballer
Birthdate: June 12, 1992
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Cartagena

Brazilian footballer, Phillipe Coutinho, is hailed as one of the most talented midfielders and playmakers in the world. He has been a key player for Premier League clubs like Inter Milan, Liverpool, FC Barcelona and Bayern Munich. He was a member of the Brazilian national team that won the 2019 Copa America.

 32 Alessandro Del Piero

Alessandro Del Piero
7
Famous As: Footballer
Birthdate: November 9, 1974
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Conegliano, Veneto, Italy

Alessandro Del Piero is an Italian former football player. Renowned for his creativity, he is often counted among the best players of his generation. He is also widely regarded as one of Italy's greatest players of all time. A prolific goal-scorer, Del Piero scored 346 goals during his playing career, making him the second-highest Italian goal-scorer of all time.

 33 Sadio Mané

Sadio Mané.
30
Famous As: Footballer
Birthdate: April 10, 1992
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Sédhiou

Sadio Mané is one of the greatest Senegalese football players of all time. He is Senegal's fifth all-time top goal-scorer and was named African Footballer of the Year in 2020. One of Liverpool's key players, Sadio serves as an inspiration to youngsters as he succeeded as a footballer in spite of his father forbidding him from playing as a child.

 34 N'Golo Kante

N'Golo Kante
12
Famous As: Association football player
Birthdate: March 29, 1991
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Paris, France

 35 Raheem Sterling

Raheem Sterling.
7
Famous As: Footballer
Birthdate: December 8, 1994
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Kingston, Jamaica

Professional footballer Raheem Sterling currently plays as a winger and attacking midfielder for Premier League club Manchester City. He also plays for the England national team. Born in Jamaica, he moved to England as a child and started playing professional football when he was a teenager. He was named the FWA Footballer of the Year in the 2018-19 season.

 36 Karim Benzema

Karim Benzema.
12
Famous As: Footballer
Birthdate: December 19, 1987
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Lyon

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.

 37 Jesse Lingard

Jesse Lingard.
9
Famous As: Footballer
Birthdate: December 15, 1992
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Warrington
Manchester United winger and attacking midfielder Jesse Lingard has won several championships with his team, such as the UEFA Europa League, the FA Community Shield, the FA Cup, and the EFL Cup. He was also part of the English national team which finished fourth at the 2018 FIFA World Cup.

 38 Thomas Müller

Thomas Müller.
28
Famous As: Footballer
Birthdate: September 13, 1989
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Weilheim in Oberbayern

Thomas Müller, who is a prominent member of the Germany national football team, is a versatile footballer; he can play at various positions, such as centre forward, left wing, and right wing. He played key roles in Germany's performance in the 2010 World Cup, Euro Cup 2012, 2014 World Cup, and 2018 World Cup.

 39 Didier Drogba

Didier Drogba
9
Famous As: Football player
Birthdate: March 11, 1978
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire

 40 Olivier Giroud

Olivier Giroud.
9
Famous As: Footballer
Birthdate: September 30, 1986
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Chambéry

Olivier Giroud is a football player and a prominent member of the France national team. He played a key role in helping his team win the 2018 FIFA World Cup. Thanks to his popularity, Giroud has been a major media personality in France, with appearances in commercials for brands like Hugo Boss and Puma.

 41 Roberto Firmino

Roberto Firmino.
9
Famous As: Footballer
Birthdate: October 2, 1991
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Maceió, Alagoas
Roberto Firmino started his career with Figueirense and Hoffenheim, before joining Liverpool, with whom he won the Champions League, the UEFA Super Cup, the FIFA Club World Cup, and a Premier League. Known for his no-look goals and Matador-style celebration, he was part of the 2019 Copa America-winning Brazil team

 42 Robin van Persie

Robin van Persie
7
Famous As: Football player
Birthdate: August 6, 1983
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Rotterdam, Netherlands

 43 Arjen Robben

Arjen Robben.
7
Famous As: Dutch Footballer
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 Christian Eriksen

Christian Eriksen.
13
Famous As: Football Player
Birthdate: February 14, 1992
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Middelfart, Denmark
Five-time Danish Football Player of the Year Christian Eriksen has gained fame as a Tottenham Hotspur midfielder, and now plays for Inter Milan. He has been Hotspur’s Player of the Year twice and became the only player apart from Beckham to score 10+ assists in four successive Premier League seasons.

 45 Clarence Seedorf

Clarence Seedorf.
7
Famous As: Football Coach
Birthdate: April 1, 1976
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Paramaribo, Suriname

Clarence Seedorf is a Dutch former football player. Widely considered one of the best midfielders of his era, Seedorf was included in Pelé's FIFA 100 list in 2004. Having won several continental and domestic titles for clubs in the Netherlands, Brazil, Italy, and Spain, Clarence Seedorf is one of the most celebrated and decorated Dutch players of all time.

 46 Marcus Rashford

Marcus Rashford.
29
Famous As: Footballer
Birthdate: October 31, 1997
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Manchester, England

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 Megan Rapinoe

Megan Rapinoe
8
Famous As: Football player
Birthdate: July 5, 1985
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Redding, California, United States

 48 Javier Hernández

Javier Hernández.
6
Famous As: Footballer
Birthdate: June 1, 1988
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Guadalajara, Jalisco

Javier Hernández is a professional football player and the first Mexican to represent the popular football club Manchester United. An important player for his national team, Hernández is the all-time leading goal-scorer for Mexico. He has represented Mexico at important tournaments like 2010, 2014, and 2018 FIFA World Cups. Hernández also serves as an inspiration to many aspiring Mexican footballers.

 49 Peter Crouch

Peter Crouch.
8
Famous As: Footballer
Birthdate: January 30, 1981
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Macclesfield

Former Tottenham Hotspur striker Peter Crouch is best known for his signature “robot” celebration after scoring goals. He also played with Aston Villa and Liverpool, helping the latter win the the FA Cup and the FA Community Shield. He also helped Tottenham gain a place in the UEFA Champions League.

 50 Mesut Ozil

Mesut Ozil.
20
Famous As: Footballer
Birthdate: October 15, 1988
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Gelsenkirchen, Germany
German footballer Mesut Özil, who now plays for the Premier League club Arsenal, has won Germany the 2014 FIFA World Cup. He also earned a record five German Player of the Year awards. However, he later retired from the German team, citing discrimination due to his Turkish descent.