Football News

Lionel Messi picks out the world’s five best players (besides Ronaldo and himself)

By Harry Edwards

Published: 16:51, 30 March 2019

Barcelona forward Lionel Messi has given his list of the top five players in the world right now.

The Argentinian is widely considered as one of the best players to have ever played, alongside Cristiano Ronaldo, Pele and Diego Maradona.

Who are the top five players in the world? Four key things to know…

  1. Lionel Messi is believed to be one of, if not the, best footballers ever.
  2. Alongside Cristiano Ronaldo, the Barcelona forward is also thought of as the best footballer in the world right now.
  3. But if you were to exclude Ronaldo and Messi, who would make the top five?.
  4. Messi has recently named his, choosing Kylian Mbappe, Eden Hazard, Luis Suarez, Neymar and Sergio Aguero.

Over the past decade, Messi and Ronaldo have dominated the accolades for individual performances, sharing the Ballon d’Or award on an annual basis. Only after another Champions League win and a World Cup final appearance was Luka Modric able to break the trend for 2018.

But if you were to take Messi and Ronaldo – who are other-worldly – out of the equation, who would make up a top five?

Messi has had his say on the top five, opting for three players he has shared a dressing room with plus two others.

“It was nice to have Ronaldo in La Liga for the prestige it brought,” the Argentinian said during an interview.

“Excluding him and me, the best players in the world are [Kylian] Mbappe, [Eden] Hazard, [Luis] Suarez, [Sergio] Aguero and Neymar.”

Messi has been his usual dominant self in La Liga this season, helping Barcelona to a 10-point lead at the top of the division with 10 games remaining.

The Argentinian has scored 29 goals in the league so far, adding another 12 assists, contributing to 56% of Barcelona’s strikes this season.

Meanwhile, Ronaldo has continued to perform after moving to Juventus, with only Fabio Quagliarella (21) scoring more goals than him (19) in Serie A.

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How worthy are Lionel Messi’s top five?

Despite being just 20, Mbappe is already looking to be in the running for winning a Ballon d’Or should he continue on his current trajectory. The Frenchman has already won a World Cup and two league titles and leads the top of the Ligue 1 scoring charts with 26 goals. Across Europe’s top five leagues, only Messi has managed more.

Mbappe’s Paris Saint-Germain teammate Neymar has struggled with injuries since joining the French side in 2017 but has shown his supreme abilities when given the chance. Though PSG have managed without him, the Brazilian is essential to the French side and has pushed Messi and Ronaldo close on Ballon d’Or shortlists in recent years.

In La Liga, Luis Suarez is second only to Messi on the list of top scorers with 18 goals this season and still provides a valuable option in the middle of the pitch when Messi fires a blank.

Messi’s international teammate Sergio Aguero seems to go from strength to strength in spite of whatever is thrown against him and has been dangerous in the Premier League this season. No player has directly contributed to more goals than Aguero in the Premier League, with the Manchester City man scoring 19 and providing seven assists.

And Chelsea’s Eden Hazard has consistently been linked with a move to Real Madrid, owing to his importance to the club. The Belgian has recorded 11 assists in the Premier League this season, with only Messi and Jadon Sancho – both on 12 – managing more.