We’re just a few weeks away from soccer starting up again in Europe, as the world’s best leagues ramp up for another campaign. We’ve broken down the best soccer players in the world into a top 10 before, so it’s time for the 2017 edition of this list.
Just to clarify the methodology, weight was given to the length of a player’s success, but where things were close, we leaned towards recent seasons. So if two guys were close, we would use their more recent play as a determining factor. Club and international play were weighed equally, and team success also factored in to consideration.
Without further ado, our list of the 10 best footballers in the world for 2017.
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10. Robert Lewandowski (Bayern Munich/Poland)
Robert Lewandowski has dominated since arriving at Bayern Munich in 2014. He has scored 110 goals in 147 total appearances, that followed four years at Borussia Dortmund where he bagged 103 in 187 matches. He’s easily the best pure goal scorer in the Bundesliga, and with Bayern he’s scored 77 times in 96 league matches.
Lewandowski was the 2016-17 Bundesliga player of the year as he had 43 goals in 47 total appearances for Bayern. He has also been named to his league’s team of the year in three straight campaigns, and Champions League Team of the Year in two straight.
At just 28, Lewandowski is in the middle of his prime. He’s not higher on this list because pure No. 9s don’t get the love they used to with so many hybrid attacking midfielders moving up the ranks. But he’s clearly among the best finishers in the world, and shows no signs of slowing down.
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9. N’Golo Kante (Chelsea/France)
No. 9 with a bullet, N'Golo Kante’s rise has been meteoric. After a sensational 2015-16 campaign at Leicester City, the defensive midfielder landed with Chelsea for 2016-17 and won his second consecutive Premier League title. But while he was excellent at Leicester, he was singularly dominant with The Blues, and was named Premier League Player of the Year for his efforts.
At 26, it’s clear Kante is finally coming into his own. With back-to-back titles and back-to-back appearances on the PFA Team of the Year, he’s finally being recognized as a world-class player. He’s an incredible passer, with next-level vision. But he is a true defensive midfielder, who covers an unbelievable amount of ground, is a fantastic tackler with outstanding timing, and he controls the entire pitch while he’s on it.
It is truly stunning that it took Kante this long to break out. With so much talent and such a high level of performance, you can expect to see him on this list for a long time.