The Top 10 Players in the World for 2017

Top 10 2017

We've looked back and come up with the year's 10 best individual performers, placing emphasis on individual excellence and consistency, rather than trophies won. Teams win trophies, not individuals.

Luka Modric of Real Madrid runs with the ball during the FIFA Club World Cup UAE 2017 Final between Gremio and Real Madrid at the Zayed Sports City Stadium on December 16, 2017 in Abu...

10. Luka Modric

Real Madrid

Elegance personified, Luka Modric has battled through injuries to be the beating heartbeat of the most aesthetically pleasing Real Madrid side we've seen for quite some time. Even the Croatian's tackles look the work of a great Renaissance sculptor.

Harry Kane of Tottenham Hotspur celebrates after scoring his hat-trick goal to make it 5-1 during the Premier League match between Tottenham Hotspur and Southampton at Wembley Stadium on...

9. Harry Kane

Tottenham Hotspur

When it comes to goals no one outdid Harry Kane in 2017. The Tottenham striker hammered home a staggering 56 times, including a stunning eight hat-tricks. No centre-forward had a better year than the Big Daddy Kane.

Eden Hazard of Chelsea evades Markus Suttner, Lewis Dunk and Mathew Ryan of Brighton and Hove Albion during the Premier League match between Chelsea and Brighton and Hove Albion at...

8. Eden Hazard


The Belgian was Chelsea's ultimate weapon in 2017, the whirling dervish of dribbles upon whom they relied for nearly all their energy and creative thrust. Without him Chelsea can be prosaic, with him? Poetry.

Isco Alarcon of Real Madrid CF (C) being followed by Mikel Rico of Athletic Club (L) and Mikel San Jose of Athletic Club (R) during the La Liga match between Athletic Club and Real Madrid...

7. Isco

Real Madrid

Isco Disco! The man who went from mistreated sub on the verge of leaving to free-roaming no. 10 dominating the biggest games and best opponents (Real Madrid lost both Clásicos he didn't play). Isco has been so good and the only Madrid player to survive their contextually poor start to season 2017/18.

Paris Saint-Germain's French forward Kylian Mbappe vies for the ball with with Anderlecht's Belgian goalkeeper Matz Sels (R) in front Paris Saint-Germain's Brazilian forward Neymar during...

6. Kylian Mbappé

PSG & Monaco

Despite being just a teenager, Kylian Mbappe took the world by storm in 2017. He scored in 4 straight knockout games in the Champions League and began hammering opponents at home too. A colossal move to PSG followed and since he's been back home in Paris he's looked every bit as unstoppable as before.

Kevin De Bruyne of Manchester City takes a breather during the Premier League match between Manchester City and Tottenham Hotspur at Etihad Stadium on December 16, 2017 in Manchester,...

5. Kevin De Bruyne

Manchester City

It's a testament to Pep Guardiola's coaching skill that De Bruyne, once a winger, is now looking like one of the best midfielders in the world. An effortless conductor of Europe's finest side in Manchester City, nearly everything De Bruyne does looks effortless and beautiful, including scoring long-range piledrivers with his left foot.

Sergio Busquets of FC Barcelona controls the ball during the La Liga match between Getafe and Barcelona at Coliseum Alfonso Perez on September 16, 2017 in Getafe, .

4. Sergio Busquets


In a year that Barcelona began in terrible form, Busquets was one of three players whose level didn't drop. Once again expanding his scope and controlling more of Barcelona's play than ever whilst still nullifying so much of what their opponents do, Busquets has consistently and brilliantly reaffirmed his status as the best midfielder in the world.

Cristiano Ronaldo of Real Madrid collects his latest Ballon d'Or before the La Liga match between Real Madrid and Sevilla at Estadio Santiago Bernabeu on December 9, 2017 in Madrid, Spain.

3. Cristiano Ronaldo

Real Madrid

Kane has him beat on pure numbers but when it comes to goals that count no one can top Cristiano Ronaldo in 2017. The rest of his game has diminished to the point of invisibility but if you want a high-stakes goalscorer there is literally no one you'd pick ahead of Real Madrid's no. 7. Huge goals in quarter-finals, semi-finals and finals. Goals that won games, titles, made history. Goals galore from this glorious man.

Paris Saint-Germain's Brazilian forward Neymar (2nd R) and Bayern Munich's German midfielder Joshua Kimmich (2nd L) vie for the ball during the UEFA Champions League football match of...

2. Neymar

PSG & Barcelona

The Heir Apparent: Neymar orchestrated countless moments of brilliance for Barcelona, including their miracle 6-1 win over PSG, before then joining the Parisians in a world-record €222m transfer. In Paris he's had personal troubles but professionally is on another level, bamboozling opponents, creating and scoring chances in a team he can call his own.

Lionel Messi of Barcelona celebrates after scoring his sides second goal during the La Liga match between Real Madrid and Barcelona at Estadio Santiago Bernabeu on December 23, 2017 in...

1. Leo Messi


There could be no one else. In 2017 Leo Messi has redefined excellence even by his own Everest-sized standards. The best player in the world somehow got better: now he plays orchestrating midfield and then glides forward into being an enigmatic no. 10 before finishing it off as a deadly forward.

That Messi ended the year with more goals than anyone besides Kane despite spending most of the year playing midfield speaks volumes as to his genius. The dribbles, the passes, the way so much he does is a supernatural combination of effortless and impossibly intricate; there's simply no one like Leo Messi.

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