The year 2020 marks the dawn of a new decade, and for the world of sport, the 2010s has been nothing short of inspirational gameplays and intense competition between the greatest in football/soccer for the title of the best. As the dawn of the 2020s takes off, we review in informative terms, the top-25 best male football players in the world who fans expect with eager anticipation, to put on a dramatic show this year.
In the 2010’s we saw the rise of several young budding stars who have shown incredible prospects and have established themselves as one of those to break new frontiers and leave indelible prints in history as one of the world’s best footballers. While we expect for the Ronaldo-Messi rivalry to come to a classic end this decade, we envision a decade filled with stiff competition, emboldened with the amazing display of youthful skills and vigour; and not without the rise of names, unbeknownst to us now, but will surely become the subject of fans’ plaudits. To a great extent, our full list of the 25 best male footballers in the world to look out for in 2020 was derived based on player performance, in conjunction with opinions from SportyTell staff and other sports pundits.
25. Paulo Dybala: Juventus / Argentina
In the 2019/20 season, Paulo Dybala will have another opportunity to prove to critics that he certainly is among the best football players in the world, after he had a disappointing 2018/19 season. Dybala surely will have his eyes set on another Serie A title, as well as a UEFA Champions League win this season.
24. Jadon Sancho: Borussia Dortmund / England
English wonder boy, Jadon Sancho, who is still a teenager has captured the hearts of Bundesliga fans with his amiable football abilities. Nicknamed the Assist king, Sancho who is currently in top form has his eye set on a Bundesliga title, as well as proving to the world that he is certainly a player of substance
23. Timo Werner: RB Leipzig / Germany
Young and talented, Timo Werner is one of the very best German footballers in the world at the moment. The young striker who currently has a wonderful goal-scoring ability and record is known for being a defender’s nightmare. Currently playing for Bundesliga side, RB Leipzig, he will surely be looking forward to winning the Bundesliga title.
22. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang: Arsenal / Gabon
Since the exit of the top football manager, Arsene Wenger, from Arsenal, the EPL side has since been struggling. The Arsenal skipper, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, is tasked with lifting the EPL side to its previous glory, amidst, the arrival of a new manager to the club. While winning the EPL this season may not be realistic, Aubameyang surely would be looking forward to claiming the Europa League and FA Cup titles.
21. Sergi Roberto: Barcelona / Spain
One of the players tasked with the responsibility of strengthening Barcelona’s Midfield, Sergio Roberto who has spent more than a decade at Barcelona, is faced with the challenge of securing another Laliga title and Champions League title for the Laliga giant. With the 2019/20 Supercopa de España already ruled out, he’ll be ever determined to propel his team to success.
20. Sergio Agüero: Manchester City / Argentina
Argentine striker, Sergio Agüero’s 2019/20 campaign, has been a fantastic one so far. In January 2020, he scored his 12th hat-trick in the EPL. Agüero who has spent 9 seasons with Manchester City, claimed his first trophy of the 2019/20 season in an FA Community Shield showdown against Liverpool, which saw his side triumph on penalties. He will be looking to win his fifth EPL and first Champions League titles with City.
19. Dele Alli: Tottenham Hotspur / England
With the arrival of the renowned coach, José Mourinho at Tottenham Hotspurs, Dele Alli’s performance has since improved. Last season, he was one of Spurs key players in their UEFA Champions League final showdown against Liverpool. With Alli currently playing as an attacking forward, which presents more scoring opportunities to the Englishman, his performance this season is expected to be nothing short of incredible.
18. Marcelo Da Silva: Real Madrid / Brazil
Brazilian and Real Madrid left-back, Marcelo Da Silva has spent more than 10 years with the Laliga side, Real Madrid. During those years, Marcelo has led his side to claim several tournaments, such as the UEFA Champions League and the Laliga. The 2019/20 campaign is another season for Marcelo to add to the trophies he has amassed throughout his career. In January 2020, Marcelo led his side to claim it’s 11th Supercopa de España. Marcelo surely will be looking to claim another Champions League and Laliga title with his team, Los Blancos.
17. Kevin De Bruyne: Manchester City / Belgium
One of the best midfielders in the EPL, De Bruyne is one of the best players who continue to do an incredible job in building Manchester City’s midfield. The Belgian who won the first trophy of the season in 2019 after defeating EPL rivals to claim the FA Community Shield, will be set on leading his team to another EPL title, which will no doubt be a tough contest.
16. Robert Lewandowski: Bayern Munich / Poland
Bayern Munich forward, Robert Lewandowski who is undoubtedly one of the best football players and known for his top-scoring abilities began his 2019/20 campaign on a very impressive note. The top Polish star has continued to maintain his impeccable scoring record. This season, Lewandowski, who has played for Bundesliga Giants, Bayern Munich for about six years, will have his eyes set on a sixth Bundesliga title. The UEFA Champions League title which has continued to evade the top star throughout his glamorous career will surely be a target for the Polish skipper.
15. Riyad Mahrez: Manchester City / Algeria
The Algerian skipper, Riyad Mahrez, who recently emerged runner-up in the African Player of the Year category at the recently held CAF awards held on January 7, 2020, led the Algerian side to glory for the first time in 29 years at the 2019 AFCON. In the EPL, the Manchester City winger has also been in fine form and is expected to repeat the feat of being the first African player to secure a domestic treble in the EPL this season. As he helps City in an intense EPL title race against rivals, Liverpool, Mahrez has is eyes set on the Champions League glory.
14. Luis Suarez: Barcelona / Uruguay
At the onset of Luis Suarez‘s 2019/20 campaign, the Uruguayan was full of life and looked ahead to a very successful season. This season, Suarez has proven to be an invaluable player that has helped bolstered Barcelona’s Frontline. His quest for the first trophy of the 2019/20 campaign ended in disappointment for Suarez who suffered a right knee injury in the semifinal of the Supercopa de España, which Barcelona lost to Atletico Madrid. When he returns in May, Suarez is expected to continue in his fine form to the delight of fans.
13. Virgil van Dijk: Liverpool / Netherlands
Touted as the best defender in the world in 2019, when he defeated the likes of Lionel Messi, and Cristiano Ronaldo, to emerge as the UEFA Men’s Player of the Year, Virgil van Dijk was seen as a great contender in the 2019 Ballon d’Or where he emerged runner-up. His contributions to EPL side, Liverpool was noteworthy as he led the side to win the 2018/19 UEFA Champions League. In the 2019/20, eyes will be on Van Dijk as he leads Liverpool’s defensive lines to EPL glory.
12. Luka Modric: Real Madrid / Croatia
Luka Modric who is famously known for breaking the monopoly in the Ballon d’Or and the Best FIFA Men’s Player award in 2018, which has seen the duo of Ronaldo and Messi claim both awards for more than a decade, began the 2019/20 season on a very high note. Recently, he converted a penalty to help his side, Real Madrid secure the 2019/20 Supercopa de España. Modric who has won the Champions League and Laliga with Real Madrid on numerous occasions will have his eye set on the Champions League and Laliga title.
11. Harry Kane: Tottenham Hotspur / England
English footballer and Spurs striker, Harry Kane is currently on the sideline as he recovers from a hamstring injury he sustained on January 1st, 2020. Kane who narrowly missed the chance of claiming Europe’s top club football tournament, the UEFA Champions League in 2019, began the 2019/20 season on an impressive note. The 2018 World Cup Golden boot winner, will have his eyes set on winning the EPL and Champions League when he returns to action in April.
10. Sadio Mane: Liverpool / Senegal
The newly crowned African Footballer of the Year for 2019 had an impressive 2018/19 season, where he vaulted Liverpool to the pinnacle of European club football glory. The 2019/20 also started in a remarkable fashion for the Senegalese, who recently won the FIFA Club World Cup. On June 7, 2020, Sadio Mane defeated Manchester City’s Riyad Mahrez and teammate, Mohamed Salah, to become Africa’s best footballer. Under the watchful guidance and mentorship of Jürgen Klopp, Mané is sure to have a spectacular season.
9. Matthijs de Ligt: Juventus / Netherlands
Dutch wonder boy, Matthijs De Ligt, who joined Serie A side, Juventus, in the summer of 2019, is a fan favourite. After an impressive outing at the UEFA Nations League final, where Cristiano Ronaldo, tried to convince the former Ajax skipper to make the switch to Juventus, after witnessing his defensive prowess first-hand, De Ligt has been an impressive addition to the defensive ranks of the Italian club. The 2019 Kopa Trophy winner has been on a fiery run, achieving feats, which defenders aren’t tipped to achieve. De Ligt is surely looking forward to claiming the Serie A, in his debut season in the league.
8. Mohamed Salah: Liverpool / Egypt
Since he arrived at Liverpool, Mohamed Salah has been on a fiery run. In the 2017/18 season, he led Liverpool to the final of the Champions League, but a first-half dislocated shoulder, saw him watch his team lose on the sidelines. He, however, returned in fine form, to lead the Men in Red to another Champions League Final, which they won in the 2018/19 season. That season, he also was the centre figure in the Liverpool’s squad as they aimed for a continental double, which they narrowly missed. His 2019/20 season started on an impressive note, as he won the UEFA Super Cup and the FIFA Club World Cup. Salah who is notably one of the best footballers in the world emerged runner-up in the Africa Player of the Year category at the recently held CAF Awards. He is looking to win his first EPL title this season.
7. Frenkie de Jong: Barcelona / Netherlands
The Dutch youngster who recently moved to Laliga side, Barcelona, had an impressive 2018/19 season with Ajax, leading the Eredivisie side to the semifinal of the UEFA Champions League for the first time in 22 years. Their hopes of securing a continental double were dashed after a semifinal loss to the English side, Tottenham Hotspurs. Frenkie De Jong is surely set on claiming his first Laliga title.
6. Antoine Griezmann: Barcelona / France
French footballer, Antoine Griezmann who made the move to Laliga Giants, Barcelona in the summer of 2019, has had an impressive outing with his team this season. Griezmann whose superb performances combined with the prowess of Barcelona duo, Luis Suarez and Lionel Messi will surely be a defender’s nightmare this season, has his eyes set for a UEFA Champions League title and Laliga title. Fans are looking on to a wonderful outing for Griezmann at Barcelona.
5. Eden Hazard: Real Madrid / Belgium
The Belgian footballer who recently turned 29, had a wonderful outing with EPL side, Chelsea in the 2018/19 season. He led the side to Europa League glory, before making headlines in the summer of 2019, after he made a move to the Spanish club, Real Madrid, for about €100 million. Eden Hazard who is a wonderful addition to Zinedine Zidane‘s squad has his eye set on a Champions League and Laliga win with Barcelona this season.
4. Neymar Jr: Paris Saint-Germain / Brazil
In 2019, Neymar Jr. who is notably one of the best in football made headlines, but not for positive reasons. He was accused of rape, a case which has now been dismissed as a result of insubstantial evidence. He was also involved in a confrontation with a fan which led to him to be stripped off the Brazilian team captaincy. There were speculations that the Brazilian player was set to leave PSG, a move which never occurred. This season, Neymar surely will be on his best form as he vies for his first champions league title with the French club, PSG.
3. Kylian Mbappé: Paris Saint-Germain / France
Since he was a teenager, Kylian Mbappé had already shown the world he had the skill of an adult. At the 2018 World Cup, the youngster who was then a teenager was an instrumental player in the team’s victory. Mbappé whom several fans view as one of the players who will subsequently dominate the football scene following the post-Ronaldo-Messi rivalry is surely targeting his first UEFA Champions League win this season.
2. Cristiano Ronaldo: Juventus / Portugal
Five-time Ballon d’Or winner, Cristiano Ronaldo will be looking to level terms with the rival, Lionel Messi, by winning another Ballon d’Or award this season. Ronaldo who has spent just one season with Serie A side, Juventus will have his eyes set on winning as many titles as possible. The season has already begun on an impressive note for the football star, who recently scored his first hat trick in the Serie A, to become the only player to ever score a hat-trick in the English, Spanish and Italian leagues, as well as the World Cup.
1. Lionel Messi: Barcelona / Argentina
The reigning World’s Best FIFA Men’s player, Lionel Messi is the only player in history to have won six Ballon d’Or awards. This season, Messi who has been with Laliga giant, Barcelona, throughout his professional career, would be looking to win another Laliga title and Champions League with Barcelona. A Continental treble is also on the table for the Argentine player. Messi also will have his eye set on scoring as many goals as possible this season as well adding to his Ballon d’Or collections.
There you have it–Our list of the top-25 best male football players in the world to look out for this year. Please feel free to share your thoughts in the comments section below.