For about 15 years, Argentine stars Lionel Messi and Portuguese Cristiano Ronaldo have dominated the award for the best player in the world, and only Croatian Luka Modric in 2018 and French Karim Benzema in 2022 broke their monopoly on the award, while the award was withheld in 2020 due to the repercussions of the Corona virus pandemic.
In view of this, Messi and Cristiano are considered the best players in the world throughout that period, while they left the race for third place wide open to their counterparts, according to the Spanish newspaper “Marca”, which believes, for its part, that there are many football players who can complete the “podium”. And she asked, “If not Neymar, who is the third best player in the world? The answer to this question is presented in the following lines:
Neymar Jr. (constant rival)
The Brazilian star came in third place for the best player in the world twice, in 2015 when he presented impressive levels with Barcelona, as well as in 2017, months after his departure from the “Blaugrana” to Paris Saint-Germain, to get out of Messi’s shadow.
During his career with St. Germain, Neymar contributed to the team reaching the Champions League final in 2020 before losing to Bayern Munich, but he suffered injuries that affected his career, before moving to Al Hilal Saudi Arabia at the age of 31.
Andres Iniesta (World Cup champion, South Africa)
The Spanish midfielder is seen as one of the most creative in football history as he created a special model in Barcelona’s golden era with coach Pep Guardiola, alongside compatriots Xavi Hernandez and Sergio Busquets.
Iniesta’s 2010 #WorldCup final goal changed Spanish football forever! 🇪🇸👏🏆
📺 https://t.co/ezhfwgVNdI pic.twitter.com/DMSzUDF6iZ
— FIFA World Cup (@FIFAWorldCup) May 8, 2018
The “painter” was crowned with many titles with Barcelona, and scored for Spain the goal of winning the 2010 World Cup and finished second in the Golden Ball race behind Messi, despite winning the World Cup, and he also came in third place in 2012.
Karim Benzema (late blast)
The French striker is considered one of the two players who succeeded in wresting the Ballon d’Or award from Messi, with merit, in 2022, after leading his former team, Real Madrid, to crown the Spanish League and European Champions League titles, in addition to winning the two competitions’ top scorer awards, which was unanimous for critics and fans. Football deserves this award.
Benzema waited for Cristiano Ronaldo to leave Real Madrid in 2018 in order to obtain a leadership role in the team, which he succeeded in with distinction, but this year he chose to leave for the Saudi Al-Ittihad club.
Luka Modric (age is just a number)
He is one of the few players who play football at a high level despite reaching the age of 38, and he recently renewed his contract with Real Madrid for one season.
– Ballon d’Or #ballondor (@francefootball) September 9, 2022
Modric was the first to win the award from Messi and Cristiano in 2018, thanks to his brilliance with Real Madrid and his coronation in the Champions League for the third season in a row, and he completed that by leading the Croatian national team to the final of the World Cup Russia 2018, which lost to France 2-4, and after 4 years he returned to achieve bronze. Qatar World Cup.
Xavi Hernandez (Pacemaker)
Xavi left Barcelona in 2015 to the Qatari Dam after crowning the “Blaugrana” with the historic treble and leading Barcelona to many titles, in addition to his prominent role in crowning Spain with the European Cup twice (Euro 2008 and 2012) and the 2010 World Cup.
Xavi’s name was nominated for the award in 2010, but he came third, behind his former teammates Messi and Iniesta, respectively.
Arjen Robben (The Scandal)
The Dutch winger was famous for his movement, which he mastered to a great degree, which is the penetration from the right and entering the depth, and then shooting into the far corner of the net, which are goals registered in his name and he repeated them on many occasions, whether with Real Madrid, Bayern Munich or the Netherlands national team.
Arjen Robben 🔥🔥🔥
🗓️ 2013 UCL Final
⚽️ Scores the winning goal
🏆 Bayern crowned champions
🏅 Awarded Man of the Match
— UEFA Champions League (@ChampionsLeague) January 23, 2019
Robin appeared at high levels, especially in the ten years he spent with the “Bavarian” team, by winning the Champions League and many titles, but his name was not included in the final list of candidates to win the Golden Ball award.
Antoine Griezmann (Quality and Commitment)
Since the arrival of the French striker to Atletico Madrid in 2014 from Real Sociedad, he has become more complete with Argentine coach Diego Simeone, leading his team to crown the European League, as well as the European Super Cup at the expense of Real Madrid in 2018, and between them he achieved the World Cup with France, but all This did not intercede for him to win the Golden Ball award, and his best position was when he finished third behind Modric and Cristiano in the 2018 edition.
Robert Lewandowski (goal machine)
In the eyes of many, Lewandowski is considered the best outright striker in the past decade, as his scoring score has not fallen below 30 goals in the last eight seasons with Bayern Munich and Barcelona, with his remarkable brilliance before that with Borussia Dortmund.
— UEFA Champions League (@ChampionsLeague) April 24, 2023
Leva came very close to winning the Golden Ball, but the need for the Corona virus deprived him of it in 2020, then he came in second place behind Messi the following year, and yet he won two awards for the best player in the world, “The Best” presented by the International Federation of Football Associations “FIFA”. .
Sergio Ramos (Leading Defender)
Despite his main position as a central defender, Ramos succeeded in scoring many decisive and important goals, especially with the headers that he was perfecting, perhaps the most prominent of which was the equalizer for Real Madrid against arch-rivals Atletico in the 2014 Champions League final.
In addition, Ramos led the “Merengue” defense and the Spain national team for many years, winning the Champions League 4 times, as well as the 2010 World Cup and the European Cup twice (Euro 2008 and 2012).
Kevin De Bruyne (Guardiola appointed)
“Kevin De Bruyne is a special player, he sees things that others cannot see on the pitch,” said coach Pep Guardiola after a match. Since his arrival in Manchester City in 2015, De Bruyne has led the team’s renaissance and won 5 Premier League titles with him, and finally succeeded in winning the European Champions League title in the summer of 2023. The last tournament so far is the culmination of the Manchester City captain’s career, and he is a candidate to win the award. Golden Ball for 2023.
Luis Suarez (Goals are a way of life)
He is one of the most prominent strikers in the last decade alongside Lewandowski, and he has strengthened his relationship with the net since the beginning of his football career, and the pace of that increased with Liverpool and Barcelona, and he won with them the Golden Boot award.
— UEFA Champions League (@ChampionsLeague) April 15, 2023
Suarez also contributed to the crowning of the “Blaugrana” with many titles thanks to his decisive goals, and perhaps the most prominent thing he did was crowning the Spanish League with Atletico Madrid in the first season (2020-2021) after his departure from “Barca”.