• The list accounts for ability rather than form, mitigating for factors such as players suitability at their current clubs, injuries, and potential.
  • Three France stars make the top ten N'Golo Kante, Paul Pogba, and Kylian Mbappe but there is no longer room for Portugal's Cristiano Ronaldo.
  • Read on to find who makes up the rest of the list, and of course, who is number one.
  • Read more of our soccer coverage here.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

10. Kalidou Koulibaly SSC Napoli

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Almost all of Europe's biggest clubs are rumoured to be interested in taking Kalidou Koulibaly away from Napoli.

Manchester United and Manchester City want him, says Transfermarkt, as does Chelsea, according to Calcio Mercato. Football Espana says Real Madrid are after him, and Football Italia says Paris Saint Germain are, too.

Why wouldn't they be?

The Senegalese has been unwaveringly solid for a number of years now, and was as good as ever in 2019. He was named Serie A's best defender for last season, and also in the Africa Cup of Nations' Team of the Tournament.

9. Sadio Mane Liverpool FC

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When someone is given Lionel Messi's seal of approval, you know they must be good.

At 2019's FIFA Best Awards, the Argentine voted Sadio Mane as his number one player in the world.Unfortunately for the Liverpool star however, he didn't even make the top three in end.

"It's a shame to see Mane finish in fourth place," Messi told Canal+ at the time, says Goal. "Mane achieved a great year that was exceptional for the entire Liverpool team. That's why I chose him."

8. Eden Hazard Real Madrid

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Few in world football have better dribbling abilities than Eden Hazard. That's demonstrated best by the fact that over the last decade, the Belgian completed more successful dribbles than any other player in the Premier League, managing an incredible 909 during his time with Chelsea.

Since moving to La Liga, he's maintained those high standards, averaging 4.4 dribbles per game the second highest in the division behind only Lionel Messi. He has only played seven games this term due to injury however, so once he's fully fit, that average is likely to rise even higher.

7. Paul Pogba Manchester United

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Paul Pogba didn't even make the top 50 of Business Insider's best players of 2019 list.

Since moving to Manchester United in 2016, the Frenchman has failed to replicate the form he showed at previous club Juventus. That is by no fault of his own, however.

Former United manager Jose Mourinho failed to see eye-to-eye with Pogba, oft either playing him out of position or omitting him completely. The 26-year-old also wasn't helped by the distinct lack of quality around him at Old Trafford.

A more accurate reflection of Pogba's ability is when he plays for his country. He leads the line like a true midfield general, playing with flair, grace, and power in equal measure, but most importantly, with a smile on his face.

A happy Pogba is a world class Pogba.

6. Kylian Mbappe Paris Saint Germain

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If you were to look at Kylian Mbappe's trophy cabinet, you wouldn't believe he is still only 21 years old.

A World Cup, three Ligue 1 titles, and the Coupe de France are just a few of his collective honours. Individually, he's won the Golden Boy award, the Ligue 1 Player of the Season trophy, and Ligue 1's top scorer prize.

He also has 122 career goals to date already, which is far more than both Lionel Messi (50) and Cristiano Ronaldo (36) had managed by the time they reached the same age.

Should he continue in the same fashion, the Frenchman has the talent to surpass both as the modern game's greatest ever goalscorer, and perhaps even, player.

5. Kevin De Bruyne Manchester City

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If Kevin De Bruyne were a car, he'd be a Rolls Royce Phantom. Classy, elegant, and luxurious, but with a powerful 450 bhp engine hidden away underneath its hood. The Belgian star plays the game effortlessly, but to devastating effect.

His range of passing is second to none, and, when combined with his sublime first touch and acute awareness of what's happening around him, it means he can dictate any game.

The 28-year-old's ability to drift past defenders at the drop of a shoulder also evokes memories of a prime Zinedine Zidane.

4. Virgil Van Dijk Liverpool FC

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"Think of the best defenders in Premier League history John Terry, Rio Ferdinand, and Nemanja Vidic. [Virgil] Van Dijk is all three players rolled into one."

Those were the words of former Liverpool and England star Jamie Redknapp, according to Goal.

A bold statement, but one difficult to argue with given just how excellent the Dutchman has been since his move to Anfield in early 2018.

His Terry-esque heart, his Ferdinand-esque brain, and Vidic-esque physicality have transformed Liverpool's back four into the best in Europe. Should Jurgen Klopp's side win its first ever Premier League title as expected this season, a lot of credit will, and rightly so, go to Van Dijk.

3. N'Golo Kante Chelsea FC

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On the pitch, N'Golo Kante does not play like a superstar. He doesn't have terrific footwork, he rarely scores, and he never really lands himself in hot water.

Off it, he doesn't act like one either. No flashy cars (he still drives a Mini Cooper), no fancy designer clothes, and no partying til the early hours.

But that is exactly what makes him so unassumingly, but terrifyingly, brilliant. Whether it's chasing the ball relentlessly for 90 mins, sitting in front of the back four, or playing as an attacking midfielder, the versatile 28-year-old always adds value, and a lot of it.

2. Neymar Paris Saint Germain

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Neymar didn't have a particularly memorable 2019. Injuries, suspensions, poor form, ongoing transfer rumours, and off-field problems all made for one of the worst years of his career.

A rough 12 months aside however, the Brazilian remains an extremely talented footballer, who has the ability to change a game like no other player in world football, bar Lionel Messi. Seductively skillful, a perceptive passer, and first-class finisher Neymar has it all in his arsenal.

At 27, he still has plenty of time to fulfill his potential as the world's best which he showed during his time at Barcelona.

1. Lionel Messi FC Barcelona

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Lionel Messi has already been mentioned a lot in this article, even before we've reached him. "Lionel Messi's seal of approval." "Bar Lionel Messi," "Behind only Lionel Messi."

Anything and everything every other player does gets instantly compared to the Argentine. Why? He is the best. At everything.

He runs with the ball like no other player, passes a ball better than everyone else, and, of course, he scores the most goals 717 in total to date.

Diego Maradona may have been blessed with God's hand, but Messi got the rest.

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