Ranked! The 100 best players of the 21st Century

Ranked! The 100 best players of the 21st Century
(Image credit: Future)

Debate about the best players of the 21st Century goes back, funnily enough, to 2000, when Boca Juniors beat Real Madrid in the now-extinct Intercontinental Cup final. President Florentino Perez reportedly gave both barrels to his misfiring Galacticos in the aftermath – but more because of the commercial opportunities that a pancontinental cup final loss had scuppered than the embarrassing result.

Flo saw the match as a chance to expand his brand to Asia, with a new millennium beaming more football matches than ever: but not even he could envisage what this new century would bring. The internet would create stars – it would break them, too – the Champions League would grow in prestige, while scientific and technological advancements (not to mention coaching evolution) would make this game almost unrecognisable from the one that Perez grew up wanting to tame as his own.

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Alasdair Mackenzie is a freelance journalist based in Rome, and a FourFourTwo contributor since 2015. When not pulling on the FFT shirt, he can be found at Reuters, The Times and the i. An Italophile since growing up on a diet of Football Italia on Channel 4, he now counts himself among thousands of fans sharing a passion for Ross County and Lazio. 

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