Ranked! The 10 best forwards in the world (2023)

Ranked! The 10 best forwards in the world (1)

Look through a list of the world’s best players, during any time in history, and more often than not, that list will be populated by forwards. They’re the most glamorous players in any team, after all: your friends and family are impressed by goals, not clean sheets or pass completion stats.

2021 is no different. Sure, goalkeepers and full-backs are more expensive than they have ever been but the forwards are more important than ever. In the age of the deep block, with less space on the pitch than ever, these are the guys entrusted with unlocking the opposition.

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And there are more top-class forwards around than ever before too. For our list, we’re going for any player who operates wide or centrally but isn’t a conventional centre-forward/striker (sorry Robert Lewandowski). The world’s best strikers are covered here (opens in new tab).

10. Marcus Rashford (Manchester United)

Ranked! The 10 best forwards in the world (2)

At the time, Marcus Rashford getting the No.10 shirt at Manchester United felt as much to do with trusting academy graduates and rewarding exciting young players as anything else. By now, he’s an undisputed A-lister of the game, capable of carrying the responsibility of the shirt, on and off the field.

Rashford has sparkled under Ole Gunnar Solksjaer, maturing into an unstoppable forward, wherever he plays across the frontline. He’s ferociously quick, incredibly clever and his movement is superb: he was even Jose Mourinho’s most played player during his United tenure, which tells you everything you need to know about his mentality.

9. Raheem Sterling (Manchester City)

Ranked! The 10 best forwards in the world (3)

Under Brendan Rodgers, he was raw, exciting and had flair in his feet. Under Pep Guardiola, Raheem Sterling has refined his game to the bare basics.

The England winger is all about goals and assists and he’s a pure output machine. His ability to take players on has fans on the edge of their seats - even at home - and his link-up play is underrated, too. He’s flourished into a world-class player.

8. Son Heung-min (Tottenham Hotspur)

Ranked! The 10 best forwards in the world (4)

Watch Son Heung-min without your glasses this season, tearing down the touchline in all white, and you’d be forgiven for mistaking him for Cristiano Ronaldo’s heady peak. The speed, the timing, the effortless finishing with either foot. With Harry Kane his Wayne Rooney, he’s put in a CR7-style season.

Son has ascended from being Kane’s no.2 to striking fear into full-backs on his own. He’s one of the most adored players in the world right now - and rightfully so after the campaign that he’s had.

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7. Serge Gnabry (Bayern Munich)

Ranked! The 10 best forwards in the world (5)

Tony Pulis might not be a fan but the rest of Europe is. Serge Gnabry is a Swiss-army knife of a forward, equally devastating with either foot and deadly on and off the ball.

Since moving to Bayern Munich, the former Arsenal man has established himself as one of the most complete wide-men in world football. He can create, he can score. He’s a perfect foil for Robert Lewandowski and he dovetails with Leroy Sane brilliantly. He’s just a joy to watch.

6. Phil Foden (Manchester City)

Ranked! The 10 best forwards in the world (6)

Somewhere along the line, Phil Foden earned the moniker of the “Stockport Iniesta”. In some respects, this is a disservice to how well he adapts his game to his surroundings.

Foden has become one of the first names on the team sheet for Pep Guardiola in part for his ability to create and score goals. But it’s the fact that he always pops up when it matters: goals against Chelsea and Liverpool testify, as do vital home and away strikes against Borussia Dortmund. This guy is made from something else: it’s scary to think he’s years away from his peak.

5. Jadon Sancho (Manchester City)

Ranked! The 10 best forwards in the world (7)

Last summer’s transfer saga between Dortmund and suitors Manchester United would have been enough to derail some burgeoning careers, yet Jadon Sancho has simply got on with things.

The England winger looks on course for another season of double figures for league goals and assists (last season, he became the first Englishman to achieve this feat since Matt Le Tissier in 1997), despite missing a number of games with a muscle injury suffered in February. With his trickery, close control, speed and balance, he has all the hallmarks of a classic winger, yet his goalscoring record is good enough to rival most strikers.

Sancho is almost certain to make Gareth Southgate’s Euros squad this summer - a starring role there might have other big clubs angling for his signature.

4. Mohamed Salah (Liverpool)

Ranked! The 10 best forwards in the world (8)

Liverpool’s defensive struggles this season have grabbed the headlines, but, further forward, Mo Salah has quietly got on with business. The Egyptian is the Premier League’s joint-top-scorer with 19 strikes, and has been carrying Jurgen Klopp’s side during their woeful title defence.

Salah’s work rate and pressing remain as valuable to Klopp’s system as his goals but his quiet leadership - especially when it comes to penalty-taking duties - mustn't be overlooked either. Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane have been poor this season; without Mo, Liverpool’s plight would be a whole lot worse.

3. Kylian Mbappe (Paris Saint-Germain)

Ranked! The 10 best forwards in the world (9)

No Ligue 1 player has made a greater contribution to their team’s strike rate than Kylian Mbappe. The Frenchman has scored 30% of his team’s tally this season. Seven assists take his combined goal contributions to 28 in 27 domestic appearances. He’s still only 22-years-old.

Mbappe has been especially electrifying in Europe, however, with eight goals in nine appearances. Five of those have come in the knockout stages, with three against Barcelona and two against Bayern. Heavyweights and minnows beware: this is a player with little regard for the opposition.

2. Lionel Messi (Barcelona)

Ranked! The 10 best forwards in the world (10)

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Twenty-nine goals in 39 games is an astonishingly good return for a wide forward, yet Messi’s prime exploits have made the mere brilliance of his late career seem ordinary. He might no longer operate at the peak of his powers but he remains one of the most potent goalscorers on the planet, well into his 30s.

Add in the 13 assists (ten in La Liga) and you get the full picture. Leo Messi is still contributing to a goal every game. This, at a club he is supposedly desperate to leave in the summer. As his pace and stamina slowly diminish, his vision and passing are only getting better. He’s different, but still destructive. Older, yet wiser.

1. Neymar (Paris Saint-Germain)

Ranked! The 10 best forwards in the world (11)

The box office Brazilian may not be PSG’s goal-scorer-in-chief anymore (that status belongs to Kylian Mbappe) but there’s no doubting his influence for the French giants - particularly in Europe. Six goals in seven Champions League appearances this season, including a brace at Old Trafford in the group stages, have contributed to 13 strikes in all competitions. Not impressive enough? Okay, but there’s much more to the 29-year-old than goals.

It’s Neymar’s creativity and leadership which make him so crucial to club and country. A pair of assists in Munich helped get revenge on Bayern in the Champions League quarter-finals and, on the big occasions, he consistently provides an outlet to teammates under pressure. There are few sights more exciting in football than Neymar turning with the ball to take on his marker. Pay no attention to the guff about his theatrical side; Neymar is a dream.

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Ranked! The 10 best forwards in the world (12)

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Who is the No 1 forward in the world? ›

It paves way for further debates and discussions as to who the world's No. 1 football player is. The popular choice, courtesy of his exploits in the FIFA World Cup 2022, is Lionel Messi. The Argentine forward is widely regarded as the greatest footballer of all time.

Who is the best forwards in the world 2022? ›

  1. Robert Lewandowski. The number one best striker in today's ranking is Robert Lewandowski.
  2. Erling Haaland. Erling Haaland is a Norwegian professional soccer player who plays as a striker for Borussia Dortmund and the Norway national team. ...
  3. Cristiano Ronaldo. ...
  4. Karim Benzema. ...
  5. Luis Suarez. ...
  6. Romelu Lukaku. ...
  7. Harry Kane. ...
  8. Diogo Jota. ...
Nov 28, 2022

Who is the current best striker? ›

Top 10 Best Strikers in the World
  • Romelu Lukaku (last 2 seasons): ...
  • Ciro Immobile (last 2 seasons): ...
  • Harry Kane (last 2 seasons): ...
  • Erling Haaland (last 2 seasons): ...
  • Cristiano Ronaldo (last 2 seasons): ...
  • Kylian Mbappe (last 2 seasons): ...
  • Robert Lewandowski (last 2 seasons): ...
  • Karim Benzema (last 2 seasons):
Dec 16, 2022

Who is No 1 Ronaldo or Messi? ›

At the club level, Messi holds the record for most goals in La Liga with 474. In total, including clubs and country, Messi has scored 793 goals in 1,003 appearances. He also has 350 assists to his name. On the other hand, Ronaldo has scored 819 goals in 1,145 appearances for both club and country.

Who are the goat? ›

The GOAT basically means 'The Greatest of All Time,' and it has been used for several decades by the United States press. Legendary boxer Mohamed Ali, basketball player Michael Jordan, and golfer Tiger Woods, were all also referred to as the GOATs back in the day.

Who is the fastest striker in the world 2022? ›

He is likely to go home with the Golden Ball or the Golden Boot as well.
  • 5th place (two-way tie) Ismaila Sarr, Senegal, 35.29 km/h. ...
  • 3rd place: David Raum, Germany, 35.40 km/h. ...
  • 2nd place: Nico Williams, Spain, 35.59 km/h. ...
  • 1st place: Kamaldeen Sulemana, Ghana, 35.69 km/h.
Dec 15, 2022

Which striker has the best defending? ›

  • #5 RICHARLISON (EVERTON) The 23-year-old versatile forward from the blue half of Merseyside has been a revelation in the Premier League. ...
  • #1 OPA NGUETTE (METZ) ...

Who is the best 9 in the world? ›

#1 Robert Lewandowski - Bayern Munich

The Polish striker netted 55 times in all competitions on Bayern Munich's way to achieving the treble during the 2019-20 season.

Who is the best dribbler in the world? ›

One of the greatest ever to grace the sport, Lionel Messi has made a massive impact on any team he has donned the jersey for and his dribbling skill is the major reason for it. Whether playing for the Argentina national football team or Paris Saint-Germain (PSG), Messi produces brilliance in every match.

Who is the best defender in world? ›

Widely regarded as one of the best defender of all time, Sergio Ramos received this award for his outstanding achievements and superb qualities in this role during his career. Ramos is now playing in the French club Paris Saint Germain, but Real Madrid has been his home for 16 years.

Who is the world best player? ›

#1. Lionel Messi (PSG & Argentina) (Total Football Goals: 804) 18 Dec. 2022.

Who is the No 1 club in football? ›

Real Madrid have dominated the competition in recent times and have taken home the trophy five times since 2013/14. They currently sit top of the pile of all-time Champions League winners, with 14 titles to their name.

Who is the 2 highest goal scorer? ›

Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi, along with India's Sunil Chhetri, are the top three active international goal scorers in men's football.

Who is best player in football? ›

1. Lionel Messi (PSG)

Who is the best footballer of all time? ›

  • Pele has died at the age of 82 following a battle with colon cancer.
  • The Brazilian has long been considered to be the greatest footballer of all time.
  • He scored 1,000 goals and is the only player to win the World Cup three times.
  • But there are some other stars who have compelling cases to be the greatest.
Dec 29, 2022

Who is goat in football? ›

Lionel Messi of Argentina is undoubtedly the GOAT of football in the 21st century. The acronym GOAT stands for Greatest of All Time and Messi is unquestionably the greatest of all time when it comes to football in the modern era.

Who is the goat in soccer? ›

As one long-standing debate ended at Doha's Lusail Iconic Stadium on Sunday night, another one began. Having led Argentina to triumph in the World Cup, Lionel Messi cemented his claim to being the greatest soccer player of all time.

Who is the king of football now? ›

Who is the king of football now 2022? Lionel Messi is the holder of the title 'King of football.

Who is the No 1 forward in football? ›

Ciro Immobile. There are few better natural goalscorers in Serie A than Ciro Immobile. The Italian striker has scored at an alarming rate for almost a decade in Italy. Immobile is one of just two players in history to win at least four Capocannoniere titles and started the 2022/23 season in typically hot fashion.

Who is the best dunking power forward? ›

Best Dunkers
1.Vince Carter
2.Michael Jordan
3.LeBron James
4.Dominique Wilkins
5.Julius Erving
20 more rows
Jul 6, 2020

Who is the best athlete ever? ›

  1. Michael Jordan.
  2. Babe Ruth.
  3. Muhammad Ali.
  4. Jim Brown.
  5. Wayne Gretzky.
  6. Jesse Owens.
  7. Jim Thorpe.
  8. Willie Mays.

Who is the goat LeBron or MJ? ›

Career Accolades

Possibly, the best way to compare these two careers is to take a look at their accolades and accomplishments and to compare them. Michael Jordan has 6 championships as opposed to Lebron James' 4 championships. Jordan has 6 final MVPs while LeBron has 4.

Who is faster than Mbappe? ›

Mbappe, a World Cup champion, set a record-breaking top speed in 2020 with 10.6 meters per second. That is approximately 23.7 mph. It still falls far short of Usain Bolt's 100-meter world record. When he established the world record in 2009, the Jamaican sprinting legend attained a speed of 27.8 mph.

Who is the fastest NFL player? ›

Fastest NFL Players
1Parris Campbell26-yard rush
2Kenneth Walker74-yard rushing TD
3Breece Hall62-yard rushing TD
4DeSean Jackson62-yard reception
6 more rows
5 days ago

Who is the world's fastest player? ›

With forward Kylian Mbappe leading the way at 35.3 kmph, France players have registered eight of the 13 top speeds among the semifinalists in the tournament.

Who has #1 defense? ›

Team Defense
1San Francisco 49ers3789
2Buffalo Bills3433
3Baltimore Ravens3947
13 more rows

Who are the 4 best defenders in the world? ›

  1. David Alaba (Real Madrid) (Image credit: Getty Images)
  2. Marquinhos (PSG) (Image credit: Getty Images) ...
  3. Ruben Dias (Manchester City) (Image credit: Getty Images) ...
  4. Virgil van Dijk (Liverpool) ...
  5. Antonio Rudiger (Real Madrid) ...
  6. Dayot Upamecano (Bayern Munich) ...
  7. Eder Militao (Real Madrid) ...
  8. William Saliba (Arsenal) ...
Oct 24, 2022

Who is the No 1 defender? ›

This is FC's list of the Top 50 Best Defenders in the world at the moment according to our algorithm. We update this list every Monday.
Top 50 Best Defenders, Centre Back or Libero Players.
NameNameÉder Militão
TeamTeamReal Madrid
PositionPositionD (CR)
50 more columns

Who is the best winger? ›

Here's our list of the top 25 right wingers in the world.
  • Raphinha.
  • Federico Chiesa.
  • Serge Gnabry.
  • Ousmane Dembele.
  • Federico Valverde.
  • Bukayo Saka.
  • Mohamed Salah.
  • Lionel Messi.
Nov 13, 2022

Who is the best attacker? ›

#1 Robert Lewandowski (Barcelona)

The Poland international is arguably the best striker of his generation and despite being well into his 30s, he continues to be one of the best footballers on the planet.

Who has scored most hat tricks in football history? ›

Lionel Messi

Imre Schlosser became the first player to score 5 international hat-tricks when he netted his 5th for Hungary on 14 July 1912 in a 12–0 friendly victory over Russia and his record lasted for 5 years, until Nielsen netted his 6th hat-trick on 7 October 1917 against Norway.

Who is the God dribbling? ›

Argentine superstar Lionel Messi is regarded as the king of dribbling skills in football.

Who is the best skillful player? ›

Lionel Messi is one of the best dribblers of all time. The unique thing about Messi as opposed to the other players on this list is that he is not one to do flashy tricks.

Who is the best defender in football? ›

Virgil van Dijk - 90

Liverpool's imperious centre-back is, unsurprisingly, ranked as the best defender in FIFA 23.

Who is best midfielder of all time? ›

10 greatest midfielders of all time
  • Frank Lampard.
  • Johan Neeskens in action.
  • Luka Modric with his Ballon d'Or award.
  • Steven Gerrard.
  • Paul Scholes.
  • Andrea Pirlo.
  • Didi is one of the greatest Brazilian players of all time.
  • Xavi.
Apr 21, 2021

Who is the greatest right back ever? ›

Top 10 right-backs
  • Giuseppe Bergomi.
  • Gianluca Zambrotta.
  • Djalma Santos.
  • Philipp Lahm.
  • Gary Neville.
  • Javier Zanetti.
  • Lillian Thuram.
  • Carlos Alberto.

Who is the best midfielder in the world? ›

Kevin De Bruyne is the best central midfielder in the world. The Belgian combines pace and power with ingenious technical quality to create a near unstoppable force.

Who is the top 10 best player? ›

Top 10 football players of all time
  1. Lionel Messi (Argentina) © Reuters.
  2. Pele (Brazil) © Reuters. ...
  3. Diego Maradona (Argentina) © Reuters. ...
  4. Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal) © Reuters. ...
  5. Zinedine Zidane (France) © Reuters. ...
  6. Johan Cruyff (Netherlands) © Reuters. ...
  7. Franz Beckenbauer (West Germany) © Reuters. ...
  8. Alfredo di Stefano (Argentina) ...

Who is better than Messi? ›

Ronaldo has scored 701 goals at all club competitions while Messi has 695 – making them the leading goal scorers at club level in football history.

Which football club has fans most? ›

The answer is Real Madrid!

Like in 2021, also this year Real is the most followed football club in the world. Overall, the top 10 teams are the same as in 2021. There are only several changes in positions. Let's have a detailed look at the football clubs with the most fans in the world in 2022.

Which football player has most fans in world? ›

The answer is Cristiano Ronaldo!

The number of his followers is extraordinary, especially on Instagram: more than 388 million. Let's have a detailed look at the football players with the most fans in the world in 2022.

What's the best NFL team? ›

1. Kansas City Chiefs. It's time to bet on one team to win the Super Bowl and there's no better player in the NFL than Patrick Mahomes.

Who is the best forwarder in football? ›

2021 is no different.
The world's best strikers are covered here (opens in new tab).
  1. Neymar (Paris Saint-Germain)
  2. Lionel Messi (Barcelona) ...
  3. Kylian Mbappe (Paris Saint-Germain) ...
  4. Mohamed Salah (Liverpool) ...

Who is the number 1 power forward in the NBA? ›

The greatest power forward is currently none other than Giannis Antetokounmpo. The lad has averaged 30.2 points per game, 12.8 rebounds, and 5.1 assists in 21 postseason games. With the NBA championship title and the ability to guard multiple positions, no one deserves it more than Antetokounmpo.

Who is the best player in the world 2022? ›

1Lionel Messi - PSG & Argentina

The years roll on but Messi's class and his place among the best players on the planet have never been in question.

Who is the world football king? ›

Ronaldo and Messi have been the two names for the title of G.O.A.T. of Football.

Who is #1 all time in 3 pointers? ›

Stephen Curry

Who scored 73 points in an NBA game? ›

Wilt Chamberlain

Who scored 73 points in the NBA? ›

Nuggets 360: David Thompson on scoring 73 points | NBA.com.


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