There is no denying that soccer is by far the world’s most popular sport. The Library of Congress estimates that there are over 240 million registered players at both a professional and recreational level. With this level of people taking up the sport, it is no wonder that there are an estimated 3.5 billion soccer fans worldwide. With so many people playing, the best talents would inevitably rise to the top. Throughout the years, a select few of the previous top players proceed to become legends in the sport. A legend is more than just their name, high-profile victories, or World Cups. They are also their personalities and what they bring to the field and, more importantly, whether they inspire the next generation to put on their boots and play.
Who amongst the 2022 players can we expect to achieve such a rank in the future? We have put together a list of who we believe to be the top players in 2022.
1. Lionel Messi, the Argentine Star
No list of the best players would be complete without putting Messi at the top. When it comes to soccer betting, teams that field Messi on the pitch are usually favorites, and with good reason. Currently playing for Paris Saint-Germain, Messi was the heartbeat of his previous team in Barcelona. With seven Ballons d’Or to his name, including back-to-back wins in 2019 and 2021, Messi also helped lead his teammates to victory in the 2021 Copa Americana — a significant career milestone. To top it all off, Forbes Listed Lionel as the 2nd highest paid athlete of 2021.
2. Neymar, the Powerful Brazilian Forward
We cannot talk about Messi without turning our attention to one of his current teammates on Paris Saint-Germain: none other than world-famous Neymar. As of January 2022, Neymar has represented Brazil in 116 games and scored seventy goals. This is the highest for any modern player and only surpassed by Pelé, who retired over 40 years ago. Although he has struggled with injuries over the years of his career, one thing has never changed: the indomitable personality that makes Neymar such a famous athlete the world over.
Having been a key element in establishing Paris Saint-Germain’s dominance in Ligue 1, Neymar looks set to continue an illustrious career defined by incredibly fast footwork on the pitch and exact targeting with the ball.
3. Cristiano Ronaldo, a Long-Term Force
As the most famous name in modern soccer, Ronaldo has almost achieved the status of legend before even retiring. At the age of thirty-seven, he may no longer play at the absolute peak of his youth, there is no denying that he continues to be a major force on the pitch. By the end of the 2021 season, he had obtained an incredible milestone, claiming the title of “most goals scored” in international soccer.
Ronaldo remains a powerful forward who has a keen eye for identifying gaps in defenders and opportunities for scoring. Ronaldo’s teams have always relied on him to produce big results in high-pressure moments — and he usually does not disappoint.
Now playing for Manchester United, Ronaldo has undergone growing pains in the transition but looks set to settle in and become a key element in that club’s future – and a major drawcard for crowds.
4. Robert Lewandowski, the Polish Phenom
Named by FIFA as the best player of the year twice in a row, this Polish striker playing for Bayern Munich just barely lost the 2021 Ballon d’Or to Messi. In the 2021 season, he set a Bundesliga record for most goals scored in a single season with forty points. At age thirty-three and with some good years of his career still ahead of him, Lewandowski is highly likely to eclipse the lifetime goals record in the Bundesliga set decades ago by famous German great Gerd Muller. Soccer betting on games with Lewandowski is always fun for those who like to guess the final score. With Lewandowski on the pitch, you can count on seeing a true artist at work.
5. Kevin de Bruyne, a Technical Master
A Premier League player currently rostered on Manchester City, de Bruyne is renowned for his ability to function with excellence in almost any role on the pitch. While he may not rack up the records like other players on the list, his consistency and aptitude ensure he enjoys consistent recognition as one of the best in the game. After a slow start to his career, de Bruyne had his talent explode in 2015 — and by 2020, de Bruyne was named the Premier League’s Player of the Year.
Who Will Be the Next Soccer Great?
From the thrill of soccer betting during a major final to sharing in the joy of seeing your favorite players clinch a decisive victory, there is no shortage of reasons to start actively following the sport. That is not to mention there is always the possibility of an explosive new talent to emerge on the professional level. Just because these five players topped the list for 2022 does not mean we will see a return spot next year — but we will have to watch their performance to find out.