Ranking world's 10 best players as Mo Salah vies with Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo

By Darren Wells

It's something we're all going to have to come to terms with eventually as the effects of father time take their toll.

Yes, Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo will one day no longer be gracing our stadiums or TV screens, but that is still a little way off - for now at least.

With 11 Ballon d'Ors between them, time is running out for Ronaldo to catch up with his rival, though his flying form back at Manchester United has given him a chance, while Messi's start to life in new surroundings at PSG has so far been indifferent.

Yet as far as accolades go, are they still the top two players in world football?

Lionel Messi is still performing at a ridiculously high level (Getty Images)

Mohamed Salah's fearsome form for Liverpool has brought the Egyptian firmly into the picture, after his dazzling solo goal against Manchester City that even Messi would have been proud of.

Having said that, Messi's first strike for PSG against the same opponent was equally as pleasing on the eye, and there are a number of other players who would consider themselves contenders.

Messi's new team-mate Kylian Mbappe would certainly think so, having already bagged a World Cup in his short career as he looks set to become Real Madrid's next Galactico signing.

He and Borussia Dortmund striker Erling Haaland are swiftly ushering in a new era, with the Norwegian's frightening goal rate making him one of the hottest prospects worldwide.

In terms of promising talent, it's almost easy to overlook the emergence of Dortmund's Jude Bellingham, who has been dominating games in the Champions League and for his country despite only recently turning 18.

Mohamed Salah's brilliant goal against Man City has put him in the equation (Liverpool FC via Getty Images)

As far as midfield generals go though, few can lay claim to being the best in the position quite like Man City's Kevin De Bruyne.

The Belgian has been far and away the outstanding midfielder of recent seasons, again showing his quality with a top class display against Liverpool at the weekend, capped off with the crucial equaliser.

De Bruyne is comfortably placed among the Premier League's elite, alongside Liverpool's towering defender Virgil van Dijk, widely regarded as the world's best defender and a player who helped transform his side into domestic, European and world champions.

Robert Lewandowski will feel he has a claim to the title (Getty Images)

The debate will rage on in pubs, living rooms and stadium concourses all over, but two players that also simply have to be part of the discussion are PSG superstar Neymar and Bayern Munich's goal machine Robert Lewandowski.

Pipping Messi and Ronaldo to the Ballon d'Or crown has long been Neymar's ambition, and perhaps could become a reality now he is reunited with his old team-mate, after showing flashes of his best form in the Champions League last season.

That feat is something Lewandowski might feel he was robbed of when the Ballon d'Or was put on hold last year, after his prolific form helped Bayern to a momentous treble.

It's certainly no longer an easy decision - but who gets your vote?


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