The last ten years have captured an entire era of elite footballers playing out their prime years. And in this article, we will outline the lineup of the best footballers of the decade gone by.
GK: Manuel Neuer
The German goalkeeper has revolutionised his position like no one else, enabling Bayern Munich to almost play with 11 outfield players. The sweeper keeper has easily been the best over the last ten years and takes the spot between the sticks.
RB: Dani Alves
Alves started the decade with Barcelona and went on to feature for Juventus and Paris Saint-Germain, winning trophies with all clubs. He was most recently featured on the pitch for Sao Paulo and has now returned to Barcelona at 38.
CB: Sergio Ramos
Sergio Ramos might not have the best defensive pedigree of all centre-backs in contention, but has unrivalled determination and leadership qualities. Guiding the world’s biggest club to a hat-trick of Champions League trophies and their 34th La Liga title, Ramos makes it into the lineup with ease.
CB: Thiago Silva
The Brazilian centre-back started out the decade with a Scudetto playing for AC Milan, and subsequently the Italian Super Cup. He then earned a €42 million move to PSG. He has since established himself as a club legend, and after moving to Chelsea in 2020, won the Champions League. Despite a number of competitors for the spot, Silva takes his place in the line-up.
Although he is mainly on the bench now, Marcelo is without a doubt the best left-back of the last ten years. The Brazilian won four Champions Leagues with Real Madrid and lifted every available trophy there is to win playing for Los Blancos.
CM: Andres Iniesta
Iniesta is an undisputed Barcelona legend and is still playing at the age of 37, with J1 League club Vissel Kobe. The midfielder won every available trophy with club and country and is one of the best of the decade gone by. He capped it off by winning the Japanese Cup with Kobe in 2019.
CM: Toni Kroos
Kroos was named the German footballer of the year in 2018 and was a vital part of the midfield in Real Madrid’s hat-trick of Champions League victories. He won the 2014 World Cup with Germany and subsequently made the switch from Bayern Munich to Real Madrid.
CM: Luka Modric
Modric Is the only midfielder to be awarded the Ballon d’Or in the 2010s. Prior to his award in 2018, the last time the award wasn’t given to Messi or Ronaldo was in 2007. At the time Kaka won the award playing for AC Milan. In nine years at Real Madrid, he has won every available trophy and also captained Croatia to the 2018 World Cup final.
RW: Lionel Messi
Messi is one of the greatest players to ever kick a ball, as is evident from his six Ballon d’Or awards. The Argentinian is also a strong contender for this year’s award, which would extend his record tally to seven. He also earned his first international trophy with Argentina recently, lifting the Copa America 2021 with the Albiceleste this semester.
ST: Robert Lewandowski
Luis Suarez and Karim Benzema were strong contenders for the striker spot. But, having broken Gerd Muller’s 40 goals in one Bundesliga season record last year, the Pole is deservedly the best number 9 in the world right now. His positioning and goalscoring prowess for both club and country is unrivalled.
LW: Cristiano Ronaldo
Alongside Messi, the lineup would not be complete without Ronaldo. The five-time Ballon d’Or award winner is still bagging in the goals at Manchester United and is Real Madrid’s highest ever goalscorer. He ended the last decade with Juventus, winning the Scudetto with them twice.