The top 20 football players of 2023 will be determined by the 2023 men’s Ballon d’Or ranking which was carried out on the 30th of October 2023.
The purpose of this article is to analyze 20 of the best male footballers of last year and there’s no better yardstick to use than the 2023 Ballon d’Or ranking.
List Of Top 20 Football Players Of 2023
1. Lionel Messi
Lionel Messi was the best player in 2023 which earned him a record 8th Ballon d’Or thanks to the season he had with PSG and most importantly, a fantastic World Cup campaign with Argentina.
The Argentine emerged as the world’s best after winning the French Ligue 1 with PSG as well as the Trophee des Champions and also the FIFA World Cup with Argentina, becoming the player of the tournament. In all competitions, he scored 37 goals in 53 games providing 25 assists.
Lionel Messi went ahead to win the US Open Cup with MLS side Inter Miami scoring 10 goals and emerging as player of the competition.
Messi winning the Ballon d’Or over Haaland means that he is the number 1 of the top 20 Football players in 2023.
2. Erling Haaland
The Manchester City striker Erling Haaland came close to winning the Ballon d’Or in 2023. The Norwegian, who just joined the Cityzens, scored an impressive 53 goals in 55 games in all competitions which won him the Premier League and European Golden Boot providing 9 assists at the same time winning the treble with City.
His impressive stats, trophies and records earned him a second-place finish on the Ballon d’Or ranking.
3. Kylian Mbappe
Mbappe’s 49 goals and 12 assists in 50 games took him to the top three of 2023 best players. The French international won the French Ligue 1, Trophee des Champions and the French Golden Boot.
His impressive performance in the World Cup cannot be overlooked as he was able to win the World Cup Golden Boot in the tournament.
4. Kevin De Bruyne
At number four is Kevin De Bruyne who finished 2023 with the most assists in Europe with 31 and scoring 10. His goals and assists were vital in winning the treble with Manchester City.
Rodrigo Hernandez, popularly known as Rodri, is a defensive midfielder for Manchester City whose presence in the Man City’s midfield cannot be overemphasized.
Well known for his defensive abilities, and ability to start a counterattack and protect City’s backline, he was able to finish 5th in the best players of 2023. Few goals scored for Man City all proved to be decisive, especially the one in the UCL final to win them their first-ever UEFA Champions League.
6. Vinicius Jr
The Brazilian had a decent season with Real Madrid winning the Copa del Rey, UEFA Super Cup and FIFA Club World Cup with 23 goals and 21 assists being one of the very few players to hit 20+ goals and 20+ assists in 2023.
7. Julian Alvarez
Julian Alvarez made history for himself after the Argentine won the World Cup with Argentina and still went ahead to win the treble with Manchester City in the same season.
The young striker was able to score 17 goals for Man City and 4 goals in the World Cup for Argentina.
8. Victor Osimhen
Victor Osimhen had a fantastic season with Napoli, winning the Scudetto and the Serie A Golden Boot with 26 goals in the league and 32 in all competitions.
His eighth-place finish in the Ballon d’Or ranking is the highest of any Nigerian footballer.
9. Bernardo Silva
The Portuguese Bernardo Silva was one of the key players in the treble-winning Manchester City side where he played mostly as a winger which earned him a 9th place finish in the Ballon d’Or ranking.
10. Luka Modric
After a decent World Cup campaign with Croatia, finishing in 3rd place coupled with a good season with Real Madrid, Luka Modric earned his spot at 10th in the best players of 2023.
11. Mohamed Salah
Salah’s 30 goals and 16 assists for Liverpool had him in 11th place on the rankings. Salah also won the FA Community Shield with the Reds.
12. Robert Lewandowski
The Barcelona striker finished as top scorer in the La Liga winning the Pichichi with 23 goals and 33 in all competitions. His goals were vital to winning Barcelona their 27th La Liga title.
13. Yassine Bounou
The Sevilla goalkeeper made it to the semi-final of the World Cup 2022 with Morocco and also won the UEFA Europa League with Sevilla which made him the highest-ranking goalkeeper in 2023.
14. Ilkay Gundogan
Captaining his side to a historic treble-winning season, the German becomes the sixth Manchester City player to make it to the list.
15. Emiliano Martinez
The shot-stopper of the World Cup-winning Argentina side makes it to the top 20 of the list. His saves during games as well as the penalty shootouts took Argentina to a third World Cup triumph.
16. Karim Benzema
Benzema scored 31 goals for Real Madrid and provided 6 assists to take him to 16th place on the rankings. His stats were able to win Real Madrid the UEFA Super Cup, FIFA Club World Cup and Copa del Rey.
17. Khvicha Kvaratskhelia
The Georgian had a good partnership with Osimhen on the pitch and put up good numbers. 14 goals and 17 assists in 43 games was good enough to earn him a spot in the best players of 2023.
18. Jude Bellingham
Bellingham’s 14 goals in the 2022/23 season made him Dortmund’s top goal scorer in all competitions. Unfortunately not to have won the Bundesliga last season, he ended up as the 18th best player of 2023.
19. Harry Kane
30 league goals and 32 in all competitions saw Harry Kane finish 19th on the list.
20. Lautaro Martinez
Part of the Inter Milan team that won the Coppa Italia and Supercoppa Italiana, Lautaro Martinez finished as top scorer for the team with 21 in the league and 28 in all competitions, providing a total of 11 assists.
The list of the top 20 best players of 2023 is seen to be topped by Lionel Messi who made it his eighth Ballon d’Or award breaking his own record of seven.
The list was also largely dominated by Manchester City players whose team had a total of six players thanks to their historic treble-winning season.