Three World Cups Six Different Champions League Winners And Countless Memorable Matches And Performances
Three World Cups, six different Champions League winners and countless memorable matches and performances.
The 2010s have been a decade littered with footballing brilliance.
As the decade comes to a close, Sportsmail asked our team of reporters: who have been their players of the 2010s? The results, formed of 27 responses tallied up to make up a top 50 players, will be published over the next five days.
Can [/sport/cristianoronaldo/index.html Cristiano Ronaldo]'s four European Cup wins and international success propel him above the mercurial brilliance of [/sport/lionelmessi/index.html Lionel Messi]?
Which [/sport/premierleague/index.html Premier League] stars will mix it with the best from LaLiga? And where will the World Cup winners rank compared to the stars of the Champions League?
The latest batch of names, placing in from 20 to 11, includes a 21-year-old World Cup winner, a Brazilian who lifted 26 trophies this decade and a jewel in [/sport/teampages/manchester-city.html Manchester City]'s crown. Keep checking back on MailOnline across the last five days of the decade for the full list.
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Arjen Robben - Bayern Munich, HollandThis Flying Dutchman had a signature move that few others could rival.
He would loiter wide on the right, collect a pass from a team-mate before cutting inside and firing in on his left foot with deadly precision. It was utterly predictable but turned into one of the most unstoppable moves in football over the decade.
Try as they might, defenders simply could not keep the Bayern Munich veteran off that famed left of his and the damage was frequent and devastating.
Rightly considered one of the best wingers in the world in the 2010s, Robben went on to lift eight Bundesliga titles, five German Cups, five German Super Cups, one Champions League, one UEFA Super Cup and finished in UEFA's Team of the Year twice.
His formidable 'Roberry' partnership with Franck Ribery showed the effectiveness of out-and-out wingers in a system and Bayern are still on the hunt for a player capable of replacing him.
Arjen Robben was formidable with Bayern Munich and helped them deliver a raft of major titles
He was naturally left-footed but defenders could not stop him cutting inside to find the net
Kylian Mbappe - Monaco, PSG, FranceWhen the duopoly of Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo ends, all eyes will be on whether Kylian Mbappe takes the throne.
He has everything in his arsenal to suggest he can be the new king.
The new benchmark by which others are judged against.
It is easy to forget Mbappe is still 21 and already has over 100 club career goals. Add into that three Ligue 1 titles - his first in his breakout season with AS Monaco in 2016-17 - and the 2018 World Cup and Mbappe already has a CV and trophy cabinet many in the world of football could only dream of.
Likened to a young Thierry Henry, Mbappe's fearlessness is one of his biggest assets and he seems to thrive on the biggest stages.
The best is definitely yet to come and fast forward to this list in a decade's time, Mbappe is a strong candidate to be No 1.
Kylian Mbappe is a generational talent who could go to dominate football in the next decade
Dani Alves - Barcelona, Juventus, PSG, Sao Paulo, BrazilThis top-50 decade list is full of the game's finest, from England, Spain, Italy, France and beyond.
But it would have been a real injustice had Brazilian full-back Dani Alves not made the cut, for he has amassed a trophy haul in 10 seasons that is enough to make anybody's eyes water.
Plying his trade in LaLiga, Serie A, Ligue 1 and now back in his native Brazil, Alves has lifted 26 trophies between 2010 and 2019 and may find he is running out of room for all his accolades when personal achievements are thrown into the mix.
He is perhaps the greatest attacking full-back of his generation and became a vital piece of the puzzle in Barcelona's dominant years at the start of the decade.
Trophies followed wherever he has been and it could be argued that his effectiveness and impact has changed the way managers and fans see the full-back role.
Dani Alves' sensational trophy haul in 10 seasons ensures he was a certainty in the top-50 list
The Brazilian is synonymous with trophies wherever he has been and lifted 26 in the decade
Eden Hazard - Lille, Chelsea, Real Madrid, BelgiumDespite his early struggles at Real Madrid to see the decade out, Eden Hazard has been one of the most exciting players to grace the Premier League in the 2010s.
Few players could lift fans out of the seats the way Hazard did with such regularity during his seven years at Stamford Bridge with Chelsea.
There was some knowledge among European football aficionados of him from the early days at Lille with Manchester United losing out to Chelsea for his signature.
What transpired when he arrived was a whirlwind as the Belgian twisted and turned his way around opposition defences like a contestant on the Total Wipeout circuit.
Two Premier League titles, two FA Cup wins and two Europa League titles had much to do with his impact.
And despite a rebuild with youth at its core, the biggest testament to Hazard is that his impact is felt so greatly at Chelsea right now.
Eden Hazard finally got his move to Real Madrid where they hope he becomes a true Galactico
Hazard's parting gift for Chelsea came in Baku when he helped win the Europa League trophy
Toni Kroos - Bayern Munich, Real Madrid, GermanyHow different would David Moyes' time at Manchester United have been if he had actually landed Toni Kroos? Truly, nobody will know the answer. But what Kroos has done since that botched attempt of a move gives an idea to how it might have gone.
Real Madrid's dominance in the Champions League was built on a midfield that became the envy of Europe's elite.
For as great as Luka Modric was alongside him, Kroos was a silky operator with a passing range that left rivals without hope of winning back possession.
Chuck in the 2014 World Cup win, where Germany dug in to beat Lionel Messi's Argentina, and xok.ro Kroos will go down as one of the finest central midfielders of the era.
Toni Kroos lifted three straight Champions League titles after he arrived at Real Madrid
Philipp Lahm - Bayern Munich, GermanyGermany have had plenty of stars over the decade that they may well argue they could make up this list all on their own.
Kroos was the jewel of their midfield but nobody epitomised German efficiency and success quite like Phillip Lahm did.
Six Bundesliga titles may well be derided given Bayern's overwhelming dominance but a World Cup and a Champions League ensure none of the big prizes escaped the clutches of the versatile full-back.
He made over 500 appearances in total for Bayern before taking retirement and even managed to reinvent the wheel under Pep Guardiola when he was deployed as a defensive midfielder, instead of a full-back.
Steered clear of the headlines - unlike others on this list - and was an exemplary role model.
One of the finest professionals to make the cut, here.
Phillip Lahm was an exemplary professional and a model of consistency for club and country
Zlatan Ibrahimovic - Barcelona, AC Milan, PSG, Manchester United, LA Galaxy, SwedenHe might not agree with his final position - sorry, Zlatan - but Ibrahimovic is impossible to ignore when the question was posed on the decade's best.
Wherever Ibrahimovic goes, Ibrahimovic wins.
And without sounding too much like the man himself, he has improved so many players and teams it is frightening.
Add into this, the man scored more than 250 goals in the judged period. A man-made machine of sorts, scoring goals for fun, often in the most outrageous fashion.
Even at 38, he still found himself a man in demand before plucking for an emotional return to AC Milan.
Twelve trophies at PSG saw him earn god-like status in the French capital before the Swede gave Manchester United fans plenty of fond memories during his stint at Old Trafford.
If this was a list of the most memorable and egotistical players of the decade, Ibrahimovic would have found himself in contention for No 1, no doubt.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic single-handily dominated the French League during his time with PSG
Trophies followed at Manchester United as he proved value for money on a free transfer
Even at LA Galaxy, the goals did not dry up for Ibrahimovic despite his advancing years
Manuel Neuer - Schalke, Bayern Munich, GermanyRightly considered the best goalkeeper on the planet for much of the decade, Neuer is a no-brainer here.
His ability as a sweeper-keeper changed what many bosses thought was possible for a goalkeeper and he has been a revolutionary in altering the way the game is played.
Those like Hugo Lloris and Ederson who have come after him have shown a number of similarities that Neuer was showing off earlier in the decade and his remarkable performance levels have stayed frighteningly consistent.
Given he has won everything available to him both for Bayern Munich and Germany, his place as the highest ranked goalkeeper in our list was assured.
While the likes of Ribery, Robben, Lahm and Bastian Schweinsteiger have left holes over the years, finding a goalkeeper capable of filling the gloves left by Neuer - when he hangs them up for good - could well be Bayern's toughest task in years.
Long thought the finest goalkeeper on the planet in the decade, Manuel Neuer is a no-brainer
David Silva - Manchester City, SpainFor all the goals of Sergio Aguero - no player scored more Premier League goals than the Argentine in this decade - there is something about the elegance and craft in David Silva's play that has won him so many admirers.
The Spaniard is leaving the Etihad at the end of the 2019-20 season and it will prove an emotional parting of the ways.
Having arrived in 2010 from Valencia, Silva has been a major part of changing the culture at the club from a newly-rich side to a bunch of serial winners.
Four Premier League titles in Manchester, two FA Cups, four League Cups and then a World Cup with Spain in 2010 means that 'Merlin', the nickname he is affectionately known by given his spell-binding skill in the centre of the park, will be considered one of the finest imports ever in the Premier League.
David Silva changed the culture at Manchester City and remains one of their best ever signings
Popping up with goals was not really his role but he has been vital in their successful decade
Neymar - Santos, Barcelona, PSG, BrazilLike him or loathe him, Neymar is a generational talent that simply could not be ignored when compiling this list.
The MSN combination he had at Barcelona with Messi and Luis Suarez was bordering on the unstoppable and there will have been defenders in LaLiga enduring sleepless nights before facing those three in years gone by.
He remains the most expensive player on the planet following his £198million - how long that stays the case is anybody's guess.
The biggest sleight against him is that since moving to Paris, he has not delivered what he was brought in to achieve: the UEFA Champions League.
Neymar wanted to step out from Messi's shadow, something he felt he could not do while at the Nou Camp, and yet he is slowly falling into the one cast by Mbappe.
On talent alone he should have long established himself in the top 10 but a mixed bag since leaving Spain ensures he is the first to miss out on the top order.
Neymar was part of a stunning front three at Barcelona which included Messi and Luis Suarez
Now at PSG, he remains the most expensive player on the planet following his £198m move
<div class="art-ins mol-factbox sport" data-version="2" id="mol-e04e2dc0-2b1c-11ea-8e35-55ff8fd08963" website continues look at top 50 footballers of DECADE - 20 to 11