We football fans love to wax lyrical about our favourite players.
Be it in a 15-tweet thread on Twitter, in a five-page blog post or in a three-day-long podcast, we can’t help but use a million and one words to describe exactly how good we think the greatest footballers in the game really are.
So, to go against the grain, and against all of our football fan instincts, here's an attempt to describe
the best footballers in the world with just one word.
Robert Lewandowski - Goals
This is a pretty obvious one. The man has scored 55 goals in 47 games this season.
He’s a goal machine.
Lionel Messi - Records
Maybe you were expecting Leo Messi to be labelled the ‘GOAT’ here, but 'records' is just as suitable given he's broken nearly every one in football history. Such as...
Most Ballon d’Or awards.
Most goals in a calendar year.
Top scorer in La Liga’s history.
Top scorer in Barcelona’s history.
Argentina’s all time top goalscorer.
There's loads more, too. But we'd be here all day.
Neymar - YouTube
Joey Barton once famously labelled Neymar a ‘YouTube player’, and while he was obviously wrong and Neymar is obviously one of the best players of the last decade, we do love watching YouTube compilations of the Brazilian doing rainbow flicks.
Cristiano Ronaldo - Penalty
CR7 scored 31 goals during the 2019/20 Serie A season and we’re pretty sure every single one of them was a penalty.
Thomas Muller - Champion
He's brilliant, and he's just won absolutely everything. Including the Champions League, again, with Bayern Munich.
Kevin De Bruyne - Precision
Name a man who can pick a pass better than Kevin de Bruyne. We'll wait.
Trent Alexander-Arnold - Cross
The best crosser of a football since David Beckham.
Joshua Kimmich - Perfect
Joshua Kimmich is the perfect footballer. He’s the best full-back in the world, the best midfielder in the world. He can play anywhere. He can do anything. He’s a 10/10. Perfect.
Paulo Dybala - Left-footed
You know, it's like Paulo Dybala physically can’t kick a football with his right foot.
His left foot is fantastic though.
Serge Gnabry - Lethal
It’s fair to say that every single shot that Serge Gnabry has taken in the Champions League during the 2019/20 season has flown into the top corner of the net. He’s ridiculously clinical.
Kylian Mbappe - R9
Mbappe is R9 Ronaldo 2.0.
Jordan Henderson - Captain
Hendo has proven the doubters wrong and lifted the Champions League and Premier League titles as captain of Liverpool.
Not bad going for someone who was up for sale a few years earlier.
Antoine Griezmann - Expensive
Antoine Griezmann's first year at Barcelona has been nothing short of a nightmare.
He'll have a chance to make amends next year, but he's yet to prove himself as worth his huge €120m price tag.
Harry Kane - Instinct
It's been great to see Harry Kane back scoring goals in the Tottenham team.
He's one of the most instinctive finishers in world football.
Virgil van Dijk - Catalyst
Would Liverpool have won the Premier League had they not signed Virgil van Dijk?
In short: no.
In full: definitely no.
Mohamed Salah - Ripped
Salah may be the only man in the world with -10% body fat.
Sergio Ramos - Heel
The Real Madrid legend is football’s answer to Mr. McMahon - ultimate heel that we all love to hate. To paraphrase underground hip hop legend MF Doom: ‘Sergio Ramos is a villain, yes he is.’
Karim Benzema - Glue
Karim Benzema spent years altering his game to let Cristiano Ronaldo score a ton of goals for Real Madrid. Since Ronaldo moved to Juventus, he's spent time becoming his side's main man.
He's the glue that has held this Real Madrid attack together down the years.
Paul Pogba - Gossip
Every single day there are at least 10,000 updates on Paul Pogba’s Manchester United future - the latest of which read that he'll end up signing a new contract.
Maybe the gossip will stop?
Romelu Lukaku - Underrated
This time last year Twitter was awash with compilations of Lukaku mis-controlling the ball and football fans calling the Belgian forward a ‘fraud’.
This time, well, this year, Twitter is awash with highlights of the 34 goals Lukaku has scored in his fantastic first season in Italy.
Jan Oblak - Consistent
Oblak is literally the only goalkeeper in world football who doesn’t have a mistake in him.
Erling Haaland - Breakthrough
Erling Haaland is one of the hottest prospects in football right now, and has burst on the scene over the last year.
He'll undoubtedly be hot on the heels of Robert Lewandowski for the Bundesliga top scorer award next season.
Raheem Sterling - Tap-in
No footballer loves a tap-in at the back post more than Raheem Sterling...even though he missed that open net against Lyon.
Bruno Fernandes - Impact
Credit where it’s due, Bruno Fernandes has transformed Manchester United since his arrival in January.
He can take a mean penalty, too.
Gareth Bale - Golf
The Welsh international has been making the headlines in Madrid for a long time now, and over the last year, they've come mainly because of his love for another sport...
Alphonso Davies - Pace
Rumour has it that Alphonso Davies once lapped Usain Bolt in a 100m dash.
Matthijs de Ligt - Generational
European football hasn’t seen this level of defensive talent since Alessandro Nesta burst onto the scene as a fresh-faced, not-yet-injury-riddled, 18-year-old at Lazio.
De Ligt is the real deal.
Jadon Sancho - Manchester
At another point in the season the defining word for Jadon Sancho probably would’ve been ‘Platini’, no, not because of any financial irregularities, but because of his natural ability to weigh a pass to perfection. Now, however, it’s hard not to think of Man Utd when someone mentions Sancho.
It’s the biggest story of the transfer window, and one which will likely linger on for the rest of time.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang - Clinical
Auba is the most clinical finisher in the Premier League - bar none. Arsenal are lucky to have him.
Andrew Robertson - Energy
Robbo can keep running all day. And his unlimited reserves of energy have been key to Liverpool's success in the last couple of years.
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