Welcome to World Class is back. And it starts here.
It's our aim at 90min to not only find the footballers who are considered world class by today's standards, but also put some meaning behind it.
So we've spent the last few weeks judging the game's top players against a series of metrics, and now we're releasing our top fives per position over the next two weeks. In ranked order, too, just because we like it.
But before we get to that, some ground rules on how we've got here.
- A world class footballer is defined as one of the top five players in the world in their position.
- All players can fit into one of 10 on-field positions; GK, RB, LB, CB, DM, CM, AM, RF, LF, ST.
- All players have been graded across ten different subcategories in the decision-making process - you can find more information on everything mentioned above here.
- Performances for club and country are considered.
- We want you to have your say - check out details on how to get involved below.
#W2WC21 will run on weekdays from Monday, December 13 through until Friday, December 24, with some final freebies coming your way on Christmas Day.
We want you to follow along, place your votes and have your say throughout. But let's get on with it.
All statistics are provided by StatsPerform over the period of January 1, 2021 to November 30, 2021 (inclusive of domestic and continental cup competitions).
We're starting with the ones between the sticks. Our five world class goalkeepers in the world today, ranked in order from 5-1, based on the Welcome to World Class measurement tool.
5. Ederson (new entry)
Games played: 46
Clean sheets: 22
Save percentage: 67.6%
Manchester City's number one had an excellent 2021, winning another Premier League title and Carabao Cup.
His status at City is undisputed, and he's even started to wrestle the responsibility of being Brazilian number one from his club rival and international counterpart Alisson Becker...who can read about if you keep scrolling. No spoilers, of course.
Ederson scored particularly strongly across the board on the 90min metric, with no particular blind spots.
4. Edouard Mendy (new entry)
Games played: 44
Clean sheets: 26
Save percentage: 78.6%
Talk about having quite the year.
Chelsea's Edouard Mendy has seriously risen to prominence over the past 18 months, so much so he's made it into fourth place in W2WC for 2021. His giant presence in the Chelsea goal and impact on their much-improved defensive record in 2021 are what's stood out, and his form has been incredible - quite the upgrade on a certain Kepa Arrizabalaga.
Mendy also played a crucial role in one particular success, as the Blues conquered Europe again.
It's no coincidence. Mendy is a big reason behind Chelsea having perhaps the meanest defence in Europe at the moment. His 95.2% save percentage of shots from outside the box is outrageous.
3. Alisson (down 2)
Games played: 42
Clean sheets: 18
Save percentage: 70.8%
Alisson featured at the top of the tree for goalkeepers last year, but falls two places in 2021 to third.
It's been a hard year personally and professionally for the Brazilian, and on the field he hasn't particularly been helped by the fact Liverpool's defence has seen almost all of their key stars absent for extended periods of time.
There were no trophies to Alisson's name in 2021, but that's not to say he isn't an absolutely outstanding goalkeeper still...and truly world class.
How many goalkeepers do you see scoring 94th minute winners in the league to basically secure a place in the Champions League?
2. Jan Oblak (up 1)
Games played: 45
Clean sheets: 14
Save percentage: 69.2%
Regarded by many as the finest goalkeeper on the planet, Jan Oblak has been beaten into first place in the goalkeeper rankings by the reckoning of our teams across the globe.
But he's had a fine year at club level.
Oblak's presence helped as Atletico Madrid managed to seal their status as reigning La Liga champions at the back end of last season. The Slovenian narrowly beat Alisson into second place, but there's no debate over his world class status.
1. Manuel Neuer (up 1)
Games played: 46
Clean sheets: 17
Save percentage: 86.5%
Your best goalkeeper on the planet? Bayern's Manuel Neuer.
He smashes our sub-categories. His reputation is up there with the best of them, he's unmatched for natural talent, has won it all with Bayern, and keeps winning, comes up clutch when his team needs him and his form has been strong all year.
At 35, there's little sign of Neuer slowing down yet, and he's bounced back incredibly well from one of his more erratic spells a few years ago. There's still plenty left in the tank for the German, and plenty more opportunities to feature in future Welcome to World Class editions.
So here it is, in all its glory - your top five goalkeepers in the world.