Welcome to World Class

Welcome to World Class: The Shortlist - Right Forwards

Ross Jackson
The right forwards shortlist is revealed for 90min's Welcome to World Class series | #W2WC
The right forwards shortlist is revealed for 90min's Welcome to World Class series | #W2WC / Matt Burt/90min
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Picking out the best player in the world in any position is a tall order, but when you consider that four of the top ten Ballon d'Or nominees from 2019's award were right-sided forwards, you begin to appreciate the magnitude of the task ahead of us.

Some of the best players on the planet lay claim to the right forward position for their respective clubs, and over the coming days we'll be whittling them down with the help of our scoring metric which you can read about by clicking this link, before picking out the five who really are world class.

But first of all, we reveal the 10 contenders in the running to be told, ‘Welcome to World Class’.


Kingsley Coman

Coman netted the Champions League winner
Coman netted the Champions League winner / Pool/Getty Images

Club: Bayern Munich
Country: France

By the age of 21, Kingsley Coman had already played for three of European football's biggest clubs; Paris Saint-Germain, Juventus and Bayern Munich.

Three years later, Coman rounded off the prolonged 2019/20 campaign with the winning goal in the Champions League final, his 13th piece of silverware at Bundesliga giants Bayern.

The Frenchman has endured a number of injuries problems throughout his career, yes, but is widely regarded as one of the most talented wingers of his generation, capable of becoming a leading light for whoever he plays for. What's frightening for the rest of the world is that the best of Coman is still to come, providing he can keep himself 100% fit.


Angel Di Maria

Angel Di Maria has rebuilt his career after an underwhelming spell in Manchester
Angel Di Maria has rebuilt his career after an underwhelming spell in Manchester / Xavier Laine/Getty Images

Club: Paris Saint-Germain
Country: Argentina

At 32 years of age, Angel Di Maria is playing arguably the best football of his career.

The Argentina international enjoyed a stellar 2019/20 campaign, notching a domestic quadruple with Paris Saint-Germain - the last time the feat will ever be achieved following the retirement of the Coupe de la Ligue - as well as coming within one game of being crowned a Champions League winner for the second time.

Di Maria has rebuilt his career after a fairly disappointing time with Manchester United and his trophy cabinet is reaping the rewards.


Serge Gnabry

Serge Gnabry's career has gone from strength to strength in the Bundesliga
Serge Gnabry's career has gone from strength to strength in the Bundesliga / Sebastian Widmann/Getty Images

Club: Bayern Munich
Country: Germany

Tony Pulis blah blah blah. Can we not just appreciate the brilliance of Serge Gnabry?

Since moving to the Bundesliga in 2016, the German has emerged as one on the world's elite forwards, making the once daunting prospect of Arjen Robben's departure from the Allianz Arena seem completely painless.

A glittering 2019/20 campaign including the Bundesliga title and Champions League crown among other pieces of silverware make the Bayern man a shoo-in for our shortlist, and are just rewards for Gnabry's astonishing development.


Josip Ilicic

Josip Ilicic is central to Atalanta's attacking style of play
Josip Ilicic is central to Atalanta's attacking style of play / Marco Luzzani/Getty Images

Club: Atalanta
Country: Slovenia

It would be amiss to suggest that Josip Ilicic isn't a benefactor of Atalanta's gung-ho approach, but that doesn't make his output any less impressive.

The 32-year-old has recorded double figures in every one of his three full league seasons with Gian Piero Gasperini's side, with his 15 goals and eight assists helping Atalanta finish just five points off the pace of Scudetto winners Juventus last season.

Atalanta also reached the latter stages of the 2019/20 Champions League, largely thanks to Ilicic's continued brilliance.


Riyad Mahrez

Riyad Mahrez is a key part of Manchester City's attacking arsenal
Riyad Mahrez is a key part of Manchester City's attacking arsenal / Chloe Knott - Danehouse/Getty Images

Club: Manchester City
Country: Algeria

Riyad Mahrez may not be biggest name in Manchester City's quality-strewn squad, but that's not to say he's any less valuable to his side.

The Algeria international has adapted his game brilliantly since swapping Leicester for City, yet, while his work ethic has increased, his end product is no less superb.

The 29-year-old's ability to shift inside before wrapping his left foot around the ball is a sight to behold, and he's proven on numerous occasions to be Pep Guardiola's go-to man in big games.


Lionel Messi

Lionel Messi is a no-brainer in any list of attacking superstars
Lionel Messi is a no-brainer in any list of attacking superstars / Eric Alonso/Getty Images

Club: Barcelona
Country: Argentina

Well, like you thought you would scroll all the way down and not see this man's name.

In years gone by it would have been a bit of a foregone conclusion that Lionel Messi would claim the right forward top spot, but following a relatively underwhelming start to the 2020/21 campaign (by 'relatively' we are of course using his usual brilliance as the yardstick), could his place as the number one be up for grabs?

Still, he's got to be on the shortlist. 31 goals last season and six career Ballon d'Ors and all that.


Mohamed Salah

Mohamed Salah has cemented his place among the world's elite since returning to the Premier League
Mohamed Salah has cemented his place among the world's elite since returning to the Premier League / Emilio Andreoli/Getty Images

Club: Liverpool
Country: Egypt

Mohamed Salah suffers somewhat from being compared to the man who burst onto the scene at Anfield in 2017.

The Egyptian King bagged an incredible 32 goals in his maiden season with Liverpool, and so there's almost a sense that his goal tallies in the two seasons following - 22 and 19 respectively - are weirdly scoffed at.

His form throughout the 2019/20 campaign was a huge part of the Reds notching their maiden Premier League crown and he'll take some stopping in our final rankings.


Jadon Sancho

Jadon Sancho is reaping the rewards having moved away from England in search of first team football
Jadon Sancho is reaping the rewards having moved away from England in search of first team football / DeFodi Images/Getty Images

Club: Borussia Dortmund
Country: England

Jadon Sancho is rapidly becoming one of the superstars of world football.

The England man took a leap of faith in departing Manchester City for Borussia Dortmund back in 2017, and over 70 Bundesliga goal contributions later he's more than proved his worth.

Only Timo Werner and Robert Lewandowski notched more than Sancho in Germany's top flight last season, and with 18 England caps already to his name at just 20 years of age there's no knowing the limits of his potential.


Bernardo Silva

Bernardo Silva has established himself as one of the best right forwards in the world
Bernardo Silva has established himself as one of the best right forwards in the world / Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

Club: Manchester City
Country: Portugal

Bernardo Silva's performances this campaign may not quite have been to the standard we've come to expect from the Portugal international, though it would be unfair to write him off due to a rare dip in form.

The Manchester City man's boundless energy supply combined with his quality technical ability have seen him become a key component of Pep Guardiola's side, with the 26-year-old's astronomic talents recognised at the aforementioned Ballon d'Or awards as he finished in ninth place.

His trophy cabinet also makes for pretty reading, having banked multiple Carabao Cups, two Premier League crowns and an FA Cup.


Hakim Ziyech

Hakim Ziyech has made a phenomenal start to life in the Premier League
Hakim Ziyech has made a phenomenal start to life in the Premier League / Alex Livesey - Danehouse/Getty Images

Club: Morocco
Country: Chelsea

Hakim Ziyech has been showcasing his undoubted talent for many years in the Eredivisie, clocking up an eye-watering 79 league goals and 97 assists in his eight seasons in the Dutch top flight.

The one criticism that could have been levelled at the Moroccan was that he was unproven on the grandest stage, though his form since his summer move to Chelsea has banished any such accusations.

The 27-year-old's wand of a left foot has already carved open a number of Premier League defences, and he's more than deserving of his spot.



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