While the current best XI in club football often changes from year to year, some players such as Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi are staples of the team season after season. This list features the best 11 players in the world right now in a 4-3-3 formation. The midfielders all have the freedom to interchange with each other so we may see somebody who normally plays as a central midfielder out on the left or right side or vice versa etc.
The same goes for the wingers as they have the freedom to roam the pitch on either side as the play dictates. Each of these players is an established international and recognized as one of the best on the planet at their position. We’ve also added the top seven substitutes we could find to round out the world’s strongest football squad.
12. Bench Players
All the best teams need a strong bench and these seven substitutes could arguably step into the starting lineup on this squad at anytime. We’ll go with Manchester United’s Spanish international David de Gea as the number two goalkeeper with Spain and Real Madrid’s Sergio Ramos and Brazil’s Dani Alves of Paris Saint Germain as the backup defenders. Welsh international Gareth Bale of Real Madrid can be used in the midfield or in the front line as a winger and the same thing goes for Belgian international Eden Hazard of Chelsea. If we’re looking for pure goalscorers to step into the game we’ll go with Uruguayan international striker Edinson Cavani of Paris Saint Germain and English international Harry Kane of Tottenham Hotspur.
11. Goalkeeper – Manuel Neuer
Most goalkeepers get better with age and 31-year-old German international Manuel Neuer of Bayern Munich is no exception. Neuer has led Bayern to five consecutive Bundesliga championships, won a World Cup with his homeland in 2014 and named the tournament’s best goalie. His acrobatics and consistency in have resulted in four UEFA Goalkeeper of the Year Awards and he’s been named the best keeper in the world four times by the IFFHS (International Federation of Football History & Statistics). Neuer placed third in the voting for the 2014 Ballon d’Or Award, was named to the Bundesliga Team of the Year three straight seasons and the FIFPro World XI for four straight campaigns. He’s excellent with the ball at his feet even though he’s played the last nine years with a metal plate in his right foot. Unfortunately, Neuer is sidelined at the moment following surgery on his left foot, but keeps his place as the best club keeper in the world right now just ahead of David de Gea.
Brazilian international Marcelo of Real Madrid made the FIFPro World XI team in 2012 as well as 2015, 2016 and 2017. He’ll be starting at left-back for our squad. The 29-year-old helped his club capture the Spanish La Liga and European Champions League titles last season. Marcelo is a fine attacking player who’s hard to handle when coming down the left side of the pitch, but has also improved dramatically defensively over the years. He’s been with Madrid close to a dozen years now and has won five La Liga titles and three Champions League crowns, been named to the Champions League Team of the Season the last two years. He was also named to the La Liga Team of the Season for his play in 2015-16. He’s an excellent playmaker who can also be used in the midfield if needed.
9. Center-Back – Leonardo Bonucci
The current center-back position belongs to 30-year-old Italian international Leonardo Bonucci of AC Milan. Bonucci is arguably the best defender on the planet at the moment and it’s hard for Juventus’ fans to believe the club sold him. Milan’s captain has been struggling at his new club early this this season, but Bonucci’s simply too good not to bounce back. He helped Juventus win six straight Serie A championships and a trio of Italian Cups. He also led the squad to a pair of Champions League Finals in the past three seasons. Bonucci’s passing skills are exceptional along with his tackling and intercepting abilities. He was named to the Serie A Team of the Year the last two seasons, was named the league’s top player in 2016 and also named to the 2016 UEFA Team of the Year, the 2016/17 Champions League Team of the Season and the 2017 FIFPro World XI.
8. Right-Back – Daniel Carvajal
Real Madrid’s 25-year-old Spanish international Dani Carvajal is another member of this squad who’s currently on the sidelines as he has a heart condition. His inclusion here may be controversial to begin with, but he still keeps his spot as the starting right-back as he’s hard to dislodge when healthy. Carvajal spent a year at Bayer Leverkusen in Germany in 2012/13 before cracking the Real Madrid lineup the following season. Since the club reacquired him, Carvajal’s played on three Champions League winners, won the La Liga title, a Copa del Rey, a Supercopa de Espana, three UEFA Super Cups and a pair of FIFA Club World Cups. He’s excellent at crossing the ball to his skilled teammates such as Gareth Bale and Cristiano Ronaldo and displays a fantastic work rate defensively.
7. Midfielder – Thiago Alcantara
Italian-born Spanish international Thiago Alcantara of Bayern Munich is better known to most fans simply as Thiago. The former Barcelona midfielder is just 26 years old and is generally recognized as one of the world’s top midfielders. He’s the heartbeat of Bayern Munich, but has been a bit injury prone in the past. However, he was healthy last season and earned his place in this squad with his contribution of eight goals and eight helpers in the Bundesliga and Champions League. There are no apparent weaknesses in Thiago’s game and he’s one of Bayern’s key creative attacking players. He’s also adept defensively when it comes to tackling and intercepting passes. He definitely knows how to win as Thiago has helped his clubs win eight league titles, a Champions League, and nine other pieces of silverware.
6. Midfielder – Kevin De Bruyne
Many fans feel Manchester City’s 26-year-old Belgian international Kevin de Bruyne has been the best attacking midfielder in 2017/18. His skills also allow him to play as a second striker or winger. De Bruyne has helped Man City get off to a great start in the English Premier League and Champions League. His play making skills are exceptional and he also knows where the net is himself. De Bruyne has a league title and five domestic cups under his belt so far during his stints in Belgium, Germany and England. He led the Bundesliga in assists in 2014/15 and was named the league’s Player of the Year and to the Team of the Year that season along with the Europa League Squad of the Season. He also took home the Bundesliga Young Player of the Year Award for 2012/13. Chelsea must be kicking themselves for giving up on De Bruyne far too early.
5. Midfielder – N’Golo Kante
Midfielder N’Golo Kante has been fortunate enough to win the English Premier League title the last two seasons and be named to the league’s Team of the Year with different clubs. The 26-year-old French international helped Leicester City capture the crown in 2015/16 and then helped Chelsea do the same last year while being named to the squad of the season. He was also named the PFA Player of the Year earlier in 2017 for his performances with the Blues last campaign. Kante’s one of the most important cogs of the Chelsea squad as his relentless style allows him to dominant at his position. He’s the complete package when it comes to breaking up attacks and protecting his back four, but is also adept at setting up attacking plays from his own end. He’s a world-class player with great vision for the game.
4. Midfielder – Toni Kroos
German international midfielder Toni Kroos of Real Madrid could very well be the cream of the crop in the center of the pitch. He’s possesses amazing attacking skills and at 27 years old should just be entering his prime. However, it’s hard to believe that Kroos can get much better. He’s definitely a modern version of a midfielder due to his superb technique, creativity and passing ability. He can score goals as well as set them up and covers an enormous amount lot of ground during a match. Kroos’ hard-working style also means he’s also a fine defensive player and that’s why he’s one of the first players to be named to the squad week in and week out. Kroos has also played with Bayern Munich and Bayer Leverkusen and has racked up a combined four league and three Champions League titles along with 10 other pieces of silverware and numerous individual awards including three FIFPro World XI squads.
3. Left Wing – Cristiano Ronaldo
Real Madrid and Portugal captain Cristiano Ronaldo starts on the left side of this squad, but is welcome to roam wherever he pleases. There’s no point arguing if he’s better than Lionel Messi as they’re both all-time greats. They have a lot of similarities as players such as excellent play making and finishing skills, but are also quite opposite to each other in many respects. The 32-year-old has made the FIFPro team for the past 10 seasons, has won the Ballon d’Or award four times, is the all-time leading scorer for Real Madrid, Portugal and the Champions League. He’s won two dozen club trophies up to now including three Champions League trophies and taken home dozens of individual awards. Ronaldo’s simply an incredible player who has well over 600 goals to his name in all competitions up to now. He’s just as good with his head as he is with his feet and that’s what makes Ronaldo one of the world’s top two players.
2. Striker – Robert Lewandowski
There may be a few strikers as good as Polish international Robert Lewandowski, but there are none better than the 29-year-old of Bayern Munich. Lewandowski has been the dominant scorer in the German Bundesliga since joining the league from his homeland in 2010. He’s also Poland’s top international marksman with 51 goals in 91 appearances. Lewandowski has won Golden Boot Awards in every league he’s played in. He scored 103 times in 187 games for Borussia Dortmund and had 124 goals in 163 matches for Bayern at the start of November 2017. He was the league’s Player of the Year in 2016/17, has made the Bundesliga Team of the Year three consecutive seasons and the Champions League Team of the Year two years in a row. The six-time Polish Footballer of the Year’s s a lethal finisher who can quickly find the back of the net out of nowhere and that’s helped his teams win six league titles and seven Cup Finals.
1. Right Wing – Lionel Messi
There’s no doubt Lionel Messi has a place on the world’s best XI and we’re going to start him on the right wing. The 30-year-old Argentine international of Barcelona has won just about everything possible so fer in his career other than the World Cup. He’s one of the top two players in the world and has been for some time. In fact, he’s been named to the FIFPro World XI squad for the last 11 years running. He’s the all-time leading scorer for both Barcelona and Argentina as well as the captain of each squad. He’s arguably the best dribbler in football and has exceptional vision and finishing skills. Making him the all-time scoring leader in La Liga as well. He’s won too many individual awards to mention, but we’ll let you know he’s taken home the Ballon d’or Award a record five times, including four in a row. He’s also a team player who has helped his Barcelona squads win 29 trophies up to now. Messi’s simply one of the best footballers ever and he’s free to roam wherever he wants on the pitch with this squad.