Lionel Messi voted best footballer of 2022 after World Cup win.. but GOAT rival Cristiano Ronaldo not even in top 50


LIONEL MESSI has been voted as the best footballer of 2022, but arch-rival Cristiano Ronaldo did not even make the TOP 50.

The Argentine, 35, enjoyed a great year as he won the Ligue 1 title and won the World Cup for the first time ever, while also receiving the gong for best player at the tournament.


Lionel Messi was named the best player in 2022Credit: Getty Images – Getty
Kylian Mbappe and Karim Benzema completed the top three


Kylian Mbappe and Karim Benzema completed the top threeCredit: Getty
Harry Kane and Jude Bellingham were among a host of England stars to make the top 100 list


Harry Kane and Jude Bellingham were among a host of England stars to make the top 100 listCredit: Alamy
Meanwhile, Cristiano Ronaldo did not make even make the top 50


Meanwhile, Cristiano Ronaldo did not make even make the top 50Credit: Getty

However, Ronaldo has seen his year go from bad to worse.

A bright start to the year individually was overshadowed by Manchester United’s failings all around him.

After being dropped by Erik ten Hag upon his arrival after failing to gain a summer transfer away from the club, Ronaldo then conducted an explosive interview with Piers Morgan.

His contract at United was subsequently terminated, with Ronaldo then landing a record-breaking contract to play to in play in Saudi Arabia for Al-Nassr.

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But a poor start to life there saw rival fans taunt Ronaldo with chants of “Messi, Messi, Messi.”

Regardless, a list from the Guardian naming the “100 best male footballers in the world” revealed the pair’s huge gap.

While Messi took top spot, French duo Kylian Mbappe – who scored a hat-trick in the World Cup final – and Karim Benzema completed the top three.

Benzema won the Ballon d’Or for his performances at Real Madrid in 2022, while Mbappe’s prowess has been evident throughout the year despite off-field drama surrounding him.


Manchester City’s Erling Haaland came in fourth as he continues his ridiculous record of scoring goals for fun.

Team-mate Kevin De Bruyne came in sixth, with Luka Modric sandwiched in between them.

Robert Lewandowski, Vinicius Jr, Thibaut Courtois and Mo Salah completed the top 10.

Outside of the top 10, ex-Liverpool ace Sadio Mane was put at number 11 after winning the African Cup of Nations with Senegal while Brazil superstar Neymar was 12th.

Man United linked Harry Kane came in 13th with England prodigy Jude Bellingham directly behind him in 14th, while Man Utd star Casemiro came in directly behind them.

The top 10 stars from the Guardian's list plus a few notable names
The top 10 stars from the Guardian’s list plus a few notable names

World Cup hero Emiliano Martinez came in 20th, while Arsenal talisman Bukayo Saka came in 22nd ahead of Rafael Leao and Phil Foden.

Other Prem stars in the top 30 were Son Heung-Min, Virgil van Dijk, Bruno Fernandes and Bernardo Silva.

There were slimmer Prem pickings from 31-50, with Julian Alvarez, Alisson, Martin Odegaard, Joao Cancelo and new Liverpool ace Cody Gakpo.

Five-time Ballon d’Or winner Ronaldo ranked in the 51st spot.

Further down, in-form Marcus Rashford was ranked 58th best directly behind Riyadh Mahrez and in front of Luis Diaz and Trent Alexander-Arnold.

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Declan Rice, tipped to leave West Ham in the summer for £100million transfer, came in at 88th.

Some other stars from England’s top division who made this 100-strong list included Gabriel Jesus (62), Hakim Ziyech (63), Cristian Romero (72), Lisandro Martinez (81), Darwin Nunez (82), Aleksandar Mitrovic (83) and Reece James (94).

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