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Ranking top 100 players at 2018 World Cup

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Here it is. Pro Soccer Talk has ranked the top 100 players at the 2018 World Cup this summer.

[ MORE: Latest 2018 World Cup news ] 

Trying to whittle this list down to 100 was near on impossible with plenty of incredible players left out of it altogether. That shows us how stacked the tournament in this summer, despite the likes of Chile, Italy and the Netherlands not even qualifying…

[ LIVE: World Cup scores ] 

Below is the list in full, broken up into sections of 10 with analysis on each 10.

Click here for live and on demand coverage of the World Cup online and via the NBC Sports App.


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1. Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal)
2. Lionel Messi (Argentina)
3. Antoine Griezmann (France)
4. Mohamed Salah (Egypt)
5. Neymar (Brazil)
6. Kevin de Bruyne (Belgium)
7. Luis Suarez (Uruguay)
8. Robert Lewandowski (Poland)
9. David de Gea (Spain)
10. Harry Kane (England)

Ronaldo just edges Messi given his heroic end to the season at Real Madrid, while Griezmann should deliver once again for France. The top 10 sees one player from 10 different nations, with Mohamed Salah, Harry Kane, Robert Lewandowski, Luis Suarez and Neymar all carrying the hopes of a nation on their shoulders.


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11. Manuel Neuer (Germany)
12. David Silva (Spain)
13. Luka Modric (Croatia)
14. N’Golo Kante (France)
15. Toni Kroos (Germany)
16. Andres Iniesta (Spain)
17. Eden Hazard (Belgium)
18. Sergio Aguero (Argentina)
19. Gabriel Jesus (Brazil)
20. Kylian Mbappe (France)

This is when we start to see the likes of Spain and Germany having multiple players in the list. Silva and Iniesta will boss games for Spain, while Germany’s solid spine will see Neuer and Kroos star. Watch out for new kids on the block, Gabriel Jesus and Kylian Mbappe.


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21. Philippe Coutinho (Brazil)
22. Jan Vertonghen (Belgium)
23. Thomas Muller (Germany)
24. Paul Pogba (France)
25. Edinson Cavani (Uruguay)
26. Joshua Kimmich (Germany)
27.  Christian Eriksen (Denmark)
28. Mats Hummels (Germany)
29. Marcelo (Brazil)
30. Sergio Ramos (Spain)

Three German stars in this section to underline their strength in-depth. A sprinkling of top-class center backs in Vertonghen, Hummels and Ramos highlights with full backs Marcelo and Kimmich completing the defensive theme.


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31. Alisson (Brazil)
32. Diego Costa (Spain)
33. Raheem Sterling (England)
34. Mesut Ozil (Germany)
35. Dele Alli (England)
36. Isco (Spain)
37. Diego Godin (Uruguay)
38. Romelu Lukaku (Belgium)
39. Casemiro (Brazil)
40. Olivier Giroud (France)

Diego Costa and Isco have the potential to be match winners for Spain, so too do Romelu Lukaku for Belgium, Olivier Giroud for France and Dele Alli and Raheem Sterling for England. Think of this as the “if they turn up, they’ll be game-changers” section.


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41. Sadio Mane (Senegal)
42. Paulo Dybala (Argentina)
43. Raphale Varane (France)
44. Jordi Alba (Spain)
45. Gonzalo Higuain (Argentina)
46. James Rodriguez (Colombia)
47.  Bernardo Silva (Portugal)
48. Ousmane Dembele (France)
49. Kyle Walker (England)
50. Ivan Rakitic (Croatia)

Plenty of goals and speed from 40-50. Mane will carry Senegal’s hopes, while James will do the same for Colombia. Kyle Walker is one to watch out for. He has the potential to have a great tournament and have a big impact from center back.


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51. Toby Alderweireld (Belgium)
52. Nabil Fekir (France)
53. Angel di Maria (Argentina)
54. Marquinhos (Brazil)
55. Koke (Spain)
56. Nemanja Matic (Serbia)
57. Hirving Lozano (Mexico)
58. Jerome Boateng (Germany)
59. Willian (Brazil)
60. Thibaut Courtois (Belgium)

Mexico and Serbia appear for the first time with “Chucky” Lozano set for a breakout tournament for El Tri out wide. Matic will steady Serbia’s ship, while the list of stars just keeps on going for Belgium, Spain, Brazil and Germany.


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61. Leon Goretzka (Germany)
62. Dries Mertens (Belgium)
63. Son Heung-min (South Korea)
64. Kalidou Koulibaly (Senegal)
65. Marcus Rashford (England)
66. Mehdi Benatia (Morocco)
67. Javier Hernandez (Mexico)
68. Xherdan Shaqiri (Switzerland)
69. Saul Niguez (Spain)
70. Sami Khedira (Germany)

This seems like a section filled with stars who usually don’t get to shine. Rashford takes a back seat for England, usually, and the likes of Hernandez, Shaqiri and Mertens go about their jobs with minimal fuss. Goretzka is one to watch as he should feature heavily for Germany.


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71. Roberto Firmino (Brazil)
72. Vincent Kompany (Belgium)
73. Ivan Perisic (Croatia)
74. Sergej Milinkovic-Savic (Serbia)
75. Julian Draxler (Germany)
76. Thomas Lemar (France)
77.  Fernandinho (Brazil)
78. Mousa Dembele (Belgium)
79. Emil Forsberg (Sweden)
80. Dusan Tadic (Serbia)

Look at the strength of names we still have on this list as we approach 80. Belgium and Brazil continue to have players included, while Serbian playmakers Tadic and Milinkovic-Savic should get them into the knockout rounds.


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81. Pione Sisto (Denmark)
82. Pepe (Portugal)
83. Jesse Lingard (England)
84. Keylor Navas (Costa Rica)
85. Paulinho (Brazil)
86. Samuel Umiti (France)
87. Joao Miranda (Brazil)
88. Joel Campbell (Costa Rica)
89. Hector Herrera (Mexico)
90. Nicolas Otamendi (Argentina)

A few of these players can be classed as “breakout stars” with Sisto and Lingard both capable of the sublime moments going forward. Costa Rica stalwarts Navas and Campbell make the list too as they aim for another shock run at the World Cup.


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91. Aleksandar Mitrovic (Serbia)
92. Ederson (Brazil)
93. Iago Aspas (Spain)
94. Kelechi Iheanacho (Nigeria)
95. Thiago Alcantara (Germany)
96. Bryan Ruiz (Costa Rica)
97. Blas Perez (Panama)
98. Ismaila Sarr (Senegal)
99. Alex Iwobi (Nigeria)
100. Jose Jimenez (Uruguay)

The final 10 in our top 100 sees some fringe players for the big nations who, if given the chance, should make a splash. Nigeria’s Kelechi Iheanacho and Alex Iwobi will lead the Super Eagles’ attacking unit in a tough group. Watch out for Iago Aspas who has impressed for Spain in recent months, and Mitrovic who is on fire.

Mourinho, Man Utd revel in Pogba performance

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Paul Pogba blessed Manchester United with a powerful performance in the Red Devils’ 3-0 UEFA Champions League win at Young Boys on Wednesday, and it was impossible not to notice his class.

[ UCL: Real rocks Roma, Man City falls ]

Jose Mourinho did, as did several of his teammates on a night the French midfielder scored twice and assisted United’s other goal.

“Solid, class and gave the team the pace we needed at times,” said Manchester United’s manager. “He controlled the tempo and of course it was a very good goal.”

Pogba again captained the side, which has won three-straight and allowed just one goal in wins over Burnley and Watford in addition to Wednesday’s win.

Luke Shaw drew a penalty that Pogba converted for the match’s second game, and loved what he saw from his captain. From the BBC:

“He gets some stick sometimes but we know what quality he has. For me, he is one of the best in the world. He is important as captain. He shows on the pitch what kind of leader he is. Hopefully he can carry that on.”

Mourinho’s praise carries a bit more weight considering he didn’t quite enjoy the competition.

“Job done,” he said. “Not phenomenal but good enough. (Young Boys) were intense, compact and had self esteem.”

UCL wrap: Real rocks Roma, Vlasic finishes CSKA comeback

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What a day in the UEFA Champions League!

CSKA Moscow came from two down to get a draw, Paul Pogba put on a one-man show in Switzerland, Cristiano Ronaldo was sent off in Spain, and Manchester City slumped to a home loss.

[ MORE: Champions League standings ]

And, oh yeah, Real Madrid scored a pair of show-stopping goals in a 3-0 win over Roma that left few worries about life post-Ronaldo.

Young Boys 0-3 Manchester United RECAP

Paul Pogba scored a brace, the first a sensational dribble and drive, as Jose Mourinho’s men had little trouble in Switzerland. The second half saw the Frenchman assist Anthony Martial to help the Red Devils cruise home.

Shakhtar Donetsk 2-2 Hoffenheim

Hoffenheim led twice, the second time through Havard Nordtveit, but would only take a point home from Ukraine thanks to an 81st minute goal from 21-year-old Brazilian attacker Maycon de Andrade Barberan.

[ LIVE: Champions League scores ]

Benfica 0-2 Bayern Munich

Robert Lewandowski scored in the 10th minute and Renato Sanches after halftime as Bayern eased to a win at the Estadio da Luz.

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

Viktoria Plzen 2-2 CSKA Moscow

Czech midfielder Michael Krmencík scored twice to give the hosts a first-half lead, but Fyodor Chalov finished a 49th minute chance to pull one back for the Russian visitors. And it was a precursor to another CSKA goal, the leveler coming from Everton loanee Nikola Vlasic and his penalty kick in the fifth minute of stoppage time.

Real Madrid 3-0 AS Roma

We need your help deciding whether Real Madrid’s first or third goal was more spellbinding, please.

Gareth Bale scored a second half goal, but it’s impossible to discuss this game without mentioning the delightful free kick goal from Isco and Mariano Diaz’s outstanding stoppage time belter. My goodness.

Valencia 0-2 Juventus

Cristiano Ronaldo was sent off in controversial fashion, but Miralem Pjanic scored twice from the penalty spot to help 10-man Juve to the win. Wojciech Szczesny stopped a stoppage time penalty to preserve the shutout for The Old Lady.

Ajax 3-0 AEK Athens

Left back Nicolas Tagliafico sandwiched a pair of goals around Donny van de Beek’s 77th minute marker as Ajax scooped up an easy win against Greek opposition.

Manchester City 1-2 LyonRECAP

The French visitors took advantage of sloppy midfield play and an awful clearing attempt from Fabian Delph to build a 2-0 lead, and Bernardo Silva‘s goal from a Leroy Sane feed was all City could muster in its comeback bid.

Pogba runs show as Man Utd cruises

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  • Pogba scores twice, including beauty
  • His first UCL goals since 2016
  • Assists Martial’s second half marker

Paul Pogba scored two first-half goals and assisted Anthony Martial‘s second half marker as Manchester United eased to a 3-0 win over Young Boys at the Stade de Suisse in Bern on Wednesday.

United’s next UCL match is home to Valencia on Oct. 2, the same day Young Boys visit Juventus in Turin.

Summer buy Diogo Dalot made his United debut. The 19-year-old played all 90 minutes for Jose Mourinho’s men.

[ MORE: Champions League standings ]

Pogba’s first goal was a sensational strike with an equally eye-catching dribble to create his yard of space.

Luke Shaw then won a penalty when his cross hit Kevin Mbabu‘s hand before the ex-Newcastle man could get it to his body.

Pogba converted the effort without a problem, and would not need to play the whole 90 minutes. His second half included this assist to Martial.

[ LIVE: Champions League scores ]

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

Man City slumps to home loss vs. Lyon

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  • Cornet, Fekir score
  • City sloppy in midfield
  • Sane-inspired comeback bid falls short

Maxwel Cornet and Nabil Fekir scored first half goals as Lyon stunned Manchester City 2-1 at the Etihad Stadium on Wednesday in the UEFA Champions League.

Leroy Sane set up Bernardo Silva to pull a goal back for Man City, but the second did not arrive for the hosts.

Man City is off to Hoffenheim next on Oct. 2, when Lyon will host Shakhtar Donetsk.

[ MORE: Champions League standings ]

City had a lot of the ball, but a giveaway at midfield helped Lyon go on top.

Kyle Walker didn’t close down his mark on the left, Ederson was slow in acting on the cross, and Fabian Delph made a laughable mess of defending it.

The ball fell to Cornet, who left little doubt with a drive inside the far post.

City was denied an Ilkay Gundogan equalizer when assist man Raheem Sterling was inches offside.

And the hosts took a 2-0 deficit to the locker room with more poor midfield play, with Fekir blasting a Fernandinho giveaway past Ederson.

[ LIVE: Champions League scores ]

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

Anthony Lopes made a fine stop on Gundogan as City pushed to get back into the game.

Mikel Arteta opted for Leroy Sane off the bench as suspended manager Pep Guardiola watched from the stands.

A counter attack nearly saw the score line balloon to 3-0, but Memphis Depay‘s clever bid was touched by Ederson before hitting the post and bounding in front of the line.

Sane was the provider on City’s strike back into the contest, as he cut back for Bernardo to finish.

Riyad Mahrez sent a cross into the box that Sane couldn’t turn on goal, and it remained 2-1 as the 84th minute began in Manchester.

Ederson had another timely intervention on Memphis in the 89th minute to keep City alive.

Sergio Aguero tried to put the game on his back in the 90th, but his shot was touched out for a corner.