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Cristiano Ronaldo excluded from top 50 best players in the world in prestigious list

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Cristiano Ronaldo ranked 51st-best player in the world.

Cristiano Ronaldo has dropped out of the top 50 in The Guardian’s 100 best male footballers in the world list for the first time.

The British newspaper began compiling the annual list in 2012, and since then Ronaldo has topped it on two occasions, in 2014 and 2016.

Up until the latest edition, which was revealed this week, Ronaldo had never been outside the top 10, but he has now fallen to number 51 behind a number of football’s new wave of young stars.

Cristiano Ronaldo decline.

The 37-year-old‘s placing is the latest indication that his standing in the sport is on the wane, after a year in-which his off-field behaviour gained more headlines than his football.

“All good things must come to an end, they say, and this was the year that Cristiano Ronaldo fell out of the top 10 for the first time since these rankings were introduced in 2012,” writes journalist Marcus Christenson.

“A two-time winner of the Guardian’s top 100, the Portuguese drops to 51st in a year that included a fallout with Erik ten Hag and Manchester United, that Piers Morgan interview and a rather chastening World Cup, during which he was criticised by his coach, Fernando Santos, for his reaction to being substituted against South Korea and then benched.

“The 37-year-old joined Saudi Arabian club Al Nassr in December.”

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Lionel Messi tops list.

Unsurprisingly, Ronaldo’s old rival Lionel Messi has returned to the top of the list, after his heroics in leading Argentina to World Cup glory.

“Messi played with abandon as Argentina bounced back from their opening defeat to Saudi Arabia to go all the way, Messi scoring seven goals, including two in the final,” writes Christenson on the Paris Saint-Germain star.

This is the sixth time that Messi has topped the list, and first since 2019. In the interim, Polish striker Robert Lewandowski was named by The Guardian as the best player in the world in for his exploits in 2020 and 2021.

Real Madrid midfielder Luka Modric is the only other player to have topped the list, having done so in 2018, the year that he helped Croatia to the World Cup Final in Russia.

Mbappe named in second place.

In the latest edition, French pair Kylian Mbappe and Karim Benzema are named in second and third respectively, while Manchester City striker Erling Haaland is the highest-placed Premier League player at number four.

Modric rounds off the top five, and there is also room for Kevin De Bruyne and Mo Salah in the top 10.

The 100 best male footballers in the world list is compiled by a selection of former players, coaches and and journalists.

The full 2022 list can be found here.

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