Who are world class players?

Mark Pawelek

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What is world class, and how many of them are there? Is the criteria subjective opinion, based on coaches', agents', mothers', fathers', and fans' hype (or love)?
I'd say a lot of players in those lists could be legitimately classed as 'world class'. I think useful criteria is match winner in important matches.

I'm asking this because @Mylock name-dropped None of Ndidi, Rice, Bissouma as 'world class' in the James Garner performances thread and a lot of people agree with him/her.

I'd agree with what you have said as Garner needs a WC DM along side him. Keane had it with Robson and Ince, Scholes had it with Keane and Carrick had it with Scholes etc. IF we could get one of Ndidi/Rice/Bossumo it would transform this team and give the likes of Garner the chance to excel.
None of Ndidi, Rice, Bissouma can be called "world class". None have a world cup medal, European cup, nor even a top league win.
@Mylock obviously has a massive following, and his/her opinion is valued; because I got a ton of critics bemoaning my doubt. None of Ndidi, Rice, Bissouma have won anything much and none are regularly MotM for their teams.
 

Bastian

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Can only think of Kante and Kane, outside the City and Liverpool sides, that can be described as world class in the league.
 

Paul_Scholes18

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Club and/or international stars and key players for top sides.

From Man United I think Maguire, Shaw(this season), Pogba, Bruno are world class. Rashford right in the mix, but been a bit too much up and down.
 

Forevergiggs1

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Club and/or international stars and key players for top sides.

From Man United I think Maguire, Shaw(this season), Pogba, Bruno are world class. Rashford right in the mix, but been a bit too much up and down.
World class is more players who would walk into any other team as a guaranteed starter. I rate Maquire and Shaw but they wouldn't fit into that metric. Bruno is a tough one because he does constantly produce numbers. Rashford in 2019/20 could of fit the bill but for whatever reasons this year he doesn't and Pogba is another tough one because in a proper setup he could be very effective although I wouldn't say he's world class.

From the PL there's maybe De Bruyne, VVD, Kane, Salah, Mane, Kante who are a few levels above what we have. Then we have the obvious Messi, Ronaldo, Lewendowski, Neymar type players. A few seasons ago there where probably a lot more World class type players but most of them are now on the decline which is telling in itself as a lot less seem to be picking up the mantle.
 

Demyanenko_square_jaw

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For me it's largely interchangeable for saying a player is excellent or great.

All-Time Great is the more formal term i'd reserve for the player that also have the club achievements to stand the test of time and be seen as among the best ever overall or positionally.
 

Paul_Scholes18

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World class is more players who would walk into any other team as a guaranteed starter. I rate Maquire and Shaw but they wouldn't fit into that metric. Bruno is a tough one because he does constantly produce numbers. Rashford in 2019/20 could of fit the bill but for whatever reasons this year he doesn't and Pogba is another tough one because in a proper setup he could be very effective although I wouldn't say he's world class.

From the PL there's maybe De Bruyne, VVD, Kane, Salah, Mane, Kante who are a few levels above what we have. Then we have the obvious Messi, Ronaldo, Lewendowski, Neymar type players. A few seasons ago there where probably a lot more World class type players but most of them are now on the decline which is telling in itself as a lot less seem to be picking up the mantle.
I feel when people use the term they always mention lots of attacking players, but not many defenders and fullbacks. Surely it should be even if you rate them based on who gets into a world star 11 or things like that?

I think if I give two players per position then my 22 man squad would be something like this.

Navas, Neuer.

TAA, Pavard, Dias, Van Dijk, Ramos, Marquinhos, A Davies, Shaw.
Kante, Kimmich
KDB, Bruno Modric Neymar
Salah Messi Lewandowski Kane Ronaldo Mbappe

A little bit poor balance since so many great attacking players. Ronaldo and Messi are no real wingers as well even though Messi play that role most of the time.
 

Mark Pawelek

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Bossumo sounds world class to me
In terms of suitability for United's midfield, I think all 3: Rice, Ndidi, and Bissouma are good and will improve on McFred. But in terms of world class, only Ndidi is in the top 10 defensive midfield players in the world. I think Ndidi isn't the kind of pivot player United need.
 
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tomaldinho1

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Those three are 100% not world class. I think Ndidi is the one who could get to that level but he really needs to be playing CL football.

Leicester actually have a lot of players who are not world class but I think could be in/close to that bracket in the future with the right move (Tielemans, Fofana, Barnes, Maddison, Ndidi).
 

Schmeichel's Cartwheel

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Club and/or international stars and key players for top sides.

From Man United I think Maguire, Shaw(this season), Pogba, Bruno are world class. Rashford right in the mix, but been a bit too much up and down.
Do you know what world class means? It means they start for every team in the world. None of our players are world class. Maybe Pogba at a push, but he’s not consistent enough for me. Maguire, Shaw, Bruno & Rashford are miles off being world class.
 

El Jefe

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My criteria

1. The first thing that must stand out as a world class player is you are much better than other players in your position
2. You should also be an integral part of a successful team
3. You should get in most top teams without it being a debate
4. Produce at the highest level in international and European football

The while top 3 players in your position thing has never really made sense to me. At some point there maybe more than 3 world class CBs in the world and other years you might not even have 3. It all depend on the talent pool available.
 

altodevil

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For me, personally, it's a player who could be part of an overall 25-man World FC. Or at least close to being on par with those in it.
 

northernfan

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We will know who is world class in the next month. Those that stand out at the Euros and world cup will be credited as world class players. Players that shine against the best in the world.
 

Abraxas

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Pretty much a meaningless term as there is no agreed upon definition. It is simply thrown about with no agreement on that point. If one man believes it is the top 15 by position and another the top 5, well...there is potentially a huge divergence of quality between those players. Then it also gets used randomly for a good action, a good save, or a good finish, which means next to nothing. They are simply stand out moments in a game or season, you can see these at all levels of football.

It is one of those footballing terminologies that is totally redundant through misuse. When somebody says low block, or patterns of play, it is roughly understandable what is meant even if new terms are created unnecessarily to explain age old notions. Or they are simply self-explanatory. World class has never been one of these, it is just a load of hot air.
 

He'sRaldo

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Players who, when used in their optimal position, are able to get the better of their opposite number 9 times out of 10, and be a very high net positive for their own team.

With this criterion, defensive/less flashy players are accounted for, as are players who are world class but not utilized optimally.
 

Mylock

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In my opinion, a world-class player is a player who is in the best 10 players in their position in the world. I believe Rice and Ndidi would be in consideration for the top 10 players in their position, I would place them in that category. Bosummo and Manuel Locatelli have the potential to be in that category.
I would be happy with any of these players as our DM, to provide the base for the team to grow. Just because a player hasn't won anything doesn't rule them out as world-class in my book,
Harry Kane or Alan Shearer are good examples of world-class players who haven't won much but are rated as WC, everyone's opinions differ.
 

Trequarista10

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For me it's largely interchangeable for saying a player is excellent or great.
For me too. Unfortunately people get all worked up about it, as if it's an actual definition. I've decided to stop using the phrase to avoid running into the inevitable "world class should mean if Earth was playing against aliens only the 11 starters can be considered world class" crowd.
 

bosnian_red

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There's no set limit of "world class players" and I wouldn't say there's any trophies you have to win. Maybe just someone who you can tell is just an elite player, scares the shit out of opponents, wouldn't look out of place in any top team (ignore occasional stacked positions), doesnt really have any big or annoying weaknesses (or their strengths more than outweigh, like how de Gea in the past was that good of a shot stopper that nobody cared about any weaker parts), etc.. Players that both pass the eye test for 90% of people but also back it up with stats and accomplishments. Sometimes you'll have loads of world class players in one position and none in another. It is what it is.

From the premier league, I'd say:
  • De Bruyne
  • Kane
  • Kante
  • Salah
  • Van Dijk
  • Bruno
  • Pogba
  • Alisson
Dias and Shaw will be there if they basically repeat this seasons level (or £$ they have a great euros and go the distance, I'd probably rank them there). Grealish based on the first half of the season would be close but needs to maintain it to be there IMO. As of now hasn't achieved enough but talent wise he has it. Thiago was there at Bayern, but he didn't have a good season at all so can't call him that anymore.

In the Bundesliga:
  • Lewandowski
  • Haaland
  • Kimmich
  • Davies
  • Muller
  • Neuer
Sancho getting there and probably has been at a world class level for a few years for them, but still young and has something to prove before getting there.

Serie A:
  • Ronaldo
Don't watch it enough, but Lukaku is a brilliant goalscorer but not a world class player. De Ligt you could probably argue but just don't watch enough to say if he is there actually. Chiellini or Bonucci both used to be, again, not sure if still are there. Donnarumma probably is as a goalkeeper as well, though he's soon to be PSG anyway.

Ligue 1:
  • Mbappe
  • Neymar
  • Verratti
La Liga:
  • Messi
  • Jordi Alba
  • Benzema
  • Kroos
  • Modric
  • Varane
  • Oblak
  • Suarez
De Jong probably there soon.

I might be harsher on premier league players as I just watch it more, but probably these would be all the players there. So 26 players total.
 

roonster09

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Pretty much a meaningless term as there is no agreed upon definition. It is simply thrown about with no agreement on that point. If one man believes it is the top 15 by position and another the top 5, well...there is potentially a huge divergence of quality between those players. Then it also gets used randomly for a good action, a good save, or a good finish, which means next to nothing. They are simply stand out moments in a game or season, you can see these at all levels of football.

It is one of those footballing terminologies that is totally redundant through misuse. When somebody says low block, or patterns of play, it is roughly understandable what is meant even if new terms are created unnecessarily to explain age old notions. Or they are simply self-explanatory. World class has never been one of these, it is just a load of hot air.
Yeah, it's just a useless term. Everyone has their own definition, some go with top 2 players in their position, some go with "will he make the squad if team Earth takes on team Mars".
 

paraguayo

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I'd say top5 of every position, unless its full back. Full back is pretty shallow in terms of world class players
 

Bebestation

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Do you know what world class means? It means they start for every team in the world. None of our players are world class. Maybe Pogba at a push, but he’s not consistent enough for me. Maguire, Shaw, Bruno & Rashford are miles off being world class.
Utter rubbish.

Bruno is world class.

He maybe not the best world Class player but he is in that metric.
 

RedRonaldo

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I’d define worldclass as top 5 players in their position, or something like that. There’s no clear line on it. As long as they are playing at around similar level of top 5 for lengthy period, they are worldclass to me.

For example, I wouldn’t regard Rice or Lingard (West Ham version) as worldclass yet, but they are surely “top class” player in PL.

Maguire isn’t quite a world class player too IMO despite the world record fee, although I still regard him as easily the top 5 CB in the league.

In our squad, only Bruno, Pogba (best version of him), Cavani (PSG version), De Gea (peak version few years back) can be regarded as worldclass. Players like Rashford in his peak form is nearly worldclass, only if he managed to do it more consistently. But his low is just too low to be label as worldclass for now.
 
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Halftrack

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Utter rubbish.

Bruno is world class.

He maybe not the best world Class player but he is in that metric.
Cartman dislikes Bruno (and is generally extremely negative about all things United), so I'd just ignore him if I were you. I mean, you can't take someone who thinks Bruno and Shaw are "miles off" being world class seriously.
 

Bebestation

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For me world class players means a level of consistency that others can’t do.

You can rely on them.

For example, De Bruyne might lose a final but he always has the ability to play his football 95% of the time.

The same with the GOATs like C Ronaldo and Messi - pure consistency.

For example Ruben Dias has his first break out season for City and is looking like a consistent CB that maybe thought of as world class now or this time next year.
 

Commentary

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I think it's somewhat subjective, but as a general rule they are...

- Usually the top of the class in their league for the position they play, and could excel in any top European club (Man City, Bayern Munich, Real Madrid ect)
- They are often game changers on a team because they are exceptionally talented
-They are consistently good & often in their prime...unless they are a young prodigy

Kevin De Bruyne & Bruno Fernandez, (World class) as natural AMF's they're at the top of the table for assists in their league, consistently good, any big club in Europe would sign them. They would be successful at any top club.

James Madison & Mason Mount (Good players) but still emerging talent. They may be world class when they hit their prime, but not as yet. Grealish seems to be heading towards world class as he enters into his prime, we'll see how he is in a year or two.


Sometimes you have to take the strength of a league into account to. Lukaku may be lighting it up in Serie A, but I'm not convinced if he came back to the premier league he'd be challenging for the golden boot. Harry Kane on the other hand, world class, he would be the top goal scorer in any league.
 
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TwoSheds

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I feel when people use the term they always mention lots of attacking players, but not many defenders and fullbacks. Surely it should be even if you rate them based on who gets into a world star 11 or things like that?

I think if I give two players per position then my 22 man squad would be something like this.

Navas, Neuer.

TAA, Pavard, Dias, Van Dijk, Ramos, Marquinhos, A Davies, Shaw.
Kante, Kimmich
KDB, Bruno Modric Neymar
Salah Messi Lewandowski Kane Ronaldo Mbappe

A little bit poor balance since so many great attacking players. Ronaldo and Messi are no real wingers as well even though Messi play that role most of the time.
As in Keylor Navas? The guy who almost single handedly got his team knocked out of the CL and is about to be replaced by Donnarumma? Pavard is also absolute bin juice and I'm not convinced we can call Trent world class just yet given how exposed he can be against pace.

Stick Oblak and Reece James in there and it's not a bad list though, although I'm not sure playing Neymar in midfield would get you very far!
 

Rektsanwalt

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I'd say top5 of every position, unless its full back. Full back is pretty shallow in terms of world class players
Yes, this but I'd like to add something. It means being in the absolute top bracket in the relative position. But in my opinion, these said people also need a certain absolute standard as a criteria to fit the term "world class" - i. e. reaching a specific level of skill. If there's a huge lack of goalkeepers or classic #9 for example, players should not be considered world class if they're just the best, but still not good considering their historic counterparts. So, all in all, it's about absolute and relative skill of said players.

Edit:
I would not consider Lukaku world class for example, although he would most likely fit the "top 5" criteria.
 

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World class really is a subjective tag, according to me, if a player is in the top 3 in the world for that position/role, then I can call them world class.
 

Varun

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One of the most tedious and historically long debates where every tom dick and harry have their own definitions because it's totally subjective.

Being one myself, I'd say anyone who's amongst the top tier in their position, tier 1 being - you could pick any of them without a significant drop on quality. This allows for flexibility and doesn't cut the number to top 2 or top 5 etc because there can be different number of players of similar quality in any given position.
 

paraguayo

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Yes, this but I'd like to add something. It means being in the absolute top bracket in the relative position. But in my opinion, these said people also need a certain absolute standard as a criteria to fit the term "world class" - i. e. reaching a specific level of skill. If there's a huge lack of goalkeepers or classic #9 for example, players should not be considered world class if they're just the best, but still not good considering their historic counterparts. So, all in all, it's about absolute and relative skill of said players.

Edit:
I would not consider Lukaku world class for example, although he would most likely fit the "top 5" criteria.
I think it's because Lukaku is a 'top5 player of the season', not a top5 striker for a long period of time. If he had mantained this level for long, he would be world class no doubt.
 

tenpoless

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The top 5 best players at performing their jobs and could walk into most top teams (95% or above). They don't have very significant weaknesses at their roles.

Productivity matters but overall impact and the ability to fit in other teams matter the most. For example Lukaku scored lots of goals this season and won the league with Inter, would you call him world class? I wouldn't. Firmino had a great season when Pool won CL, would you call him world class? I wouldn't.

Both of those players looked very good in a very specific setup but you can tell they'll struggle in other teams due to their playstyle. Being very good in one team and completely useless in another one means a player cannot be categorized as world class. World class players should at least still be useful in different setups although you do need to bring the best out of them.

Now think of Bruno and imagine which team will turn him completely useless if he plays for them? its hard innit. Thats a world class player. His stats and impact also back it up.
 

KirkDuyt

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I think you have to be a generational talent to be truly world class :wenger:
 

GatoLoco

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What did they smoke to have Iago Aspas in 7th position?
 

Matt007a

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Very subjective but I don't think being in the top so many in the world of your position makes you world class necessarily.

You could argue there are only 2-3 world class CBs at the moment, but in the 00s there were probably close to 10. You wouldn't say Vidic wasn't world class because Nesta, Maldini, Cannavaro, Terry and Rio were the top 5 for example.