It’s here, 90min’s ranked top five left forwards in the world.
The ‘Welcome to World Class’ series is built on the premise that to be considered ‘world class’ you must be among the top five players in the world in your position, given that it’s a term that is often tossed around too easily without a real definition.
The following five players are those that made the cut to be considered ‘world class’ left forwards, ranked from fifth to best. But who actually made it to number one?
Raheem Sterling is a different player the one that Manchester City bought for £49m in 2015. Back then, the former Liverpool talent was only 20, an unpolished gem capable of brilliant things but often infuriating and inconsistent – as most young players are.
But the arrival of Pep Guardiola in Manchester changed things for Sterling. He was always naturally gifted, but Guardiola taught him to expect and demand more of himself in order to make the most of all that ability and make it count when it matters most.
These days, Sterling is clinical and lethal, leaving the wasteful youngster he once was in his wake to become one of the top five left forwards on the planet.
Raheem Sterling ranks fifth in 90min’s Welcome to World Class left forwards list. Read more about why Sterling is world class here.
Arsenal have been carried by Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang since he arrived at the club three years ago and the Gunners would be in a far worse position today were it not for their leader and talisman.
Aubameyang arrived as a prolific Bundesliga forward and has never looked out of place or ill at ease in the Premier League. He got 70 goals in all competitions in just his first two-and-a-half year at Arsenal and was more or less solely responsible for the club finishing 2019/20 with silverware.
He has remained loyal to Arsenal, but would have improved any team in 2020.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang ranks fourth in 90min’s Welcome to World Class left forwards list. Read more about why Aubameyang is world class here.
Neymar is a generational talent in a country that has produced superstar after superstar for decades. The scary thing is, even at 28, he still isn’t as good as he could be and has the time to establish himself as the very best in the world before he retires.
Even though there is untapped potential, Neymar has achieved more at club level in Europe than his predecessors like Ronaldo and Ronaldinho, while he has had enjoyed the kind of longevity that isn’t usually associated with flair players from Brazil.
Injuries at the hands of overly zealous Ligue 1 defenders, as well as the coronavirus pandemic, have limited his number of games since joining PSG in 2017, but he remains unplayable when fit.
Neymar ranks third in 90min’s Welcome to World Class left forwards list. Read more about why Neymar is world class here.
Cristiano Ronaldo has plenty of detractors, but you cannot ignore the numbers that he has put up throughout his career and continues to put up now, even as he nears his 36th birthday.
He hasn’t made the same impact in Europe over the last two years as he did at Real Madrid, but 2019/20 marked a return to his form of old, getting 31 goals in Serie A for Juventus and recording his best league tally since 2015/16.
Ronaldo is utterly irrespirable because he is never satisfied and has the best and most driven mentality of anyone playing today. Because of that, 2020/21 has seen him kick on again.
Even at his age, he was very close to being number one.
Cristiano Ronaldo ranks second in 90min’s Welcome to World Class left forwards list. Read more about why Ronaldo is world class here.
Mohamed Salah gets more plaudits and Roberto Firmino is a more polished technical player, but Sadio Mane was Liverpool’s most important forward as the Reds ended a 30-year wait for Premier League glory in truly spectacular fashion.
He has improved every year of his career to date, getting better and better, is truly electric and so often makes a decisive different in a team already brimming with world class players.
Consistency has been key to his success over the last couple of years, meaning that Liverpool can always turn to him. Jurgen Klopp has even labelled Mane the ‘complete’ player because he does so much for the team in both attacking and defensive capacities and is always working.
Mane has done it at the highest level and in the clutch moments to win the biggest prizes club football has to offer over the last few years. That is why there are currently none better.
Sadio Mane ranks first in 90min’s Welcome to World Class left forwards list. Read more about why Mane is world class here.