Best wingers in the world: Young star Yamal comes of age

We have ranked who we think are currently the top 10 best wingers in the world based on different factors.

The term “winger” to label a player is obscure in the modern game, as in the past we have usually associated them with trying to beat full-backs and put in crosses, but nowadays many wingers operate more as inside forwards, with players cutting inside and unleashing shots on goal with their stronger foot.

Nonetheless, below is our ranking of the top 10 best wingers in the world currently, with each player having started a significant number of games on the wing in their careers. Also, feel free to check out who we feel are the top 10 best strikers in the world today.

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For many fans across Europe, Lamine Yamal has been the breakout star of 2024, but he is a fair way off the summit in this list – Photo by Icon Sport

Best wingers in the world: Our top 10

10. Cole Palmer (Chelsea)

Kicking off our list is Palmer, who enjoyed an outstanding debut season at Chelsea. The Englishman scored 27 goals and made 15 assists in all competitions, in a Blues team that struggled a lot at times under now former coach Mauricio Pochettino.

Although Palmer also played a lot in attacking midfield, he operated as a right-winger in the majority of his games, meaning he makes the list. A few more consistent seasons at the highest level could also push him further up as time goes by.

9. Rafael Leao (AC Milan)

Leao is next to feature for his explosive pace and trickery that has seen him linked with a big-money move for many transfer windows now. The Portuguese has also shown a deadly end product, hitting double figures for goals in each of his last three seasons.

8. Rodrygo (Real Madrid)

Rodrygo has grown into his own at Real Madrid, after perhaps being in the shadow of fellow Brazilian teammate Vinicius Jr. He has made over 200 appearances for Los Blancos at the age of just 23, scoring over 50 goals and making over 40 assists.

7. Lamine Yamal (Barcelona)

It is unbelievable for Yamal to even feature on this list, let alone be seventh, given that he is just 16 years of age. The FC Barcelona starlet shows a maturity on the pitch well beyond his years, and he shows the courage to always want to take on his man.

Yamal scored seven goals for Barca in all competitions last season, and has been a shining light for Spain at Euro 2024. Indeed, his Goal of the Tournament (GOTT) contender against France in their semi-final helped send La Roja to the final in Germany.

6. Son Heung-min (Tottenham)

It is a testament to Son's ability to see him so high on this list, despite not winning a major trophy with Tottenham Hotspur yet. That said, he has managed double figures for goals in the Premier League in each of the last eight campaigns, and remains one of the world's best finishers.

5. Bukayo Saka (Arsenal)

Breaking the top five is Saka, who is Mr. Consistent at Arsenal and is always the first name on the team sheet for the Gunners. The Englishman has improved on his goals and assists tally season after season, and showed his quality for the Three Lions at Euro 2024 with his sublime late strike in their quarter-final against Switzerland, forcing the game into extra-time and eventually penalties, which England won.

4. Mohamed Salah (Liverpool)

Perhaps the greatest winger in the world at one point in some fans' eyes, Salah features fourth on our list. That is nothing against his ability however, as his abundance of goals for Liverpool have helped them win the Premier League and UEFA Champions League, among many other accolades.

3. Phil Foden (Manchester City)

This is perhaps a controversial one, given that Foden likes to drift into central positions for club and country, but he has started most of his games for Manchester City on the wing over the past couple of years. He helped them win the domestic double as part of the coveted 2022/23 treble, and was named the most recent Premier League's Player of the Season (POTS).

2. Vinicius Jr (Real Madrid)

Our second of three Real Madrid players features a very close runner-up here in Vinicius Jr. The Brazilian dazzles on the pitch with his quick feet, and also comes up with big moments in big games.

His goal in the Champions League final against Borussia Dortmund ensured a record 15th title for Los Blancos, and winning La Liga too, Vinicius will likely be a strong Ballon d'Or candidate. Nonetheless, he is one of the most exciting players in the world to watch.

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Mbappe is our best winger in the world pick – Loic Cousin – Photo by Icon Sport

1. Kylian Mbappe (Real Madrid)

Mbappe is now a Real Madrid player after leaving PSG this summer. He is claimed by many as the best player in the world, let alone best winger. He has played up front for a lot of his career, but started at left-wing for France at Euro 2024. So the French superstar is our number one pick.

Adam is a lead writer on Football Whispers. He is a big Arsenal fan, and also follows his local club Wealdstone, made famous by The Wealdstone Raider, of whom he has interviewed. Adam also follows darts, boxing, cricket and tennis, among many other sports.