We all know Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi are on another level when it comes to consistently performing at the very top level, but the third-best player in the world is a title which is always up for grabs.
Since 2007 (and not including 2010), the top three has always been taken by Ronaldo, Messi and someone else. In recent years, third place has gone to a range of players such as Franck Ribery, Andres Iniesta and Fernando Torres.
Taking the Ronaldo-Messi axis out of the equation, there are a lot of players who you could say are worthy of being third-best player. You have talents such as Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Ribery, Arjen Robben, Edinson Cavani, Radamel Falcao, Luis Suarez, Neymar, Angel di Maria, Gareth Bale – a whole host of players who are capable of doing something magical on a football pitch.
But what about now?
If you take that list I’ve just mentioned, who of those are performing at the very highest level?
Falcao and Di Maria are doing okay, but aren’t setting the world alight at Old Trafford. Suarez has struggled since his big-money move from Liverpool, and Bale, Robben, Ribery and Ibrahimovic are performing well but are not on the same level as Ronaldo or Messi.
If you see how these top-class players are doing this season, then there’s only one real top class performer at this moment in time.
And that man is Alexis Sanchez.
He has come to a new country, had to get used to a new league and on top of that, he was supposed to be suffering from a World Cup hangover. But yet he is by far the best player in the Premier League this season with 12 goals and seven assists in 20 games.
In the Champions League, he’s played seven games, scored four goals and picked up an assist. Overall, he has 18 goals and nine assists in this campaign, which still has 5 months left to go.
All of that, and he’s not an out and out striker.
If you look at this objectively, is there anyone else who can compare to Alexis? Surely he is the third-best player in the world right now?
The statistics are impressive and at the moment he is averaging a goal or assist in every game. But what’s even more impressive is his phenomenal performances on the pitch. He runs and runs for the team, tracks back and wins the ball, gives 110 per cent every time and is just a player who makes things happen.
The level and consistency of his performances for Arsenal this season lead me to suggest that he might even be better than Lionel Messi in this moment in time.
He might not get the recognition he deserves for his performances, possibly because he plays for Arsenal (we all know Thierry Henry was robbed of the FIFA World Player of the Year award on at least three occasions) but you cannot deny that currently Alexis is performing at world-class levels.