The beast that is Welcome to World Class continues to power on, and this time we’ve got one of the most contentious positions in the series – left forwards.
We’ve already got through most of the positions – goalkeepers, centre-backs, defensive midfielders, central midfielders, attacking midfielders and left backs – so check those lists out if you want to be reacquainted. You can find everything here.
But right now, we’re going to detail some of the finest left-sided attackers in the game today; stars who make scoring goals and setting strikes up for their teammates look as easy as pie.
Need a reminder on how the whole process works? Here’s what you need to know.
- A world class footballer is defined as one of the top five players in the world in their position.
- All players can fit into one of 10 on-field positions; GK, RB, LB, CB, DM, CM, AM, RF, LF, ST.
- All players have been graded across ten different subcategories in the decision-making process – you can find more information on everything mentioned above here.
- Performances for club and country are considered.
Let’s get into it.
All statistics are provided by StatsPerform over the period of January 1, 2021 to November 30, 2021 (inclusive of domestic and continental cup competitions).
5. Vinicius Jr
Games played: 48
Chances created: 59
Shot conversion rate: 16.9
Vinicius Jr has always been a player with incredible talent, but in his first few seasons in Spain he looked…raw, messy, lacking a certain something.
All that changed when he turned 21 in July. He came back from the Copa America (where he represented Brazil for the first time in 18 months) a different player altogether, hitting shots decisively and with real vim rather than taking the extra touch to dribble himself into trouble.
With 12 goals and nine assists over his first 24 Real games this season, and as an established Brazil international, he’s made that next step which so many don’t. The scary bit? He’s still 21. There could be so much more to come.
4. Leroy Sane
Chances created: 78
Shot conversion rate: 11.5
Leroy Sane’s debut season at Bayern Munich is widely considered to have been underwhelming – and the flying German would probably agree. Indeed, many would have expected him to be higher in this list at this stage in his career.
But since the turn of the year the former Man City winger has been on an upward trajectory, building towards a crescendo and coming into a vein of rich form in 2021/22.
Sane looks back to his best and has already matched his domestic goal contributions from last campaign. If he can keep it up, who knows what the next 12 months might hold.
3. Son Heung-min (new entry)
Chances created: 84
Shot conversion rate: 14.6
After the summer exploits of their other main forward, Tottenham needed Son Heung-min to step up and become their star attraction – and that’s what he’s done.
Now the go-to player whenever Spurs are in trouble, Son is renowned for his excellent finishing skills – scoring 14.6% of his shots – while he has also created more chances (84) than both of the top two.
The South Korean didn’t make the cut last year but deservedly takes his spot in the top three left forwards this time around.
2. Sadio Mane (down 1)
Chances created: 61
Shot conversion rate: 15.9
Liverpool have had a tough past year or so after their Premier League triumph of 2020/21, but they’re back with a vigour this year and Sadio Mane remains just as important as ever.
The Senegal star remains a reliable source of goals for the Reds – netting once every 188 minutes – and his availability during a year when his side were decimated by injuries made him even more valuable.
He might feel slightly aggrieved to move down to second, but Mane’s relentless quality in Liverpool’s front three makes him one of the most dangerous forwards in world football.
1. Kylian Mbappé (new entry)
Chances created: 72
Shot conversion rate: 23.9
We can’t be too surprised to see this fella come out on top, right?
You might be thinking ‘new entry?’, but this came about due to a positional switch – Kylian Mbappé actually came second in the striker list last year.
In terms of pure goalscoring, none of the Frenchman’s competitors come close – Mbappé racked up 37 strikes with an excellent 23.9% shot conversion rate, topping both metrics. His minutes per goal ratio of 111 is also way clear of anyone else.