Football is a sport that captures the imagination of millions around the world.
The passion and excitement generated by the game are unparalleled, with fans and pundits alike debating endlessly about the best players, teams, and tactics.
While some footballers enjoy the limelight and adulation of fans, others remain underappreciated despite their exceptional abilities on the pitch.
These unsung heroes may not always receive the same level of attention as their more famous counterparts, but their contributions to their teams are no less significant.
In this article, we will take a closer look at some of the most underrated footballers in the world right now, who deserve more recognition and respect for their talent, hard work, and performances in the beautiful game.
Here, we look at 20 most underrated footballers in 2023
1. Federico Chiesa
Federico Chiesa is a winger who plays for Juventus. During his time at Fiorentina, he was the best player, but when Juventus signed him, many expected him to fail due to the calibre of players at Juve.
But Chiesa has proven them wrong with his solid performances and his vital goal contributions.
He was in spectacular form for Italy at the Euro 2020, but injuries have hampered his progress.
He still doesn’t get the credit he deserves for his efforts, though.
2. Gerard Moreno
Villareal striker is surely one of the most underrated players in the world. He scored 18 goals in the 2019/20 season and even went better last season as he scored 23 goals and provided 7 assists as he helped Villareal win the Europa League.
He scored in the final against Manchester United. In the 2022/23 season, Gerard Moreno already has 6 goals and 2 assists in 14 La Liga games as of this time.
The Spaniard is a complete striker who capable of creating and scoring goals.
3. Franck Kessie
Having been touted as a young prodigy since his early years at Atalanta, he was signed by AC Milan, initially on loan. He recently earned a move to Barcelona on a free transfer.
Franck Kessie was instrumental as AC Milan won the Serie A last season.
The Ivorian is a skilled midfielder with physical and technical prowess.
He is also a superior penalty-taker and passer, yet he’s still very underrated.
4. Tim Ream
The 35-year-old American centre-back is undoubtedly one of the most underrated soccer players in the world.
The Fulham player is a technically gifted player with excellent ball control and passing skills. He is comfortable on the ball and can initiate attacks from the back.
Ream is also a versatile player who can play at both center-back and left-back positions. His ability to adapt to different roles has made him a valuable asset to his teams.
In fact, Pep Guardiola once said that Ream was 10 years younger, he would have signed him.
5. Stanislav Lobotka
Napoli has been one of the most impressive football teams in Europe this season.
The likes of Victor Osimhen and Khvicha Kvaratskhelia has gotten most of the praises, however, Stanislav Lobotka has been quite underrated.
The Slovak midfielder is an energetic, tireless, and effective player for Napoli.
6. Tomas Soucek
One of the most consistent performers for West ham, the Czech Republic midfielder’s box-to-box style of play and his huge/tall stature make him an attacking threat in the opposition area.
Despite being a defensive midfielder, he finished as West ham’s joint topscorer last season alongside Michael Antonio, with 10 goals.
7. Wissam Ben Yedder
He has been a good striker since his time at Sevilla and now at Monaco. Ben Yedder finished as joint Ligue 1 topscorer with Mbappe in 2019/20 and finished as runner-up behind the PSG striker last season.
His performances earned him a place in the French Euro 2020 squad.
In the 2021/22 Ligue1 season, Ben Yedder finished behind Mbappe as the top scorer.
8. Luis Muriel
Awarded the Serie A Best Young Revelation in 2012, Muriel hasn’t gotten the attention his performances deserved since.
He has played for various clubs, which included Sampdoria, Sevilla, and Fiorentina.
He currently plays for Atalanta, and he’s one of the team’s most consistent performers.
9. Raphaël Guerreiro
The Portuguese defender who plays for Dortmund is very versatile as he can easily play at left-back, left midfield, or as a wingback.
His overlapping runs make him an attacking threat throughout matches, and he regularly chips in with goals or assists.
Raphaël Guerreiro was part of the Portuguese side that won Euro 2016.
10. Nicolò Barella
Having been likened to Pirlo and Gerrard since his early days at Cagliari, Barrel has always been under media pressure.
He was finally signed by Inter Milan in 2019 amid tense competition from other suitors.
He has shone under the spotlight with his impressive displays for the Nerrazurri and helped them win the Serie A last term.
Barella carried his form to the Euros, as he has a goal and two assists already, helping Italy reach the semifinals in the process.
11. Zambo Anguissa
Neto is a consistent performer for Napoli, with his selfless and energetic displays helping the club establish itself as one the main Serie A title contenders this season.
The Cameroonian midfielder’ work rate, goal scoring prowess, and drive has been somewhat overlooked.
12. José Giménez
Since joining Athletico Madrid in 2013, Giménez has always been on top of his game.
He formed a strong partnership with Diego Godin and became the team’s defensive leader when the latter left.
He has won 5 trophies with Athletico, which included two La Liga titles, with the latest one being last season.
13. Ismael Bennacer
Bennacer came to prominence when he helped Algeria win the 2019 AFCON, where he finished as the joint-top assist provider.
He was named as the best young player and best player of the tournament.
Bennacer subsequently moved to AC Milan and has established himself there, helping the club qualify for the Champions League for the first time in 7 years, and winning the Serie A title.
14. Rodrigo De Paul
The former Udinese captain had been linked to various top clubs before he made the move to Atlético Madrid.
He is a tireless and combative box-to-box midfielder.
The Argentine played a key role as Argentina won the Copa America last year, yet his impressive performances are usually swept under the radar.
However, De Paul was impressive as usual for Argentina as they lifted the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.
While the likes of Enzo Fernández and MacAllister claimed the significant praises, Rodrigo De Paul’s influence was still underrated.
15. Filip Kostić
The Serbian winger has been a consistent performer for Eintracht Frankfurt in the Bundesliga with his work rate.
He was instrumental as his former club won the 2021/22 Europa League.
However, Kostić secured a move to Juventus in the 2022/23 season. So far he has scored 2 goals and provided assists at the time of this writing.
16. Sergej Milinković-Savić
Dubbed the “complete modern midfielder,” SMS has been a top performer since joining Lazio in 2015.
Sergej Milinković-Savić is known for his physicality, technical ability, and his versatility as a midfielder.
He can play as a deep-lying playmaker, box-to-box midfielder, or attacking midfielder, making him a valuable asset to any team.
Despite his impressive performances, Milinković-Savić may not receive the same level of recognition as some of his peers due to playing in a less high-profile league compared to other top-tier midfielders.
However, his ability and potential have not gone unnoticed by top clubs, with reports of interest from some of Europe’s biggest clubs.
He gets linked with a transfer to the top sides every transfer window.
17. Seko Fofana
Another impressive midfielder who doesn’t get enough accolades is Seko Fofana.
The Ivorian plays for Lens in the French Ligue 1 and has one of the top players in France.
He is a physical, aggressive, and versatile player with a decent goalscoring record.
18. Isi Palazón
The Rayo Vallecano winger is had to forget for any Barcelona fan.
Isi Palazón is a technically gifted player who possesses sublime dribbling and passing skills.
The 27-year-old always turns up against the big clubs and is very underrated for his talent.
19. Pierre-Emile Højbjerg
Having failed to establish himself at Bayern, Højbjerg made a name for himself at Southampton and made a move to Tottenham last summer.
He was a consistent performer in Jose Mourinho’s side and played all 38 league matches.
He set the record for the most minutes played in a single Premier League season (3420 minutes!).
During his time at Bayern, Højbjerg won the Bundesliga, DFB Pokal, UEFA Champions league and FIFA Club World Cup.
20. James Tavernier
Tavernier is the captain of Scottish side Rangers.
He plays at right-back, and is one of the best full-backs in the world. He led the team to its first league in 10 years a few seasons ago.
Despite being a defender, Tavernier has already scored over 80 goals in his career.
The right-back was an inspirational presence at the back for the Glasgow club last season, guiding them to the Europa League final.
He scored 7 goals in 17 appearances to become the first defender in 29 years to finish as the top scorer in Europe.
- Hakan Calhanouglu
- Luis Alberto
- Lucas Paquetá
- Lucas Vazquez
- Gonzalo Montiel
- Nathan Aké
- Benjamin André
- Mikel Merino
- Hans Vanaken
- Martin Terrier
- Benjamin Bourigeaud.