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GOAL 25 2021 - The full list of the best Arab players of the year

14:30 GMT 25/12/2021
GOAL 25 2021 HEADER GFX

Mohamed Salah has been crowned the winner of this year's GOAL 25 award, presented to the best Arab player in 2021.

Having scored 34 goals and providing nine assists in the last 12 months with Liverpool, Salah helped the injury-hit Reds rally to a fourth-place finish in the Premier League last season.

He also broke Didier Drogba's record of 104 Premier League goals to become the leading African scorer in England's top flight, while he was also awarded the Golden Foot in recognition of his legendary career.

Now the 29-year-old has been chosen for the fifth time in a row to be the GOAL 25 winner, in a list that features players from six countries, 20 clubs and 12 different leagues.

The Premier League have the most players in the 2021 list with five, while Algeria is the most represented country with nine. Morocco boast six players and Egypt five.

At club level, Al-Ahly SC have the most players on the list with three, while Sevilla and Al-Hilal have two apiece.

You can check out the full list for the best 25 Arab players of 2021 below...

  • GOAL 25 2021 GFX #25 YOUCEF BELAILI ALGERIA

    #25 Youcef Belaïli - Algeria / No Club

    Across 2021, the 29-year-old scored six goals for former club Qatar SC in the Qatari Stars League and, this month, he put in a player of the tournament-winning performance in the FIFA Arab Cup with Algeria, scoring twice in the process.

    This led to Belaili ending his contract with his Qatari club by mutual consent as he is currently considering multiple European offers.

  • GOAL 25 2021 GFX #24 BAGHDAD BOUNEDJAH AL-SADD ALGERIA

    #24 Baghdad Bounedjah - Algeria / Al-Sadd

    The Algerian striker was as prolific as usual for Al-Sadd, dominating Qatar by winning the Stars League and Emir Cup titles, while also lifting the 2021 FIFA Arab Cup with his national team.

    With some solid performances - 37 goals and 23 assists this year - the 30-year-old has recently been linked to Barcelona with his former coach Xavi looking to reinforce the Blaugrana attack in January.

  • GOAL 25 2021 GFX #23 RACHID GHEZZAL BESIKTAS ALGERIA

    #23 Rachid Ghezzal - Algeria / Beşiktaş

    The 29-year-old scored eight goals and provided 12 assists as Besiktas won the 2020-21 Super Lig title.

    Although the creative Algerian winger has only two goals and one assist to his name this season, with his Turkish employers struggling both domestically and in Europe, he is still an integral part of Onder Karaveli's team.

  • GOAL 25 2021 GFX #22 TAREK HAMED ZAMALEK EGYPT

    #22 Tarek Hamed - Egypt / Zamalek

    The midfield warrior played a key role in Zalamek's 2020-21 Egyptian Premier League triumph and he remains of the utmost importance to his side.

    The 33-year-old hasn't missed a minute of action this season, illustrating why he is regarded the best No 6 in the Egyptian game.

  • GOAL 25 2021 GFX #21 ALI MABKHOUT AL-JAZEERA UAE

    #21 Ali Mabkhout - UAE / Al-Jazira

    The 31-year-old sealed legendary status after becoming the UAE Pro League's all-time top scorer this year. The hotshot netted 31 times and delivered 10 assists as Al-Jazira claimed the title.

    He also advanced with his national team to the fourth round of the 2022 Asia World Cup qualifiers, where UAE would need to beat Australia in order to qualify for the inter-confederation play-off. With Mabkhout in this form, anything is possible.


  • GOAL 25 2021 GFX #20 ISMAEL BENNACER AC MILAN ALGERIA

    #20 Ismaël Bennacer - Algeria / AC Milan

    Injuries might have affected his 2021 season, but they didn't prevent him from helping AC Milan finish second in Serie A last season, thus earning the Rossoneri a Champions League spot for the first time in seven years.

  • GOAL 25 2021 GFX #19 ANDY DELORT MONTPELLIER ALGERIA

    #19 Andy Delort - Algeria / Montpellier & Nice

    One of the best strikers in French football, the 30-year-old Algerian struck 14 times for Montpellier between January and the end of last season.

    Delort has since switched clubs, joining Montpellier during the summer, but he's still doing what he does best, adding eight goals to his 2021 haul.

  • GOAL 25 2021 GFX #18 SALMAN AL-FARAJ AL-HILAL KSA

    #18 Salman Al-Faraj - Saudi Arabia / Al-Hilal

    A true leader and arguably the best Saudi midfielder of the last five years, Al-Faraj once again proved the cornerstone of his club's success in 2021.

    Alongside Salem Al-Dawsari, the Al-Hilal captain was the main reason for his team winning not just the Prince Mohamed bin Salman Professional Cup League (The Saudi Pro League), but also the AFC Champions League.

    He also featured nine times for his country this year, scoring twice.


  • GOAL 25 2021 GFX #17 MOHAMED MAGDY AFSHA AL-AHLY SC EGYPT

    #17 Mohamed Magdy 'Afsha' - Egypt / Al-Ahly SC

    After his famous 'knockout goal' against Zamalek last year, the midfielder once again scored in the CAF Champions League final this year and was arguably the best player on the field in the 3-0 win against Mamelodi Sundowns, winning a second Champions League in a row.

    Thanks to 15 goals and 18 assists, a very solid domestic club performance, a bronze medal in the FIFA Club World Cup and exceptional national team form, the 25-year-old has received several offers from European clubs, including Galatasaray and Fenerbahce.

  • GOAL 25 2021 GFX #16 RAMY BENSEBAINI BORUSSIA MONCHENGLADBACH ALGERIA

    #16 Ramy Bensebaini - Algeria / Borussia Monchengladbach

    One of the most important players in Adi Hutter's Borussia Monchengladbach team, the 26-year-old has registered nine goals and one assist across all competitions in 2021.

    Consequently the versatile Algerian defender, who can play at centre-half or left-back, is expected to be watched closely by Bayern Munich, Inter, Roma and more during the upcoming AFCON in Cameroon.

  • GOAL 25 2021 GFX #15 ELLYES SKHIRI 1. FC KOLN TUNISIA

    #15 Ellyes Skhiri - Tunisia / FC Koln

    He recently picked up a knee injury that ended his 2021 campaign after missing only two matches last season as he helped Koln avoid relegation.

    The 26-year-old, who has been previously linked with West Ham, also proved integral to Tunisia's qualification for the AFCON and the last round of the 2022 World Cup qualifiers.

  • GOAL 25 2021 GFX #14 ROMAIN SAISS WOLVERHAMPTON MOROCCO

    #14 Romain Saïss - Morocco / Wolves

    The 31-year-old has been one of the best players in the Wolves team since last season, when the Premier League club easily avoided relegation.

    Always a starter for Bruno Lage's team, the holding midfielder has played all but 60 minutes this season as Wolves sit in eighth place.

  • GOAL 25 2021 GFX #13 YOUSSEF EL-ARABI OLYMPIACOS MOROCCO

    #13 Youssef El-Arabi - Morocco / Olympiacos

    With 30 goals and six assists in 2021, the 34-year-old continued to impress in Greece's top flight.

    Al-Arabi won the MVP award, was the league's top scorer and helped his side claim its second successive Super League title.

  • GOAL 25 2021 GFX #13 YOUSSEF EL-ARABI OLYMPIACOS MOROCCO

    #12 Mohamed El-Shenawy - Egypt / Al-Ahly SC

    The 33-year-old Al-Ahly SC captain remains one of Egypt's best and most reliable performers.

    The IFFHS goalkeeper of the year nominee managed to keep seven clean sheets in 11 CAF Champions League matches this year, as his club claimed the trophy for the second year in a row.

    His performances in the FIFA Arab Cup, AFCON and World Cup qualifiers were as significant as ever, and this week he added another trophy to his cabinet after winning the CAF Super Cup against Raja Casablanca.

  • GOAL 25 2021 GFX #11 AISSA MANDI VILLARREAL ALGERIA

    #11 Aissa Mandi - Algeria / Real Betis & Villarreal

    An exceptional season with Betis saw Mandi finish sixth in La Liga with his former team-mates before he secured a summer move to Villarreal, who reportedly beat competition from Barcelona and Inter for his services.

    Although he has struggled to nail down a starting place at El Madrigal, the 30-year-old is still delivering for the Algerian national team, scoring two of his five goals this year with the African champions.

  • GOAL 25 2021 GFX #10 AHMED HEGAZI AL-ITTIHAD EGYPT

    #10 Ahmed Hegazi - Egypt / Al-Ittihad

    Nobody expected Hegazi to single-handedly rescue Al-Ittihad's season, with the former West Brom man having joined during the winter break with his new club in the relegation zone.

    Yet the 30-year-old defender exceeded all expectations. Al-Ittihad ended up finishing third and his move was voted the best transfer deal in Saudi Arabia last season.

    Hegazi continues to lead by example this season, with his team top of the league thanks in no small part to five clean sheets in 12 matches.


  • GOAL 25 2021 GFX #09 SALEM AL-DAWSARI AL-HILAL KSA

    #9 Salem Al-Dawsari - Saudi Arabia - Al-Hilal

    The 30-year-old Saudi has arguably evolved into the most lethal winger in all of Asia.

    He totalled 17 goals and seven assists across all competitions in 2021, helping Al-Hilal win the Prince Mohamed bin Salman Professional Cup League (the Saudi Pro League) and the AFC Champions League.

    He also appeared in the Tokyo Olympics with the Saudi Arabian Under-23 team.

  • GOAL 25 2021 GFX #08 MOHAMED SHERIF AL-AHLY SC EGYPT

    #8 Mohamed Sherif - Egypt / Al-Ahly SC

    Since returning from his Enppi loan last October, the 25-year-old has transformed into a goal machine for club and country.

    With 30 goals and nine assists, the Egyptian Premier League and CAF Champions League top-scorer led Al-Ahly SC to a second consecutive continental title while also winning two CAF Super Cups.

    His heroics led to him being included in this year's edition of GOAL50, as one of the world's best 50 players.

    With some rumoured European offers on the table, it would be little surprise if we saw Sherif leave Egypt to pursue a career abroad either next month or in the summer.

  • GOAL 25 2021 GFX #07 HAKIM ZIYECH CHELSEA MOROCCO

    #7 Hakim Ziyech - Morocco / Chelsea

    After his struggles with form and fitness early last season, the 28-year-old played his part in Chelsea's Champions League triumph, while also ensuring that Morocco will play in the 2022 World Cup final qualifying round and next month's AFCON.

  • GOAL 25 2021 GFX #06 SAID BENRAHMA WEST HAM UNITED ALGERIA

    #6 Saïd Benrahma - Algeria / West Ham

    2021 was arguably the best year in Benrahma's caree, after he managed to impress in England with seven goals and eight assists.

    West Ham are challenging for a top-four spot in the Premier League table, thanks in large part to a string of brilliant performances from their enigmatic left-winger.

  • GOAL 25 2021 GFX #05 YOUSSEF EN-NESYRI SEVILLA MOROCCO

    #5 Youssef En-Nesyri - Morocco / Sevilla

    The Sevilla forward was a real contender for the 'Pichichi' top scorer trophy last season with 18 goals, which significantly contributed to the Andalusians finishing fourth in La Liga, while he also netted twice in the Champions League last-16 clash with Borussia Dortmund.

    En-Nesyri has a total of 18 goals and two assists in 2021, making him the third-most prolific Arab player in Europe, behind Youssef El-Arabi and Mohamed Salah.

  • GOAL 25 2021 GFX #04 YASSINE BOUNOU SEVILLA MOROCCO

    #4 Yassine Bounou - Morocco / Sevilla

    Last season was a historic one for the Morocco international. He managed to go 557 minutes without conceding a goal to beat the previous club record held by Beto.

    He also became the first Arab goalkeeper to score a goal in the top five European leagues, against Atletico Madrid last March.

    The 30-year-old was one of the best in his position in Europe during a year that saw Sevilla finish fourth.

    He also helped Morocco reach the AFCON and the final stage of the World Cup qualifiers with six clean sheets in seven matches across the two competitions.

  • GOAL 25 2021 GFX #03 RIYAD MAHREZ MANCHESTER CITY ENGLISH PREMIER LEAGUE

    #3 Riyad Mahrez - Algeria / Manchester City

    Mahrez was phenomenal at Manchester City in 2021, helping his team reach the Champions League final and playing a big role in their Premier League title charge.

    In total, he scored 28 goals and provided 16 assists, which is why the winger was shortlisted for the Ballon d'Or and GOAL50 awards this year.

  • GOAL 25 2021 GFX #02 ACHRAF HAKIMI PSG MOROCCO

    #2 Achraf Hakimi - Morocco / Paris Saint Germain

    It was an incredibly successful year for the Moroccan right-back, who was one of Inter's best players in their dominant Serie A success.

    Paris Saint-Germain took advantage of the Nerazzurri's financial issues to sign Hakimi during the summer and he has already racked up three goals and three assists for his new club.

    Now widely regarded as one of the best attacking full-backs in the world, Hakimi also contributed two goals and one assist in nine appearances for his country in 2021.

  • GOAL 25 2021 GFX #01 MOHAMED SALAH LIVERPOOL EGYPT

    #1 Mohamed Salah - Egypt / Liverpool

    Salah continues to prove himself the Premier League's top player, and one of the best players in the world.

    The 29-year-old reached 100 goals for Liverpool in 2021, while he also helped Egypt reach next month's AFCON and the final stage of the 2022 World Cup qualifiers.

    With 40 goals and 16 assists with his club and national team in 2021, he has captivated viewers around the globe.

    More is to come as well, with Salah hoping to win another Champions League trophy at Liverpool before making his mark in Qatar.

    There can be no doubt about it: Salah is again the best Arab player in the world.