The level of competition in CS:GO now is higher than ever, there is no doubt about that. And that leads us to a very logical question: Who is the greatest player of all time in this game? The end of 2021 seems like a time as good as any to pick your personal favorite, as the debates seem to rapidly gain momentum on all the platforms. 

Fans name two obvious candidates for the GOAT role — NAVI's Oleksandr "s1mple" Kostyliev and G2's Nikola "NiKo" Kovač, who are both finishing this year with incredible individual stats. S1mple's got trophies on his side, as his team won the PGL Major Stockholm this year, as well as several other important tournaments that got them to the 1st place in the World Rankings. 

NiKo can't show off this many awards. Still, the Bosnian shows some alien-level results if we'd look closely at his personal stats. For instance, Kovač's average rating reached 1.35 across the past 3 months, which tops both ZywOo and s1mple. That is sure impressive as it is, but here's another thing to consider — NiKo's the only one of these three to use a rifle as his main weapon. Snipers are known to have higher average stats, which is proven by HLTV's best player of the year award that hasn't been given to a pure rifler since 2014. Still, NiKo managed to outperform the two best snipers of the generation by playing with AK-47 and M4.

NiKo's teammate Nemanja "nexa" Isaković recently has put up a word for him:

In his current form NiKo is the best player in the world, no doubt in my mind. If the season would have shaped up differently and maybe we won some events or we won the grand finals that we lost against NAVI, I think NiKo could have been in contention to be named the best player in the world. He had a phenomenal year, but I think he really stepped it up in the past couple of months and is putting up inhuman numbers. I even think s1mple isn't putting up the same numbers and the same impact as NiKo does consistently over every single map, all of the time.
Nemanja "nexa" Isaković

And then Fnatic's AWPer Owen "smooya" Butterfield also pinpointed NiKo's outstanding results.

S1mple was fast to answer these talks, though, knowing that he's got a full room of trophies behind his back this year. 

It seems that s1mple should be unreachable in the race for the Best Player of 2021 award. But, ironically, the GOAT status in still within NiKo's reach, and it'll sure be exciting to see these two CS:GO titans' battle in 2022.