Into the top thirty now, and only two more posts to go! Numbers 20-11 will be featured tomorrow, and the top ten will be posted on Monday, just in time for the Ballon d’Or awards.
Just a reminder we’ve also included the total points awarded to each player based on KJ’s ranking system.
This is the eighth installment of the Footy Blog’s comprehensive list of the Top 100 Footballers in the World, as determined by some of the world’s leading football journalists (previous installments can be found here). The entire 19-person panel along with bios, and some background on how the names and their order was determined is here. Remember; if you’re on Twitter, be sure to include us in on your outrage by using the hashtag #footy100.
30. Eden Hazard (Lille and Belgium) – 93pts – The Ligue 1 player of the Year last season shows no signs of slowing. An excellent passer, Hazard is adept equally as an attacking mid and on the wing and has already drawn comparisons at 20 to both Messi and Ronaldo, but his specialty is creating chances. Seemingly destined for a big move in near future, Hazard is exactly that: a menace to back fours throughout Europe.
29. Franck Ribéry (Bayern Munich and France) – 94pts – Currently the highest-rated player on a considerably talented Bayern side, Ribéry put his relative struggles under Van Gaal aside and is flourishing with current coach Jupp Heynckes. With eight goals and six assists already this campaign, Ribery is finally showing the promise Bayern fans were hoping to see after his move from Marseille in 2007.
28. Wesley Sneijder (Inter Milan and Netherlands) – 119pts – Ranieri has put his faith in the Dutch playmaker as not “just a teammate, but a leader,” despite talk that Sneijder has yet to match the form that saw Inter win their spectacular treble in 2009-10. At 27, Sneijder is still one of Europe’s most sought-after midfield creators, particularly by an injury-racked Manchester United.
27. Mario Gómez (Bayern Munich and Germany) – 122pts – A striker in the mold of Gerd Müller, Gomez is currently doing the most difficult thing in football—scoring—and he’s doing it consistently, to the point where he’s averaging a goal a game with sixteen goals in sixteen in the Bundesliga and five in the Champions League. Man of the Match three times already this season, last year’s Bundesliga top scorer could match or even exceed last year’s league total.
26. Yaya Touré (Manchester City and Ivory Coast) – 126pts – The 2011 African footballer of the year—a rare achievement for a non-striker—is at 28 perhaps one of the best midfielders of his generation. Equally adept in creating space from the back and fearless going forward, Touré seems at times like a footballing polymath, running end to end, filling gaps, providing integral passes. Always a marvel to watch.
25. Luka Modrić (Tottenham Hotspur and Croatia) – 144pts – Tottenham’s Player of the Season last year, Modric is an enormously gifted artist, able to find space to aid Spurs’ considerable talent in attack. A Chelsea and Manchester United target, Modrić’s presence on any team can change the entire dynamic for the better. And he’s no less proficient for his country, as the second Croatian ever to be named to UEFA’s Team of the Tournament in 2008.
24. Dani Alves (Barcelona and Brazil) – 145pts – The right back everyone loves to hate, Alves’ talent in defense, whether completed tackles, clearances or interceptions, in addition to his assistance in attack, is among the best in the world. When he’s not waging a war of words, he’s reminding haters why he plays for one of the best teams in the world.
23. Sergio Busquets (Barcelona and Spain) – 146pts – At 23 years of age, Busquets arrived on the scene with Barcelona fairly recently in 2008, only to become an instantly recognizable presence on the club, skilled at breaking up opposition attacks with the deftest ease. In that time though he’s won a World Cup and received prestigious national honours. One of the world’s most skilled defensive midfielders.
22. Manuel Neuer (Bayern Munich and Germany) – 148pts – Ten clean sheets in seventeen games this season for Bayern, Neuer is the Bayern record holder for the most consecutive goalless minutes, beating out Oliver Kahn. Voted Best Bundesliga Player of 2011, Neuer’s maturity in handling a controversial move from Schalke has demonstrated why he is Germany’s number one. And he’s just 25 years old. Already one of the best goalkeepers in the world.
21. Samuel Eto’o (Anzhi Makhachkala and Cameroon) – 152 pts – with 21 goals for Inter last season, the Cameroonian forward once again proved he’s among the world’s best. While many football fans sneered when he made a big money move to Anzhi Makhachkala, he’s kept up his professional approach by scoring eight goals in eleven appearances.