It has come down to this. The final installment is here. Numbers 10-1 in The Footy Blog’s top 100 footballers. Three months ago I came up with this project and thanks to the help of the panelists and you, the Footy Show fans, it has grown into something bigger than I ever could have imagined. I was absolutely delighted with the respected minds who agreed to be apart of this project. If you are still not aware of them or are not following them on twitter I suggest that you do so. The game is better for having these guys covering it.


Gary Al-Smith, a freelance African football specialist for ESPN Soccernet, kicker, ITV, SuperSport, among others. @garyalsmith

Paolo Bandini, a journalist who covers Italian football for and Astro SuperSport, as well as The Score. @Paolo_Bandini

Andy Brassell, a freelance writer and broadcaster on European football. His work can be regularly read and heard via outlets including BBC FiveLive/World Service, ESPN Soccernet, The Independent and FOX Soccer. @andybrassell

Michael Cox, the sole writer at, winner of the Best Football Blogger in the Soccerlens Awards. He has also written for the Guardian, Blizzard,, ESPN and The Score’s Footy Blog. @zonal_marking

Miguel Delaney, a European football writer with articles published in the Independent, Independent on Sunday, Irish Examiner, London Evening Standard, Blizzard and Champions. He is also the owner of the Football Pantheon website and has written ‘Stuttgart to Saipan: the players’ stories’ about the Irish international team. @MiguelDelaney

Adam Digby, football writer for ESPN Soccernet, In Bed With Maradona, and co-founder of @Adz77 

Marco Foroni, a Champions League presenter and Serie A commentator for Mediaset Italia. He has worked for Sky Italia covering 2 world cups, 7 Champions League Finals and 11 English Premier League, Spanish Liga and Serie A seasons as a commentator. @mforok

Raphael Honigstein, the English football correspondent of Süddeutsche Zeitung and writes regular columns for the Guardian and Sports Illustrated. He’s the author of “Englischer Fussball. A German view of our beautiful game” and can be seen on ESPN’s Soccernet Press Pass and CNN World Sport. @honigstein

James Horncastle, a European Football Writer with articles published in the Guardian, Blizzard, Champions, Four Four Two, OSM + WSC. Also Guest Podder on Guardian Football Weekly. @jameshorncastle

Oliver Kay, Football Correspondent for The Times newspaper. @oliverkaytimes

Ben Lyttleton, a European football writer for publications in the UK, Asia and South America. He is also a contributor to the Sports Illustrated website and The Score’s Footy Blog. @benlyt

Gabriele Marcotti, the World Football Correspondent for The Times and host of The Game podcast (available on ITunes). He can also be heard on the BBC and is a frequent contributor ESPN’s Soccernet Press Pass.  He also writes a regular column for the Wall Street Journal online, Sports, the Sunday Herald and contributes to the Melbourne Age, Champions magazine and Titan Sports.  He is the author of three books: Paolo Di Canio: the Autobiography, The Italian Job and Capello: Portrait of a Winner. @marcotti

Janusz Michallik – ESPN football commentator and ESPNPressPass pundit . Former US international. @JanuszESPN

Pierluigi Pardo, a Serie A and Champions League commentator for Mediaset Italia. He has been working for Sky Italia since his birth covering 2 World Cups and 7 Champions League Seasons. He is the official commentator of “Pro Evolution Soccer” the football videogame by Konami and wrote the Official autobiographies of Samuel Eto’o and Antonio Cassano. @Pierpardo

Colin Udoh, Award-winning Nigerian football writer. TV analyst. Press Officer, Nigeria national football team. @ColinUdoh

Jonathan Wilson, writer for the Guardian, Sports Illustrated and The Irish Examiner, and is a columnist for the Japanese magazine World Soccer King. A former football correspondent of the Financial Times, he is the editor of the quarterly magazine of football journalism, The Blizzard. He is the author of five books. Inverting the Pyramid: A History of Football Tactics was named NSC Football Book of the Year in 2009, and was shortlisted for the William Hill Sports Book of the Year. Behind the Curtain: Travels in Eastern European Football and The Anatomy of England were shortlisted for the NSC award in 2007 and 2011. His most recent book is a biography of Brian Clough, Nobody Ever Says Thank You. @jonawils

Other writers such as Simon Kuper, Sid Lowe, Tim Vickery, Grant Wahl and Henry Winter all expressed an interest in this project but were unable to contribute due to other commitments. If there’s someone you want on the panel for next year please leave your suggestions in the comments below. The above 16 joined Footy Blog Editor Richard Whittall, host James Sharman and myself and each named their top 30 players as well as five honorable mentions.

Once the lists were submitted the players were marked off the ballots by the following points system:

1st – 50 2nd – 40 3rd – 35 4th – 32 5th - 30 6th – 28 7th – 25 8th – 24 9th – 23 10th – 22 11th – 21 12th – 20 13th – 19 14th – 18 15th – 17 16th – 16 17th – 15 18th – 14 19th – 13 20th – 12 21st – 11 22nd – 10 23rd – 9 24th – 8 25th – 7 26th – 6 27th – 5 28th – 4 29th – 3 30th – 2 and honorable mentions were each given 1 point.

The points were calculated and over the last two weeks we have been releasing this list in groups of ten. If you are new to this and want to read each one then click the top 100 icon below the title of this blog to see the breakdowns. Here is a condensed look at the list so far.

Footy Blog’s list of top 100 footballers

100.Diego Lugano 99.Pepe 98.Marvin Martin 97.Shinji Kagawa 96.Samir Nasri 95.Vagner Love 94.Santiago Cazorla 93.Karim Benzema 92.Darijo Srna 91.Carles Puyol

90.Kaka 89.Rafael van der Vaart 88.Lucio 87.Andre Ayew 86.Roberto Soldado 85.Yoann Gourcuff 84.Nuri Sahin 83.Diego Forlan 82.Samir Handanovic 81.Artuto Vidal

80.Javier Mascherano 79.Daniele De Rossi 78.Pepe Reina 77.Joe Hart 76.Yann M’Vila 75.Sergio Ramos 74.Kevin-Prince Boateng 73.Mats Hummels 72.Danny 71.Nigel De Jong

70.Marco Reus 69.Marcelo 68.Maicon 67.Antonio Cassano 66.Alexandre Pato 65.Javier Hernandez 64.Fabio Coentrao 63.Thomas Vermaelen 62.Neven Subotic 61.Didier Drogba

60.Ezequiel Lavezzi 59.Edin Dzeko 58.Mario Balotelli 57.Robinho 56.Eric Abidal 55.Victor Valdes 54.Ashley Cole 53.Juan Mata 52.Patrice Evra 51.Hulk

50.Alexis Sanchez 49.Pedro Rodriguez 48.Gianluigi Buffon 47.Carlos Tevez 46.Klaas-Jan Huntelaar 45.Gareth Bale 44.Angel Di Maria 43.Hernanes 42.Andrea Pirlo 41.Nani

40.Vincent Kompany 39.Radamel Falcao 38.Javier Pastore 37.Gonzalo Higuain 36.Philipp Lahm 35.Thomas Muller 34.Antonio Di Natale 33.Mario Gotze 32.Arjen Robben 31.Xabi Alonso

30.Eden Hazard 29.Franck Ribery 28.Wesley Sneijder 27.Mario Gomez 26.Yaya Toure 25.Luka Modric 24.Dani Alves 23.Sergio Busquets 22.Manuel Neuer 21.Samuel Eto’o

20.Neymar 19.Iker Casillas 18.Cesc Fabregas 17.Edinson Cavani 16 David Villa 15.Sergio Aguero 14.Nemanja Vidic 13.Mesut Ozil 12.Gerard Pique 11.Luis Suarez.

10. Thiago Silva (AC Milan and Brazil) – 270pts. In the summer of 2010 in South Africa at the World Cup, Thiago Silva watched every Brazil match from the bench. Less than two years later he has been voted as the best defender in world football today. At 27, the Brazilian is in the prime of his career and was a key member of AC Milan’s title winning team that secured the Scudetto in May. The awards didn’t stop there for the central defender as he was named the inaugural winner of the Armando Picci Award given to the best defender of the season in Italy who shows outstanding technical abilities, sportsmanship and a strong personality. Already has two man-of-the-match awards to his name this season in Serie A and was his team’s hero in their Champions League clash at the Nou Camp when he headed home a final minute equaliser against the European champions to cap a complete performance.

9. Bastian Schweinsteiger (Bayern Munich and Germany) – 325pts. The Bayern Munich midfielder is the 15th and final name to appear on this list that played in the Bundesliga in 2011 and it’s not difficult to see why he was voted the best of the 15. Already at 90 caps for his country it is not out of the question that the 27-year-old could challenge Lothar Matthaus (150) for the record number of appearances for his country. Like Matthaus in his prime, Schweinsteiger is the complete midfielder. Originally used as a wide player in his younger years, the Bayern Munich vice-captain is now used in a central role showing wonderful tendencies with and without the ball.

8. Zlatan Ibrahimovic (AC Milan and Sweden) – 375pts. The only man in the game with eight titles in the last eight years with five different clubs, the brash Milan striker certainly is as good at finding winners medals as he is at creating headlines with his quotes. Voted by the panel as the best player in Serie A – he is the last of 19 players in the top 100 who played in Italy in 2011 – Ibrahimovic was the man who made Milan believe they could win again, scoring thirteen goals before the end of January in their title winning season. The fact that he got more red cards (2) than goals (1) in the last four months of the season shows his inconsistency and those who don’t rate the Swede this highly will keep a keen eye on him the rest of this season after he once again has started the first half of the campaign in top form, scoring 11 league goals in his last 10 games.

7. Robin Van Persie (Arsenal and Netherlands) – 376pts. By now you’re likely fully aware of the stats. Thirty-five Premier League goals in 2011, the second most in a calendar year behind Alan Shearer’s 36 in 1995. Seventeen Premier League goals this season in 20 games. It certainly has been a fantastic year for the Dutchman who has elevated himself to world class standards now he’s finally been able to stay fit for a long period of time. You don’t have to look hard to see people talking highly of the 28-year-old including his manager, Arsene Wenger, who recently had this to say about his talisman: ”Robin is special, a very intelligent player. His movement in the box is fantastic, his goalscoring record is just incredible.” Van Persie may be more valuable to his club than any player on this list and is actually the only player in the top ten who does not have a team-mate at club level in the top 50.

6. Wayne Rooney (Manchester United and England) – 444pts. With just two other Englishmen and four other Manchester United players in the top 100 it is not difficult to understand just how important Wayne Rooney is to both his club and country. Arguably the most intelligent footballer England has produced in years, Rooney is more than just a goalscorer and when he drops deep is very often the most important connection in the triangles he works with his wingers and centre-forward partner. Has 13 goals from 16 Premier League starts this season and at 26 has a chance to break many records before he is done. Recently became the youngest player in the league’s history to make 300 appearances.

5. David Silva (Manchester City and Spain) – 471pts. The 24th and final player from the Premier League and a worthy winner of the league’s best player as he is currently the frontrunner to pick up the Player of the Year award by the end of the season. The Spaniard has been the biggest benefactor of the talent level rising around him as his creative spark that he produced often last season is now leading to more goals for City with him already leading the PL assists chart with 10, coming from 17 starts. The best of nine Manchester City players who made the top 100.

4. Andres Iniesta (Barcelona and Spain) – 558pts. Forever known as the man who won Spain their first ever World Cup, Andres Iniesta is the kind of player any era would have been lucky to have as its best player. The fact that in 2012 we can say that three players in the game are better than him goes to show how strong the game is today. There is certainly no better player in the game right now as versatile as the 27-year-old who is often deployed in many positions within a match by Pep Guardiola and Vicente Del Bosque. Iniesta simply glides across a football field, a magnificent dribbler and reader of the game whose chemistry with his friend Xavi is unrivaled by any team-mates in the world. Less than four years ago the pair went to Euro 2008 as great players who had won far too few trophies than their talents deserved. They left Vienna with winners medals and haven’t stopped since, winning a remarkable 13 trophies from 16 competitions for Barcelona under Guardiola and the World Cup in 2010.

3. Xavi (Barcelona and Spain) – 660pts. A run of three straight Spaniards ends with the best of the bunch. The best of ten Spanish players in the top 50 and one of an incredible 17 inside the top 100, Xavi, one of the best passers this game has ever seen, rightfully stands above them all. Award winning writer Sid Lowe, who covers Spanish football for the Guardian, once said nine words to me about him that I’ll never forget: “Xavi is the best player Spain has ever produced.”

2. Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid and Portugal) – 742pts. When Cristiano Ronaldo met Lionel Messi in the 2009 UEFA Champions League final he was the best player in the world in most people’s eyes including the Ballon d’Or voters. Although that’s no longer the case it is no debate that Ronaldo is better now than he was when he arrived to play that night in Rome. In the two and a half seasons since that game the 26-year-old has scored an incredible 126 goals for both club and country in 141 games. His record for Real Madrid is even better, netting 116 goals in 117 official matches. His performances for Portugal haven’t matched those the locals at the Bernabeu are used to seeing but that was quickly forgotten in October when he scored two in a man-of-the-match performance against Bosnia & Herzegovina in the country’s crucial second leg in their Euro 2012 playoff.

1. Lionel Messi (Barcelona and Argentina) – 950pts. On all 19 ballots only one player was named in the same slot on each and that was Lionel Messi. Nineteen first place votes out of nineteen. He is the undisputed best player in the world today. There is no debate. Today he will become the Ballon d’Or winner for the third time, joining an exclusive club with Johan Cruyff, Michel Platini and Marco Van Basten. Only Platini amongst them won three in three straight years, although it should be noted that the likes of Pele and Diego Maradona were ineligible for the award when they played. That takes nothing away from Messi, though, who is already among the greatest players to ever play the game. Those against such a statement point towards his lack of success for Argentina in a World Cup but you can now make a legitimate argument that the most competitive matches played at the highest level take place in the UEFA Champions League, a competition which Messi has saved some of his greatest performances for and a competition in which he scored in every knock out round last season, including the winning goal in the final at Wembley. In total, scored 59 goals for club and country in 2011 and just last week reached 30 goals for Barcelona for a fourth straight season after netting 38 in 2008-09, 47 in 2009-10 and 51 in 2010-11. Simply the best.

Comments (320)

  1. Karim Benzema at #93? That is simply ATROCIOUS!

    BS List…

  2. Wow. Man City has 9 of the 100? Interested to see a list of the teams with the most players in top 100. I’m too lazy to do it myself. I would think RM, Barcelona, Man City and Bayern Munich would be the top 4.

  3. Gareth Bale at no.45 ?

  4. Hugely disappointing list from the experts. You’ll all look back on this fairly soon and see that you’ve rated Rooney and David Silva (5&6?!) far, far too highly.

    • nah i think theyre about right

      • Placing Rooney and Silva shows the moody and romantic nature of thought process that has gone in the ranking. Silva? around 30, Rooney around 50. Can any one of the panel members list atleast three points as to why you rated him high?
        Also Balotelli should be in top 10 for the finishes and him being ‘reason why they won the match’ criteria, way higher than Rooney. He couldn’t do crap in CL finale even after scoring a goal – learn to lead, learn from countryman Gerrard if he can.
        Another drastic mistake by the panel is Bale lower in the league.
        I do accept Zlat high up, he was the force behind their title last year.

        • i love super mario. I’m an Italy fan first, i chose united as my club. But there is no way mario is top 10, not this year. its coming though. lets hope for a big euro 2012 for balo and the azzurri

        • They don’t always get things right. Proof is in how Messi beat Xavi last time. Xavi won everything on earth with Barca and won the World Cup with Spain. Messi did nothing with Argentina.

          Watch Silva play with City and Spain and it will all make sense. He’s usually underrated. He should be in the top 10 for sure.

          I think Balotelli misses too many chances to be so high.

    • I agree with you when it comes to Rooney, it’s his team mates that make him a better player than he really is.

      • That’s simply not true. Look up the stuff his opponents say about him. They all rate him very highly.

  5. Wayne Rooney 6th? what rubbish. Not even in the top ten.

  6. Thanks for a great series. That all the judges voted for Messi is not surprising. Whether Messi wins the World Cup or not he can already be considered the greatest player ever. He gets better with each season and I think Cruyff is right when he says Messi can win 5, 6 or 7 Ballon d’Or, it could even be more unless somebody exceptionally good comes along soon.

    • The only way sombody else is gonna win it the next 3-4 years is by leading his team to a Euro12 or WC14 win and also winnig the domestic league and the CL that year and probably cant be Messi’s teammate at Barca.. a very short list of players..

    • The fact Messi hasn’t won a World Cup, or really ever performed for his country remotely close to the way he does for Barcelona, is a HUGE detriment to his legend. He doesn’t begin to compare with some of the best ever without Int’l success, without proving he can do it without his Blaugrana cronies. Until that day, he’s just the best piece of a beautiful Barcelona puzzle.

      • Oh man, I’ve read some revisionist opinion in my day, but this takes the cake. I also recommend reading this

        • I’ve read the article and understand its point – teams win and lose together, as a group – and it’s valid. But don’t the best players manage to elevate the group to an elite level? Do you imagine Brazil of 98 and 02 without Ronaldo getting anywhere near those finals? How about Italy in 06 without Cannavaro, or Argentina 86 minus Maradona? You will also notice each player I just named played their club football for multiple teams and were successful at them all, in addition to their national squads. Of course cohesive groups can combine for the greater good, like Spain has the past two tournaments, or France in 98 (although the article conveniently omits France in 06, in which Zidane was easily the only reason they made the final). But the onus is always going to fall on the superstars to elevate their peers, and so far all evidence seems to point to Xavi and Iniesta etc. having that effect more than Leo does. Argentina isn’t much after its frontline, but the same could be said in 86 and Diego didn’t let that stop him now did he.

          • Yeah, until he wins a World Cup, he’ll never hang with the likes of George Best…

        • If that article is true then why is Ronaldo always the one criticized whenever his teams lose? Nearly every time Madrid wins a big match Ronaldo is on the scoresheet or puts in a great performance and yet when they lose all the blame is put on him and the mindless drones start talking about how he never performs in big games?

      • You get a pass if you come from a minnow.

        Besides, do you classify George Best the greatest player ever? Do Man U fans even classify him the greatest Utd player ever?

        • George Best was the greatest of his time. There are United fans who choose others, but many don’t know their history.

          Anyone of the era who argues against Best brings up Eusebio. His World Cup career consisted of one strong tournament and two failed campaigns.

          Alfredo Di Stéfano had nothing but a shit World Cup campaign with Spain, nonexistent ones with Argentina & Colombia.

          Sir Stanley Matthews was also the greatest of his time. His England teams only brought embarrassment and misery to the Island.

          Are the legends of the aforementioned dented because of these facts?

          • At the time, Portugal were relative minnows (still are pretty much, the country DOES only have 10,000,000 ppl and no colonies to plunder anymore). And if memory serves me well, Eusebio not only tore up England in ’66 but also led Benfica to 2 European Cups and 3 more finals. Still, nobody would call Eusebio the greatest ever.

            Di Stefano might as well have played internationally for Antarctica. Dude played for THREE national teams. I suppose some refer to him as best to ever live, and he may be, but Spain was always a unique case internationally because their players, for the most part, despised each other.

            My point wasn’t that you can’t be considered “great” unless you perform in the World Cup. My point is that to be considered the “Greatest player ever” as Nic Aldam did you need to prove it’s your individual talent, not the talent surrounding you, that is better than everyone elses. Since Messi has only played for one club and has done jack shit internationally, i’m using that as proof that he’s aided greatly by his Barca teammates and without them he’s simply another above-average player.

            He has lots of time to prove me wrong still.

          • Portugal back then were minnows. 1966 was the only tournament that Portugal played in during a 20 year span. And Eusebio led them to 3rd, their best finish ever, with 9 goals including a solo performance for the ages erasing a 3-0 deficit with 4 goals in the 2nd half. How would that in any way dent a legacy?

          • Dan you are a complete moron the only reason hasn’t had to much success internationally has nothing to do with that he is only good with Barcelona and more with the fact that Barcelona plays as a team while Argentina has to many world class strikers and they all want to be heroes and do not play as a team, messi had tons of assist for Argentina to bad his team mates wont return the favor.

          • George Best himself on Ronaldo back in 2008:

            “There have been a few players described as the new George Best over the years, but this is the first time it’s been a compliment to me.”

        • pele good, maradona better, george best . i think united fans pretty much die for that boy from ireland

          • Yes, but how many of those fans saw Pelé or Maradona live week-in, week-out?

      • that world cup is just holding him back from the pele maradona zidane discussion. its the exact same thing that keeps cruyff and george best out of that same discussion. you gotta win the TOP prize. it’s the hardest competition to win that is why it means so much. Now I’d consider a trade off, like no world cup but 5 champions leagues to equate a world cup, if messi acheived that I’d talk about him with pele maradona and zizou

    • u go play and see who will vote for you fucking asshole

  7. wonder if henry winter would put scott parker at nr 1 if he was part of the panel

  8. couldn’t help but laugh at Rooney’s description as “the most intelligent footballer England has produced in years”. I get what you mean, though :P

  9. Who’s Johan Cruff?!

  10. who is Marvin Martin No 98 ???
    so he is Top 100 and Steven Gerrard not ?? thats Shit !!

    • Liverpool’s beloved Stevie G is one of the most over-rated players of the last ten years. He does not deserve to be near this list maybe a three or four years ago but not any more.

      • Overrated in what sense? He can still control and take over games even at 31 which isn’t that old. Pirlo is on the list afterall, Gerrard not being on this list I attribute to his fitness over the past year.

      • Gerrard Nowhere Near ? Ya Must Be Kiddin Me Gerrards Still Got it In Him , Since Hes Return He Came on as a Sub Vs Newcastle Scored Vs Oldhame Scored!

      • No. He is not. Though he is no longer the most dominant player in the world that seemed to have the ability to score from anywhere remotely near the 18 and play impenatrable defense, he is still a major force to be reconed with. He is english and he captains an english team so there will be over rating but i put this idea to you. Who is fernando torres since stevie gerrard? Gerrard makes every player around him better and is one of only a handfull of players left playing that can take the game by the scruff of the neck on BOTH ends of the field. I wont lobby for terry or jones, or any other englishman but the reality is xabi alosno has had far better years beside captain fantastic than he will ever have with CR7. His exclusion from this list (most of the journos are reputable) is likely because he has, of late, been a bandain.

    • Steven Gerrard does not even deserve a place in England’s starting 11 let alone top 100 in the world!

      • He’s one of the most influencial players in the world! Name me one other player who comes on the pitch and can influence and motivate the whole team around him to perform.

        Remember CL 2005?
        Remember FA Cup 2006?
        Remember Newcastle Utd last week? He only came on for 30 minutes and changed everything!

        • The FA Cup was SIX YEARS AGO. The CL final, SEVEN.

          So unless you’d like to hop in your Tardis and have this conversation, I don’t think holding up a good performance against Newcastle as a high standard is going to help anything. If Scholes plays a good game against Arsenal next week (off the freaking bench!), it doesn’t make him worthy of Top 100.

          I get the cult of Stevie G will live long and proud at Liverpool, but his time’s past. He’s closer to starting for the Chicago Fire than he should be to anyone’s Top 100.

      • do u have a brain Kingsbob? i think not, infact i know that u haven’t

    • lol stevie g has barely played any games this year. typical liverpool fans overrating their players, (i.e carroll,adam,henderson)

    • As a LFC supporter, you’d prob think I’d agree with you. But mainly for the fact that he was injured for the majority of the year, I think he is taken out of the equation all together.

      Had he been fit I definitely believe he would be on the list, where on the list is upto debate, but I think he’d be in the top 100 for sure.

      With regards to ppl thinking he’s over-rated, you are entitled to your opinion, but few players have the ability to play EVERY position on the pitch with the quality and class that Steven Gerrard can. He’s a work horse and when fit is one of the best in the world. He was the ONLY England player who looked like he had an ounce of passion in him at the World Cup, where he picked up the pieces and captained them when John Terry & Rio Ferdinand couldn’t answer the call.

      I believe he’ll finish the season strong, and be hitting his stride by the time the Euro’s come around in June.

    • gerrards not a striker

      • woooops it is 100 footballers not strikers :L
        gerrard is immence he should be at least top 10 in the list

    • gerrard is crap martin is unreal

  11. Interesting list – job well done.

    For next years panel, would love to see the likes of Jen Chang, Tony Barrett and Tancredi Palmeri taking part.

  12. Rooney at #6. Give me a break pls. Before Christmas, he hadnt scored in about two months and he still ranks above RvP. Typical English press over-hype methinks.

  13. 9 City players in the top 100. Duane Rollins is walking around with a hard on right now i bet.

  14. no fernando torres……the list oh cmmon!!!

  15. Stellar work. Thanks for a great series. Disappointed at the lack of Miroslav Klose love in the top 100. Rooney and silva probably overvalued imo too, but great series!

  16. Unbelievable that Steven Gerrard isn’t considered one of the top 100 players in the world, makes the whole list a joke! very surprising considering the experts who compiled it

  17. Buffon should be among the first 20, Rooney doesn’t deserve his place in the top 10, seems like an EPL biased selection, Xavi and Iniesta not getting what they deserve as well, a disappointing list that seems to be created to satisfy the readers rather than display the truth.

    • 4&3 not good enough for Iniesta and Xavi respectively? How is that possible? Are you implying that either of them are better than the basically consensus Ronaldo-2, Messi-1?

      Your statement confuses me.

    • Buffon should be in the top 10 Goalkeepers but for footballers he should be in the top 15

  18. Brilliant series KJ and thank you for organizing this lovely get together. I love these kind of things because of having everyone’s opinions brOught to the forefront. But I agree fully with the list…spot on!

  19. Is there any chance of a spin off for just goalkeepers?

  20. thanks for the list, but thats all it is.

  21. Next year hatem ben arfa will be in the top 20 if he can stay healthy
    World class talent

  22. Steven Gerrard is not to top 100 list because he hasn’t played for about 2 years. You can’t class a player who struggles to play 15 games a season a world class player. Loving how much abuse Rooney gets. He single handedly carries man utd without him in the starting 11 they always struggle. Edinson Cavani seems a bit high, aslo Pepe Reina seems a bit low. Messi CR7 in a league of their own.

  23. I don’t think the Bundesliga gets enough respect. Just because they spend within their means and don’t have the same number of divas doesn’t mean that the football isn’t as good. Mario Gomez #27? I don’t think so. There’s an argument to be made that he’s a top 3 striker in the world right now.

    • No kidding, I’d place Gomez as the #1 pure striker in the world right now.

    • There are 13 Bundesliga players represented on this list, a good chunk of whom are in the top 30.

      • Yes, the amount of Bundesliga players selected is fine. But Gomez is ranked behind Cavani, among others?

        • You could split hairs, but Cavani does contribute more across the pitch than Gomez, particularly in defensive contribution. I think that largely contributed to his higher ranking…

          • Seriously though, in the last two seasons, Gomez has scored 63 goals in 70 matches. That’s a 90% goal scoring rate, per match, average. I can honestly do without my CF helping out too much on defense.

          • Gomez’s lack of work rate is a myth. He has improved that aspect of game vastly and that aspect has been appreciated by his coach and fellow players. Gomez’s superior goalscoring record should put him ahead of Cavani. Also, Hummels being so low as he is is a travesty, he’s been one of the best central defenders for the past two years.

  24. wayne rooney will never became have of what steven gerrad is, most of the english are over rated

  25. Lol Rooney at 6. Come on. Where is the real list?

  26. Thanks for creating a fun and entertaining list.

  27. I’m sure everyone is in agreement with the top 4 after that lots of different opinions. No Julio Cesar in the top 100 is the biggest shock for me. I’d say he is 1 of the top 5 goalies on the planet.

  28. This list is pure comedy. Mario Gomez is currently rated by “Kicker” magazine as the best German player in the world. Yet here he gets ranked 27th. And anyone who thinks Sergio Busquets is the 22nd greatest player in the world either just smoked a rock or watches far too much A-League.

    Mario Gomez has 24 goals in 25 matches this season and in the Champions League he’s scoring at a faster pace than Messi. The whole list is pretty much bogus. Clearly the authors play too much FIFA 12.

    • ya mario gomez scores a lot of goals, but theyre all rebounds. not to take anything away, but hes not really someone who can create something out of nothing.

      • Too funny. That’s a strikers job.

        • His point is that the likes of Van Persie, Rooney and Ibra above him on the list offer far more overall than he does. There’s far more to a strikers job than scoring goals, such a simple view.

          • How exactly do they offer far more? 63 goals in 70 matches is not helping the cause? Or are you saying that Gomez literally stands in place until he scores?

        • Gomez’s weakness is that he lacks the skill to create scoring opportunities on his own. Van Persie, Rooney etc can very well take over the ball at midfield and create shots. Gomez usually needs sombody to get the ball to him up front. When he’s got the ball in the box he may very well be the best striker right now but it is a negative point and justifies a lower rating than the aforementioned Van Persie, Rooney…

          • That’s not totally true. I’ve seen Gomez create plenty of chances. But lets say Rooney really does create many more chances out of midfield. In the last two seasons:

            Gomez – 63 goals in 70 matches = 90% strike rate
            Rooney – 33 goals in 63 matches = 52% strike rate

            So because Rooney does a little bit more running around in midfield, even though he’s scored far less goals, he’s the better player by far? Bayern has plenty of midfielders to bring the ball forward. Gomez gets paid to score goals.

      • This is the same Mario Gomez who my german friends tell me “sucks donkey balls” for the german national team?

        Things have changed its seems…

        • Yeah, for the national team Gomez was weak back in 2008, then mostly rode bench. Last year as a starter though, he’s come into his own, netting 7 goals in 9 matches for Germany.

          • mike you re absolutely right about rooney’s last tow years vs gomez’s.. but i think gomez is still known for his euro08 -> wc10 performances and well is rooney, too.
            after wc10 i started watching a lot more bundesliga and gomez’s performances were simply amazing. the same year rooney started to slow down a bit but he apparently still lives off his reputation. additionally at bayern gomez is not expected to create his own shots with ribery/müller/robben behind him, so he has less opportunities to show his ball skills/dribbling/passes.
            so i guess rooney and gomez should be #13-18 for 2011. and gomez’s stock is definitely rising.

          • You need to put the stats sheet down for a second and understand what they are saying. Gomez cannot create goals on his own. I understand a strikers job is to score goals but if that’s all you can offer then you’re not a top player. Any good striker can score goals regularly if you put a great team behind him. Look at Aguero’s goalscoring rate before and after the Man City move if you want an example of that. Yes, Gomez scores a lot of goals but that is the beneficiary of playing for Bayern Munich and Germany. Cavani plays for Napoli who have never been known as a great team (until maybe this year because of him). To think that they’re on equal playing terms so to speak is pretty naive.

          • People forget how high Gerd Muller was, and still is, rated during his time. I wonder what the opinion of him would be today. Gomez scores over 60 goals in the last 1 and half years, only two players above him are Messi and Ronaldo, and is yet not rated as one of the best strikers because he can’t pass. Ridiculous.

          • So Russell, basically what you’re saying is Messi may be one of the most overrated players in the world. He’s only good because he plays for Barca, the best team in the world. Heck, put him on a mediocre team like Argentina and see how useless he is. Oh, wait…

          • No, because Messi can create for himself and his 25 assists are evidence that he can create for others. I guess you once again completely missed the point.

  29. no chiellini or marchisio?well premier league sided indeed

    • marchisio isnt top 100, but chielini definitely should be, i was surprised at that.

    • Completely agree! How does Lugano make it but Chiellini or Nesta dont

      • Just realized this. Unbelievable that Nesta, man of the match against Barcelona doesn’t make it, and the best Italian defender and star defender of Serie A leaders Chiellini doesn’t make it. I can only think Chiellini didn’t make it because of his average performances at left back, but really no excuse for Nesta when players like Gourcuff are included.

    • yeah chiellini is probably the best italian centre back … but italian football is not fashionable right now I guess.. I mean is Hummels better just because he plays in up and coming Germany?.. dont get me wrong Hummels is graet but I dont get this undervaluation of Italian defenders… Sure they have to live up to the likes of Maldini or Cannavarro but they should not be punished for their predecessors achievments by imposing a discriminatory standard upon them.

      • Very well put. I feel Italians in general are not being represented very well by the media at all. Di Natale is a perfect example. Hes lead Serie A in goals two straight years, and will probly do so again this year, and yet only ranks 34th. Whereas, Ibra and Cavani (who scored less goals over that time span) are ranked better. What more does Di Natale have to do? If you look historically at the people that have lead Italy in goals, VERY FEW have scored the amount Di Natale has. But yet players like Suarez, Aguero, David Villa, etc. get all the hype

      • No Hummels is better because he is a better player and plays better. I believe I simplified that enough for your understanding. Lugano and Pepe are the two lowest CBs on the list and Chiellini isn’t better than either of them.

  30. Sneijder 28? Runs both the Inter and Dutch sides, to CL success and WC final respectively. Better passer than Fabregas and Modric, and as for Suarez at 11 (LFC supporter btw): zeitgeist in the extreme.

    Alas, I suppose they have all “done it in the Best League in the World” TM.

  31. Methinks all the negative Rooney comments are from all those people who really hate Man United for no reason other than a lot of people love them.
    And I don’t know where the EPL biased comments come from when only 6 of the top 20 play in the EPL..

    Great list guys – if anything it gives us less educated folks some great players to look out for in big leagues that don’t get a lot of cover in NA (like Germany and France).

    If you do it again next year, maybe you could have a viewer submitted portion of the vote, too! Viewers/Readers choice top 10 or something. Be interesting to see how us regulars stack up against you guys.

    • Rooney’s a very good player, but I personally think he’s heavily overrated. In 10 seasons in the EPL he’s only had one season where he scored more than 16 league goals. At the international level his form is usually worse. In 2010, a World Cup year, he scored 1 goal in 11 matches for England. I realizes he does more than score goals, but I couldn’t tell you one reason why I’d place him in a top 10 list.

  32. Good work guys. Obviously contentious, but an interesting read. Now I’ll try to sign as many of these guys in Football Manager.

  33. I thnk ronaldo deserve d award his time around.

    • then you are mistaken. He chokes in the big games and is not nearly the contributor Messi is.

      • I still find it odd that apparently Ronaldo is the one who chokes in all the big games yet he has scored against quite a few more big clubs than Messi. Other than Manchester United, Real Madrid and Arsenal, which big clubs has Messi scored against? How would you rate his performances against Inter Milan and Chelsea? And why is it that he can score against top international teams like Spain, Portugal, France and Brazil in friendlies yet once it comes to the tournaments he can’t even manage 1 competitive goal in 2 years for Argentina after scoring 100 in 2 season for Barcelona?

        • Barcelona is THE big club right now, and CR7 has 1 goal in 9 games (since he’s been at Real). Messi has goals in two CL finals, game winning goals in a CL semifinal, multiple quarterfinals, Club World Cup/Super Copa finals, etc. Not hating on Ronaldo because he is a machine, but Messi comes up trumps for Barcelona (true, mostly Barcelona) when they need him, 4 times out of 5. The Inter games, he just tried to do too much. One of the few times the pressure got to this Pep Guardiola team.

    • lol see a doctor ronaldo better than messi hahahahaha

  34. No Adel Taarabt? Outrageous. Single-handedly got QPR promoted to the perm. Has better technique than many in the top ten. Watch him light up the African Cup of Nations.

    • You realize you are arguing that a player with a total of 0 premier league goals this year should be on this list…
      Sure he was great in the championship last year, but there’s a massive list of players that dominate the championship that didn’t translate to the prem (ie. Jason Scotland, Jay Bothroyd, ADEL TARAABT).
      Put your obvious bias aside and be objective.

    • That’s the only place we can watch him these days – his ass is glued to the QPR bench…

    • what qpr r almsost relegated and they have an unreal team

  35. Great job, everyone who worked on the list, and thank you to everyone at The Footy Show and The Score. Where would soccer coverage in Canada be without you guys?

    Somebody call the waahhmbulance for all the complainers, or at least have them read this:

    • Also would like The Footy Show people for the great job they continue to do. Always been a great fan of the show and because of this list now the blog.

      Great debate and speculation, isn’t football great.

  36. De Jong? Really? Busquets is way too high too.

  37. big omission from the list is Kevin Prince Boateng who deserves in instead of Gourcuff and Martin if you ask me, while Ayew deserves a shout. Me thinks, the verminator hasnt played enough games this year to be featured, but what the hell. in a perfect world, Benzema is top 30, while the epl players should all be lowered down because of Epl prejudice and the fact it is the most watched league.

    i like silva as a player, but silva is not a starter in Spain, and he wasnt lighting the world up in valencia. should be top 30 in my opinion. Rooney at #6 is way to high, and Rvp should be above him as the #1 in the prem, but its close enough. Balotelli, should be in the low 90′s

  38. I am a little disappointed in Robin Van Persie rank. I know he is high already but the man is straight world class with no teammate in the top 50 , no midfield player in the top 100 to disturbing to him and playing in the most competitive league in the world; Come on think about that for a second. In my opinion Van the man is number 4 or 5.

    Otherwise great list guys I really enjoyed this.

    • problem is, that would mean there is a shake up in the top 4. who is RvP better than there? not better than Messi, or Ronaldo, or Xavi, or Iniesta.

  39. Appreciate the list personal as a fan of barca I dislike that ibra is so far up the list. But wat he has accomplished for italian soccer its obvious he’s quailty. On italian soil anyway. Lol

    • It is disappointing when you buy a striker and he only scores 16 goals in 29 games in spite of being black balled by the coach. I bet you liked when he scored in the first 4 league games in a row, and 11 in his first 15 or whatever it was. Massive attitude, yes. But he’s a winner.

    • but he allows announcers to say “IBRA-KADABRA” when he scores. Isn’t that enough?


  40. There is not much to say about the top 10-other than it is pretty much right on. The top 4 is exactly what I thought it was going to be.

    I am glad to see David Silva ranked at 5; I knew he would make the list but I didn’t think he would be so high. I have always liked him and am so glad to see him doing so well at Man City.

  41. “Xavi is the best player Spain has ever produced.”-I agree with this 100%. I absolutely love Xavi, he is my favourite player in the world without a doubt.

    I was lucky enough to be able to see Barca play at Camp Nou last season. Seeing Xavi play in person is like nothing else-watching him on TV doesn’t do him justice. I could not take my eyes off of him the whole time; just watching his movement off the ball was amazing.

  42. Joke of the century, Rooney @ 6? And where’s Steven Gerrard?

  43. Why is Ricardo Carvalho not on this list? To me he is still one of the best central defenders even at his age. Mourinho surprised everyone when he brought him to Real Madrid when everyone thought he was too old to play consistently at a high level. Last year he tremendously helped the Real Madrid defence and continued to do so this season until his injury. Its ridiculous to not even mention him

  44. Where is Jan Vertonghen? And Michel Vorm? This list, ergo, is utter crap and the journalists here are all idiots.

  45. Some observations. Gerrard belongs in the top 100, even though he has been plagued by injury for the past while. That being said, it is better that he is left off the list rather than being ranked below some of the jetsam that appears here. If one looks at talent rather than achievement, Tevez deserves a much higher ranking and Rooney a much lower one. One has only to look at Wayne’s performance for his national side to realize that, in a fixture that highlights personal skills – such as the international game does – rather than the team approach that highlights ‘systems’, to peg Rooney’s place outside the top 15 in the list. Finally, although I am a Liverpool fan, I don’t see Pepe Reina in the top 100. I can think of 4 or 5 keepers in the EPL alone who I would rather have in net – Al Habsi and Vorm spring immediately to mind. Thanks for this.

    • J H C. A couple of mistakes and you hop off his bandwagon? Form is temporary, class is permanent. You would take Vorm and Al Habsi over him based on their form this season, despite the fact he’s still only 29 and all the games he’s saved points for Liverpool since he got there.

      • I was never on the Pepe bandwagon. He is also now number three on the depth chart for Spanish goalies. I agree that form is temporary; after all, Reina’s hot play was temporary and he has now returned to earth.

  46. What rubbish no stevie g u guys are crazy bloody so called experts

    • 5 years ago he would have top of the list, but he’s been injured for almost a year, and is 31. He’s way past his prime, however if he finds his form, I’m sure hed be here.

  47. Im suprised Ibra got so many more votes than Thiago Silva. If you ask most Milan fans they’d say the opposite I believe. Silva is the best player in Serie A and should have benn higher.

    Di Natale should have been higher as well. He’s better than Cavani, on sheer numbers alone. How does somebody whos lead Serie A two years in a row (probably gonna make it 3 this year) not crack the top 30?

  48. Also on the Messi note, he is the top International team scorer of 2011 with 19 international goals. Ronaldo with 12 has played less, but Messi’s ratio of goals to games is higher.

    Plus the Argentinian defence is an absolute joke, of which you cannot blame a striker for the lack of the team’s accomplishments.

    Cristiano Ronaldo fanboys are an insult to general footballing knowledge

    Ps. Good list!

  49. rooney @ #6, tell me another joke… another english player who has been hyped by the media and achieved nothing on the world stage…

  50. A list like this is obviously going to be so subjective. Not sure why everyone is getting so riled up, it’s their list, it doesn’t matter if you disagree with it or not!

    The only deviation I would recommend is that there should be a Top 10/15 list for each position. It is difficult to evaluate and compare players at different positions in my opinion. Is Thiago Silva better than Fabreas or Ozil? No, but he’s ranked higher. Therefore a list at each position would be more suitable.

    PS RvP should have been ahead of Rooney!

  51. Where is van der Sar. I know he is retired, but he is still better on his couch then half these players. Sheesh ;o)

  52. I think if every writer had done a top 50 instead of a top 30 you would have a far more accurate Top 100 list especially for numbers 40-100. Other than that though, this was a lot of fun to read. Thanks :)

  53. I think Rooney fluctuates between 20th and 5th best in the world. Probably the toughest to place amongst the top 10. No doubt he’s talented, but to be honest I would take Gareth Bale in my squad over Rooney. Rooney is an idiot unfortunately, and his on and off field problems have screwed club and country over one too many times. Liverpool fans, really?? I mean c’mon, Stevie has been a legend, a world class player for sure, but he has played like 4 games in 2011! The man himself admits it’s been the worst year of his life, wait for 2012.

    Lastly, the fact that Ashley Cole and Evra are on this list is a JOKE! Those two have had HORRIBLE seasons so far. Evra has NO CLUE how to defend, and Chelsea’s defence is god awful, Glen Johnson made A.Cole look like an inferior defender to even Sideshow Bob in the middle! I’d take Demba Ba or Daniel Sturridge over those moronic defenders.

    Honestly, other than that, a decent list. But those two defenders in the top fifty, let alone top 200, makes me mildly ill.

    • Totally agree with you regarding Rooney. Hes way too high on the list, look at RvP and the little help he has on his team and yet creates chances and scores great goals. And Evra hasnt had a great season, Chelseas defence in general has been shit, so I agree with you there as well.

  54. I was never going to agree with this list to begin with but that’s what football is about! People need to stop getting so upset haha

    I’d rather Ronaldo on my team than Messi (as amazing as he is, he isn’t the same without Xavi and Iniesta and the rest of Barcelona behind him)….would never in a million years rank Busquets as the 23rd best player in the world. And even I admit as a Man Utd fan, I wouldn’t put Rooney at 6th. Probably 9th or 10th.. his form fluctuates too often. I’d rank Sneijder higher despite his recent form..what he did at the WC and with Inter is enough incentive. Still think he should’ve won that Ballon d’Or.

    All in all it’s hard to put up strikers against forwards and defenders against goalkeepers etc. A top 20 in each position would’ve been a good idea, and rounding it off with a top 10 in the world in all positions.
    This was fun to follow though, thanks for it!

    • I’d love to know the last time Ronaldo scored a wonderful individual goal and also, Messi is the top International goalscorer of 2011 with Argentina (who are rubbish)

      Home time for you

      • You’re not the brightest, Messi scored 4 goals in 13 matches for Argentina. Those other “international” goals he scored were with Barca at the club level.

      • Is it wrong to say Ronaldo’s goal vs Spain last fall that was ruined by Nani is the nicest goal of his career?

      • Last time Ronaldo scored a wonderful individual was a 30 yard shot against Sevilla which was like 2 weeks ago… and I won’t even mention the 19 international goals thing again because that’s embarrassing enough on its own. And then you try to act like a know it all with the “home time for you” smart ass comment… jeez

  55. Suggestion for next years panel –> He might be there already because I didn’t check the panel close enough and forgive me, because I forgot his name, but there is a journalist you have interviewed before on the podcast from Al Jazeera English who was very insightful on all things football in my opinion. Get him on the panel next year, if you can.

  56. All of you guys have to keep in mind that while this list is the top 100 footballers the panels we asked to submit their top 35 footballers. So when you ask why isn’t “__________” in the top 100, would you put them in the top 35 in the world?

    Too much fucking complaining from some of you.

    • That does make for an interesting dynamic. So everyone from 36 on, is either on or off peoples list.

      Just thinking outloud… but If everyone involved by some miracle would have picked player X as number 40 in the world on their personal lists, Player X could never in fact make this particular list of top 100 in the world.

      With this list it is not good to be a stalwart, liked very much by everyone.

      I am not complaining… I love the list. But it is more accurately a list of the top 35 players… and honorable mentions. just saying.

  57. 100th comment.



  58. Where’s Lucas?

  59. Good Job KJ. I don’t agree with everything, but who would? That’s the beauty if list like these. Great job as always

  60. Cannot believe C.Ronaldo got two 3rd place votes and one 4th place. Would love to see who didn’t vote him 2nd on their lists and why. Culprits, care to defend yourselves?!?

    • xavi and iniesta are most likely 2 and 3 for some voters, which is understandable. Xavi and iniesta(and i’m a huge barca hater because of their diving) are arguably top 3 players. They’ve always been there in the big games(i.e world cup final, euro final, champs league finals) and like everyone says, messi without those 2 is not the best player in the world. Ronaldo chokes in big games, classico’s he fails, did nothing in the champs league finals and world cup he continues to play poorly. IMO, it should be 1 a)messi 2 a)ronaldo b) xavi c)iniesta. just my opinion.Looking forward to the hateful comments I will get from some people :)

  61. Anyone who even claims Steven Gerrard is either overrated, rubbish or similar is obviously either an idiot or never watched him play. Theres not one player on that list who is as important to their club as Gerrard is to his. He is a complete player with no weaknesses at all. Furthermore he does things you cant teach or learn. He has consistently pulled through teams full to the brim with mediocrity and had them performing against far superior teams. But this list is best footballers at the moment so therefore due to injury Gerrard hasn’t got a place.

    • There is not one player on this list who is as important to their club as Gerrard? Three words. Antonio Di Natale.

  62. Where is Steven Gerrard??? :P

  63. It’s nice to see that the Terry and Lampard myths have been exlpoded, is it too much to hope that the myopic inflation of Rooney might be corrected by next year?

  64. No Frank Lampard is an absolute crime against football.

  65. Well I have no issues with 1-4 and I think that they would be unanimous in most cases. After this however I think the main issue is that the big 4 leagues (Italy, Spain, England and Germany) are so different that it is almost impossible to determine the true ability of a player outside of Messi, CR, Xavi and Inesta who I believe would succeed anywhere. I am also quite disturbed by the number of Man City players on this list… not a chance. That team is nowhere near the calibre of the Barca’s, Real’s and Milan’s of the world. And the main reason for those player’s success is the league they play in… a distant third in my opinion to Liga and Serie A in terms of talent.

  66. gotta love van persie’s celebration pose

  67. Wtf? Samir nasri is 96th?

  68. Good job guys, enjoyable list. Judging by the comments here, Stevie G is the most overrated player in the world. We even have a guy saying he is more important to his club then Di Natale, Xavi, Buffon or Van Persie. Di Natale single handedly got his team into the CL playoffs. Gerrard failed to do so and will fail again this season. Udinese doesn’t have half the talent or money Liverpool does either, losing their next three best players in the Summer. They’re still competing for the league title. Pool are huge long shots for fourth.

    I think David Silva is a tad overrated in this list. He’s right where most people would have put Cesc a year ago, and the comparisons can’t be overlooked. He might even come close to the 15 goals/15 assists Cesc put up two seasons ago. Cesc is having a comparable year in Barca to that he did with Arsenal two years ago, but now that he isn’t the captain relied upon to work most of the offense, he’s a bit underrated here. Even in this “breakthrough” campaign for City this season, Silva has 6 goals and 15 assists for City in all competitions. Cesc has 14 goals and 11 assists for Barcelona. If anything this year Cesc has been more impressive, showing his versatility. He’s been used in the central midfield obviously, but also in every position across the front 3. He’s even had impressive games as a #10 and a #9. While both David Silva and Cesc might even be tried in the “messi role” for Spain, I still think Cesc is the superior player and is even having the superior season. It shouldn’t be overlooked just because he moved to Barcelona.

    • I meant David Silva might come close to the 15 goals/15 assists Cesc had in the league alone for Arsenal two seasons ago.*

  69. Its not always about stats, its about the player, and what he does too other players around him so yes david silva was placed rightly i think they did a great job with the list , iffy about zlat but wen hes on his game its hard to stop him, Messi is great but please dont try comparing him to maradona he will never reach that level.

    • You really think David Silva makes the players around him that much better then Cesc Fabregas? Xavi is the only player that can take the mantle of rising the level of players around him from Cesc for the last 4-5 seasons.

      David Silva is a top 20 player in the world, no doubt. I don’t think he is a top 10 player in the world, he was quite underrated while at Valencia and was unlucky to not get more playing time with Spain last summer. But at no point in his career has he been better then Cesc, and they are two very comparable players. Cesc is more versatile and is better as a #9, #10 or just as an attacking midfielder. Scores more, assists more and has better vision. If he has two good hamstrings, there really isn’t much debate in my opinion. Two elite players, but one is just better.

  70. Great list guys! It has definitely been interesting to read! Although some of the rankings are contentious, I think most of us (minus the fan boys) can agree that these are the top 100 footballers in the world at the moment.

  71. Excellent list and agree with most of the things on this list EXCEPT for the placement of Benzema. I was utterly shocked seeing Benz at only 93. If this list will happen again next year, I truly expect him to be in the top 30. If it’s solely based on the year 2011, then yes Benz may not merit a very high placement due to his terrible first half season performance. But I honestly think his second half season performance merits him at least a spot in the top 50. But 93? Shocking.

    • Well, the problem is that each analyst only did a 35 player list. I think most people would have Benzema at or around their top 50-75 player in the world, if not a bit higher. But only one or two people were willing to put him in their top 35. That’s pretty fair I think. Just a downside to how they compiled the list more so then a slight on a player with the ability of Benzema.

  72. honestly if messi never wins anything with argentina who cares, he will likely win the ballon d’or several more times and rack up tons of trophies, easily the best. And as for Ibrah fuck the haters, he is brilliant and all he can do is win…

  73. Neymar 20th? better than Xabi Alonso and Sneijder? common i mean hes good but lets not get ahead of ourselves

  74. rooney 6th what …… id take everyone in the top 30 over him classless good finisher now skill

  75. I think that it would have been better to complement this list with a rating of players by position. Create 4 all-star teams with the top 11 as Platinum, the next set as Gold. the third group as Silver and the final 11 as Bronze. In all there would be 44 players. Let’s not forget that football/soccer is a team sport above all else.

  76. OK one thing I really gotta get of my chest is: it was a pleasure discussing footy with you guys. I really enjoyed football-talk with people from all over the world and I hope we ll have the same kind of factual, controversial and sometimes emotional comments next year again . cu guys

  77. Want to add, there is no way Nigel De Jong is a better player then Alex Song today. Again today we saw Song unlock a defense and get a game winning assist. He did it vs Everton a few weeks ago as well as against Dortmund. Dribbled past 3 players to deliver the cross against Dortmund. He’s more then just a pure destroyer, and is just a much better player in a midfield 3 then De Jong or Barry.

  78. I think every pick is correct. I have nothing to add.

  79. i think you look at this list overall, and its a pretty damn good list. some players are out of place. and i feel only a few don’t deserve in, Gourcuff and maybe evra. I’d throw in baines as a left back to replace evra, for his freekick ability and penalty taking, although i dont watch everton play all that much. 2011 has been hell for Gourcuff, and he doesnt deserve to be in. Overall good list.

  80. I agree with every player on this list. Except for Messi

  81. Busquets rated better than xabi alonso by 8 players? Is this the top 100 divers? I understand busquets has had more club success in the past year, but does anyone really believe he is more talented a passer than xabi alonso? If you had to choose a dmf for your team who would you take?

    • This is the first time I’ve ever defended or argued for Sergio Busquets in my life, but he is much more versatile a player then just a DMF. He is extremely versatile and important to Barcelona. The fact they had no problem getting rid of Yaya Toure and were much better off with Busquets replacing him says a lot.

      • i wanna smash busquets’ head, especially during the cl semifinal in 2010 when he got thiago motta sent off in the 28th minute, and i thought inter were done. hes a diver like most of barca, but his ability to play one touch football is unrivaled.

  82. Great job as always! The list has given me much entertainment over the last 10 days. If the selections weren’t up for debate, then where would all the fun be!!!

    Here are some selections that I fully expect to be in the running for the list next year:

    Toni Kroos
    Christian Eriksen
    Giuseppe Rossi
    Marek Hamsik
    Thiago Alcantara
    Jack Wilshere
    Demba Ba

    The one selection that I might debate is Nigel De Jong. Being half Dutch and a life long Eredivisie fan, I know all about him and what he offers. He is of tremendous importance to his club and country but ranked slightly high for a list of this order. For one, I believe Mark Van Bommel offers just as much as De Jong does for club and country. As well, Van Bommel has more technical skill and can contribute more going forward. Saying that, I don’t think Van Bommel should be on the list in his place.


    • I support Toni Kroos absolutely. He is an excellent player and definitely better than Shinji Kagawa.

  83. Gareth Bale is easily top 15-20

  84. Christian Eriksen should have been there in the list.

    RVP should have been above Rooney and Silva definitely in the Top 10 :|

  85. The only thing I agree with in this top 100 is the top 10, but david silva??? I’m not sure about that. Putting him over RVP!!! David silva has so much talent around him that if he wasn’t in the team, Man City would still be better than arsenal. If you take RVP outta arsenal, well let’s hope henry can really be ‘henreal’

  86. A couple notable omissions from the list would have to be Toni Kroos and Christian Eriksen.

    I really want to know who had Neymar in their top 35 list for him to be rated at number 20. Way too high for my liking, and I think he is being rated by his potential, rather than the player he is today. There were young players lower on the list who I personally think are better than Neymar today, Goetze and hazard. But then again, this is just my opinion.

  87. Lots of people saying Messi is a different player at ARG w/o Xavi/iniesta (amongst others). But honestly, Xaviesta have each other plus quite the support staff at both Barcelona and Spain. People seem to forget that there’s two sides to that coin. The simple fact is, the best players make those around them better, and that’s what the players in the top 5 do. Xaviesta aren’t the same w/o each other, Messi isn’t the same w/o them, and they aren’t the same without Messi.
    “It’s not the best 11, it’s the 11 that play best together.” Simple shit, folks. That’s why Barca dominates, even when they play shitty. Because they’re both the best 11 and the 11 that player best together.

  88. Thanks for all the hard work guys. I appreciate the list and all the chat surrounding it.

  89. Sneijder is top 15, no questions asked. not 28th…that’s ridiculous!

  90. Also, Netherlands are taking Euro2012

  91. The fact that inbred Wayne Rooney is only 2 places away from Iniesta is a disgrace.

  92. What does Wayne Rooney being “the most intellegent” footballer England has produced in years say about the English footballers? LOL

  93. The only thing that really struck me about this list is that Roberto Mancini must be a dreadful manager not to be running away with the EPL, out of the FA cup and CL and headed out of the league cup, given that he has ~9 of the top 100 players IN THE WORLD at his disposal.

    I suspect the list should more correctly read – The 100 most popular players in the world.

  94. No Jack Wilsher!!!!!!!!!!!!

  95. Where’s Marchisio… Serie A is barley on this list… Leave it to theScore to put out pure b.s.

  96. Where is David Beckscam?

  97. Where is Steven Gerrard????? number one player in the world

    • true legend best England player in the world now and ever.

      tell me another joke

  98. wtf carles puyol 91 really?

  99. Not a bad list. It has two big omissions, ok maybe three. Giorgo Chielini and Lukas Podolski. Ganso should also find a spot on the list. Also Xabi Alonso and Snieder are way to low as they are way to important for club and country.

  100. I think puyol and pique should be switched to be honest.

  101. I think a guy like Hatem ben Arfa should be on there considering there are french players and he is among the best of the french players, I also think Benzema and Drogba

  102. Guys, enough with the Stevie G BS.. I’m a red through and through, but Gerrard has barely featured in 2 years. Give him time FFS.

    Nasri should be higher, and Ballotelli lower.. maybe next year he’ll deserve that ranking, but skill wise I think he’s not quite there yet. In terms of what he’s done this year though it’s hard to argue he’s not been one of the most influential players..

    Rooney is obviously way too high – #15 more fair given his consistency. Bale probably should have been higher, at least compared to the other EPL players on the list. Surprised Podolski didn’t feature (but of course the whole top #35 picks if he didn’t feature in the top #101-110 I’d be absolutely shocked).

    Form-wise I’m surprised not to see Demba Ba feature. If he continues at his current pace he’s a shoe in for the 50-100 next year. Totally agree with Ben Arfa as well, excited to see what he can do over the next few years.

    And finally – Messi may never win a world cup, but he’s still the greatest player of this generation.

    • true gerrard is a great player even though he is old euro 2012 he outrun two young players, can cross a ball like no one else, can volley like no one else, he twisted a defender in euro 2012 which lead to a great cross which lead to a goal and finally he can defend and captain a team what could be better.

  103. I just realized! No Emmanuel Adebayor…?

  104. robben should be up there in top 10 or at least 20

  105. Kevin Doyle? c’mon he’s got to be somewhere. I think Thomas Muller should be 4th in the world.

  106. Rooney should be a notch higher n where is LUIS ANTONIO VALENCIA!!!!!!!!!!!!

  107. hummels is the best defender in the world rt now!gomez should be in the top 10 surely(rooney?)!robben,ribery in top 15 or 20,best wingers in the world!kagawa had an amaizing season!buffon,giroud,bas dost is also there!and if gerrard is nt on the list gorcuff should nt even be considered!

  108. Just stumbled across this 5 months late. Some of these writers obviously rate the EPL too highly. Examples:
    Suarez at 11 – umm, can this guy shoot on target?
    Evra at 52 – crap for past 2 years
    Nani at 41 – overrated ball hog (and bench warmer for a reason)
    Dzeko at 59 – erratic at best and far worse than Benzema at 93. And bench warmer for a reaso.

    And what is it with Barca players? Pique is crap (Puyol is Barca’s 1 man defense), Abidal is not top 100 material (hence the move for Alba) and on what planet Busquets is better than Pirlo!?!?

  109. What about neymar ?!?

  110. What a f…..k? Where is Shevchenko???

  111. Christiano Ronaldo is the best player in the world thats a fact

    • you are stupid try watching football he does nothing until he has the ball but he doesn’t defend or try to get the ball back that is why messi is the best he does everything and still turns any defence upside down.

  112. Ronaldo is the best player in the WORLD, i dont think anyone can argue with that, Than the list overates barça players like hell, i mean pique 12 and PEPE like 90th loooooooooool

    Busquets 23 –.-????????????? are you for real?

    The way i see it hes not even top 70-80 material!

    also Kaka should not even be in the top 100, ever since his move to real madrid hes been NOTHING!!!

  113. Messi is so dust
    Van Persie Sneijder and Robben all the way

    My name is actually Dick and I’m not kidding
    Yes I am fags!

  114. why is ronaldinho not there he is the one of the greatest players ever to get on the field i would go as far as to say he is equal or better than messi.

  115. Where on earth is Steven Gerrard ?

  116. Andrea Pirlo at 42. Are you fucking with me?

  117. 1.) Messi
    2.) Ronaldo
    3.) Iniesta
    4.) Xavi
    5.) Vidic
    6.) Villa
    7.) Ibrahimovic
    8.) Neymar
    9.) Pique
    10.) Rooney
    11.) Casillas
    12.) Robben
    13.) Ozil
    14.) Ribery
    15.) Puyol
    16.) D.Alves
    17.) D.Silva
    18.) Sweinsteiger
    19.) Van Persie
    20.) Sneijder
    21.) Thiago Silva
    22.) Neuer
    23.) Pirlo
    24.) Aguero
    25.) Alonso
    26.) Ramos
    27.) Lahm
    28.) De Rossi
    29.) Buffon
    30.) Eto’o
    31.) Busquets
    32.) Robinho
    33.) Benzema
    34.) Yaya Toure
    35.) Maicon
    36.) Pepe
    37.) Marcelo
    38.) Tevez
    39.) Gerrard
    40.) Higuin
    41.) Gomez
    42.) Pedro
    43.) Terry
    44.) Muller
    45.) Nasri
    46.) A.Cole
    47.) Suarez
    48.) Hazard
    49.) Di Maria
    50.) Falcao

    • ronaldo first best player of all time

    • u forgot fernando torres one of the top 10 strikers in the world like him or hate him he is still one of the a liverpool fan and i still like him he is the one who makes me support chealsea a little bit now.with hazard,mata on the team he will be unstoppable.he has his rhythm and confidence back during the uero 2012

    • good list but wheres torres and mata

    • wtf vidic ibrahimovic is 50 times better so is villa so is tevez so is gomz u like vidic because u r a serb u r soooo stupid 4 putting vdic there

  118. best keepers 1-10: Buffon, Casillas, Lloris, Neuer, Julio Cesar, Cech, Hart, Stekelenburg, Marchetti & Sirigu.
    best centre backs 1-10: Vidic, Pique, Chiellini, Kompany, T.Silva, Ramos, Hummels, Puyol, Pepe, Aronica (Don’t be fooled by his FIFA 12 rating, this lads proper class)
    best centre mids 1-10: Xavi, Pirlo, Iniesta, Ozil, Fabregas, Schweinsteiger, Sneijder, Modric, De Rossi, Yaya.
    Best Strikers 1-10: Messi, Ibrahimovic, Aguero, Cavani, Van Persie, Falcao, Rooney, Huntelaar, Di Natale, Suarez.
    (Excluding Heskey)

  119. fake messi is not first ronaldo ozil iniesta realmadrid

  120. you all missing the point wheres torres and steven gerrard they are not even on the list
    this is a complete joke

  121. TOP 25
    1. MESSI
    3. Xavi
    4. Inesta

  122. top 30
    2. ronoldo
    6.van persie

    Where the fuck is his name? He was leading scorer for ManU, and brought real madrid in place
    A bullshit list, Its supposed to be based on stats, NOT popularity, fucking dumbass poster

  124. first rooney @ 6 what next carroll @ 1

  125. Ronaldo is the best in the world

  126. Messi isn’t better than ronaldo :/

  127. 1;messi

    there is no number 2. cause the world need no1

  128. no FUCKIN oscar uv got 2 be a bludy retard

  129. At leas Mario Goetze was there

  130. Suarez 11 come on at least 5.

  131. thomas muller on 35th….

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