Football

Top 50: Players in world football

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Ballon D'or winner (©GettyImages)
Ballon D'or winner (©GettyImages).

Obviously this list is likely to cause plenty of disagreement from all Give Me Sport readers so opinions in the comments box below are much appreciated. Let's begin:

50. Wesley Sneijder 

Sneijder is the only player from the Turkish Super Lig to make this list and if it wasn't for him Galatasaray may well be even further behind Fenerbahce. He may be past his best, but Sneijder still provides a great attacking option with his incredible passing ability.

49. Arda Turan

Turan has played a huge part in what has so far been a very successful season for Atletico, he can defend, he can attack and is overall an invaluable player for El Atleti.

48. Daniel Sturridge

Sturridge has combined with Luis Suarez this season to create one of the most lethal partnerships in world football. He could easily be much higher up in this list in the future. 

47. John Terry

You may be surprised to see Terry on this list, after all he is 33 and one of the most hated players in the Premier League. However, Terry has been a rock at the back for Chelsea and he and Gary Cahill (who deserves a special mention but didn't quite make the top 50) have helped the West London side to the top of the table.

46. Mario Balotelli

AC Milan have had an awful season in 2013/14 but Balo has provided hope when there looked like very little for Clarence Seedorf's side. Possible too good for Milan and i wouldn't be surprised to see him make a big money move this summer (don't get too excited Arsenal fans).

45. Dries Mertens

Napoli have had a disappointing season but will still make the Champions League and Mertens' performances have made that happen. The Belgian has looked the most dangerous out of Napoli's 4 attacking Midfielders Insigne, Hamsik, Callejón and himself and i look forward to seeing him at the World Cup.  

44. Jerome Boateng

Boateng is the first of many Bayern players on this list and with good reason. The German signed a new contract in December and Bayern will need him to continue to deliver rock-solid performances. 

43. Ángel Di María

It's difficult to stand out in a team like Real Madrid but Di Maria has done exactly that with his crossing ability. Five assists and three Champions League goals speaks for itself. 

42. Jordi Alba

Alba is not the highest left-back on this list but there is no doubt he is one of the best. The attacking threat he offers in a great asset to Barcelona. 

41. Diego Costa

Costa was almost unknown before this season but in now one of the most well known strikers in La Liga. This is no surprise with his 21 goals in the league putting Atletico right in the title race. 

40. Iker Casillas 

He may not be Real Madrid's number one but we all know Casillas is still class. This may well be the last time you see him in a list like this though.

39. James Rodríguez

Since moving to Monaco Rodríguez has been has been consistently good and it is no surprise that Real Madrid are interested in the 22-year-old. He could be vital to Colombia's World Cup chances in Brazil.

38. Neymar

There was a lot of pressure on Neymar after his move from Santos but the young Brazilian really has delivered. Despite having not yet lived up to his £48.6million price tag Neymar has performed well with 12 goals and, at only 22, could yet become one of the best players in the world.

37. Giorgio Chiellini 

Juventus are running away in the Serie A and a solid defence has been important to their success. At the heart of it Chiellini has helped Juventus to 12 clean sheets and is arguably performing as well as he has ever done in his nine years playing for the club.

36. Karim Benzema

A team like Real Madrid need a great striker and Benzema would go straight in to any team in the world. His 23 goals for Real have made a potential treble possible and the French attacker has been linked with many clubs including Arsenal (who hasn't) but surely Carlo Ancelotti will want to keep hold of him? 

35. Marco Reus

People forget Marco Reus is only 24 as he as already made his name as one of the best wingers in the world. Reus has had a disappointing season but how could I resist putting him on this list? After all, his haircut is enough to get him on any top 50.

34. Alexis Sánchez

In contrast, Sanchez has had an incredible season in Barcelona. His 18 goals and 11 assists has earned him a first team place. 

33. Radamel Falcao

Falcao is currently suffering from an injury that may keep him out of the World Cup. This would be a very big shame as Falcao is absolutely lethal as he showed for Atletico Madrid. His move to Ligue 1 has not been entirely successful so far but if he can get himself fully fit I am sure he will be back in form and scoring again.

32. Antoine Griezmann

Many of you will be wondering why Griezmann is on this list, let alone why he is 32nd but Griezmann has been turning heads in the Spanish League this season with 15 goals in 23 appearances for Real Sociedad. The 22 year-old left winger has almost single handedly guided Sociedad to a respectable sixth place. Therefore, Griezmann's position on this list is entirely justified. If the Frenchman does make a move to a bigger club (Arsenal fans don't get too excited) he will certainly be a great signing.

31. Robert Lewandowski

When a player has an average season and has still scored 21 goals, you know they must be good. Lewandowski's inevitable move to Bayern has sparked controversy across Germany with the Champions already having snatched Mario Gotze from their rivals. Okay, it has not been a bad season for Lewa but the Bayern transfer has certainly not helped in Dortmund's efforts to challenge them at the top of the Bundesliga. Once Lewandowski has settled down in Munich he will be back to his best, don't you worry about that. 

30. Paul Pogba

What a season Juventus are having, they're running away with Serie A and a lot of their success is down to Pogba. Manchester United will be regretting letting the 20-year-old go after watching him become one of the best central midfielders in the world while they flounder about in 7th place. It's no surprise they want him back. 

29. Vincent Kompany

Kompany is rock and without him Manchester City wouldn't be where they are today. 'nough said.

28. Luka Modrić

Since leaving Spurs Modric had been a bit of a dissappointment for Madrid, until this season . Ancelotti has made Modric a key member of the team and he is now performing to the level he once was at White Hart Lane.

27. Dante

Dante has helped Bayern become the best team in Europe and there is no doubt that without him the Bayern defence would not be as rigid as it is. He also deserves massive respect for sprinting all the way back to Neuer after scoring to thank him for helping his team to keep clean sheets. 

26. Pedro Rodríguez 

Pedro is having one of his best ever seasons for Barcelona with 13 goals in La Liga. He may be small but he's had big shoes to step into after David Villa left for Madrid and boy has he done that?  

25. Mario Götze

Bayern have arguably the strongest team in Europe and the addition of Götze in the summer has only made it stronger. It sometimes takes players time to adjust to life at a new club but the German has performed in both Bundesliga and Champions League competitions. 

24. Xavi Hernandez 

You can't have a top 50 players list without Xavi and although the 34 year-old is not having his best season you cannot possibly argue he deserves his place here. He has been one of Barcelona's most important players since 2001 and although he may be slightly past his sell by date he still continues to provide consistent performances, although only 2 assists this season shows he may not be able to perform at the highest level for much longer. I look forward to watching what will almost certainly be this legends' last ever World Cup.

23. Edinson Cavani 

Cavani guided Napoli to a 2nd place finish in Serie A last season and since moving to PSG he has arguably become an even better player. His shots to goals ratio is better than his strike partner Zlatan Ibrahimovic this season! Uruguay will be in England's group at the World Cup and I'm surely not the only one who can see Chris Smalling getting completely dominated by him.   

22. David Alaba

Right now Alaba is probably the best left back in the world and the Austrian has shown that he doesn't just defend well with 2 goals and 5 assists contributing to his clubs success. At 21 years of age Alaba still has potential to become even better.

21. Robin van Persie

Van Persie's heart clearly hasn't been in it this season for United and that is inexcusable especially considering the money he is earning. You may be surprised to see him so far from the top 10 in this list but he has not been anywhere near as good as he was in 2012/13. Okay, he has had a few injury problems but an unhappy striker is never going to play at their best and so 21st on the list seems justified. Leave your opinions below.

20. Sergio Ramos 

Ramos was voted in FIFPRO World XI a decision that was not particularly well received by a minority of the football world who felt Dante deserved the award more. Ramos is known for his ill-discipline but he seems to be trying to cut that out of his game having earned just the one in the Spanish League this season.  

19. Arturo Vidal

Vidal said earlier in the year that he is the best player in his position in the world. Bit Arrogant Arturo, but he's not far wrong. Vidal is wanted by Real Madrid and it is no surprise when you consider he has scored 11 goals and got 5 assists this season. Chile will need him on the top of his game in a group with Spain and Holland. Then we can see if he really is the best central midfielder in the world.

18. Gareth Bale

There is no doubt that €91 million for one player is an absolutely ridiculous sum of money but if you compare the transfer to £50 million for Fernando Torres or £35 million for Andy Carroll it is money well spent. It was by no means a dead cert that Bale would perform for Real Madrid and so the deal to purchase the Welsh Winger from Tottenham was risky. It seemed as if it could yet another awful transfer blunder as Bale got injured early in his Madrid career but since then he has been lethal for club and country. Ancelotti's decision to put Bale on the right has payed off and 10 goals is a reasonable return from 18 games. There will no doubt be more to come. 

17. Arjen Robben

I dislike Robben's attitude towards his teammates and fans but he is undeniably one of Bayern's best players. The 30-year-old has had another great season for the Bavarians and deserves his place on this list despite having an ego bigger than David Hasselhoff's.  

16. Thiago Silva

PSG may not be up against the toughest attacking opposition in Ligue 1 but Silva has shown enough in the Champions League to justify his place on this list. It is always difficult for a player to reach his full potential when playing outside the main 4 leagues but Silva is a great great player and even when playing teams like AC Ajaccio (no disrespect to them), 14 clean sheets is still very impressive.  

15. Andres Iniesta

I think I speak for every football fan around the world when I say Andres will get and deserves huge support during this tough time for him, he is a true footballing great. Iniesta may not score the most goals for Barcelona, although he has racked up 31 in his time there, but he more than makes up for it with the amount of goals he creates for his teammates. The Spaniard has set up 7 this season down on the 22 he achieved last year but still an excellent total. He is one of the most like-able characters in the game for many reasons including the fact that he has never been sent off in his career. A true professional who deserves 15th place on this list. 

14. Medhi Benatia

Probably the most controversial positions on this whole list. Yes, Medhi Benatia is, in my opinion, the best centre back in the world. Roma have surprised everyone this season and their defence has been consistently better than Stoke's on a wet and windy Tuesday night. That really is saying something. Benatia at the heart of the defence has been a brick wall and is the main reason why "i Giallorossi" have only conceded 11 goals in Serie A all season. Certainly the most in form Centre back, but the best? Comments are much appreciated.  

13. Manuel Neuer

Every great team needs a great shot-stopper and Bayern absolutely have that with Manuel Neuer. Having been voted FIFPRO goalkeeper of the year for 2013 Manu has continued to act as a wall for club and country and could be influential in Germany's World Cup campaign.   

12. Bastian Schweinsteiger

Schweinstiger has been on the scene for what seems like 50 years and it is hard to believe Schweini is only 29. He has struggled with injury this season but still remains one of the best midfielders in the world. In my opinion Bastian is better than Xavi and Iniesta despite not making the FIFPRO World XI. The German is stronger than the Spanish duo and his shooting ability sets him slightly above them. Disagree? Let me know below. 

11. Francesc Fàbregas

Fabregas is having a great season and deserves his place on this list. Since leaving Arsenal the Spaniard has got even better and this season he has displayed his quality with 12 assists and 8 goals, a tally that comfortably betters teammates Xavi and Iniesta.

10. Yaya Toure

Manchester City made one of their best signings ever in 2010 by purchasing the Ivorian for £25 million. They may not have known it then but Yaya Toure would turn out to be one of the world's best players.There is no denying that Yaya struggled at Barcelona and was certainly not much loved by Pep Guardiola but Yaya immediately fit into the style of City and has surely never looked back.  

9. Luis Suárez

For me, Suarez is not the best striker in the Premier League. Now we've got that out the way let's talk about what he is. Luis is an unbelievable chaser of the ball and will give no defenders time on the ball, an attribute to please any manager. He is clinical, fast, unselfish and is technically brilliant. If you forget all of the childish behavior he is the perfect striker. 

8.Sergio Agüero

Agüerooooooo provided us with one of the greatest moments in footballing history last season and despite struggling with injury this season has still managed to muster a handy 15 goals in 17 games. The Argentine is explosive and just gives his team a little bit extra and that makes him the best Premier League striker. This will of course cause disagreement so comments below are appreciated. 

7. Thomas Müller

Müller is one of my favourite players but he is not just here because of that. The German has had an incredible season once again, as has everyone at Bayern, and has more goals and assists than Franck Ribery and Arjen Robben this season. 

6. Eden Hazard

Hazard is the best player in the Premier League and could yet become the best in the world. Despite only being 23 the Belgian has already rocked the world and if Belgium do win the World Cup Eden will of course play a huge part. 

5. Zlatan Ibrahimović

Let's be honest, everyone was gutted that Sweden didn't qualify for the World Cup. And let's be honest, we were only hoping they would qualify to see this guy. He is quite possibly the most arrogant player in the world, but he has the right to be. Zlatan scored the best goal of 2013 with his overhead kick against England but unbelievably he almost topped that with a scorpion kick against Bastia earlier this season. If you haven't seen it already I recommend you do. 

4. Franck Ribéry

Ribery was in the final 3 for the Ballon d'Or award but is still not the best Bayern player on this list. Franck has actually only scored 8 goals this season having suffered a burst blood vessel in his buttock. Nasty. However, there is not doubt that the Frenchman is a great great player.   

3. Philipp Lahm

Lahm is one of the greates player of the 21st century and his ability top adapt to any position on the pitch sets him above many exceptional players. The right back earned himself a place in the FIFPRO World XI an award that is thoroughly deserved. Lahm has been given a more attacking position this season and he has shone to earn 3rd place on this list.  

2. Cristiano Ronaldo

I know Ronaldo won the Ballon d'Or but in my opinion he is still not as good as a certain little Argentine called Lionel. Ronaldo's pace, strength, shots and incredible skill makes him a great player to watch and deserved the award for last season. £80 million is seeming more and more like a bargain as Cristiano continues to be a vital player for Madrid. 

1. Lionel Messi

Okay, so Messi didn't win the Ballon d'Or award but you have to remember that he was injured for the final part of 2013. He matches Ronaldo in every category apart from strength but when you have dribbling ability like Lionel you really don't need it. It's 29 goals in 32 games for Messi this season a total that may be slightly disappointing to him but he seems to be improving every game and when he gets back to full fitness he will certainly be terrorising defences again.

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