Lionel Messi and Ronaldo aside, who is the world's best player?

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For most people the title of the world's best player is the subject of a two-horse race. Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi divide opinion in equal measures and each have their respective strong suits.

But who is their immediate understudy? Who takes the role of the 'next best player in the world?' It's an interesting toss up. Here GMS contributor Simon Byrne gives his selection pool.

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Gareth Bale

The world’s most expensive player would probably be a lot of people’s favourite to take the crown of world’s best after a dazzling first season at Real Madrid. The £86million man highlighted just how good he can be by scoring an amazing solo goal against Barcelona in the Copa Del Rey final in April.

He then played a key role in helping Real Madrid to their tenth European title in May by scoring a crucial goal in extra time against Atletico Madrid. Bale has also shown his class in the Premier League which is seen by many as the world’s toughest league, and has also had many memorable performances in the Champions League, including two great games against then defending champions Inter Milan in the 2010/11 season.


The pin up boy of Brazil 2014 has got all the credentials of being the best in the world. He has the silky skills, the ability to score quality goals and is treated like a God in his home country.

Despite not being able to help Brazil to glory in the summer, Neymar did handle the enormous pressure put on his shoulders pretty well until his back injury against Colombia in the quarter finals.

The best of Neymar was undauntedly when he helped lead Brazil to the 2013 Confederations Cup. Neymar was named player of the tournament scoring four goals along the way, including one in the final against Spain. His early season form for Barcelona is also showing he may be about to make it big on the European stage.

Zlatan Ibrahimović

Not many players can boost the same record that Zlatan has. He has won league titles in every country he has played in for every club. He also has been capped over a hundred times by Sweden.

He has played for some of Europe’s biggest clubs, including Barcelona and AC Milan, but more recently has been playing in France for PSG. Zlatan has had many controversies surrounding him but makes up for it by his performance on the pitch.

He seems to have got better with age and despite now being 33 is still playing at the top level. One of his most noted performance’s came against England in 2012 when he scored all four goals in a 4-2 win for the Swede’s, including a sensational overhead kick from outside the area.

Angel Di Maria

What a year it has been for Angel Di Maria. He has always had the potential to become a world beater but now he firmly is. After being the leading assist maker in La Liga with 17 in total, he then went on to be named man of the match in the Champions League final.

He also scored the opener for Real in the Copa Del Rey final. He was shortlisted for the Golden Ball at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil despite missing the final for Argentina and in
August he earned a British record move to Manchester United, where he has
continued to shine, scoring three goals in five games for the Red Devils.

In September he shone against world champions Germany as Argentina got revenge for their final defeat. Di Maria was instrumental and had a hand in all four of Argentina’s

Luis Suarez

Despite all the controversies that surround Suarez the one thing that is for sure is that he is a world class footballer. He almost single handily got Liverpool back into the Champion’s League and a second place finish in the Premier League last season, despite missing the opening weeks of the season from his second biting ban.

Although he didn't have the World Cup he wanted through injury and his bite on Giorgio Chellini, he still basically put England out of the tournament with two goals against the Three Lions in a group game in Sao Paulo.

Suarez then got his dream move to Barcelona and will be rearing to go when he can finally make his competitive debut for Barca in El Classico against Real Madrid at the end of October.

Honourable mentions

Some other players who would definitely be worth a mention for maybe being the world’s best are Barca duo Anders Iniesta and Xavi. Bayern’s Captain Phillip Lahm and fellow team mates Bastian Schweinsteiger and Arjen Robben are also worth a mention.

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Cristiano Ronaldo
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