It’s really not easy for me to make a list of ten best players in the Pre-Champions League. During the World Cup last July, I hastily assembled a “Top 10″ list of the best soccer players in the world, which many guys do not agree with me. My list have some changes belongs to the older one, let’s have a look together!
Then again, the function of Internet lists isn’t to be accurate, but rather to spur debate and/or outrage about someone’s fully arbitrary opinion. So with that in mind, it was time to revisit the list and make amends. This updated list is taking current form of early February 2015 into account, more than long-standing reputation and or ratings in FIFA 15, so apologies, Andres Iniesta.
10. Diego Godín, Atletico Madrid/Uruguay
As if you didn’t already know, the Ballon d’Or is a flimsily disguised popularity contest. This year it completely ignored Atletico Madrid’s excellent season. Is Godín the best center back in the world? Possibly, although the unofficial mantle is held by PSG’s Thiago Silva. Full disclosure: this list probably needs one defensive player on and Godín is the best of the shallow pool, plus he’s excellent on set pieces, meriting a few bonus points.
9. Neymar, Barcelona/Brazil
Few players prompt such dividing opinions as the now 23-year-old Brazil captain. Is he a one-trick show pony or a legit superstar and the most-talented player in Spain after the Big Two?
Many players cashed in thanks to YouTube mixtapes and highlight reels. In isolation, trick moves entertain but often mean nothing toward the outcome of matches. What sets Neymar apart is that beyond dribbling, he’s an efficient scorer with an insanely powerful shot. 37 goals across 67 games for Barcelona is impressive, even by the clubs’s high-scoring standards. More impressive is 42 international goals in a mere 60 games for Brazil, albeit most of them friendlies.
8. Bayern Munich/Germany
Confirmed as the best keeper in the world via a third-place finish at the Ballon d’Or voting. He also likes to do crazy stuff like this when he strays off his line to become a #sweeperkeeper:
7. Diego Costa, Chelsea/Spain
Let’s consider these facts about the Brazil-born Spanish international. Atletico Madrid fended off both Real Madrid and Barcelona last season, winning La Liga title thanks in no small part to Costa — the offensive spear at the end of Diego Simeone’s compact, defensive system — scoring 27 goals. In August he made an instant impact at Chelsea, turning Jose Mourinho’s team into the Premier League favorites — a mantle the Blues haven’t relinquished. Costa now has 17 goals in 19 EPL games, not too shabby given how many strikers (Andriy Shevchenko, Afonso Alves, Mateja Kezman, etc.) struggle after moving to England.
Yes Costa might be a master of the dark arts. No, he won’t receive a Christmas card from Martin Skrtel or Emre Can any time soon. Either way, Costa’s current form makes him the best old-fashioned, traditional No. 9 in the world.
6. Alexis Sánchez, Arsenal/Chile
In the mood for a strained, dated music comparison? Too bad, you’re getting one. Alexis Sánchez at Barcelona was a bit like Phil Collins in Genesis, a part of a greater whole. At Arsenal, Sánchez is Phil Collins’ solo career. Does that make sense? Here’s a link to Sussudio. Sing along. It’ll brighten your day.
Long term, putting Sánchez ahead of the likes of Bale, Di María or Rodriguez is questionable, but at the moment — pending his current hamstring injury — he’s performing as one of the world’s best, carrying Arsenal at times this season in EPL play with 12 goals and seven assists.
5. Paul Pogba, Juventus/France
The French midfielder checked in at No. 7 on my July list, and that was before he picked up Best Young Player honors at the World Cup and carried his form into the Serie A season with Juventus, where the 21-year-old’s staked a claim as the best player in Italy. If you were starting a team from scratch today you’d want Pogba as the anchor, given he can play any midfield role and only keeps improving as an offensive weapon on the edge of the penalty area thanks to a rasping shot. Eventually you could see Pogba develop into a 10-goal per year scorer, possibly more if he takes penalties.
4. Eden Hazard, Chelsea/Belgium
This is going to sound almost moronically simplistic: Eden Hazard is a great soccer player and the best in the EPL at the moment. What stands out to me about Hazard is how his greatness almost blends in with the scenery at Stamford Bridge. Most great players, regardless of the sport, tend to provoke strong feelings or opinions among fans. Aside from the isolated incident when he kicked the ball boy — it turned out later the kid bragged about trying to impact the game — what is there to say about Hazard?
Actually, it’s quite refreshing to find a star athlete that let’s his or her play stand alone on its own merits independent of anything else.
3. Arjen Robben, Bayern Munich/The Netherlands
Here’s a statement you wouldn’t expect to read about Arjen Robben: He is the Dave Grohl of soccer. Like Grohl performing with Nirvana, Foo Fighters, Queens of the Stone Age and Tenacious D, Robben finds success wherever he goes, although the Dutchman is the consummate solo artist on the field. Still, whatever his (mostly negative) reputation is to Americans, Robben remains an amazing player, one with winner’s medals in England, Spain and Germany along with a Champions League triumph with Bayern Munich. He’s been the primary reason why the Netherlands finished runner-up and third at consecutive World Cups, too.
2. Lionel Messi, Barcelona/Argentina
There is really nothing left to say about Messi that hasn’t already been said, aside from speculating on his future and if it lies away from the Camp Nou. Anyways, Messi vs. Ronaldo is a ready-made, easy debate, but a better way to look at it is that as soccer fans we’re lucky to be alive to watch them both at the peak of their all-time, historic powers.
1. Cristiano Ronaldo, Real Madrid/Portugal
Portugal flamed out in the Group Stage at the World Cup, which is the only blemish on Ronaldo’s on-field resume the last 16 months or so … if you forget he carried his nation into the tournament by himself in the playoff vs. Sweden. Should elite players like Ronaldo or Messi be judged on their isolated performances at major international tournaments, often in three game bursts, or let their standing on the club level suffice? If we do that, Ronaldo’s resume remains flawless and in 2013-14 he set the record for most goals in a Champions League campaign with 17, as Real Madrid knocked Barcelona and Bayern off the unofficial “Best Club in the World” perch. That form carried into the 2014-15 season where he’s already totaled 34 goals in 24 games.