FourFourTwo's Deputy Editor Hitesh Ratna explains how we put these blokes in this order. The short answer is: We argue, for ages...
Class and form. As it ever was, rating a player for the FourFourTwo Top 100 Players in the World comes down to assessing their overall standing in global football and their contribution over the last 12 months.
The period we cover is November to November, so like the Ballon D’or, we consider performances at the start of the new season, but unlike the Ballon D’or we didn’t extend the period of consideration to save the embarrassment of the wrong player taking the top prize...
The starting point is fairly straightforward: sort the potential players by position, so we can make like for like comparisons and rank them based on a slightly more exact(ing) process. So when comparing the relative merits of Radamel Falcao, Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Robin van Persie we looked at things like who scored, assisted and won the most. But just as important were the intangibles (What effect did they have on their team-mates?) and context: How difficult was it to score in their league, and just how good are their team-mates? Put another way, were they having to make and score their own goals?
Once goalkeepers, defenders, midfielders and forwards have been ranked, the hard part: turning the four lists into the FFT 100. While complicated, not to mention time-consuming, this is at heart an extension of the previous process.
With a large degree of subjectivity involved, we take into account the opinions of our team of almost 50 football experts from around the world (one of whom keeps his very own version of a list ranking the world’s best 350 players).
Once a provisional list is compiled, it’s then sent out to everyone involved for their input; adjustments are made based on their feedback. Once received, we adjust again and send out for the final collective argument.
A few tweaks later, and two months after we first set out, we have a final list. For a couple of days, no one talks to each other. And if we can’t agree on the exact order, then you certainly won’t. But then that’s the point, right?