Cristiano Ronaldo has been named FourFourTwo’s Best Player in the World for the second year running after topping the 2014 list.
The Real Madrid superstar scored 31 goals in 30 La Liga appearances in 2013/14, plus a further 17 in just 11 Champions League outings as the Madridistas finally captured a 10th European Cup title with victory over city rivals Atletico.
Team-mate Gareth Bale, the match-winner in Lisbon by scoring Real’s second goal in their 4-1 triumph after extra-time, also makes the top five. The Welshman enjoyed a stunning first season in Spain after leaving Tottenham Hotspur, also bagging the decisive goal in the Copa del Rey final against Barcelona.
Lionel Messi, so long the tog dog, is only named third on FFT’s list for 2014 after falling behind World Cup-winning captain Philipp Lahm, with the Bayern Munich man’s team-mate Manuel Neuer also included among the leading quartet.
Pep Guardiola’s Bundesliga juggernaut is the most represented club, with 14 of the top ton plying their trade at the Allianz Arena. Real Madrid follow with 11 ahead of Juventus – Serie A champions from the past three seasons.
Premier League leaders Chelsea are the most lauded English club with nine of Jose Mourinho’s men among the 100. Chief goal-getter Diego Costa makes the top 10 while Thibaut Courtois and Cesc Fabregas feature in the top 20.
However, it hasn’t been a great year for English players. A paltry three make the final cut, level with Croatia and Belgium and just one ahead of Wales.
Man United and England captain Wayne Rooney is the leading Lion, but only sneaks into the top 50. Liverpool pair Raheem Sterling and Daniel Sturridge feature for the first time after standout seasons with the Merseysiders.