The 13 best forwards in the world
Here are the best 13 forwards in the world, as decided by FFT and our trusty band of contributors from around the globe. Agree with our list? If not, tell us in the comments below or on Twitter or Facebook.
We used Stats Zone to zero in on our final selection, so make sure you tell us where we've gone wrong (we have no doubt you will). The numbers in the slides show where these players finished in our overall Best 100 Players in the World 2015...
13. Eden Hazard
2015/16 has not been too kind to Hazard so far, but his magnificent form last term was enough for him to be included. 14 league goals were scored in 2014/15, and no player in Europe's top five divisions completed more dribbles (179) or created as many chances from open play (99).
12. Kevin De Bruyne
De Bruyne's simply picked up from where he left off after swapping Wolfsburg for Manchester City in the summer. 20 assists and 10 goals were recorded in the Bundesliga last term, with the Belgium international just as productive in the Premier League this time around. Able to play anywhere across the frontline, De Bruyne has versatility as well as ability in abundance.
11. Zlatan Ibrahimovic
Ibrahimovic became Paris Saint-Germain's all-time record goalscorer in October with two goals against arch-rivals Marseille at the Parc des Princes. The 34-year-old is clearly coming towards the end of a distinguished career, but it's testament to his terrific form and enduring class that he's again made the cut. Recently named Swedish Footballer of the Year for a 10th time, Zlatan will be targeting Champions League glory in 2016.
10. Alexis Sanchez
It's been a while since Arsenal possessed a genuine world-class forward capable of turning a game on its head with a moment of magic, but in Sanchez they undoubtedly have one now. With the work rate to go alongside the talent, it's easy to see why the Chilean is so popular at his club and back home, where he became an instant legend by scoring the winning penalty in July's Copa America final against Argentina.
9. Arjen Robben
Despite spending a large chunk of last season on the treatment table, Robben remains essential to Pep Guardiola's Bayern Munich outfit. Between Dec 12, 2014 and Nov 23, 2015, the 31-year-old scored or assisted a goal in the Bundesliga every 80 minutes - the best ratio in the competition in that period. Everybody's long known that Robben likes to cut inside onto his left foot and shoot at goal, but that evidently doesn't make it any easier to stop him.
8. Sergio Aguero
The highest-ranked forward plying his trade in England, Aguero is arguably the most clinical centre-forward anywhere on the planet: give him a chance and he will almost always bury it. The Argentine won the Premier League's Golden Boot after finding the back of the net 26 times in the top flight last season, and has already hit seven in 11 appearances in 2015/16.
7. Gareth Bale
Bale's 2015 was perhaps not as memorable as his 2014 for Real Madrid, but his exploits with Wales played a big part in him retaining his place in FFT's overall top 10. Directly involved - by either scoring or assisting - 10 of Chris Coleman's side's 11 goals in Euro 2016 qualifying showed just how good he can be as his team's main man.
6. Thomas Muller
Muller is perhaps the greatest off-the-ball player in the world. Capable of finding space even when there isn't any, the World Cup winner's movement and intelligence set him apart from many of his peers. He's a pretty good goalscorer, too: after plundering 26 for Bayern and Germany in 2014/15, he's already got 25 to his name this campaign.
5. Luis Suarez
Suarez took a while to get going at Barcelona following his move from Liverpool in the summer of 2014, but by the start of this year he'd already started tearing up La Liga defences. Deployed as an out-and-out striker, Suarez has added an extra element to this Barca side, with his selfless movement regularly creating space for Neymar and Lionel Messi to cause havoc. A scoring ratio that's approaching a goal a game isn't bad, either.
4. Robert Lewandowski
Ranked as FFT's best No.9 in the world, Lewandowski has had a stellar year for club and country. Scoring five goals in nine minutes against Wolfsburg earlier this season stole most of the headlines - and considering it's a feat that may never be bettered, that's understandable - but the Pole was prolific throughout 2015.
When Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo eventually depart the Ballon d'Or podium that they have been regular visitors to in the last decade, Neymar is likely to be the man who replaces the duo at the top of the world football tree. After a superb 2014/15, the Brazilian's been even better this season, regularly pulling off the spectacular to shift fans to the edge of their seats and jaws to the floor.
2. Cristiano Ronaldo
The regularity with which Ronaldo continues to post extraordinary numbers has made people slightly numb to what they actually mean. The fact that 2015 saw the former Manchester United star become Real Madrid's all-time highest scorer with 324 goals in 310 appearances - a frankly ludicrous 431 games fewer than the record's previous holder, Raul - says everything about his relentless brilliance.
1. Lionel Messi
It should come as no surprise that Messi is FFT's best forward in the world. Another stellar year brought a treble of La Liga, Champions League and Copa del Rey, with the Argentine contributing with 58 goals last season. He's continued in a similar vein this term, linking up with Suarez and Neymar to devastating effect. Still only 28, there's no reason why Messi can't continue to top our list for years to come.