Coming soon: the world's 100 best players

If a week is a long time in football or politics, a year can seem an eternity.

Last autumn, FourFourTwo magazine’s inaugural list of the 100 Best Players in the World was topped by Ricardo Izecson dos Santos Leite.

A load of Kaka?

Not 12 months ago – he was, after all, the key man for the European champions – but how many of you think that AC Milan’s brilliant Brazilian is still the finest footballer on the planet?

In our forums: who do you think are the best players in the world?

Later this month, while others revel in the Champions League spotlight, Kaka will be gracing Fratton Park in the UEFA Cup. Ouch.

Not that there’s anything wrong with stomping around Pompey – Cristiano Ronaldo has been known to do it, and he’s a surefire bet to be up at the business end of the list. Last year’s No.2 will have designs on top spot, but there are others challenging, at home and abroad.

Consider Fernando Torres, FFT’s No.34 last year (behind Maldini, Riquelme and Ayala, among others).

Since we published that list, El Niño has averaged two goals every three games, improving Liverpool to such an extent that they might conceivably challenge for the Premier League as much as the Champions League. And although Ronaldo’s United scooped both those trophies last season, Torres fired Spain to Euro 2008 glory while the Portuguese disappointed…

Speaking of Spanish success stories, surely Sergio Ramos – allegedly a defender, even if he seems to combine the athleticism of Roberto Carlos with the positional flexibility of Franz Beckenbauer – will rise from last year’s No.56, while his cohort for club and country, “Saint” Iker Casillas (30th last year), will have more chance than Scott Carson of leapfrogging Gigi Buffon (ninth) as the world’s best goalkeeper.

Across Madrid, Sergio Agüero should improve on last year’s 96th place, while up in Barcelona, his fellow Argentinian Lionel Messi will surely be on the move from fifth position.

One of the players above little Leo last year was his clubmate Thierry Henry, in fourth. It’s been tough for Titi since then, and he may wonder how far he can fall. Also nervously eyeing the slippery slope might be Ronaldinho (third last year) and his fellow Brazilian Ronaldo (50th).

With England’s stars reborn under Fabio Capello after a summer kicking their expensive heels, it’ll be interesting to see how they fare against the continent’s finest.

Will Wayne Rooney (eighth last year) still be higher than Zlatan Ibrahimovic (21st)? Does Frank Lampard (25th) still outshine Xavi (32nd)? And while we’re at it, who’s better: Rio Ferdinand (24th) or John Terry (22nd)?

All will be revealed on Wednesday November 5 (AKA tomorrow)... prepare the fireworks!

  • The new issue of FourFourTwo is out tomorrow 

LAST YEAR’S LIST: the 100 Best Players in the World 2007
100 Shunsuke Nakamura
099 Alexandro Pato
098 Maicon
097 Jamie Carragher
096 Sergio Aguero
095 Nery Castilo
094 Javier Mascherano
093 Adrian Mutu
092 Kim Kallstrom
091 Filippo Inzaghi
090 Javier Zanetti
089 Eduardo da Silva
088 Faio Quagliarella
087 Diego Milito
086 Gabriel Milito
085 Gary Neville
084 Juninho
083 Rafael van der Vaart
082 Robin van Persie
081 Samir Nasri
080 Ricardo Quaresma
079 Carles Puyol
078 Nemanja Vidic
077 Maxi Rodriguez
076 Phillip Lahm
075 Gianluca Zambrotta
074 Torsen Frings
073 Pavel Nedved
072 Fredi Kanoute
071 Kolo Toure
070 Vincente
069 Diego Forlan
068 Michael Owen
067 William Gallas
066 Ze Roberto
065 Frank Ribery
064 Andriy Shevchenko
063 Patrick Vieira
062 Diego
061 Simao Sabrosa
060 Arjen Robben
059 Robinho
058 Joe Cole
057 Miroslav Klose
056 Sergio Ramos
055 Luca Toni
054 Alex
053 Hernan Crespo
052 Owen Hargreaves
051 Wesley Sneijder
050 Ronaldo
049 David Silva
048 Andres Iniesta
047 Dejan Stankovic
046 Clarence Seedorf
045 Florent Malouda
044 Carlos Teves
043 David Beckham
042 Daniele de Rossi
041 Michael Ballack
040 Lucio
039 David Suazo
038 Dimitar Berbatov
037 David Albelda
036 Alessandra Nesta
035 Ricardo Carvalho
034 Fernando Torres
033 Cesc Fabregas
032 Xavi
031 Juan Roman Riquelme
030 Iker Casillas
029 Ryan Giggs
028 Paolo Maldini
027 Ashley Cole
026 Gennaro Gattuso
025 Frank Lampard
024 Rio Ferdinand
023 Deco
022 John Terry
021 Zlatan Ibrahimovic
020 Michael Essien
019 David Villa
018 Francesco Totti
017 Paul Scholes
016 Roberto Ayala
015 Ruud van Nistelrooy
014 Andrea Pirlo
013 Didier Drogba
012 Daniel Alves
011 Peter Cech
010 Fabio Cannavaro
009 Gianluigi Buffon
008 Wayne Rooney
007 Samuel Eto'o
006 Steven Gerrard
005 Lionel Messi
004 Thierry Henry
003 Ronaldinho
002 Cristiano Ronaldo
001 Kaka

In our forums: who do you think are the best players in the world?

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