FourFourTwo's Top 100 Players in the World 2013: 90-81

As ever, it has been a far from easy task. But the results are in, and we've nailed down the final list. 

 

Will Iker Casillas lose his place in our list like he lost his place in the Real Madrid first team? Will England's 'golden generation' continue to drift? Has the Bundesliga become our most represented league? Can Franck Ribery break the duopoly of Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi?

 

They've both had sensational years but who of Messi or Ronaldo is topping the tree this year? As both battle it out for January's grand FIFA prize we've ranked the duo ourselves based on their 2013 showings. The top three of our list has exactly matched the top three in the Ballon d'Or for the last two seasons, so you should see this as something of a prelude to January's big do in Zurich.

 

In the new magazine - out on Wednesday - we've interviewed several of the world's best players, including the No.1. But who's the greatest? 

 

There's only one way to find out…

90. Roberto Soldado

In a tough start to Premier League life that’s seen precious little service from his Tottenham team-mates, Soldado has shown occasional flashes of true class.

It’s easy to underestimate his talent for scoring: over the last 12 months, only the unstoppable fivesome of Ronaldo, Messi, Cavani, Lewandowski and Falcao – all at far better teams – have netted more in Europe’s top five leagues than ‘Bobby Soldier’.

89. JESUS NAVAS

The two-time UEFA Cup and Copa del Rey winner conquered his homesickness to leave Seville after 10 years and join Manuel Pellegrini’s revolution at Manchester City. Armed with speed, trickery and vision, Navas gets bums out of seats and strikers scoring goals.

Last season he created 76 chances in La Liga - the fifth highest total in the league. With former Sevilla team-mate Alvaro Negredo joining Navas at City, Premier League defences are in for a rough ride.

88. RAMIRES

Jose Mourinho may sometimes struggle to choose between his attacking midfielders, but behind them it's Ramires +1.

The indefatigable Brazilian is an ever-present at Stamford Bridge, having started every match bar the Basle defeat and two League Cup fixtures this season.

Mourinho's problem may be keeping hold of the 26-year-old, linked with Real Madrid and Barcelona.

87. PIERRE-EMERICK AUBAMEYANG

He likes flash cars and Swarovski crystal-encrusted football boots, but behind the flash exterior lies an all-round good egg and a fine footballer.

With explosive pace and acceleration, the Gabon international striker was a shrewd signing by Dortmund after excelling at Saint-Etienne, where he was Ligue 1’s second top scorer with 19 goals.

Helped fire Les Verts to a first major trophy in 32 years.

86. NEMANJA VIDIC

It's strange to think now that some doubted Fergie's decision to sign the Serbian centre-back: the subsequent eight years as the granite bedrock of United's defence have proven the old knight right yet again.

David Moyes' problem is how to replace the 32-year-old, without whom the champions' back line is still prone to struggling.

85. MATHIEU VALBUENA

The France international is one of those players who often goes under the radar – maybe because of his pint-sized 5ft 6in frame. Marseille’s No.10 is, however, a player of great skill and trickery, with excellent technique.

He created more chances than any other player in Europe’s five leagues last season – some achievement. 

84. STEVAN JOVETIC

A player equally comfortable operating as a No.10 in a deeper attacking role or as an out-and-out striker, Jovetic is a livewire of a forward and a devastating finisher.

The Montenegro international hit 13 league goals for Fiorentina last season, although his career at Manchester City hasn’t really got up and running yet.

83. STEFAN Kiessling

One of Germany’s most prolific strikers, scoring 25 goals in 34 league appearances to book Bayer’s place in this season’s Champions League. But the Leverkusen front-man, last season's top Bundesliga marksman, is unlikely to travel to Brazil after falling out with national team boss Joachim Low.

Stating he would "never play under Low again", the striker continues to be snubbed despite injuries to Germany’s first choice front men Miroslav Klose and Mario Gomez.

FEATURE The curiously snubbed striker who could complete Germany (opens in new tab)

82. JAKUB BLASZCZYKOWSKI

Poland’s skipper has now passed 200 games in Dortmund colours since joining from Wisla Krakow.

Forming a deadly double act with compatriot Lukasz Piszczek on the right, ‘Kuba’ was key in Die Schwarzgelben’s run to last season’s Champions League final and recently signed a new deal at Westfalenstadion, saying: “Where else would I feel as good as I do at Dortmund? I’m part of the city and club.”

The feelings are mutual in north Germany. 

81. ANDREA BARZAGLI

Two full seasons and two titles at Juventus for the stylish centre-back. Eyebrows were raised when the Bianconeri snapped up this one-time €11m underachiever for just €300k from Wolfsburg in January 2011 - but nobody’s sneering now. 

The Italy regular has flourished under Antonio Conte and continues to be the calm presence behind Juve’s exemplary backline.

 

100-91 • 90-81 • 80-71 • 70-61 • 60-5150-4140-3130-2120-1110-1

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Joe Brewin

Joe was the Deputy Editor at FourFourTwo until 2022, having risen through the FFT academy and been on the brand since 2013 in various capacities. 


By weekend and frustrating midweek night he is a Leicester City fan, and in 2020 co-wrote the autobiography of former Foxes winger Matt Piper – subsequently listed for both the Telegraph and William Hill Sports Book of the Year awards.