- How it works
- Players 50-41
- Players 40-31
- Players 30-21
- Players 20-11
- Players 10-1
- Best team in the world today
- Numbers breakdown: the best represented nationalities, clubs, competitions and player positions
- The players who missed out and why
- The full list
Welcome to the very first of what we hope is a regular feature on Football Pantheon. At the end of every season and calendar year, we’ll be attempting to sort the reality from the reputation in order to determine the world’s greatest player of the day.
Although this is something of a change for the website, given that this list is based on the present rather than the past, we feel it is in keeping with the overall style. For a start, the players who are viewed as the best in the world at any one time generally enter football’s pantheon themselves. Secondly, we’ll be attempting to sharpen that view by using methods that are objective and as relevant as possible.
On that note, there are a few caveats to this list. This isn’t merely a ranking of the most talented players of the day. There is little doubt, after all, that – for the moment – Steven Gerrard is a higher-quality midfielder than Eden Hazard. However, there is little point in having Diego Maradona’s ability if you cannot actually apply it regularly or maximise it. A player must have used his quality to a certain effect and to lift the overall performance of his team over an extended period of time.
As such, this list attempts to ascertain the extent of a player’s ability and how well he actually applied it. Application is key.
Because of that, there is a natural weighting towards the top teams and competitions. After all, the biggest measure of whether a player is maximising his talent comes in his battles against the rest of the very best players.
On a similar note, it’s less use taking your team to a certain level only to then wilt when the pressure increases. But that’s not to say the ranking excludes those from lesser regarded teams and leagues. Whatever the level, extraordinary achievement demands extraordinary recognition. And if a player was instrumental, say, in lifting a lower-tier side to the Champions League places – for example – then he must be duly recognized.
Because of the nature of this list, it is necessarily more subjective than previous entries on Football Pantheon. But we have still attempted to base it on stats as much as possible.