Tops in the World: Ranking the Most Valuable Footballers on the Planet

Jonathan Woo@woo_jonathanwooCorrespondent INovember 4, 2010

Tops in the World: Ranking the Top Ten Most Valuable Footballers on the Planet

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    They are one of the reasons we watch the game. They are talented and impossible to miss. Simply put, they are the greatest.

    Across the world, from club and country, there are players and then there are legends. They command the attention of the masses, the bosses and the fans.

    There are not to be missed on the pitch, they are never to be left alone.

    They puts fans in the stands simply off their talent and abilities. At home, they put the crowds into a frenzy. On the road, they silence them with a flick of the foot.

    Here are the top 10 most valuable footballers on the planet.

10. Zlatan Ibrahimovic, AC Milan

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    Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s strength and power go nearly unmatched at his position in the final third. While most other strikers are agile with the ball, the Swedish forward uses his size to his advantage, and he finishes with the best of them.

    For country, he is a fixture in the final third, and the Swedish selection is considerably less potent and dangerous without his presence lurking in the box.

    For club, whether it's been Inter Milan, Barcelona or AC Milan, Ibrahimovic seems to always be in scoring form.

    His monetary value, evident of his €69 million move from Inter to Barcelona, can hardly be put into words when he is blasting shots into the net.

    But alas, there are better players.

9. Steven Gerrard, Liverpool

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    Steven Gerrard is one of the top midfielders in the game, and his work rate speaks loudly to that. He constantly puts himself in position to be a valuable asset for both his club and his country, and he possesses a great set of finishing skills, especially from distance.

    He is just one of a handful at his position that can command such attention from opposing squads, whilst still possessing elite ball security and scoring skills.

    The English Captain has spent his entire career with Liverpool and is a symbol of consistency, effort and leadership for both squads.

    Some may argue Frank Lampard is more valuable, but Gerrard's play often speaks at a higher volume than his fellow countryman.

8. Xavi, Barcelona

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    Xavi is the conductor of a Barcelona offense that simply keeps on rolling. He feeds Lionel Messi and David Villa with precision and a rapport that goes almost unchallenged across the globe.

    When in top form, he is arguably one of the best midfielders in the world, and his service for both his club and country have hardly been questioned.

    In the 2008-2009 season, Xavi led La Liga with 20 assists, a blatant tribute to his great delivery skills.

    The true value of the forwards around him are undermined without the Spanish native.

7. Fernando Torres, Liverpool

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    Make no mistake. An in-form Fernando Torres is one of the most dangerous strikers in football. He is strong, agile, clever and he can finish. It really is a shame he has not returned to scoring form since an injury last season.

    The Spanish international has now become a figure in the final third for Liverpool, though his club is struggling mightily so far this season in the Premiership.

    If he were to leave the club at any time in the near future, there will no doubt be a scourge of teams seeking his services. At just 26-years old, his goal-scoring potential is still sky-high.

6. Samuel Eto'o, Inter Milan

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    Samuel Eto’o at first glance is just another speedy and powerful finisher in the air and on the ground. But the Cameroonian possesses a generous amount of strength for his slender body type.

    After five successful seasons with Barcelona, and 130 goals in the process, Eto’o swapped places with Zlatan Ibrahimovic at Inter Milan where his finesse game fit in snuggly with the Italian giants. His scoring form has hardly dipped.

    For club and country, Eto'o is a symbol of finesse and power up front and is one of the more prolific goal scorers in the last few years dating back to his Barcelona days.

5. Didier Drogba, Chelsea

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    Didier Drogba has come on strong in the past few years at Chelsea, using his strength and finishing touch to move himself atop a list of forwards that strike fear into clubs and countries.

    Not only are strength, power and finishing a few of the Ivorian’s top attributes, but his is uniquely clever for a striker that plays the game with such physicality and intensity.

    His £24 million signing from Marseille to Chelsea in the summer of 2004 marked a steady and bright future for the Ivory Coast's top footballer. In 271 appearances for the Blues, Drogba has netted 138 goals to date, including 29 scores in 32 Premier League matches last season.

    Drogba possesses that rare combination of strength, power, finishing and intelligence that only a handful of forwards truly have.

4. Kaká, Real Madrid

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    Kaká brings the Brazilian flair with the European discipline to any club he goes. Reports have been swirling that the 28-year old will leave Real Madrid in the January transfer window, leaving a handful of clubs drooling for his services.

    The 6'1" midfielder is delicate and clever with the ball and is a great deal to defend. The Spanish giants dished out a £56 million fee for the talented footballer, but have not received the consistency from the Brazilian that he employed with AC Milan, who is a front-runner to gain his services for the second time.

    He is a centerpiece to any attacking strategy and poses a threat in any scoring aspect.

    The variety he brings to the pitch makes Kaká a valued asset in any league in Europe. His destination come January will be highly anticipated.

3. Wayne Rooney, Manchester United

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    Despite Wayne Rooney’s dip in form in recent months, dating back to a poor showing at the World Cup, there is no doubt that the English star is one of the most talented strikers in the world.

    Manchester United have managed to move along nicely without Rooney’s presence, but his compact power, strength and finishing are skills that every manager covets in a goal-scoring forward.

    He moved from Everton to Old Trafford for £25.6 million back in 2004 when he was only 18 years old.

    In just over seven seasons for United, Rooney has scored 132 goals in 287 games. In Premier League fixtures, the 25-year old has scored double-digit goals in every year that he has been with the club, though he is off to a poor start in 2010.

    Nevertheless, there are only a couple of names that rival his potential and value in the future.

2. Lionel Messi, Barcelona

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    Lionel Messi is the magician of world football. Fans pour into the Camp Nou just to see the still youthful Argentine star make fools of opposing defenders with tantalizing runs through the final third.

    Need a quick goal? Get the ball to Messi, and you have got to like your chances.

    The 23-year old has been a part of the Barcelona organization since his youth days in 2000, and since debuting in 2004 for the senior club, the Argentine star has scored 142 times in 227 games.

    Weaving and wiggling his way through defense, Messi adds a dynamic to any club for which opposing squads simply cannot prepare.

    Though some consider the 5'7" wonder the best in the world, he is two years junior to a single man that has put together a better overall body of work that cannot be ignored.

1. Cristiano Ronaldo, Real Madrid

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    He is the face of football all over the world. His footwork and flair capture the attention of men, his face of the women. No matter how you dig him, the Portuguese international is a global superstar.

    Ronaldo is one of the true triple-threats left in the game today. He can dribble circles around defenders, he can score from virtually anywhere in the final third and he can service his teammates from a variety of locations—not to mention his set piece capabilities.

    There is plenty of justification for Real Madrid’s monstrous £80 million fee to nab him from Manchester United in 2009. If Europe broke into a giant pick-up tournament, Ronaldo would be the first to go.

    He was the best in England when he was with United. He is arguably the best in Spain for Real Madrid.

    His talents simply cannot be measured, and at 25 years old, his future is plenty bright for club and country.