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The Top 10 Attackers in Football: Ranking Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi

Andres EhrliCorrespondent IIIJuly 17, 2011

The Top 10 Attackers in Football: Ranking Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi

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    MADRID, SPAIN - MAY 10:  Cristiano Ronaldo of Real Madrid celebrates after scoring his side fourth goal during the La Liga match between Real Madrid and Getafe at Estadio Santiago Bernabeu on May 10, 2011 in Madrid, Spain.  (Photo by Angel Martinez/Getty
    Angel Martinez/Getty Images

    You just know Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi are 1 and 2... but in which order? And who will be joining them to fill the other eight spots?

    This list will rank the finest 10 attackers in the world right now, including both wingers, drawn-out forwards and strikers.

    This is my last piece on positional rankings, having previously ranked goalkeepers, defenders and midfielders.

    So with no further pause, let's get to it. 

10. Édinson Cavani

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    NAPLES, ITALY - APRIL 17:  Edinson Cavani of Napoli  in action during the Serie A match between SSC Napoli and Udinese Calcio at Stadio San Paolo on April 17, 2011 in Naples, Italy.  (Photo by Giuseppe Bellini/Getty Images)
    Giuseppe Bellini/Getty Images

    Why No.10?

    Édinson Cavani just might be the best pure number '9' in the World right now. He was absolutely deadly with Napoli last season, netting goals by the minute in Serie A.

    The fact he can also play out in the wings just adds value to the terrific player he already is as a pure center forward.

    These qualities put him above Mario Gómez, Hulk, Didier Drogba and other strikers that din't quite make this list. 

     

    Future:

    He just signed for Napoli at a bargain bin €16 million after the buying clause from his loan contract with Palermo was put in action by the southern Italy club. 

     

    Transfer Value:

    Napoli doesn't sell cheap, and you'd need over €50 million euros to get him. 

9. Sergio "El Kun" Aguero

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    MADRID, SPAIN - DECEMBER 08:  Sergio Aguero of Atletico Madrid passes the ball during the UEFA Champions League Group D match between Atletico Madrid and FC Porto at the Vicente Calderon stadium on December 8, 2009 in Madrid, Spain.  (Photo by Denis Doyle
    Denis Doyle/Getty Images

    Why No. 9?

    Sergio Agüero edges out Edinson Cavani for number 9 because he's just as deadly as a goal-scorer, but is a better dribbler on the ball. 

    He might not have the Uruguayan's aerial prowess, but what he lacks in the air, he more than compensated for his skill when the ball is in his feet. 

    The only thing that makes Kun stay at number nine is that he is very inconsistent. One day, he's undisputed top five in the world, but the next, you might want to take him out of the Top 30 altogether. 

     

    Future:

    He wants out of Atlético, so if his €45 million transfer is met, you will see him in a new club soon. 

     

    Transfer Value:

    He's worth exactly €45 million. Pay that, and he's yours.

8. David Villa

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    BARCELONA, SPAIN - JANUARY 02:  David Villa of Barcelona shoots towards goal during the La Liga match between Barcelona and Levante UD at Camp Nou on January 2, 2011 in Barcelona, Spain. Barcelona won 2-1.  (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)
    David Ramos/Getty Images

    Why No.8?

    David Villa beats Sergio Agüero because he's just as deadly. A bit worse dribbling, but surpasses Kun dramatically when passing the ball and combinations with his teammates.

    Barça loves him for that, and he also adds his magnificent work ethic while pressing forward to fit in magnificently as a winger for the Blaugrana. 

     

    Future:

    He's turning 30 soon, so it seems he will see his career out as a Culé.

     

    Transfer Value:

    €50 million would convince Barcelona to look the other way, though.

7. Arjen Robben

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    MILAN, ITALY - FEBRUARY 23:  Arjen Robben of FC Bayern Muenchen in action during the UEFA Champions League round of 16 first leg match between Inter Milan v FC Bayern Muenchen on February 23, 2011 in Milan, Italy.  (Photo by Valerio Pennicino/Getty Images
    Valerio Pennicino/Getty Images

    Why No.7?

    Arjen Robben is the best pure winger in Football. Why? Because he's the best dribbler playing there, that's why. 

    He might be the only one who has skills that are close to Ronaldo and Messi in that regard. 

    He's not as deadly as the three previous names on this list, but he's way more dangerous on the wings.

    The fact that he's wasteful lands him number 7 on this list. 

     

    Future:

    He likes it with Bayern, and nobody seems to be interested in him, so he just might stay there for a while.

     

    Transfer Value:

    €45 million could get you the premium winger you're searching for. 

6. Carlos Tevez

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    MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 05:  Carlos Tevez of Manchester City scores his second goal during the Barclays Premier League match between Manchester City and West Bromwich Albion at the City of Manchester Stadium on February 5, 2011 in Manchester, Engla
    Alex Livesey/Getty Images

    Why No. 6?

    Carlos Tevez is just as lethal as the men before him on this list, but he's hardworking to the bone.

    Not to say the Argentinian isn't talented, but his work ethic and intensity see him climb lots of spots on this list.

     

    Future:

    He wants out of Man City. And when Tevez wants out, he wants out.

     

    Transfer Value:

    €50 million and he's yours, according to Sheikh Mansour.

5. Wayne Rooney

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    BLACKBURN, ENGLAND - MAY 14:  Wayne Rooney of Manchester United celebrates after scoring a penalty during the Barclays Premier League match between Blackburn Rovers and Manchester United at Ewood park on May 14, 2011 in Blackburn, England.  (Photo by Dean
    Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images

    Why No. 5?

    Another hard-working forward, Wayne Rooney is a better player overall than Tevez, so he lands a spot above him on this list. 

    Rooney has probably become the most complete forward in the world, both scoring goals and assisting them, while helping out in defense and creating from the midfield. 

    It's hard to find a player that contributes in so many areas to his team as Wayne does with Manchester United

     

    Future:

    He re-signed with the Red Devils last season. But since he's Rooney, he could jump ship any minute now.

     

    Transfer Value:

    Nothing short of €70 million would convince Sir Alex to let him leave. 

4. Samuel Eto'o

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    MILAN, ITALY - MARCH 20:  Samuel Eto'o of Inter Milan in action during the Serie A match between FC Internazionale Milano and Lecce at Stadio Giuseppe Meazza on March 20, 2011 in Milan, Italy.  (Photo by Tullio M. Puglia/Getty Images)
    Tullio M. Puglia/Getty Images

    Why No. 4?

    Samuel Eto'o wanted to be the top man at Barcelona, but he was given the boot.

    Now he's the top man at Inter, and the indomitable lion has paid off for the neriazzurri. 

    His great season, both assisting and scoring for the Biscione, puts him above Rooney in a really tight battle. 

    Eto'o would definitely think he should be number one on this list, though. 

    But then again, from here on out, every player will. 

     

    Future:

    He seems happy in Milan, but he could crave a move to the Premier League to finish out his magnificent career.

     

    Transfer Value:

    €40 million could get you one of the world's best players.

3. Zlatan Ibrahimovic

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    TURIN, ITALY - MARCH 05:  Zlatan Ibrahimovic of AC Milan shoots the ball during the Serie A match between Juventus FC and AC Milan at Olimpico Stadium on March 5, 2011 in Turin, Italy.  (Photo by Valerio Pennicino/Getty Images)
    Valerio Pennicino/Getty Images

    Why No.3?

    Zlatan Ibrahimovic has the talent (and the ego) to compete with Messi and Ronaldo for the top spot. 

    But Zlatan's ego is not always a good thing, and his poor effort keeps him out of the battle for the top spot altogether.

    That said, his exquisite technique on the ball and the power his 1.95 meters frame gives him puts him above Eto'o and any other player on this list with ease. 

    When Zlatan wants to be the best, he just is. 

    The problem is, he knows this all too well. 

     

    Future:

    Milan loves him and has handed him the spotlight. As long as they love Zlatan, he'll love them back.

     

    Transfer Value:

    Is he worth €49 million plus Eto'o, or €24 million? Frankly, I'm confused, so you decide. 

2. Cristiano Ronaldo

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    VILLARREAL, SPAIN - MAY 15:  : Cristiano Ronaldo of Real Madrid scores Real's third goal from a free kick during the La Liga match between Villarreal and Real Madrid at estadio El Madrigal on May 15, 2011 in Villarreal, Spain.  (Photo by Denis Doyle/Getty
    Denis Doyle/Getty Images

    Why No. 2?

    Sorry, Cristiano!

    You're clearly in the top. Just not the top one. 

    In any other point in history, he'd be the best day in and day out. He could even let himself under-perform and still top the other players in this list. 

    But Barça and a certain Argentinian's performance must get on the Portuguese's nerves every single day. 

    He's still clear cut number two, if it's any good. 

     

    Future:

    He'll be at Madrid until he wins it all. That's Cristiano's way. Any move away from Real would be absolutely mind-blowing.

     

    Transfer Value:

    He was worth €97 million a few seasons ago. And he's even better now. 

1. Lionel Messi

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    MADRID, SPAIN - APRIL 27: Lionel Messi of Barcelona celebrates after scoring his first goal during the UEFA Champions League Semi Final first leg match between Real Madrid and Barcelona at Estadio Santiago Bernabeu on April 27, 2011 in Madrid, Spain. (Pho
    Alex Livesey/Getty Images

    Why No.1?

    Lionel Messi is the top player in the world. Hands down.

    I'm sorry if anyone really thought I could give Ronaldo the top spot, but Messi's unstoppable right now (at least with Barça).

    If he keeps it up, he'll be the best for quite some time.

    But if he slows down...

    Well, yeah. 

     

    Future:

    He's a Barcelona player until he dies or they find someone better. 

     

    Transfer Value:

    I'll start the bidding at €200 million. Who gives more?

Other Positional Rankings:

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    Here are the complete positional rankings I've done.

     

    Top 10 Goalkeepers

     

    Top 10 Defenders 

     

    Top 10 Midfielders

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