The eternal question remains: who are the best football (soccer) players in the world? This article will try to approach this question by analysing 11 technical categories or attributes and deciding a clear-cut winner in each one.
I will try my best to remain objective and to declare a winner in each category.
Want to know who'll win in speed?
Or in free-kick ability?
What about dribbling?
Start the slideshow and find out!
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San Iker is the best keeper in the world right now.
He's not a pure technician, but his reflexes more than make up for what he lacks.
Casillas has saved Spain and Real Madrid on several occasions.
But that's just what the top keeper is expected to do, really.
Also considered: Gianluigi Buffon (Juventus), Hugo Lloris (Lyon), Julio César (Inter Milan)
Is there another player that represents defensive power like Manchester United's Nemanja Vidic?
There's just no other man close to his ability to shake people off the ball.
He's also a master at winning physical confrontations when the ball is in the air.
When you're talking strength, you just have to think about Vidic.
Also considered: Chris Samba (Blackburn), Alex (Chelsea), Fernando Llorente (Athletic), Michael Essien (Chelsea)
Theo's pure long distance speed might win a 200 meter race, but Aaron's acceleration will be more explosive off the line.
But both Englishmen are blazing fast overall, and tie as the fastest player(s) in football.
Also considered: Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid), Albert Crusat (Almería), Gareth Bale (Tottenham), Gabriel Agbonlahor (Aston Villa)
Yeah, Becks is still the best crosser in the world.
Hell, he just might be the best crosser in football history.
He still doesn't deserve to make all the money he does, though.
Also considered: Steven Gerrard (Liverpool), Andrea Pirlo (Juventus), Luis Antonio Valencia (Manchester United), Darijo Srna (Shakhtar Donetsk), Ryan Giggs (Manchester United)
Wesley Sneijder is the most accurate player on dead-ball situations in the world right now.
He might not be Juninho Pernambucano or Sinisa Mihajlovic level, but he makes the most out of every chance he has.
Yeah, that means he scores lots of them.
Also considered: Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid), Alessandro Del Piero (Juventus), Theo Janssen (Ajax), Tino Costa (Valencia), Keisuke Honda (CSKA Moscow), Ronaldinho (Flamengo)
Despite his 1.75-metre frame, Manchester United's Javier "Chicharito" Hernández takes this one.
Well, the picture to your left is a headed goal against Stoke City. Yeah, the team built with 1.85-metre-and-taller players to obtain aerial supremacy in the Premier League.
I was considering Tim Cahill for this one, but something tells me Hernandez will surpass him soon.
He already has scored six out of his 20 with Manchester United with his head, so he needs only 31 more to catch Cahill, who needed 170 games to do it. The Australian had seven this season, but he started way more games than Hernandez.
We'll see who wins this season.
Also considered: Tim Cahill (Everton), Nemanja Vidic (Manchester United), John Terry (Chelsea FC), Gerard Piqué (FC Barcelona), Radamel Falcao (Porto)
No contest here.
I think his name might be included in the thesaurus soon as a synonym for passing.
When you're talking about a player giving the ball to another one, Xavi must come to mind immediately.
Also considered: Andrés Iniesta (FC Barcelona), Mesut Özil (Real Madrid), Juan Román Riquelme (Boca Juniors), Cesc Fábregas (Arsenal), Andrea Pirlo (Juventus)
Zlatan Ibrahimovic does play with a relatively smaller ball, but his technique is second to none.
It's quite a statement that a player so tall (1.95 metres) can have that much control on what the ball is doing at all times.
Think about it: is there a shot or move Zlatan can't make?
Also considered: Lionel Messi (FC Barcelona), Ronaldinho (Flamengo), Andrés Iniesta (FC Barcelona), Neymar (Santos), Mesut Özil (Real Madrid)
You might like him or dislike him, but when you're talking shooting, Cristiano Ronaldo is the most dangerous man on the planet right now—even if he misses a lot of chances.
CR7's shots have been labeled "Rockets," for Christ's sake!
Call me back when someone else's shots get a nickname.
Also considered: Zlatan Ibrahimovic (AC Milan), Lionel Messi (FC Barcelona), Michel Bastos (Lyon), Diego Forlán (Atlético), Frank Lampard (Chelsea)
If I had to give the ball inside the area to one man, I'd give it to Leo Messi.
And to think there was a time when people said he didn't score goals.
Boy, were they wrong...
Also considered: Antonio Di Natale (Udinese), Mario Gomez (Bayern Munich), Edinson Cavani (Napoli), David Villa (FC Barcelona), Luis Suárez (Liverpool), Ruud van Nistelrooy (Málaga CF)
You were expecting Messi, right? Or maybe Arjen Robben?
Well, they might be more effective at getting past opponents thanks to their speed and acceleration, but when talking about pure dribbling skills and close control on the ball, Don Andrés is the master right now.
He's not a blazing dribbler, but what he lacks in speed, he more than makes up for in control.
If you ever have a ball in between three defenders with almost no space to move, count on Andrés Iniesta to give it the flicks needed to embarrass his opponents.
When the ball is at his feet, magic happens.
The sort of magic you're only accustomed to seeing from the likes of Laudrup and Zidane.
That's some fine company, if you ask me.
Also considered: Zlatan Ibrahimovic (AC Milan), Lionel Messi (FC Barcelona), Arjen Robben (Bayern Munich), Alexis Sánchez (FC Barcelona), Mesut Özil (Real Madrid)
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