World Football: Ranking the Top 10 Players In the World Right Now
The title is pretty self-explanatory, isn't it?
This is one guy's list of the 10 best footballers on the planet right now. It's as easy as that.
Let's be clear, though, about those words "right now." This list takes into account the players' current form with their club and country. If a player is not playing well right now—of if he's not playing at all—he doesn't make the list.
But it's not all about the present.
We've tried to balance current form with overall talent as best we can. We hope you like the list, but we've been around the block enough times to know that there will be plenty of dissent from the gallery.
Have at it.
What's your say? What's your top 10?
Future Watch: Neymar and Mario Götze
We think Neymar is going to feature on this list. Same for Mario Götze.
We think that's going to happen sooner than later.
What struck me most was how comfortable he looked at Brazil's hub - launching attacks and dictating the far more experienced players around him. Neymar was making just his 11th international appearance at Craven Cottage, yet at times he commanded the field as if he'd been playing in yellow and blue for a decade. If his home World Cup had come this summer, he would have been ready.
It's not just Will. Everybody is impressed.
Götze, too. He's a 19-year-old forward/attacking midfielder for Borussia Dortmund and Germany. He has already become Germany's youngest goalscorer in the post-war era, and he's getting rave reviews from Germany's old guard.
Expect Neymar and Götze to become the next big things in world football.
Honorable Mentions: Nemanja Vidic, Wesley Sneijder and Carlos Tevez
Nemanja Vidic and Wesley Sneijder are both injured right now.
Carlos Tevez is going through a crisis.
If they were playing regularly, all three would make the list.
10. Samir Nasri
Forget Fabregas, here's the real reason Arsenal fans are so collectively despondent right now.
If most Arsenal fans are being honest with themselves, they'll say they knew for several months that Cesc was going to leave during the August transfer window.
That didn't make it any easier—it still felt like breaking up with your very hot but very cheaty first girlfriend—but at least they saw it coming.
Nasri, not so much.
And here's the thing: He WAS Arsenal last season. When Cesc missed all that time and lost his form, Nasri was the man.
Nasri became world-class last year, putting his unique influence on every phase of the game. From his midfield spot, he can orchestrate a team's entire strategy on the pitch.
That's what he's done again this season with Manchester City. He's got like a million assists already and City is off to its best start in years.
That's why Arsenal fans are so angry. As far as they're concerned, Nasri should still be doing his thing in Arsenal's red and white.
9. Iker Casillas
Still just 30, Iker Casillas has already had an unbelievable amount of success in his career.
As Real Madrid's first choice goalkeeper since being a teenager, Casillas has won four La Liga titles and two Champions League crowns.
He also helped lead Spain to the Euro 2008 and World Cup 2010 trophies.
This year is no different. Real Madrid has kept three clean sheets in the Spanish League and Casillas has been playing well as usual.
We'll plump for Casillas as our top goalkeeper.
8. David Villa
It's somewhat inevitable. Barcelona is going to be all over this list.
We start with David Villa, the club's 29-year-old forward.
Villa has had plenty of success with both Barca and Spain.
He was the top scorer at 2008 and won the Silver Boot at the following World Cup as Spain won both trophies. With 46 goals, he is Spain's all-time top goal-scorer.
He moved to Barcelona in 2010 and has been a revelation. He can score from open play or on a set piece. He can tear apart defenses with runs or passes.
He sees the game, he reads the game, he feels the game. He does it all well.
7. Mesut Özil
Mesut Özil, now 22, set the world on fire with his stellar performances for Germany as a 21-year-old in the last World Cup.
That earned him a move to Real Madrid, where he's been good enough to keep Kaka out of the lineup.
That's enough to make this list, really. If you want more, though, he's been labeled the "German Zidane" for his outstanding passing and vision.
Özil could be one of the world's best for years to come. And that's good news for Real Madrid and Germany.
6. Sergio Agüero
Remember, we're talking about the best players right now.
Right now, it's hard to find a more dangerous forward than Manchester City's Sergio "Kun" Agüero.
The Argentine already has eight goals in seven Premier League matches.
Along with Nasri, he's one of the biggest reasons for City's high-flying start to the season.
And he's done a lot to keep Carlos Tevez out of the lineup (though Tevez has hurt himself, too).
Can Agüero keep up his form? Only time will tell.
If he does, he'll stay on this list.
5. Wayne Rooney
OK, so it's not that hard to find a more dangerous forward than Agüero.
Right now, Wayne Rooney might be in the best patch of form in his career.
The 25-year-old Englishman has nine goals in six Premiership matches.
He also has two assists and has been the best player on a Manchester United team that's been outrageously good in the early stages of the league.
4. Andres Iniesta
Remember when Andres Iniesta went down with a hamstring injury during Barcelona's Champions League match against AC Milan?
Remember how Barca struggled after that?
That's because Iniesta is the puppet master of Barcelona's midfield. Well, he's one of them, and we'll see the other one soon.
When Iniesta and Xavi are on top of their game in the central midfield, no one can touch Barcelona or Spain.
The two work so well together, it's almost like they share a brain. They see the entire field better than anyone, they read the game two and three moves ahead, and they know when to pass and when to hold the ball.
Everything goes through them.
We couldn't leave out Xavi.
Remember what we said a minute ago about Iniesta, Xavi's central midfield partner with Spain and Barcelona? It all applies here.
Xavi gets a slight edge for his slightly better and more incisive offensive abilities. Slight.
This is like choosing between De Niro and Pacino.
(De Niro, if you're wondering.)
2. Cristiano Ronaldo
We make fun of Crissy Ronaldo quite a bit here (oops, there we go again).
Let's be real. He's annoying. He's arrogant. He dives. He winks. He gets busted in hot tubs with questionable ladies.
He's a terrible human being.
But he's one amazing footballer.
Ronaldo has dribbling skills that are almost unrivaled (see the No. 1 on this list). He can burn a defender with moves or blow by him with speed.
Or Ronaldo can just shoot from 40 yards and pick out the top corner the way a fat kid picks out the snack table at a party.
We won't apologize for making fun of Ronaldo. He deserves it.
But we will acknowledge his brilliance as a player.
1. Lionel Messi
Lionel Messi is the best player of his generation.
He's already won just about everything at the age of 24. If he can add a World Cup title to his resume, he'll join the discussion of the greatest players of all time.
We've all seen him play. No one can dribble at a defense like Messi. No one can create a chance out of nothing the way he does it routinely.
He can score great individual goals from open play or set pieces. Or he can engineer a jaw-dropping team goal.
Pick your poison. He'll beat you any way he can.