The Goal 50 counts down the world’s 50 best football players of 2016, featuring the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi and Zlatan Ibrahimovic. Below you can find the stars who were selected from positions 50 to 41.
Chief editors and correspondents from Goal‘s 38 editions across the globe all cast their votes. Players were judged on their level of consistency over the past year, their big-game performances, footballing legacy and the success of their team at both club and international level.
#50 Layla and Jonny pick their Goal 50 top Five
Studs Up presenters Layla Anna-Lee and Jonny Nelson have joined the list of celebrities and players giving their opinion on who they would have put at the top of the Goal 50 list.
Ronaldo was named as the 10th winner of our annual countdown of the 50 best players in the world, a sentiment echoed by both Layla and Jonny, although Messi fans might want to avoid Jonny’s countdown.
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#49 Italian Football TV Take on the Goal 50
The team on Italian Football TV, one of the most passionate Italian football shows on YouTube, got into the full Goal 50 spirit this week as they previewed the 2017 Goal 50 list.
Italian Football TV is hosted by Marco and Michael, two excitable Italian football fans, based in Brooklyn, New York. On this week’s show, as well as picking the five players they thought should be at the top of the Goal 50, the pair also looked at the Serie A players which they thought could be in with a shot of making it onto the list.
Having played a key role in River Plate's 2015 Copa Libertadores triumph, the new golden boy of Argentine football scored the decisive goal in this year's Recopa Sudamericana success. Unsurprisingly, the 23-year-old has now forced his way into the Albiceleste squad - ahead of the likes of Mauro Icardi - and is being courted by Premier League sides such as Liverpool and Tottenham.
It's been a fine year for the versatile defender, who has established himself as a first-choice centre-half for both club and country. Marquinhos also lifted another three domestic trophies with PSG but the undoubted highlight was winning gold with the Selecao at the Olympic Games in Rio, with the 22-year-old not only netting in the semis but also converting his spot-kick in the final shootout win over Germany.
The midfielder may have been left bitterly frustrated by his country's Euro 2016 elimination at the hands of Portugal ("The better team is going home.") but he fared much better at club level, helping Barca record a Liga and Copa del Rey double. There was talk during the summer that the arrival of Andre Gomes at Camp Nou might precipitate Rakitic's departure but the Croat remains a player of the utmost importance to Luis Enrique's side.
Still strangely overlooked at international level but the Rosario native continues to score regularly for the maddeningly inconsistent Nerazzurri. Indeed, the 23-year-old, who turned in a sensational performance in September's win over Juventus, has now racked up more goals for Inter than the great Ronaldo and it should only be a matter of time before Edgardo Bauza belatedly comes calling for a player who is undoubtedly one of the best finishers in world football.
The winger's first season at the Allianz Arena could not have gone much better, with the former Shakhtar Donetsk flier capping an excellent campaign by converting the decisive spot-kick in the DFB-Pokal final win over Borussia Dortmund that sealed a double for his Bavarian employers. Costa's hopes of representing his country at the Copa America were dashed by injury but he has already underlined his importance to the Selecao's bid to qualify for the 2018 World Cup with two goals in his first four matches.
The Red Devils may have only finished fifth in last season's Premier League but they would have been a lot lower had it not been for their No.1, who made the PFA Team of the Year for the second consecutive season. Spain's attempt to retain their European crown did not go according to plan but, again, that was hardly De Gea's fault, with the 25-year-old having pulled off a string of sensational saves in the last-16 loss to Italy.
The teenager may be taking a while to settle at new club Bayern Munich but 2016 will undoubtedly be remembered as Sanches' breakout year. After establishing himself as a first-team regular in the Benfica side that would go on to claim two domestic trophies, the midfielder then picked up the Young Player of Tournament award at Euro 2016 thanks to a string of dynamic displays for surprise champions Portugal.
Now 35, yet still one of the finest defenders on the planet. Indeed, nobody was in the least bit surprised that Juventus renewed his contract for a further two years on May 11 or that new Italy boss Giampiero Ventura persuaded Barzagli to reverse his decision to retire after an impeccable Euro 2016 campaign in France. That tournament ended with a wonderfully emotional interview that perfectly illustrated his enduring passion for the game.