GOAL 50 - POSITIONS 10-1

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 10 to 1.

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.

#10 PEPE | Real Madrid & Portugal

The 33-year-old may not be a particularly popular player among neutrals but then, Pepe has only ever been concerned with winning trophies - not fans. The centre-half claimed another Champions League with Madrid before then proving himself to be Portugal's most important player at Euro 2016 with a man of the match-winning masterclass in the final victory over France. The highest ranked defender in the Goal 50.

#09 JAMIE VARDY | Leicester City & England

It is not in the least bit surprising that the 29-year-old's remarkable rise to the top is to be the subject of a Hollywood movie. Vardy is the personification of the Leicester fairy tale, with the striker having gone from plying his trade in the Conference Premier in 2012 to firing the Foxes to the most unlikely top-flight title triumph in football history with 24 goals in 36 matches. He also then netted for England at Euro 2016.

#08 ZLATAN IBRAHIMOVIC | Manchester United & Sweden

The Swede has a wonderful sense of humour and a tremendous flair for hyperbole but it is hard to dispute his claim that he is ageing like a fine wine. Last season was the most prolific of his career, with Ibra racking up 50 goals in PSG's treble-winning campaign, while he wasted little time in winning over United fans by scoring four times in his first three games for his new club.

#07 GONZALO HIGUAIN | Juventus & Argentina

The striker's detractors believe that he misses big chances in big games yet this is a man who hit a hat-trick on the final day of last season to break the record for goals in a single Serie A season. Furthermore, when his critics piled on the pressure after he'd piled on the pounds following his €90m summer switch from Napoli to Juventus, he responded with seven goals in his first nine outings in all competitions for the Bianconeri.

#06 ROBERT LEWANDOWSKI | Bayern Munich & Poland

Any doubts over the striker's suitability to Pep Guardiola's tactics were blown away last season, with the 28-year-old becoming the first foreign player ever to score 30 goals in one Bundesliga campaign. Though a marked man at Euro 2016 - he suffered more fouls than any other player despite exiting at the quarter-final stage - he still managed a goal in his country's shootout loss to Portugal. 

#05 RIYAD MAHREZ | Leicester City & Algeria

A player signed from Le Havre for €500,000 in 2014 was described as "priceless" by Foxes boss Claudio Ranieri last December and it's easy to understand why. With 17 Premier League goals and 10 assists, Mahrez was not only a worthy recipient of the 2015-16 PFA Players' Player of the Year award in April but also a most deserving Premier League title winner just a few days later. The highest ranked midfielder in the Goal 50.

#04 NEYMAR | Barcelona & Brazil

One leg of arguably the greatest ever front three, Neymar netted the winner in the Blaugrana's double-clinching victory over Sevilla in the Copa del Rey final in May. After being forced to miss the Copa America by his club, the 24-year-old then led his country to victory in the one international tournament that had eluded them by claiming Olympic gold in Rio in August. What’s more, he scored the winning penalty in the final shootout success over Germany.

#03 GARETH BALE | Real Madrid & Wales

The winger has his injury issues but when fully fit, he rarely fails to step up to the mark for both club and country. One of Madrid's best players in the Champions League final win over Atletico, the 27-year-old Cardiff native then carried Wales through the group stage of Euro 2016 with three goals in three games, laying the foundation for the Dragons' surprise run to the semi-finals.

#02 LIONEL MESSI | Barcelona & Argentina

It says something about the staggering standards of excellence that the diminutive No.10 has set for himself that a year in which he inspired his club side to a domestic double and his country to a third final in three years can be considered slightly below par. Indeed, at regular intervals over the past 12 months, Messi reminded everyone just why he is not competing for the title of the best player in the world but the greatest of all time, with his performance in Argentina's Copa America semi-final demolition of USA a particular highlight.

#01 ANTOINE GRIEZMANN | Atletico Madrid & France

The finals of both the Champions League and Euro 2016 ended in heartbreak for the Frenchman but even those desperately disappointing defeats couldn’t overshadow the attacker's illuminating displays for club and country this year. It was Griezmann's goals that knocked both Barcelona and Bayern Munich out of Europe, while his fantastic form for France – including a match-winning double versus Germany in the semis - saw him claim both the Golden Boot and the Golden Ball at Euro 2016.