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.