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 40 to 31.
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.
#40 SAUL NIGUEZ | Atletico Madrid & Spain
Over the course of the past year, the versatile midfielder has gone from a fringe player at the Vicente Calderon to one of the first names on Diego Simeone's team sheet. The 21-year-old played a starring role in Atleti's run to the Champions League final, netting three times along the way, including a stunning solo strike against Bayern that even sparked giddy talk in the British press of a £50 million (€57m) move to Manchester United.
#39 SADIO MANE | Liverpool & Senegal
Many pundits wondered whether a notoriously wasteful Liverpool had once again erred in paying Southampton £34 million (€41m) for the 24-year-old winger. However, Mane has been an absolute revelation since joining the Reds, establishing himself as a fan favourite at Anfield with his blistering pace and keen eye for a goal, and already looks set for a long and successful stay on Merseyside.
#38 ANDRES INIESTA | Barcelona & Spain
Strangely written off on a regular basis, the 32-year-old continues to defy both his critics and the ravages of time with wonderful exhibitions of the art of midfield play, with even the Santiago Bernabeu crowd being moved to applaud him from the field after a masterclass against Real Madrid last November. As well as winning a domestic double with Barca, Iniesta also shone for Spain at Euro 2016 and was unfortunate that very few of his team-mates managed to reach his level of continued excellence.
#37 MESUT OZIL | Arsenal & Germany
Even now in England, there are those that inexplicably continue to question the value of the former Real Madrid man - despite the fact that last season he racked up 19 assists as the Gunners pipped Tottenham to second place in the Premier League. As Euro 2016 underlined, penalties are not his forte, but some of his displays in France, most notably against Northern Ireland, were a joy to behold, while his recent wonder-goal against Ludogorets in the Champions League simply took the breath away.