Goal 50: Positions 40-31

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 DAVID ALABA | Bayern Munich & Austria

The 24-year-old's hopes of establishing himself as one of the best midfielders in the world ended in failure, with Alaba unable to save his country from a shock first-round exit at Euro 2016. However, the Vienna native only strengthened his claims on the title of the game's best left-back during Bayern's double-winning campaign in Germany - and was thus a shoo-in for the Bundesliga's Team of the Season. 

#39 CASEMIRO | Real Madrid & Brazil

Upon taking the helm at the Santiago Bernabeu, coach Zinedine Zidane did what his predecessor was, for whatever reason, always reluctant to do: play Casemiro as a starter. The Brazilian completely vindicated the Frenchman's faith in him by providing the steel upon which Madrid's Champions League triumph was founded, with his fantastically destructive performance in the final a terrific case in point.

#38 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.

#37 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.

#36 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.

#35 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.

#34 HENRIKH MKHITARYAN | Manchester United & Armenia

The 27-year-old's Old Trafford career may not have got off to the best start but the attacking midfielder was sensational for Borussia Dortmund last season, racking up 11 goals and 15 assists in the Bundesliga alone. One imagines that if he gets a regular run of Premier League games, then Mkhitaryan will quickly set about proving just why United paid £35.7m (€42m) for his services.

#33 HARRY KANE | Tottenham & England

Anyone who thought that the 23-year-old would prove a flash in the pan were put firmly in their place as he followed up his breakthrough season with an even more impressive campaign that saw him claim the Premier League Golden Boot after bagging 25 goals in 38 games. Euro 2016 proved a terribly anti-climactic experience for Kane, who showed the effects of an intensive workload, but he now looks set to spearhead another Tottenham title challenge.

#32 SERGIO BUSQUETS | Barcelona & Spain

Still the most unsung of heroes, the Catalan defensive midfielder laid the foundations upon which the Blaugrana's 2015-16 double-winning campaign was built. The 28-year-old was among a number of Spain stars to underwhelm at Euro 2016 but as former Roja coach Vicente Del Bosque once pointed out, "You watch the whole game, you don't see Busquets. You watch Busquets, you see the whole game.”

#31 MANUEL NEUER | Bayern Munich & Germany

When it came to picking a player to succeed Bastian Schweinsteiger as national team captain, the Gelsenkirchen native was the obvious choice. The Bayern Munich No.1 has been leading by example for years now and won his battle of the world's greatest goalkeepers by getting the better of the legendary Gigi Buffon in Germany's shootout win over Italy at Euro 2016.