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.