Ronaldo heads strikers ranking; de Bruyne, Coutinho and Payet run the midfield

January 9 – With FIFA set to announce the winners of the voting at its new ‘BEST’ annual awards event, the CIES Football Observatory has developed a more technical methodology and ranking of the best players in Europe’s big-5 leagues by position. And Cristiano Ronaldo tops the list.

The CIES ranking criteria applies to players who have played at least 900 minutes for their club in their league this season. The rankings also distinguish between full international players and those who have not been selected for national A team football yet.

“The latter rankings allows us highlighting the top level performances of many players who are still relatively unknown,” says CIES.

Ronaldo beat Lionel Messi by one point in the strikers category. In the attacking midfielders category there is surprisingly no place for Tottenham’s Delli Ali but it is unclear if he was ranked in the forwards category.

Top of the attacking midfielders category are four players from the English Premier League: Kevin de Bruyne (Man City), Philippe Coutinho (Liverpool), Dimitri Payet (West Ham) and Mesut Ozil (Arsenal). Seven out of the top 10 play in England.

See the lists and methodology at

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