December 17 – Is Lionel Messi really the best outfield player in the world or is it in fact Real Madrid central defender David Alaba?
A ranking by the CIES Football Observatory of 50 outfield players and the 50 goalkeepers worldwide looks at players who have “accumulated the greatest pitch experience” since the start of the year. The metric is calculated from the combined playing time of footballers and the sporting level of the teams for which they played or the competitions they participated in.
The metric weights heavily towards defenders with Alaba (Real Madrid and Austria) coming ahead of Rúben Dias (Manchester City and Portugal) and Milan Škriniar (Inter and Slovakia). Carlos Casemiro (Real Madrid and Brazil – ranked 4th) and Karim Benzema (Real Madrid and France – ranked 6th) top the table for midfielders and forwards.
For goalkeepers, Thibault Courtois (Real Madrid and Belgium) leads the pack ahead of Jan Oblak (Atlético Madrid and Slovenia) and Manuel Neuer (Bayern Munich and Germany).
In the three years of the ranking methodology, defenders have generally come out top. “Since 2018, the winners were Ivan Rakitić and Alisson Becker (2018), Virgil van Dijk and Ederson Moraes (2019), as well as Andrew Robertson and Thibaut Courtois (2020),” says the CIES report.
To see the full ranking click here.
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