Here it is then. After the slow reveal, the final flutter of the veil to the floor. The Guardian’s top 100 footballer’s in the world 2014 is now published in its entirety, the final step the unmasking of a top ten that contains few surprises, but which provides all the same a fascinating reflection of the footballing year.
Once again the big story is the same old story. The two-man arm-wrestle at the summit of international football’s individual awards has this year turned decisively Cristiano Ronaldo’s way. This is of course a well-seasoned and largely irresolvable debate, with battle lines drawn along club lines, issues of style, and even a skewed and incoherent sub-debate about natural and “manufactured” high-grade creative footballers (which still isn’t clear to this observer).
What is certain is that taking the year as a whole Ronaldo has been the single dominant figure, a phenomenal influence in the world’s champion club team, with 56 goals in 51 matches overall, along with league title, Champions League and Club World Club medals for Real Madrid.
And here at least his supremacy is a clear consensus rather than an argument to be made. As a reminder, the top 100 list is a product of 73 judges drawn from 28 countries, with Hernán Crespo, Didi Hamann, Slaven Bilic and Gilberto Silva among the expert panel.
At the end of which Ronaldo is now No1 in the world, as voted by 74% of those involved. It has been a steady reeling in of top spot. In 2012 Messi was the No1 pick by a 100% monopoly vote. Last year Messi was No1 by a 60% majority. This year Messi got just 12% of the vote, despite continuing to perform miracles of incision in La Liga and being enthroned (dubiously, and instantly disowned by Messi himself) as player of the 2014 World Cup finals.
source: Guardian UK