Cristiano Ronaldo heads the leading scorers list in the Champions League with Lionel Messi close behind, and Lionel Messi leads the leading scorers list in La Liga with Ronaldo in second place. The world’s two outstanding footballers will continue to dominate conversations about who is ‘number one’ amongst football fans for years to come. But if Messi and Ronaldo weren’t around, who would be considered the best footballer in the world? Who is the world’s third best? Here are a few of the candidates....
With skill, poise and vision, Iniesta is the ultimate creative midfielder. Iniesta moves beautifully around the pitch and has an amazing understanding with teammate Xavi Hernandez. He was the only other player nominated for the Ballon’Dor alongside Messi and Ronaldo.
Like Iniesta, Xavi was a product of Barcelona’s La Masia youth academy. Although he is now 33, Xavi is still one of the best passers of a ball in the game.
Bale is having a frighteningly good season, and his bursts of acceleration and powerful strikes on goal have caused many to make comparisons to Cristiano Ronaldo. However, Rio Ferdinand was quick to put a stop to that on Twitter this week:
@rioferdy5 “People mentioning Bale in the same breath as @Cristiano + Messi really don't know football! Bale been 1 of best 2 in PL this year but......He is not on CR7 + Messi's level yet...he carries on doing what he is doing for 2/3yrs then there can be a debate. Bale showed me a clean.. .pair of heals once this year so I'm in good position to judge! CR7 + Messi have been on another planet for 4-5yrs #consistent #KeepItClean”
Robin Van Persie
The Dutch striker is making the difference in the Premier League title race this season, scoring crucial goals to cement Manchester United at the top. His career has been inconsistent and plagued with injury, but when fully fit, as he has now been for two seasons, he is surely one of the best forwards in the world.
Radamel Falcao Garcia
The Colombian centre forward is widely seen as one of the world’s most deadly finishers. The idea of him playing at Barcelona or Real Madrid is a frightening prospect, with his goal scoring prowess, he could start to match Messi or Ronaldo in challenging for the ‘Pichichi’.
Have I missed anyone out? Who do you think is the world’s number three?