Liga BBVA: Top 10 Footballers
The 2014 World Cup saw several players announce themselves on the global stage and many others confirm their world-class status. It was also a tournament where attacking play dominated, at least for the early stages.
In part that confirmed that the best players around today are in forward areas of the pitch, rather than at the defensive end.
This summer’s transfer market reflects that, with former Chelsea center back David Luiz, a player with some clear flaws, being purchased for close to £50 million by Paris Saint-Germain.
Perhaps the most notable area lacking in superstar talent is at defensive midfielder. It wasn't long ago when players like Dunga, Claude Makelele, Gennaro Gattuso, and Esteban Cambiasso were in top form and receiving praise for their versatility on both sides of the ball.
Barcelona's Sergio Busquets appears to be a throwback to that era as the only elite player at the position. There are still plenty of great goalkeepers in the world, but few true superstars.
Germany's Manuel Neuer was exceptional at the World Cup, while Belgium's Thibaut Courtois has proven to be star on the rise. Meanwhile, veterans like Italy's Gianluigi Buffon are still going strong after several years between the sticks.
An IB Times list of the top 50 footballers in the world also illustrates that the current top talent is skewed toward attack, as well as the fact that the best players have become increasingly concentrated among a few of Europe’s elite clubs. Of the 50 players on the list, 24 come from three teams with eight player each: Barcelona, Bayern Munich, and Real Madrid. A total of 13 play in the English Premier League.