The 200 - 101 ranked players:
200: Alberto Zapater - Genoa - Spain
199: Nikola Zigic - Valencia - Serbia
198: Sergio Ramos - Real Madrid - Spain
197: Lucio - Inter - Brazil
196: John Obi Mikel - Chelsea - Nigeria
195: Sergio Busquets - Barcelona - Spain
194: Philippe Mexes - Roma -France
193: Anatolij Tymoshchuk - Bayern München - Ukraine
192: Theo Walcott - Arsenal - England
191: Aaron Ramsey - Arsenal - Wales
190: Pepe - Real Madrid - Portugal
189: Sergei Semak - Rubin Kazan - Russia
188: Alberto Aquilani - Liverpool - Italy
187: Clarence Seedorf - Milan - Holland
186: Diego Capel - Sevilla - Spain
185: Yossi Benayoun - Liverpool - Israel
184: Riccardo Montolivo - Fiorentina - Italy
183: Kolo Toure - Manchester City -Côte d'Ivoire
182: Yuri Zhirkov - Chelsea - Russia
181: Martin Demichelis - Bayern Munich - Argentina
180: Marouane Fellaini - Everton - Belgium
179: Cristian Zapata - Udinese - Colombia
178: Tim Cahill - Everton - Australia
177: Paul Scholes - Manchester United - England
176: Arda Turan - Galatasaray - Turkey
175: Ezequiel Lavezzi - Napoli - Argentina
174: Klaas Jan Huntelaar - AC Milan - The Netherlands
173: William Gallas - Arsenal - France
172: Shaun Wright Phillips - Manchester City - England
171: Pavel Pogrebnyak - VBF Stuttgart - Russia
170: Darijo Srna - Shakhtar Donetsk - Croatia
169: Bojan Krkic and Pedro - Barcelona - Spain
168: Ronaldinho - AC Milan - Brazil
167: Tranquillo Barnetta - Bayer Leverkusen - Switzerland
166: Stiliyan Petrov - Aston Villa - Bulgaria
165: Amauri - Juventus - Brazil
164: Dirk Kuyt - Liverpool - The Netherlands
163: Bruno Alves - FC Porto - Portugal
162: Lorik Cana - Sunderland - Albania
161: Carlton Cole - West Ham - England
160: Lukas Podolski - FC Köln - Germany
159: Felipe Melo - Juventus - Brazil
158: Craig Bellamy - Manchester City - Wales
157: Simon Kjaer and Daniel Agger - Palermo and Liverpool - Denmark
156: Alessandro Nesta -Milan-Italy
155: Aly Cissokho - Lyon -France
154: Walter Samuel - Inter - Argentina
153: Diego Lugano - Fenerbahce - Uruguay
152: Mauro Zarate - Lazio - Argentina
151: Sebastian Giovinco - Juventus and Luca Cigarini - Napoli - Italy
150: Taye Taiwo - Marseille - Nigeria, Rod Fanni - Rennes and Benoit Tremoulinas - Bordeaux - France
149: Domenico Criscito - Genoa - Italy
148: Fernando Llorente - Atletic Bilbao - Spain
147: Juan Roman Riquelme, Juan Sebastian Veron, Lucho Gonzalez, Pablo Aimar and Javier Pastore - Boca Juniors, Estudiantes, Marseille, Benfica and Palermo - Argentina
146: Alexis Sanchez - Udinese - Chile
145: Tom Huddlestone - Tottenham - England
144: Gerard Pique - Barcelona - Spain
143: Raul Meireles, Porto - Joao Moutinho - Miguel Veloso, Sporting Lissabon - Portugal
142: Bacary Sagna - Arsenal - France
141: Eljero Elia - Hamburger SV - Netherlands
140: Marko Marin - Werder Bremen - Germany
139: Giuseppe Rossi - Villarreal - Italy
138: Raul - Real Madrid-Spain and Ruud Van Nistelrooy - Hamburger SV-Netherlands
137: Konstantin Zyryanov - Zenit Saint Petersburg - Russia
136: Simon Rolfes - Bayern Leverkusen - Germany
135: Ze Roberto - Hamburger SV - Brazil
134 - 129
134: Mauro Camoranesi - Juventus - Italy
133: Simone Perrotta - Roma - Italy
132: Marcelo - Real Madrid - Brazil
131: Christian Chivu - Inter - Romania
130: Simäo - Atletico Madrid - Portugal
129: Marcell Jansen - Hamburger SV - Germany
128 - 122
128: Hatem Ben Arfa - Marseille - France and Goran Pandev - Inter - Macedonia
127: Rafael Marquez - Barcelona - Mexico
126: Nigel De Jong - Manchester City - Netherlands
125: Grafite - Wolfsburg - Brazil
124: Pablo Hernandez - Valencia - Spain
123: Daniel Guiza - Fenerbahce - Spain
122: Ramires - Benfica - Brazil
121: Mohamed Sissoko - Juventus - Mali
120: Dejan Stankovic - Inter - Serbia
119: Stefan Kiessling - Bayer Leverkusen - Germany
118: Frederic Kanoute - Sevilla - Mali
117: Jermain Defoe - Tottenham - England
116: Carlos Puyol - Barcelona - Spain
115: Alou Diarra - Bordeaux - France
114: Antonio Cassano - Sampdoria - Italy
113: Deco - Chelsea - Portugal
112: Ryan Giggs - Manchester United - Wales
111: Thomas Vermaelen - Arsenal - Belgium
110: Gareth Barry - Manchester City - England
109 - 101
109: Wilson Palacios - Tottenham - Honduras
108: Gabriel Agbonlahor - Aston Villa - England
107: Ashley Young - Aston Villa - England
106: Giampaolo Pazzini - Sampdoria - Italy
105: Toni Kroos - Leverkusen - Germany
104: Alexandre Song - Arsenal - Cameroon
103: Jérémy Toulalan - Lyon - France
102: Alvara Negredo - Sevilla - Spain
101: Walter Gargano - Napoli - Uruguay
As I've already talked too much about, putting the lower half in any kind of correct order was impossible.
For starters it's not position by position. That provides the first complications. And then the only thing between several closely ranked and even not so closely ranked players, really is their current form.
That also means there is an increasing group of players left off the list who to various extents have a good case over someone in the lower part of the list. I'll touch upon at least some of those cast offs later .
But basically on any different day almost, someone would be ranked differently. The perfect order was always an impossible goal (which didn't stop me from trying very hard anyway but that's my problem), and there are several mistakes with likely many more to come, instead the objective was to compile a great list serving as a gold mine almost of in depth thoughts about hundreds of the very best players in the world.
That those thoughts in many writeups unavoidable expanded to all kind of other things like tactics, countries, coaches, current football events and various clubs - all the better!
The nearly made its/Honorary mentions (could be updated well into eternity so stay tuned):
Nani: Quite possibly the worst omission. The one that got away you could say, that I really regret. His decision making still leaves a lot to be desired, but I got too caught up in all the Nani hate that sprung from his early struggles this season, and failed to see that on ability and talent he rivals, and surpasses, at least some wingers included on the 200-101 part of the list.
Vincenzo Iaquinta: Not the greatest technician but a complete striker nonetheless who will do a good job in any kind of forward role in any system almost. Pace, work-rate, strength and size means he can be alone, in a duo or central as well as wide in a 3 forward lines. Valuable player. Mainly injuries kept him off the list.
Joe Cole: As the rare good English footballer relying much more on technique rather than physique I think he often gets very overrated so it gives me almost perverse joy not including him. Would he be anywhere near as "special" was he Spanish or South American? But yeah like others, obviously he is good and skilled enough to have a good case against quite a few of the 200-101 ranked players.
Elano and Nilmar: Hey they're in the Brazil World Cup squad. Nilmar the forward definitely has talent but hasn't been THAT consistently good so far in Spain I don't think and in the end his nightmare resume earlier in his career during his Ligue 1 adventures (2 goals in 32 games) scared me away of including him on the list.
I mostly liked Elano for City and I believe he can be useful for Dunga but latest I heard was that he was struggling in Turkey and that combined with me not really seeing him much lately, meant no place on the list.
Stephen Ireland: Skilled midfielder who has the talent to be on the list, and was at first, but then came the downfall and he made his way out for players I thought were (way) more deserving.
Gareth Bale: The Tottenham sensation really exploded in the last half or so of the season. He has work-rate and skills. Pace and strength. Even plays two positions. Would definitely be on the list had I started later.
Lucas Barrios: I didn't watch a lot of Dortmund last season so was definitely late to the party when it came to Barrios. That he is really good does look like a sure thing though.
He has pace, strength, good movement and technique. Just inside or just outside the top 100 would have been tempting for his very impressive first campaign in Europe.
Two years ago: YES!
One year ago: MAYBE!
Right now: NIET!
Joan Capdevilla and Thiago Motta: Seemingly not much in common at all other than they were the final cuts a while ago. Cuts that really hurt! They do belong on the list but some people mistakenly left out belonged even more....
Milos Krasic: A skilled, strong and dynamic player that I'm still not really sure just how good he really is. Looking forward to seeing him and Serbia at the World Cup.
Hulk and Radamel Falcao: Both Porto stars I think good enough to also be stars in better leagues than the Portugese.
Falcao especially could be an upcoming superstar I think but unfortunately I "discovered" him too late to include him on the list.
Piotr Trochowski: Has more than enough ability to have a pretty good ranking on the list, but the last many times I've seen him he just hasn't been anywhere nearly as good I remember him earlier. Simple as that.
Josue: Really good defensive midfielder but I just couldn't ignore Wolfsburg's struggles (including very much defensive ones) and that was all the excuse I needed to cut him from the list.
Erin Derdiyok and Gokhan Inler: Definitely rivals (if not better even..) Barnetta as best Swiss players. At least of the ones I'm familiar with. Derdiyok looks like a star but it was still a little too soon for him, while Inler perhaps at this point doesn't really look like a coming star anymore but rather just a very solid midfielder. That's not bad but not quite enough to get on the list. Look forward to see if a great coach like Hitzfeld can take the considerable Swiss talent further than what we've been used to in recent major tournaments. Not necessarily further in the competition, that will always be tough, but at least performance-wise. Say cheese!
Mamadou Niang and Darren Bent: Niang the current top scorer in France with 17 goals. He has been a very good player for quite a few years now.
Bent has an impressive 24 in England but is not the player Niang is I don't think.
All in all I should have found a spot on the list for Niang.
Landon Donovan: The great white (non) hope for this list...
Scott Parker: Okay I love Scott Parker as much as the next guy. Actually probably not cause fans really do seem to love this guy.
He is a complete player when it comes to abilities who gives his heart and soul for the team. If we're talking right now he certainly has a better case than the one West Ham player I did rather bizarrely include, but being poor tactically featuring bad decisionmaking in general, I always thought let the rest of his talent down. Positioning>tackling. Sorry Scottie.
Giorgos Karagounis and Konstantinos Katsouranis: Still I think the two most important Greek players. It would have been a Semak-like entry . I kind of regret not doing it.
Steven Pienaar: One of the most improved players this season I think but something I found out too late for him to be included unfortunately.
It isn't just fancy stuff these days from Pienaar, he has improved physically and does good team work, while still being skilled of course.
As the home nation's best player he'll get a lot of attention this World Cup but thankfully right now his talent finally is worthy of it.
Leonardo Bonucci: Him and Andrea Ranocchia were quite possible the best defensive duo in Serie A this season. Ranocchia unfortunately suffered a season ending knee injury, but Bonucci continued playing great and I hope it's him and not fading defender-icon Cannavaro who'll see lots of playing time for Italy in the World Cup.
Fernando Gago: Seemingly has close everything needed when it comes to being an excellent central midfielder.
In fact he could even be the closest thing we've seen (yet so far away) to the great Fernando Redondo which is an alluring illusion that at least Valdano at Real Madrid can be accused of having been fooled by.
But why does someone so talented always play so bad?
Now that is one of the great mysteries at Real Madrid. Almost as great a mystery as why he has suddenly replaced Las Diarra in Madrid's midfield? There are various rumors suggesting it's Diarra's own fault, but to Gago's credit at least now when given the chance again, he is playing better than he has in a long time.
Not that being on an excellent team doesn't have something to do with it....
Aleksandar Kolarov: Very strong and with a great left foot. He should have been on the list. Another player I'm looking forward to see for Serbia at the World Cup. Moving to a big club only seems like a matter of time. Definitely a player who is heading for bigger things than his currentl struggling team Lazio.
Adam Johnson: Fast emerging and exciting old school English winger who already looks better than teammate (and unfortunately listed) Shaun Wright Phillips.
He has great attitude, control and technique when it comes to everything involving touching a football. As well of course as the needed pace. Especially with the ball at his feet where his combination of control and acceleration makes him a standout.
His team Manchester City has of course added tons of talent (including quite a few list people) so he will definitely have to battle for playing time. He must have passed the aforementioned Wright Phillips for starters though and the fans will love every minute they see Adam Johnson on the pitch.
Sami Khedira: One of the very good young German players who didn't make the list. He is a very complete midfielder who does all parts of the game well. His runs without the ball forward especially is a joy to watch. I should at least have found a shared spot for him somewhere. Preferably quite high. As high as just inside the top 50 even?
Alvaro Arbeloa and Gael Clichy: Two very good albeit quite different fullbacks who can share the frustration of not really being anywhere nearly as far behind some of the fullbacks making the list, as the players in between them would maybe suggest.
The Sideshow Bob Benfica defender is likely the best of the Brazilian defenders that I didn't mention in the Diego Lugano writeup where I tried to brainstorm suitable South American defender candidates for the list.
By now of course 23 year old Luiz looks very suitable indeed and seems to be headed for bigger things with rumors constantly flying around connecting him to clubs in the stronger leagues.
Christian Poulsen: Believe it or not actually one of the brighter spots on the Juve team this season overcoming a tough start to his Italian career where I thought he took a lot of unfair criticism. In the end it was probably that which cost him a spot though. He is as good as he was for Schalke and Sevilla earlier in his career and with Nicklas Bendtner (who I'm just too afraid to even think about including here) Denmark's most important player at the World Cup.
Best known for his defensive qualities where he can be a real enforcer he is well capable technically as well and can even fill in as a defender. Should have been on the list.
Eric Abidal: Started playing really well last season. Perhaps for the first time in the Barca shirt but then this season has been plagued by injuries and not really finding form. Still with being effective in two positions and all, an argument for quite a few players and their rankings, he should have been on the list.
Brazilians: There just weren't enough of them on the list I suspect so here are few notables:
First we have Brazil player of the year two years ago Hernanes who is now moving to Lazio which will certainly be very interesting to watch and it could be quite a coup for a midfield that was very ordinary last season.
I've seen very little of him but earliest impression says he looks to have a very good passing game and great midfield movement.
A couple of others that I want to include, unfortunately I've seen even less of, but they've been taking the Brazilian league by storm recently:
One, Neymar is the crazy flashy skilled Robinho type of forward. At just 18 he will only become stronger but how far his amazing talent will really take him, from what I've heard, much like Robinho you could say, hinges on the mental side of things.
Even though it's early, a perhaps better bet to go really far looks to be Ganso.
As well as excellent number 10 playmaking skills he looks to also have maturity and not least already impressive physical tools as well. The kind you need today as an attacking midfielder trying to make a difference closely marked in the final third and if his skills are as good as early impressions suggest not only can he go, god who knows how far, but is an excellent list-worthy player already.
Carlos Eduardo at Hoffenheim perhaps wasn't quite consistent enough to be included on the list but he is a highly skilled attacking player that Rubin Kazan for €20 million likely will make the new centerpiece of their attack, taking over from Chori Dominguez who left for Valencia.
Other skilled Brazilians in similar roles have done very well for Russian clubs. I think Eduardo is good enough to maybe even become the best one so far.
Javi Martinez: Strong Athletic Bilbao central midfielder who is in the Spain World Cup squad over some very good players. Not least Senna who will have a pretty good ranking on my list but who also had a difficult season. Martinez I'm not even overly familiar with, I'm guessing not least to do with the La Liga extreme two horse race which can easily take focus away from the other teams. At 21 but not untypical for a La Liga player, already with good experience, he is definitely one to keep an eye on.
Miroslav Klose: He is still a very complete striker who has it all really. Great movement, aerial ability, pace and technique. But for whatever reason his clubform in recent years mostly hasn't been all that good. For the national team, like his partner in crime Podolski, by now he should take a backseat to various players who have surpassed him, especially Mario Gomez, but I for one won't be surprised if the Podolski/Klose (very) dynamic duo comes through once again.
Filipe Luís and Fabio Coentrão: Two left-backs who I'm not overly familiar with but who's earned rave reviews this season in Spain and Portugal respectively.
Coentrão from Benfica is a converted winger who is very attacking and looks to have become Portugal's number 1 choice, so we'll see plenty of him at the World Cup.
That unfortunately won't the case with Brazilian Filipe, who if he is as good as reports suggests might have been Dunga's answer for the position where finding natural candidates has been much harder than on the right. It's very possible that Filipe could have been Brazil's World Cup left-back if it wasn't for a serious injury that kept him out of the La Coruna lineup from January to May.
By the way, "the nearly-made-it's" is something you can say. I heard it in this song that is very far removed from the last song posted in this blog: