For the first time – an objective measure of player achievement based on career honour and performance metrics!

To view the players from 50th position to number 1, one player per page click here.

To see the complete top 50 on a single page click here.

Brazilians are pre-eminent, with Ronaldo, Pelé and Cafu taking the top three spots.

The list is dominated by South America and Europe, but Africa have 3 players in the top 100 (Ivory Coast‘s Drogba, Eto’o from Cameroon and Kanu of Nigeria), CONCACAF two (Landon Donovan of USA and Mexican Rafael Marquez) and Asia one (Ali Daei of Iran).

This ranking is not based on subjective opinion or polls, but is an objective data-driven computed assessment based on actual career achievements. Trophies and international appearances are what count most.

This is why some outstanding footballers, such as George Best and Eric Cantona, are absent: they won few trophies and had undistinguished international careers. “Life-time” awards are also not counted – only tournament wins and player of the year awards.

Unsurprisingly, Germany has the most players in the top 100 with 14. Next in line are Spain and the Netherlands on 12, followed by Brazil (11), Italy (9) and England on just 6.

Modern football offers more chances for players to achieve honours and win tournaments, emphasising the achievements of old-era players like Pelé, Beckenbauer and Maradona who remain high up the ranking.

At number 5 Lionel Messi (Argentina) is the highest still playing. Only 27 now, on current form he stands a good chance of topping a future edition of the 11v11 World Player Ranking.