I love FourFourTwo's annual top 100 players in the World feature. It's excellent reading and it introduces you to some names that you maybe don't fully appreciate if you stick to just the Premier League.
However having looked through the pages, unfortunately English players are sparse. No guesses for the highest rated English player, of course it is Wayne Rooney who comes in at #23, now as far as best players in the World, that's not a bad ranking at all, but if you look at the number of German players (4) and Spanish players (4) ranked above our highest rated player, it will put it in to some context.
You have to go all the way back to #46 before you find the second English player and that's Ashley Cole, a player that only has a handful of years left before retirement. Personally I think that's a little too high for Cole, he is under threat for his domestic place and international place from Cesar Azpilicueta and Leighton Baines respectively. I used to rate Cole highly and I still think defensively he is a fantastic player, but the 46th best player in the World? I'm not so sure about that one.
If you keep going backwards you'll find Michael Carrick at #74 and Leighton Baines at #77. Carrick is consistently good for United and at least he always looks to play a forward pass, but he's never been able to establish himself as a full-time international for England. I can't accept that Baines is 31 players below Ashley Cole in these rankings, his defensive ability is getting closer to Cole every single day and his attacking ability is much better.
So there we have it, four English players in the top 100. Four Spanish players in the top 20, and four German players in the top 22. We have a lot of catching up to do if these rankings are anything to go by, especially considering two of the four players listed are probably going to retire over the next year or two.
Top 10 players in the world:
1) Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid & Portugal)
2) Lionel Messi (Barcelona & Argentina)
3) Frank Ribery (Bayern Munich & France)
4) Radamel Falcao (Monaco & Colombia)
5) Andres Iniesta (Barcelona & Spain)
6) Zlatan Ibrahimovic (PSG & Sweeden)
7) Philipp Lahm (Bayern Munich & Germany)
8) Gareth Bale (Real Madrid & Wales)
9) Robin Van Persie (Manchester United & Netherlands)
10) Thiago Silva (PSG & Brazil)