How the Guardian ranked the 100 best male footballers in the world 2020 | Football

It has been a year like no other but when it came to selecting our ninth male top 100 list our judges did not hesitate to come together to form our largest panel yet with 241 judges from 71 countries, including the Monaco midfielder Cesc Fàbregas and Brazil legends Zé Roberto and Jorginho.

They are joined by a global selection of coaches, broadcasters, reporters, correspondents and editors, as well as other former players such as Javier Zanetti, Juan Pablo Ángel and Jan Åge Fjørtoft.

The 27 current and former professionals have won a combined total of 1,280 international caps.

Our 241 judges are drawn from around the world as follows: Africa 15, Asia 14, Europe 144, North and Central America 20 and South America 48.

The countdown begins on Monday 21 December with Nos 100-71. On Tuesday we will reveal Nos 70-41, on Wednesday Nos 40-11 before the top 10 on Christmas Eve completes this year’s list.

The top 100 rules are explained beneath the list of judges. The judges are listed in alphabetical order by category.

Players

Jeff-Reine Adélaïde Lyon midfielder who is on loan at Nice for the 2020-21 season
Patrik Andersson Former Sweden international who won 96 caps and played at the 1994 and 2002 World Cups
Juan Pablo Ángel Former Colombia international with 33 caps
Roman Berezovsky Former Armenia international with 94 caps between 1996 and 2016
Jay Bothroyd Forward who won one cap for England and is currently playing for Hokkaido Consadole Sapporo in the J1 League
Rune Bratseth Former Norway international with 60 caps who captained his country at the 1994 World Cup
Gilles De Bilde Former Belgium international with 25 caps
Igor Demo Former Slovaka international with 24 caps
Erik Edman Former Sweden international with 57 caps who played at the 2006 World Cup
Cesc Fàbregas Former Spain international with 110 caps who won the 2010 World Cup and 2008 and 2012 Euros
Jan Åge Fjørtoft Former Norway international with 71 caps who played at the 1994 World Cup
Emerson Former Brazil international with 73 caps who played at the 1998 and 2006 World Cups
Grafite Former Brazil internatinoal with four caps
Jorginho Brazilian coach and former Brazilian international who won 64 caps and played at the 1990 and 1994 World Cup
Sergey Kiryakov Former Russian international who won 38 caps for USSR, CIS and Russia and played at the 1992 and 1996 European Championships
Janusz Michallik Former US international with and ESPN football analyst
Lutz Pfannenstiel Former goalkeeper and the first player to have played professionally in all six Fifa confederations. Now Sporting Director at MLS team St. Louis City SC
Brent Sancho Former Trinidad and Tobago international with 43 caps who played at the 2006 World Cup and is a former Minister of Sports of Trinidad and Tobago
Alexei Smertin Former Russia international with 55 caps who played at the 2002 World Cup
Aymen Tahar Panetolikos midfielder
Yegor Titov Former Russia international with 41 caps who played at the 2002 World Cup
Frédéric Waseige Former midfielder who won the Belgian Cup and League Cup with FC Liège and is now a TV pundit
Zé Roberto Former Brazil international with 83 caps who played at the 1998 and 2006 and World Cups
Javier Zanetti Former Argentina international with 143 who played at the 1998 and 2002 World Cups
Zinho Former Brazil international with 55 caps who won the 1994 World Cup








Javier Zanetti (left) battles with Robert Jarni of Croatia during the 1998 World Cup. Photograph: Doug Pensinger/ALLSPORT

Coaches and technical staff

Des Buckingham Assistant coach at Melbourne City
Claudio Caçapa Lyon assistant coach and former Brazil international with three caps
Juan Carlos Oblitas Sporting Director at the Peruvian FA

Journalists and editors

Ed Aarons Deputy news editor, the Guardian
Abdulaziz Abuhamar Journalist at Superkoora.com in Qatar
Ahmed Adala Journalist at Radio IFM Tunisie and Coaching Foot in Tunisia
Aanu Adeoye Freelance journalist for Al-Jazeera and VICE
Shireen Ahmed Multi-platform journalist and co-host of the Burn It All Down feminist sports podcast
Omar Al Raisi Founder of Dantani, Inc. and Editor-in-Chief of The Sports Journal in the UAE
Tobias Altschäffl Chief footballer reporter at Sport-Bild in Germany
Nick Ames Football writer, the Guardian
David Amoyal Host of Calcioland podcast and columnist for The Athletic
Janine Anthony Freelance sports journalist and founder of Africa’s largest women’s football network, LadiesMarch
Juan Arango Match commentator and correspondent for Diario Sport (Spain) and AhoraMismo (USA)
Marcela Mora y Araujo (together with Francisco Di Teodoro) Argentinian football writer
Santiago Aristizábal Medellin football journalist and host of Fútbol Sonoro
Philippe Auclair Senior writer, France Football
Gregg Bakowski Football writer, Guardian
Nicky Bandini Italian football correspondent, Guardian
John Bennett Broadcaster, BBC World Service & BBC 5 Live
Chloe Beresford Italian football writer and editor
Mina Finstad Berg Pundit and football expert at TV 2 in Norway
Leonardo Bertozzi Football journalist at ESPN Brasil
Lorenzo Bettoni Editor of Football Italia
Luca Bianchin Football writer, La Gazzetta dello Sport
Christoph Biermann Football writer for 11Freunde in Germany
Eduardo Biscayart Commentator on European football at Fox Sports Mexico and Telemundo (USA)
Andrey Bodrov Editor-in-chief of bookmakers-ratings.ru in Russia
Andreas Böni Head of football at Blick in Switzerland
Anne-Laure Bonnet TV presenter at Téléfoot La Chaine
Olivier Bossard Journalist at France Football
Mohamed Bouhafsi Head of Football at RMC Sport in France
Andy Brassell European football writer/broadcaster
Costas Bratsos Football writer at Sport24.gr in Greece
Feargal Brennan Staff writer, Football Espana
John Brewin Football writer, the Guardian
Elena Budou Football writer at sdna.gr
Rodrigo Bueno Football journalist and FOX commentator in Brazil
Gevorg Burnuchyan Editor-in-chief of football365.am in Armenia
Mariana Cabral Football writer for Expresso and Sporting U-19 women’s team coach
Susy Campanale Staff writer, Football Italia
Pedro Canelo Journalist at El Comercio in Peru
Felipe Cárdenas MLS writer for The Athletic
Antonio Casale Host of En La Jugada at RCN Radio, contributes to ESPN and writes a weekly column for El Espectador
Hernán Castillo Argentinian football journalist at TNTSports
Mauro Cezar Pereira Football journalist and ESPN commentator in Brazil
Alex Chaffer Manager of the official Bundesliga website
Khachik Chakhoyan Uefa Media representer in Armenia
Ivaylo Chilev Football journalist and Champions League broadcast producer at bTV Media Group in Bulgaria
Rodolfo Chisleanschi Sports journalist for El País (España) and La Nación (Argentina)
Marcus Christenson Football editor, the Guardian
Paulo Vinicius Coelho Football writer and Fox commentator in Brazil
James Corbett Sports writer and principal of deCoubertin Books
Joe Crann Senior writer for The Sheffield Star
Kirill Dementyev Channel One commentator in Russia
Haresh Deol Editor of TwentyTwo13 in Malaysia
Adam Digby Italian football writer
Paul Doyle Football writer, the Guardian
John Duerden Asian Football Correspondent for the Guardian
Vincent Duluc Senior reporter at L’Equipe
Simon Edwards South American football expert
Claudia Ekai Freelance sports journalist, reporter, producer
Mohamed Amine Elamri Sports journalist at Le Matin in Morocco
Adam Elder US freelance journalist
Kasper Elissaar Editor-in-chief at Soccernet in Estonia
Jeroen Elshoff Football commentator NOS Dutch National television
Rodrigo Errasti Founder of Imagosport Comunication & Former sports editor chief of the Agencia Colpisa-Vocento in Spain
Amr Fahmy Journalist working for beIN Sports in Egypt
Christian Falk Head of football at Sport-Bild in Germany
Alan Feehely Staff writer, Football Espana
Martín Fernandez Senior football writer at Globoesporte in Brazil
Barak Fever ESPN football commentator
Ben Fisher Footballer reporter at the Guardian
Jordan Florit Venezuelan football journalist and author of ‘Red Wine and Arepas: How Football is Becoming Venezuela’s Religion’
Olivier Fosseux Journalist at La Voix du Nord in France
Alex Frosio Football editor at La Gazzetta dello Sport
Jonas Giaever Norwegian football journalist
Barry Glendenning Football writer and Guardian Football Weekly regular
Bryan Graham Guardian sports journalist
Denis Green Head of international PR at Mailman Group in Shanghai
Mathieu Grégoire Journalist at L’Équipe
Cristian Grosso Sports editor of La Nación in Argentina
Andreas Hagenauer Football journalist at Der Standard
Karel Häring Czech football journalist and chief editor of quarterly magazine Football Club
Pavel Hartman Czech football writer at Sport daily
Jesper Haue Hansen Football reporter at Jyllands-Posten in Denmark
Kevin Hatchard Commentator for Bundesliga world feed, Uefa and talkSPORT
Gustavo Hofman Football journalist and ESPN commentator in Brazil
Andy Hunter Football writer, the Guardian
David Hytner Chief football correspondent, the Guardian
Sasa Ibrulj Bosnian football writer
Wael Jabir CEO of Ahdaaf.me in Dubai
Kristian Jack TSN Soccer Analyst. TV/Radio host, reporter, writer
Jamie Jackson Football writer, Guardian
Behnam Jafarzadeh Deputy editor at Varzesh3.com, Iran
Ott Järvela Football journalist and chairman of Estonian Sports Press Association
Dong Chan Jhoo Sports Editor at The Korea Times
Kristján Jónsson Sport journalist for Morgunblaðið/mbl.is in Iceland
Téo José Brazilian journalist and SBT broadcaster
Boris Jovanovic Editor in Chief Sportske.net
Celestine Karoney Kenyan sports journalist
Ali Khaled Freelance writer/editor based in Dubai
Tom Kludt Football journalist based in the US
Oleg Koshelev Russian football writer at Sport-Express
Ermal Kuka Sports journalist at vipsport.al in Albania
Samindra Kunti Freelance football journalist
Cecilia Lagos Freelance football correspondent in Europe. Content producer for Sportiva, Sphera Sports and The Tactical Room
Steven Lavon Sports journalist and editor-in-chief of africatopsports.com in Lomé, Togo
Joshua Law Freelance journalist and editor of the website Yellow and Green Football
Sergio Levinsky Journalist working for Infobae and Jornada in Argentina as well as Kicker in Germany
Gianluca Lia Sports journalist at Times of Malta
Jonathan Liew Sports writer, the Guardian
Pablo Londinsky Uruguayan football journalist at Tenfield
Sid Lowe Spanish football correspondent for the Guardian
Olof Lundh Swedish football writer for Fotbollskanalen and Dagens Industri, pundit for TV4 and C More and author
Tom Lutz Sports editor, Guardian US
Ben Lyttleton Football author and consultant
Ben Mabley Japan-based television commentator for J Sports, SkyPerfecTV, and DAZN
Jaime F. Macias Football analyst at BeIN Sports USA
Paul MacInnes Sports writer, the Guardian
Hatem Maher Senior Sports Editor at Ahram Online in Egypt
Carlos Eduardo Mansur Football writer at O Globo in Brazil
Magnús Már Einarsson Editor of fotbolti.net in Iceland
Luca Marchetti Sky Sports Italy vice director
Nebojsa Markovic Sports Journalist at Mondo.rs in Serbia
Gergely Marosi Freelance sports journalist and football writer in Hungary
Everaldo Marques TV Globo broadcaster in Brazil
Tom Marshall Football writer based in Mexico
Martin Mazur Argentinian football journalist for El Gráfico, FourFourTwo and La Gazzetta dello Sport
Stephen McMillan Sports features editor and Top 100 commissioning editor, The Guardian
Oleg Medvedev Russian football writer and best-selling author
Ugur Meleke Football columnist at Hürriyet Daily. Also a pundit for CNN Turk and Radyospor
Renata Mendonça SporTV commentator and Folha columnist in Brazil
Vincent Menichini Journalist at Nice-Matin
Thierry Merchand International football chief editor, France Football
Colin Millar Author of The Frying Pan of Spain, Football Espana editor and freelance football writer
Austin Miller English Language Editor for the Copa Libertadores and Copa Sudamericana
Luo Ming Sports Editor, Titan Sports, China
Martin Mork Staff writer, Football Italia
Tomasz Mortimer Hungarian football writer
Rasim Movsumzadeh Has written for Kicker and The European Football Yearbook and has been Azerbaijan’s juror on the Ballon d’Or since 2000
Hassanin Mubarak Football writer
Daniel Mundim International football journalist at TV Globo
Hirofumi Nakano Journalist and radio show host in Japan
Francisco Navas Guardian producer and football writer
Sachin Nakrani Football writer, Guardian
Christian Nourry Editor-in-chief, Get French Football News
Hernan O’Donnell Journalist working for Universo Deportivo who has previously written for El Gráfico and La Nación
Antonis Oikonomidis Greek freelance football writer
Oluwashina Okeleji Reporter for BBC Sport, World Soccer and Al Jazeera online
Collins Okinyo African football journalist and managing editor of soka25east.com
Rafael Oliveira Football journalist and ESPN commentator in Brazil
Michael Oti Adjei Football Journalist and Broadcaster
Fernando Palomo ESPN commentator and the voice of FIFA 17 in Latin America
Álex Pareja Sports journalist at ESPN
Juan Carlos Pasman Argentinian journalist who presents his own shows on DirecTV Sports and Radio La Red
Artur Petrosyan Russian football journalist who is a uefa.com reporter and Guardian contributor
Francesco Porzio Onefootball and SkySport.it editor
Ricardo Puig Football journalist at ESPN Fuera de Juego
Thiago Rabelo Brazilian journalist and Guardian contributor
Derek Rae Lead Bundesliga Commentator, ESPN and voice of the FIFA 21 video game
Marion Reimers Journalist and broadcaster/commentator for Fox Sports Latin America. Founder and president of Versus
Raphael Rezende Brazilian journalist and SporTV commentator
Roberto Rivera Sports commentator and producer with his own company, Gol Dreams Films. Also presenter of a show on WAO (radio) and Gol Magazine (TV) in Panama
Jeff Rueter Football writer for The Athletic
Vitor Sergio Rodrigues Commentator and editor at Esporte Interativo in Brazil
José Armando Rodríguez Editor-in-chief, Deporte Total USA
Roberto Rojas Paraguayan-American journalist based in the United States working for beIN Sports USA & co-host of the Low Limit Futbol podcast
Fabrizio Romano Sky Sport Italy journalist and Guardian contributor
Juan Pablo Romero Sports journalist at El País in Uruguay
Barney Ronay Chief sports writer, the Guardian
Emanuel Rosu Romanian football writer at Sport.ro
Stephan Roth Reporter at Swiss daily Blick
Guillermo Rubio “Gumi” Freelance sports journalist working for, among others, FOX Sports Argentina and Onda Cero in Spain
Max Rushden Presenter of the Guardian Football Weekly and The Warm-up Show on talkSPORT
Graham Ruthven Football journalist based in Scotland
Marwan Saeed Operations manager of KingFut.com
Emre Sarigul Editor and founder of turkish-football.com
Renato Senise DAZN correspondent in London
Metodi Shumanov Bulgarian football writer
Vidir Sigurdsson Sports editor of Morgunbladid and mbl.is and author of the Icelandic Football Yearbook
Nacho Silván Co-founder of Imagosport and professional football analyst
Lars Sivertsen Norwegian football writer and Guardian Football Weekly regular
Manos Staramopoulos Chief editor of Discoveryfootball.com, Demokratia and Foxssportstories and contributor to SportPress24.com and Overfm 104,9
Mojmir Stasko Football writer for Dennik Sport in Slovakia
Vladimir Stognienko Russian football expert and VGTRK commentator
Alexandr Strelnikov Editor-in-chief of Sports.kz in Kazakhstan
Saku-Pekka Sundelin Football journalist at Ilta-Sanomat
Aet Süvari Estonian football reporter
Agris Suveizda Reporter for Sportacentrs.com in Latvia
Carlos Tassara Journalist and football analyst at NIX Media in Peru
Mihovil Topic Chief football writer at Telesport in Croatia
Nuno Travassos Portuguese football writer at Maisfutebol
Tran Duc Truong Sports Journalist, ZingNews, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
Mihalis Tsohos Gazzetta.gr director, commentator on Cosmote TV and host of a radio show on sport-fm.gr
Darren Tulett Presenter at beIN Sports in France
Will Unwin Football writer, the Guardian
Carlos Univazo Football analyst at Depor
Patrick Urbini Football writer for France Football
Petter Veland Norwegian TV commentator and La Liga expert for Viasat
Ari Virtanen Sports journalist at Helsingin Sanomat in Finland
Ola Wenström TV presenter at Viasat in Sweden
Aleksandr Vishnevsky Football expert at bookmakers-ratings.ru in Russia
Raúl Vilchis Mexican sports journalist based in New York
Lukas Vrablik Slovakian freelance football writer
Greg Wilcox Freelance sports journalist and football writer
Tomasz Wlodarczyk Football Journalist, Meczyki.pl
Carl Worswick Football writer based in Colombia
Michael Yokhin European football writer
Ahmad Yousef Egyptian football journalist and editor at KingFut.com in London
Bi Yuan Chinese Football Journalist at Titan Sports, Beijing
Victor Zaferson Journalist and football scout at FdmSports.com
Clemens Zavarsky Football writer for Ballesterer in Austria
Tim Zinoviev Chief Editor of Football.by in Belarus
Miran Zore Chief editor of Nogomania in Slovenia
Volodymyr Zverov Ukrainian TV presenter with his own football show

How the voting works

The No 1 choice of each judge was awarded 40pts, No 2 given 39pts, down to 1pt for their No 40 choice. All the votes were added together to give a raw score.

To minimise the influence of outliers in the list, the highest score awarded to a player was then deducted to give a final score.

A player needed to receive votes from at least five judges to qualify for the list.

If players are level on points in the scoring, the number of individual votes cast is used as a tie-breaker.

The individual voting breakdown will be published when the full list has been revealed.

Voting disclosure

We are very grateful to our judges for taking part, and none have been paid for participating in this project.

To allow our judges the freedom to express their opinions without fear or favour, individual voting records will be anonymised in the full breakdown of scores.

Voters are identified only by their category and a number chosen at random. The judges’ numbers bear no relation whatsoever to the alphabetical list of judges’ names presented above.

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