Lionel Messi has been ranked above Cristiano Ronaldo while Eden Hazard is the second best attacking midfielder in Europe, according to research carried out by the International Centre for Sports Studies (CIES).
Football Observatory, a research group within the CIES in Switzerland, have ranked players from the continents top five leagues based on factors such as rigour, distribution and chance creation.
And over the 2014-15 season Messi is ranked above Ronaldo among strikers, with Luis Suarez third and Manchester City’s Sergio Aguero fifth.
Chelsea winger Hazard loses out to Real Madrid’s James Rodriguez in the attacking midfielder stakes, though Cesc Fabregas comes out on top in the defensive midfielder category.
In defence, Paris Saint-Germain’s Thiago Silva is listed as the best centre back – with Liverpool’s Dejan Lovren rated as the best in the Premier League – while Barcelona duo Dani Alves and Jordi Alba take the top two positions among full-backs.
The top five players for each position are as follows: