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Messi is world’s best forward

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The Barcelona talisman is leading the way for attackers so far this year, with Bayern Munich star Arjen Robben and in-form Wolfsburg attacker Bas Dost in second and third places respectively.

Lionel Messi has been rated the best attacker of 2015 so far, with Cristiano Ronaldo slumped down in 29th.

The CIES Football Observatory considers six different aspects of a player to build a ranking of the best performing players in each position so far in the calendar year with the exception of goalkeepers.

Real Madrid have been struggling since the turn of the year, having won just one of their last five games in all competition, most recently losing 2-1 to Barcelona to go four points behind their rivals in La Liga.

Ronaldo’s performances have suffered as a result, while Messi has been in sublime form and has overtaken his Portuguese rival at the top of the league goal scoring charts.

Luis Suarez is next in line with Diego Costa in fifth, while Tottenham’s high-flyer Harry Kane follows close behind.

Ronaldo is a long way from his rivals in 29th, but Real Madrid team-mates Gareth Bale and Karim Benzema are even further behind in the 35th and 37th respectively.

Bayer Leverkusen’s Emir Spahic is the top rated centre-back so far, with Martin Demichelis and Mats Hummels behind him.

Manchester City defender Gael Clichy leads the way for full-backs, rated above Real Madrid’s Marcelo in second and Bayern’s Rafinha.

Meanwhile, Nuri Sahin is the best central midfielder ahead of Paul Pogba and Manchester City’s Fernandinho, while Eden Hazard and Mesut Ozil are considered the join-best attacking midfielders, with Jesus Navas and Kevin De Bruyne behind him.

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