Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo, Robert Lewandowski: Stats rank the world's 50 best players

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Robert Lewandowski was crowned the world's finest player at FIFA's 'The Best' awards last week.

The Bayern Munich hitman overcame competition from Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo to collect the most prestigious individual award available in the absence of the Ballon d'Or.

Lewandowski was the Bavarians' star man on their way to winning the Champions League, DFB-Pokal and Bundesliga last season with 55 goals from just 47 appearances.

Lewandowski takes the acclaim 

And the Pole has picked up from where he left off, starting the 2020/21 campaign with 20 strikes across 18 matches in a quest to wrestle the European Golden Shoe out of Ciro Immobile's hands.

So, it's obvious that Lewandowski is the best player in the world at present, right? Well, there is ultimately no objective way of ranking footballers, so there will always be disagreements.

But for those who aren't satisfied with the simple eye-test of Lewandowski's incredible statistics, an increasing amount of websites and entities are finding new ways to compare the data of players.

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World's 50 best players

One of the most interesting examples comes in the form of the FootballCritic, which uses a thorough algorithm - check out the method here - to rank the top 50 players in the world on a weekly basis.

It's a fascinating concept and one that raises major questions about which footballers we consider to be the best because - spoiler alert - Lewandowski doesn't actually take home the gold medal.

Instead, the Bayern superstar is forced to settle for fifth place having dropped from a rating of 99 to 98 since October, so be sure to check out the players that beat him as well as the full list below:

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50. Matthijs de Ligt (Juventus) - 90

49. Thiago Alcantara (Liverpool) - 90

48. Olivier Giroud (Chelsea) - 90

47. Fabinho (Liverpool) - 90

46. Diogo Jota (Liverpool) - 90

45. Nick Pope (Burnley) - 90

44.  Josip Iličić (Atalanta) - 90

43. Jonas Hofmann (Borussia Monchengladbach) - 90

42. Henrikh Mkhitaryan (AS Roma) - 90

41. Wout Weghorst (Wolfsburg) - 91

40. Thiago Silva (Chelsea) - 91

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39. Sergi Roberto (Barcelona) - 91

38. Jordi Alba (Barcelona) - 91

37. Ciro Immobile (Lazio) - 91

36. Raheem Sterling (Manchester City) - 91

35. Angeliño (RB Leipzig) - 91

34. Kurt Zouma (Chelsea) - 91

33. Marquinhos (Paris Saint-Germain) - 91

32. Jan Oblak (Atletico Madrid) - 92

31. Joao Cancelo (Manchester City) - 92

30. Rémy Cabella (Krasnodar) - 92 

29. Thomas Muller (Bayern Munich) - 92

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28. Andrej Kramarić (Hoffenheim) - 93

27. Domenico Berardi (Sassuolo) - 93

26. Heung-min Son (Tottenham Hotspur) - 93

25. Mats Hummels (Borussia Dortmund) - 93

24. Harry Kane (Tottenham Hotspur) - 93

23. Kevin De Bruyne (Manchester City) - 93

22. Dayot Upamecano (RB Leipzig) - 93

21. Yassine Bounou (Sevilla) - 93

20. Ruben Dias (Manchester City) - 93

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19. Jack Grealish (Aston Villa) - 93

18. Marcus Rashford (Manchester United) - 93

17. Lars Stindl (Borussia Monchengladbach) - 94

16. Bruno Fernandes (Manchester United) - 94

15. Sergio Ramos (Real Madrid) - 95

14. Iago Aspas (Celta Vigo) - 95

13. Zlatan Ibrahimovic (AC Milan) - 95

12. Raphaël Guerreiro (Borussia Dortmund) - 95

11. Alvaro Morata (Juventus) - 95

10. Joshua Kimmich (Bayern Munich) - 96

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9. Romelu Lukaku (Inter Milan) - 97

8. Cristiano Ronaldo (Juventus) - 97

7. Karim Benzema (Real Madrid) - 97

6. Kylian Mbappe (Paris Saint-Germain) - 97

5. Robert Lewandowski (Bayern Munich) - 98

4. Erling Braut Haaland (Borussia Dortmund) - 98

3. Neymar (Paris Saint-Germain) - 99

2. Mohamed Salah (Liverpool) - 99

1. Lionel Messi (Barcelona) - 99

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Messi beats Lewandowski

If you've waded your way through countless statistical studies of top players over the years like I have then you'll know that, for whatever reason, Messi always shines when it comes to data.

Despite struggling for goals from open play since declaring his ambition to leave Barcelona, it's clear the Argentine's well-publicised ability to transcend goalscoring and playmaking has paid off here.

The fact of the matter is that Messi is the most complete footballer in the world - not that that necessarily makes him the best - whereas Lewandowski and Ronaldo are more about pure goalscoring.

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Well, that's what I'm taking from the rankings, at least, because even my status as one of the biggest Messi fans going doesn't take away from the fact I think Lewandowski is the top dog in 2020.

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