No. 34 Toni Kroos, Bayern Munich/Germany
Why he's ranked: He is a sublime passer of the ball and wonderfully consistent in the midfield skirmishes, and it's a mystery why Bayern seem reluctant to give him the new contract he craves. He is comfortable with both feet and oozing with class, and his value will soar if his World Cup displays are as brilliant as most expect them to be.
Key stat: Scored his first two competitive international goals against Ireland during 2014 World Cup qualifying.
What the experts say: "He's a throwback, an elegant playmaker from the time when the game was simpler and you had a midfielder who attacked and one who sat. He's the former, though he's been used in a variety of roles. Vision and the ability to thread the needle are his greatest assets, though he also chips in with a fair few goals. He's a finesse guy with the body of a player who could be more physical. Once he combines the two, he'll go to the next level." - Gabriele Marcotti