No. 8 Xavi, Barcelona/Spain
Why he's ranked: This brilliant midfielder may have been a little unfortunate to find himself in the same team as Lionel Messi at Barcelona, with the little Argentine often stealing the headlines that could have belonged to Xavi. Yet this Spain midfield string puller doesn't seem to be the type who craves the attention, always letting his eloquent football do the talking.
Key stat: Led La Liga (84) and UEFA Champions League (103) this season in passes per game.
What the experts say: "Very few footballers have such football intelligence and are able to apply it so regularly, so quickly and under such pressure as Xavi. Utterly in love with the game he graces, this man's greatness goes beyond what he's won and lost in his career. Someone who makes football more aesthetically pleasing than it was." - Graham Hunter
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