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Messi named best forward of 2015

Best forwards of 2015: Messi ranks in 1st place, CR7 in 29th

March 31, 2015 By Ali M.
In a study conducted by CIES Football Observatory, Barcelona ace Lionel Messi was named the best forward of 2015 in Europe's top leagues.

Lionel Messi has been 2015's most in-form striker, there is no doubting that. Despite his sluggish start to the season, the end of 2014 sparked a fire in the Argentine, and he has now been recognized for his efforts.

In a study conducted by CIES Football Observatory, which takes into consideration players' performances from January 1 onwards, the 27-year-old Barcelona ace was named the number one forward of 2015 in Europe's top leagues after scoring 17 goals in 12 La Liga games.

La Pulga's counterpart and rival Cristiano Ronaldo was nowhere to be found, however. Only netting six times in 11 games in Spain, the Real Madrid ace, currently struggling with form, finished in 29th spot.

The three-time Ballon d'Or winner, though, was the highest ranked player out of Los Blancos' feared BBC attacking trio, finishing ahead of both Karim Benzema and Gareth Bale.

Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo, Barcelona, Real Madrid, Ballon d'Or 2014, FIFA Ballon d'Or

Third on the list is Bayern Munich star Arjen Robben, followed by Wolfsburg attacker Bas Dost. Barcelona's Luis Suarez comes in at fourth, with Chelsea's Diego Costa next in line, the only English Premier League player to feature in the top 5.

Despite this, players from Chelsea, Arsenal, and Manchester City dominate the attacking midfielder list. Eden Hazard, a key figure in the Blues' title push, ranks number one. Despite coming under heavy criticism this season, Mesut Ozil is listed as Europe's second best attacking midfielder, followed by Jesus Navas of Manchester City.

Borussia Dortmund's Nuri Sahin is Europe's top central midfielder, closely followed by Juventus ace Paul Pogba. In the defensive department, Gael Clichy is the highest ranked full back, whilst Bayer Leverkusen's Emir Spahic takes top prize as the best center back in Europe.

Top 5 forwards

1. Lionel Messi (Barcelona/ESP) 100

2. Arjen Robben (Bayern/GER) 92

3. Bas Dost (Wolfsburg/GER) 77

4. Luis Suárez (Barcelona/ESP) 71

5. Diego Costa (Chelsea/ENG) 61

Top 5 attacking midfielders

1. Eden Hazard (Chelsea/ENG) 100

. Mesut Özil (Arsenal/ENG) 100

3. Jesús Navas (Man. City/ENG) 86

4. Kevin de Bruyne (Wolfsburg/GER) 85

5. Shinji Kagawa (Dortmund/GER) 84

Top 5 central midfielders

1. Nuri Sahin (Dortmund/GER) 100

2. Paul Pogba (Juventus/ITA) 96

3. Luiz Fernandinho (Man. City/ENG) 94

4. Lucas Biglia (Lazio/ITA) 89

5. Ilkay Gündoğan (Dortmund/GER) 87

Top 5 full backs

1. Gaël Clichy (Man. City/ENG) 100

2. Marcelo Vieira (Real Madrid/ESP) 75

3. Márcio Rafinha (Bayern/GER) 72

. Wendell Nascimento (Leverkusen/GER) 72 

5. Pablo Zabaleta (Man. City/ENG) 70

Top 5 center backs

1. Emir Spahić (Leverkusen/GER) 100

2. Martín Demichelis (Man. City/ENG) 89

3. Mats Hummels (Dortmund/GER) 79

4. Chris Smalling (Man. United/ENG) 76

5. Thiago Silva (Paris SG/FRA) 71

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