B90M’s Rating Index for Wide Forwards and Attacking Midfielders (ARI)
After the intrigue surrounding the Striker Rating Index we introduce the real power list. This is where most of the perceived giants of the game will fall. The general order is expected but will we have a few that fly under the radar and pull a surprise?
The weighting system for the ARI considers:
Goals, Assists, Key Passes, Passing, Shooting Efficiency, Shooting Accuracy, the ability to draw fouls, Possession Loss, and Dribbling.
There is a team adjustment to equalise the statistics that are directly affected by the quality of each players’ team. Now that this is all cleared up, we introduce the B90M ARI. Enjoy and check every month for updates and ratings of strikers, central midfielders and defenders.
First, the numbers 40 to 26 and then our list.
40. Raheem Sterling, Index score: 52.59
39. Antonio Candreva, Index Score: 52.86
38. José Callejón, Index Score: 53.21
37. Sadio Mane, Index Score: 53.32
36. Wayne Rooney, Index Score: 53.86
35. Juan Mata, Index Score: 53.90
34. Hakan Çalhanoğlu, Index Score: 54.00
33. Lucas Perez, Index Score: 54.01
32. Riyad Mahrez, Index Score: 54.10
31. Philippe Coutinho, Index Score: 54.45
30. Franco Vazquez, Index Score: 54.64
29. Douglas Costa, Index Score: 54.97
28. Christian Eriksen, Index Score: 55.48
27. Mario Gotze, Index Score: 55.96
26. Josip Iličić, Index Score: 56.56
25Marek Hamšik (Napoli)
Index rating: 56.66
Raw score: 57.13 (27th)
Goals and Assists: 23 (29)
Strongest category: Pass volume (2nd) and pass completion
Weakest category: Dribbling and shot efficiency.
Kicking off our top 25 is Napoli’s talisman Marek Hamšik. In his nine seasons at the Stadio San Paolo, the Slovakian has been known for his passing and creativity. 29 assists since the start of the 2013/14 season represent a solid, if unspectacular, return. 23 goals to go along with that sees the Napoli captain just make the cut for our list.
24Mohamed Salah (AS Roma)
Index rating: 57.23
Raw score: 58.60 (24th)
Goals and Assists: 32 (14)
Strongest category: Shot to goal ratio (1st)
Weakest category: Possession retention and forward passes.
Following his move from F.C. Basel to Chelsea, Mohamed Salah’s career seemed to hit a snag. The Egyptian winger has since enjoyed a renaissance after going to Italy, netting 22 goals since the start of the 2015/16 season for Roma. Should he improve his ball retention, Salah could very well climb our rankings, especially if he continues scoring at this rate.
23Francisco Román Alarcón Suárez (Real Madrid)
Index rating: 58.31
Raw score: 60.25 (20th)
Goals and Assists: 17 (24)
Strongest category: Pass volume and completion.
Weakest category: Ball retention and shot efficiency.
Isco has endured a mixed time at the Santiago Bernabeu. For a player of his obvious talent, the fact that he has not scored or assisted on 10 occasions in a season may come as a surprise to some. The Spanish playmaker makes up the shortfall with his dribbling and especially his passing. Still only 24, Isco is young enough to make the necessary improvements to his game to rise up our rankings.
22Henrikh Mkhitaryan (Manchester United)
Index rating: 59.06
Raw score: 58.78 (23rd)
Goals and Assists: 23 (29)
Strongest category: Dribbling and forward passes.
Weakest category: Shot efficiency and pass completion.
Coming in at number 22 is Manchester United’s new number 22, Henrikh Mkhitaryan. Although the Armenian attacker has yet to make an impression at Old Trafford, his exploits for Dortmund show why calls for his inclusion persist. His positive play through both his passing and dribbling could go a long way to improving The Red Devils fortunes this season.
21Roberto Firmino (Liverpool)
Index rating: 59.71
Raw score: 58.87 (22nd)
Goals and Assists: 38 (31)
Strongest category: Scoring, assisting and dribbling.
Weakest category: Pass completion and ball retention.
Roberto Firmino is certainly gaining popularity fast. His performances for Liverpool have convinced manager Jürgen Klopp to start him ahead of injury prone hitman Daniel Sturridge, flourishing in a false 9 role. Constantly looking to make something happen, the Brazilian’s probing through his dribbling and passing have seen his chance creation numbers regularly touted by the Anfield faithful. He may do well to curb his enthusiasm in this regard, however, as his pass completion and shoddy ball retention see him just miss out on our top 20.
20Dries Mertens (Napoli)
Index rating: 60.46
Raw score: 62.40 (18th)
Goals and Assists: 25 (17)
Strongest category: Ball retention and drawing fouls.
Weakest category: Shot efficiency, pass volume and pass completion.
Sneaking into our top 20 is Napoli winger Dries Mertens. The diminutive Belgian’s entry will come as a surprise to many but the ARI tells no lies. Now 29 years old, Mertens is beginning to show signs of slowing down, however, he remains a key cog in Napoli’s machine. His positive passing, ball retention and ability to draw fouls high up the pitch cause problems for defences across Serie A. If his shooting were better, he may well have found himself even higher up in our rankings.
19Nolito (Manchester City)
Index rating: 60.97
Raw score: 58.96 (21st)
Goals and Assists: 42 (24)
Strongest category: Scoring, assisting and forward passes.
Weakest category: Pass volume and pass completion.
A late bloomer of sorts, Nolito started to attract attention after putting in excellent performances for Celta de Vigo. In his three seasons there, the Spanish winger served as a consistent outlet for goals. His impressive record of 66 direct goal contributions in 99 appearances alerted his former manager Pep Guardiola to bring him to the Etihad where he has adapted well.
18Dušan Tadić (Southampton)
Index rating: 61.13
Raw score: 61.21 (19th)
Goals and Assists: 28 (33)
Strongest category: Key passes (3rd).
Weakest category: Shot efficiency and ball retention.
A surprise entry on our list, Dušan Tadić comes in at number 18. Though he has struggled to find the scoring touch he showed at Twente, the Serbian is more than capable of providing a killer pass his excellent vision. After 19 assists in his first two seasons with Southampton, the attacking midfielder will be keen to open his account for this season sooner rather than later.
17Dimitri Payet (West Ham)
Index rating: 62.87
Raw score: 62.77 (17th)
Goals and Assists: 25 (40)
Strongest category: Key passes (2nd) and assisting.
Weakest category: Shot efficiency and pass completion.
Dimitri Payet enjoyed a dream start to life in the Premier League with West Ham in 2015/16. Blessed with a wand of a right foot, his quality set pieces are a thorn in the side of opposition teams who dread allowing him chances to take aim anywhere within 35 yards. Despite being second only to a certain German number 10 in terms of key passes, Payet’s pass completion and shooting leaves something to be desired which sees him place where he does on our list.
16David Silva (Manchester City)
Index rating: 62.82
Raw score: 61.94 (13th)
Goals and Assists: 21 (27)
Strongest category: Pass completion, key passes, and pass volume
Weakest category: Goals and shooting accuracy
Though injuries have taken their toll in the last three seasons, Silva is still one of the best pure passers in world football. Despite playing only 24 league games last season, he still managed 12 assists and continues to prove why he is so vital to Manchester City’s high-powered attack. Now on the wrong side of 30, the Spaniard nicknamed ‘Merlin’ still has the right mix of vision and ingenuity to be a consistent impact player.
15Alexis Sanchez (Arsenal)
Index rating: 63.11
Raw score: 63.17 (16th)
Goals and Assists: 56 (25)
Strongest category: Dribbling and shooting accuracy
Weakest category: Pass volume and possession loss
Since arriving in 2014, ‘Electric’ Sanchez as commentator Ray Hudson often calls him, has often sparked Arsenal with his close control, work rate and share of cracking goals along the way. A low pass volume and high dispossession rate prevent him from closing in on the top 10. However, with Sanchez adapting successfully to a new role as lead striker, providing eight goals and three assists in 13 league games this season, the best might be yet to come from the Chilean.
14Gareth Bale (Real Madrid)
Index rating: 63.20
Raw score: 64.66 (14th)
Goals and Assists: 52 (32)
Strongest category: Goal scoring and possession retention
Weakest category: Shooting accuracy, key passes, and pass volume
One of the world’s most feared players has to settle for a place outside the top 10. Nevertheless, the Welshman has finally lived up to the hype that came with his then record transfer to Real Madrid in 2013, scoring 19 goals and bagging 10 assists in La Liga last season and starting this season with five league goals. Unfortunately, a nasty ankle injury suffered against Sporting Lisbon will sideline the two-time Champions League winner for up to four months.
13Angel Di Maria (PSG)
Index rating: 63.57
Raw score: 65.63 (12th)
Goals and Assists: 19 (51)
Strongest category: Assists and key passes
Weakest category: Shooting
After an indifferent 2014/15 campaign at Manchester United, Angel Di Maria has gotten back to his best at the Parc des Princes. Still branded a ‘snake’ by some United fans, the Argentine winger has been slithering past defenses with ease in the French capital, leading Ligue 1 in assists in 2015/16 and fitting in nicely under new manager, Unai Emery.
12Raffael (Borussia Moenchengladbach)
Index rating: 65.45
Raw score: 64.43 (15th)
Goals and Assists: 42 (19)
Strongest category: Dribbling and shooting accuracy
Weakest category: Pass volume
One of the most underrated players at any position in the game, Raffael Caetano de Araújo has proven himself as one of the Bundesliga’s top talents since his days at Hertha Berlin. Since joining Borussia Mönchengladbach in 2013, the Brazilian has turned up his play a few notches, becoming one of the best dribblers in the league, with great goal vision both for himself and to play in teammates. Hailing from the home of samba, Raffael can’t quite dance his way into a top 10 spot, but with more people having taken notice of his talents domestically and in Champions League play, he is sure to get his just due when it’s all said and done.
11Marco Reus (Borussia Dortmund)
Index rating: 65.92
Raw score: 67.69 (9th)
Goals and Assists: 35 (21)
Strongest category: Goals & assists
Weakest category: Pass completion and pass volume
Injuries have hindered the Dortmund-born product from reaching even further heights in his career. Though less than impressive passing numbers cost Reus a top 10 place, he remains one of the most dynamic attackers in Europe. Only having made his 2016/17 debut on November 22 where he scored a brace in the Champions League against Legia Warsaw. Reus is on a mission to remind observers of his immense talent.
10Mesut Özil (Arsenal)
Index rating: 65.99
Raw score: 67.51 (11th)
Goals and Assists: 18 (34)
Strongest category: Pass volume, key passes, and shooting accuracy
Weakest category: Dribbling
After showing flashes of his world-class talent in his first two seasons at the Emirates, the German maestro had a career season in 2015/16, notching 19 league assists and creating an EPL record 144 chances. Finally heeding manager Arsène Wenger’s charge to become a more proficient goal scorer, Özil has bagged seven goals in Premier and Champions League play so far this campaign. If he continues to work on that dimension of his game, there’s no telling how much brighter this superstar of world football can shine.
9Francesco Totti (AS Roma)
Index rating: 66.17
Raw score: 68.99 (7th)
Goals and Assists: 23 (21)
Strongest category: Goals & assists, and pass volume
Weakest category: Dribbling and pass completion
The often said adage, ‘Form is temporary, class is permanent’ applies perfectly to this Serie A legend who continues to showcase his class every chance he gets. Those chances have been few and far between in the last two seasons, having played just 20 league games. But the legend has used his time wisely to register key goals and assists for the Giallorossi, who continue to depend on him for inspiration when needed. Totti’s performances continue to defy time, so much so that he is reconsidering his decision to retire at season’s end.
Il Gladiatore, Il Bimbo d’Oro, Il Re di Roma, Er Pupone. Francesco Totti…one in a generation.
8Eden Hazard (Chelsea)
Index rating: 66.75
Raw score: 67.54 (10th)
Goals and Assists: 39 (20)
Strongest category: Dribbling, shooting, and pass completion
Weakest category: Possession loss
Eden Hazard was uncharacteristically invisible for most of last season but has thankfully reappeared under new manager, Antonio Conte and is back to being the world beater we know him to be. One of the best all-round talents around is again proving his worth for a revived Chelsea and having yet to reach his prime, Hazard may very well be on the high end of this ten rather than the low end in the near future.
7James Rodriguez (Real Madrid)
Index rating: 67.42
Raw score: 69.57 (6th)
Goals and Assists: 30 (35)
Strongest category: Assists, key passes, pass volume and completion, and shot accuracy
Weakest category: Dribbling
Unknown to many before the World Cup in 2014, James David Rodríguez Rubio announced himself loudly on the world stage with a string of captivating performances for his native Colombia before an eventual quarterfinal exit.
His star shone brightly and a move to Real Madrid soon followed. Although he has not been amongst the team’s premiere stars in a team not short of them, James has shown why he was bought in the first place whenever called upon.
6Kevin De Bruyne (Manchester City)
Index rating: 68.33
Raw score: 68.99 (8th)
Goals and Assists: 22 (43)
Strongest category: Assists (2nd), key passes, forward passes, and possession loss
Weakest category: Pass completion, drawing fouls, and shot efficiency
The highest rated EPL based player and Belgian on this list has established himself as one of the games’ premiere creators after a discouraging stint at Chelsea. Since then he has moved to Germany and found success. Now back in the Premier League, the ginger haired Kid continues to showcase his prodiguous talents.
His ascent could not have come at a better time as the previous holder for the title at Manchester City, David Silva, takes a more subdued role in midfield.
5Arjen Robben (Bayern Munich)
Index rating: 70.47
Raw score: 73.33 (4th)
Goals and Assists: 35 (16)
Strongest category: Scoring and assisting, and dribbling (3rd)
Weakest category: Drawing fouls
The left footed half of the dazzling dribbling duo from Bayern Munich lands in the top five for his efficiency in limited minutes. A mesmeric dribbler when at his best, Arjen Robben is a major threat to any defense still when he turns on the dribble at pace.
A known diver, Robben uses his skills to the maximum to draw fouls, whether merited or not. However, the Dutchman remains a stalwart even at the age of 32 and has had a tremendous club career in which he has donned the colours of Chelsea, Real Madrid and Bayern Munich.
4Neymar Da Silva (Barcelona)
Index rating: 70.83
Raw score: 72.28 (5th)
Goals and Assists: 59 (32)
Strongest category: Scoring and assisting, dribbling, and drawing fouls (2nd)
Weakest category: Back passes and possession loss
The heir apparent to Messi and Ronaldo, the man with the most talent of any young player, Neymar da Silva Santos Júnior, perches his talented shoulders at fourth place our list. After a lukewarm start to his life in Barcelona, he has grown immensely and is truly a global star for both club and country.
It will be interesting after his 2013/14 stats are discounted where he lands but for now, many believe this is where the Ballon D’or will rest after the big two finally decline to the level of humans.
3Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid)
Index rating: 74.75
Raw score: 75.30 (3rd)
Goals and Assists: 124 (38)
Strongest category: Scoring and ball control
Weakest category: Passing, dribbling, back passes, and drawing fouls
Cristiano has had a singular focus since his time at Manchester United; to be the best player on the planet. There are quite a few who would agree he has succeeded. The three time winner of the Ballon d’or (for now) has finally won an international title with his native Portugal, an improbable Euro 2016 triumph that cemented his place even in the opinion of the most devout Messi fan in football’s great select few.
Throughout his Real Madrid career, however, he has also seen goals as the prime factor in building his legend and the weakness in his overall game beyond goals and assists means he has to be content with third place on our list.
2Franck Ribery (Bayern Munich)
Index rating: 76.08
Raw score: 79.78 (2nd)
Goals and Assists: 19 (25)
Strongest category: Scoring and assisting (3rd), pass volume, dribbling (1st), shot accuracy (3rd) and efficiency
Weakest category: Possession loss and back passes
The man who in 2013 felt like a sideshow to the big two in Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo in Ballon d’or voting is perhaps justified as his tremendous efficiency, all round game and dribbling sees him catapulted to the runner-up spot, even with limited minutes. The Frenchman was seen as French football’s successor to Zinedine Zidane and with good reason. His prowess mainly as an inverted winger/forward has been on display for years now.
His lofty but deserved placing shows the importance of the men that contribute so heavily to overall play so that others may benefit from the glitz of goals and assists. In this regard, Franck Ribery is almost the ultimate in modern football. This shouldn’t be a surprise but a refreshing perspective on just how we measure how good players are.
1Lionel Messi (Barcelona)
Index rating: 85.61
Raw score: 86.53 (1st)
Goals and Assists: 106 (48)
Strongest category: Scoring and assisting (2nd), dribbling, and shooting (1st)
Weakest category: None
There could be only one. Five time Ballon d’or winner and the undisputed best player in the world for the last 8-9 years Lionel Messi’s game transcends the commonly revered statistics. A master of his craft and a leader in nearly every aspect of the game, Messi has helped build a dynasty at Barcelona aided by some of the best midfielders and forwards this generation has seen. When he retires there will be a void, much like the eventual retirement of the greatest sprinter in history, Usain Bolt. He is that good.