The findings of a study conducted by the CIES Football Observatory, which has analysed the performances of players in Europe's leading leagues since January 1 has Lionel Messi as the best forward in 2015. The rankings take into account relevant statistics for different positions and Cristiano Ronaldo is only 29th on a list of top attackers.
Gareth Bale is (35th) and Karim Benzema (37th) with Diego Costa the leading Premier League forward in fifth place, behind Bayern Munich's Arjen Robben, Wolfsburg's Bas Dost and Barcelona's Luis Suarez.
Elsewhere, the study, which focuses on the Premier League, La Liga, Serie A, Ligue 1 and the Bundesliga, found Manchester City's Gael Clichy to be the top-ranked full-back and Chelsea's Eden Hazard to be the number one attacking midfielder, ahead of Arsenal's Mesut Ozil and City's Jesus Navas.
Former on-loan Liverpool man Nuri Sahin, now at Borussia Dortmund, tops the central midfielder table from the past three months, whilst the centre-back gong goes to Emir Spahic of Bayer Leverkusen.
Lionel Messi (Barcelona) Arjen Robben (Bayern Munich) Bas Dost (Wolfsburg) Luis Suarez (Barcelona) Diego Costa (Chelsea)