Lionel Messi named top forward in 2015, Cristiano Ronaldo 29th

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Lionel Messi is the best forward in 2015 – while Cristiano Ronaldo is only 29th on a list of top attackers.

These are 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.

The rankings take into account relevant statistics for different positions and find Barcelona’s Messi – who has scored 17 in 12 La Liga games this year – streets ahead of his Real Madrid rival.

Ronaldo, who has scored six in 11 league matches in 2015, was, however, ahead of team-mates Gareth Bale (35th) and Karim Benzema (37th).

Diego Costa is 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 Liverpool loanee Nuri Sahin, now at Borussia Dortmund, tops the central midfielder table from the past three months, while Man City’s Martin Demichelis misses out on the centre-back crown to Emir Spahic of Bayer Leverkusen.

Top forwards

Lionel Messi (Barcelona)

Arjen Robben (Bayern Munich)

Bas Dost (Wolfsburg)

Luis Suarez (Barcelona)

Diego Costa (Chelsea)

Top attacking midfielders
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Eden Hazard (Chelsea)

Mesut Ozil (Arsenal)

Jesus Navas (Man City)

Kevin de Bruyne (Wolfsburg)

Shinji Kagawa (Dortmund)

Top central midfielders
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Nuri Sahin (Dortmund)

Paul Pogba (Juventus)

Fernandinho (Man City)

Lucas Biglia (Lazio)

Ilkay Gundogan (Dortmund)

Top full-backs
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Gael Clichy (Man City)

Marcelo (Real Madrid)

Rafinha (Bayern Munich)

Wendell Nascimento (Bayer Leverkusen)

Pablo Zabaleta (Man City)

Top centre-backs
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Emir Spahic (Bayer Leverkusen)

Martin Demichelis (Man City)

Mats Hummels (Dortmund)

Chris Smalling (Man United)

Thiago Silva (PSG)

The full rankings can be found at: http://www.football-observatory.com/IMG/pdf/wp105_eng.pdf