This summer Eurosport is counting down the world's greatest footballers, as voted by our international network of journalists. We will reveal one player per day, culminating in the election of the first Ballon d'Eurosport on July 19.
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If you were asked to define the prototype ‘mercurial’ forward, Wayne Rooney would fit the bill. Bursting with natural talent, he blows hot and cold both mentally and physically, with his fluctuating weight anomalous to his otherwise excellent physical attributes.
Phenomenally strong, extremely quick and surprisingly good in the air, Rooney has touch, vision, daring and bundles of natural aggression; however, his tendency to let the occasion get to him – particularly for England – means he is unlikely to be ranked among the greatest-ever, which his early promise hinted was a realistic possibility.
Like the man before him on this list, Sergio Ramos, Rooney is a renowned hot-head, both on and off the pitch – red cards for violent conduct and a couple of frankly bizarre transfer requests have blighted his past few seasons, which is a real shame as not so long ago he seemed to have got his head together and was one of Europe’s most feared strikers.
Perhaps Rooney needs a new challenge but, with the physical and technical ability he has, he should be far higher on this list.
It is worth noting that the journalists who watch him every week – in our UK and Ireland office – did not deem him worthy of inclusion in their top 25. Nul points, as they say.
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How Eurosport voted
We asked the editorial teams of 10 countries/areas around the Eurosport network to compile their list of the world's 25 best players.
Then we did the sums, Eurovision-style. It's simple: a first-place vote is worth 25 points, second place is 24... all the way down to one point for a 25th-place vote.