The idea of Breaking The Lines was actually formed from a top 50 list. After I set out to do three top 50 lists – one of which was “Best Footballers of 2016”, Thomas Anderson saw my list, contacted me, and suggested we take these lists and make it into a project. A website, or so. So, we did. We took those lists, spruced them up, came up with a domain name, bought the domain, and settled all of the lists into order for our site’s premier. It’s been a wild 6+ months since then, but we’ve returned to our roots. Football is a lot different from time. It isn’t linear, or structured, or illmatic, or whatever.

You can never quite pinpoint the end of one season and the start of the next. Is it the Champions League Final? Is it July 1st? Is it the end of the biggest international tournament that summer has to offer? Is it when the new kits are released? We’ll never quite know. Football never sleeps. When you go to sleep, you’re missing 8 hours worth of transfer rumors, contract negotiations, and injury updates. It’s a challenge to keep up with everything that’s going on in the football world, and then, submit it into high-quality, original content. It’s a challenge, but it’s worth it, and I look forward to continuing this amazing project. I’d like to thank our writers, and everyone else who contributed in making this special. Breaking The Lines is nothing without our contributors, and we wouldn’t be here without you. I’ve challenged my thinking, my writing, and my philosophy on football thanks to Breaking The Lines.

So, whether we’re late or early on the whole “End of Season” thing, it’s a necessity and a tradition to wrap up the season with the 50 best players. Some tough decisions and soul-searching questions were made. I could list out the players who barely missed the cut, but at the end of the day, that would take away some of the meaning from the list, from the borderline. If you don’t make it, you don’t make it. I will add this, though. 40 or so players were obvious guarantees, and the others, for some range of reasons, proved more than the field. Thomas and I argued about who should make the final cut, between two strikers who shall remain anonymous. I won, and my guy didn’t even take the 50th, he moved up the ranks, to the point where it would be impossible to even guess the anonymous wild card. So don’t waste time trying to find it out, just enjoy the list. I talked to many friends while making this list, many of whom I met through the site.

I’m a lot more comfortable with the players in the list than the rankings themselves, but I love making lists, the social media generation loves reading lists, and in general, people like lists. Maybe it’s Gestalt principles, or maybe it’s just a fun way to waste time, but lists are cool. This took a lot of cooperation, teamwork, and diligence, but it’s finally done. There will be more lists of these kind throughout the summer, continuing to explore the boundaries and push the envelope.

As for now, enjoy the list. You’ve earned it.

Player visuals designed by the excellent @DanieIHardman.