Top 100 Footballers 2016-17
Fabinho is absolute class. The Brazilian midfielder is so versatile and so capable in all areas of the games and this season completely established himself as one of the best midfielders in the world. He was actually primarily a right back until the tail-end of last season but since moving into midfield has been arguably Monaco’s key man. Impressively, Fabinho made an impact in every single game, never letting them down and coming up with some of his best performances on the world’s biggest stage against some of the world’s greatest clubs. The 23-year old scored 9 goals in 37 Ligue 1 appearances to help Les Monégasques lift the trophy and added a goal with 3 assists in 10 UEFA Champions League appearances to help the club advance to the semi-finals. Perhaps even more impressively was the fact that he managed 3.1 tackles and 1.7 interceptions per game in all competitions, being a rock for Monaco at both ends of the pitch. Fabinho is one of the best midfielders in the world and with all due respect to Les Monégasques, I will be absolutely shocked if he is still playing for AS Monaco next season. Formula Score: 84.47.
99. Ander Herrera
Ander Herrera has been Manchester United’s star performer this season and was the key reason that they walked to two trophies in Mourinho’s first season at the club. Herrera, not Pogba nor Carrick, was the driving force in midfield for United this season, leading them to an unbeaten run that lasted 24 Premier League matches and a 6th place finish in the table. The Spanish midfielder just proved to be so good in all areas of the game in 2016-17, making 3.1 tackles and 2.5 interceptions per game in addition to making 3,570 passes and assisting 7 goals across 51 appearances in all competitions. He was Manchester United’s N’Golo Kante and Xabi Alonso at the same time, just playing immaculately well all season long and never having a bad game. Ander Herrera was Manchester United’s best player this season by a mile and should be the first name on the team sheet for every single one of Jose Mourinho’s games next season. Formula Score: 84.49.
98. Alvaro Morata
Not always a regular starter and unfortunate to play second-fiddle to Karim Benzema in UEFA Champions League matches, but Alvaro Morata continues his reputation as one of the best and most sought-after centre forwards on the planet. He only even made 14 starts in the 2016-17 La Liga season, but he still bagged 15 goals with 4 assists! That was of course with the help of 12 substitute appearances as well but he was always impressive when he would come off the bench and always made an impact. Moreover the Spanish striker also netted 3 times in Real Madrid’s winning UEFA Champions League campaign despite only making 1 start. Alvaro Morata is a world-class striker and could fit into any team with ease. Unfortunately, Real Madrid are just such a good side that he doesn’t have the current luxury of playing week-in and week-out. But still, his quality in front of goal is their for all to see and with Zidane’s team having such a good season once again, Morata could not be left off of this list. Formula Score: 84.50.
97. Andres Iniesta
Andres Iniesta’s best days as a footballer were years ago. Yet still because of the reputation that he has, if he makes one good pass he gets raved about as if he’s scored a Ronaldinho-esque bicycle kick. His 3 assists in 23 La Liga appearances was slightly better than the 2 he managed last year but it’s still nowhere near good enough for a player talked about as being one of the best play-makers of all time. He also struggled in the UEFA Champions League this season and when Enrique’s men were embarrassed by Juventus, Iniesta was completely anonymous. Andres Iniesta deserves credit for being one of the greatest midfielders of all time yet if he hadn’t come up so massively in the Copa del Rey to help the Spanish giants win the trophy, he wouldn’t have made this list. Formula Score: 84.51.
96. Jose Callejon
Jose Callejon is just one of those footballers who has gotten better with age. The Napoli man has been desperately close to making The Mastermind‘s Top 100 list since he arrived at the club and finally after an absolutely unbelievable season has claimed his spot. Napoli’s attack of Hamsik, Insinge, Mertens and Callejon has to be one of the best foursomes in the world and it shows in the fact that they scored 94 goals from 38 matches, more than any other Serie A team including Juve and Roma. Callejon himself was unreal, scoring 14 goals with 12 assists to make the Team of the Season as he only missed out on one single Serie A match. The 30-year old Spanish midfielder has to be one of the best in the world and if it wasn’t for the embarrassment of riches that Spain have in attack, he’d be a lock for future squads. Formula Score: 84.59.
95. Bernardo Silva
Bernardo Silva always had the talent and the potential to become one of the best midfielders in the world and this season he reached those standards, leading Monaco to a Ligue 1 title and a semi-final finish in the UEFA Champions League. Many of Monaco’s players impressed massively this season, but many believe that Silva was the best of the bunch and was the key man behind the whole operation. The Portuguese midfielder scored 8 goals with 9 assists in 37 Ligue 1 appearances and netted a further 2 goals in 11 Champions League matches, but his overall play always caught the eye, regardless of whether he was scoring or assisting goals. Now after a big money move to Manchester City, it will be very interesting to see if he can keep up the same kind of stellar standards that he managed in 2016-17. Formula Score: 84.60.
94. Saul Niguez
Many who watch La Liga closely know that this was not Saul Niguez’s best season at Atletico Madrid. But for his minor shortcomings in the league, the versatile midfielder was actually one of the very best players of this season’s 2016-17 UEFA Champions League. Last year it was Griezmann who was the star of the team in the tournament and this year it was Saul, who led his team to the semi-finals with 4 goals in 12 appearances. On top of that, his positive form in the final few weeks of the league season ensured that he snuck onto this list in dramatic circumstances and finished with an impressive tally of 7 Team of the Week appearances in La Liga alone. Saul then finished off the season in even better form, dominating the UEFA Euro U-21 tournament with 5 goals, as Spain currently prepare to do battle with Germany in order to lift the trophy. Saul Niguez is a hell of a footballer and one of the best midfielders in the world. Still only 22, the Spaniard still has his best days ahead of him and could be set to rise even further up the list in future years. Formula Score: 84.62.
93. Mohamed Salah
He struggled at Chelsea, but Mohamed Salah hasn’t taken long at all to re-establish himself as one of the world’s very best since making his move to Roma in July 2015. One year on from being named their player of the season, the Egyptian winger was sensational for La Maggica in 2016-17, scoring and assisting goals for fun in what seemed like it was every single game. Salah ended up finishing the season with an astonishing 15 goals and 11 assists in 31 Serie A matches, making the Team of the Season and leading Roma to a second place finish, even above Napoli. Now the 24-year old surely has established himself as one of the best in the world in his position and could even make a welcomed return to a Premier League giant. Formula Score: 84.63.
92. Raheem Sterling
Since bursting onto the scene at Liverpool as a nineteen year old, Raheem Sterling is still yet to quite make his mark. It was probably Sterling’s best season since that incredible year in which he almost helped Liverpool win the title, and he really started off the season very strongly, but he started to fade away towards the end of the season. The British winger finished the season with 7 goals and 6 assists from 33 Premier League appearances but didn’t really do enough to consistently make himself a known entity in the league. His form was also great in the Champions League with 2 goals and 3 assists in 7 matches but more is still expected of a player of his quality. Raheem Sterling is one of the best wingers in the world and it will be very interesting to see if he can retain his place with the arrival of Bernardo Silva at the door. Formula Score: 84.71.
91. Laurent Koscielny
What started out as perhaps Laurent Koscileny’s best ever season finished as a season to forget as the Frenchman as he plummeted horribly down the ranks on this list in the closing months of 2017. In the 2016 part of the 2016-17 season, Koscielny was class and was that cool head we all know him to be, acting as Arsenal’s most important player and one of the best defenders in the league. But once 2017 rolled around, the Frenchman’s form started to dip dramatically and he never looked quite the same player again. The 31-year old defender still finished with 2 goals and 89 interceptions in 33 Premier League appearances but it was by no means a great season for him as Arsenal finished as 5th place finishers and FA Cup winners in a final he was ineligible from taking part of. Laurent Koscielny is still clearly one of the best defenders in the world but perhaps his age is just starting to catch up to him as his poor form in 2017 has him all the way down number 91 on this list. Formula Score: 84.80.
90. Radja Nainggolan
It seems as though no matter where Radja Nainggolan plays, he always performs well and the Roma vice-captain illustrated that perfectly in 2016-17. Asked to play right wing through the middle of the season, Nainggolan never disappointed and enjoyed some of his best football ever in that position. He ended up finishing the season with 11 goals and 5 assists while still managing to be a relatively defensive minded player. Undoubtedly a massive character in the dressing room, the Belgian midfielder became one of the first names on the team-sheet for the club and continues to be linked with the likes of Chelsea and Liverpool. Formula Score: 84.82.
89. Xabi Alonso
Xabi Alonso used the 2016-17 season to end his fantastic career in style. The Spanish midfielder has been a legend of the game and has won everything there is to win in football, capping it all off with another Bundesliga title in his final season. The defensive midfielder was still a regular in the side despite being 35-years old and featured in 27 of the 34 Bundesliga matches, scoring 3 goals and assisting 2. He really just has had a magnificent season and has done massively well to end on such a high note, even if he would have liked to make it further in the UEFA Champions League. He’s one of the greatest of all time and chances are if he was still playing next season, he’d still be a regular starter for Bayern Munich and still make this prestigious list. Formula Score: 84.89.
88. Franck Ribery
Franck Ribery might be 34 years old but he is still one of the best wingers on the planet. Regaining his place in the side ahead of Douglas Costa this year, Ribery was massively important to Bayern’s Bundesliga title win. The French winger looked incredible at times for die Roten, reforming his solid wing partnership with Arjen Robben. He only featured in 22 Bundesliga matches this campaign, but still assisted 11 goals in addition to scoring 5 of his own. When he was fit, Carlo Ancelotti was willing to put his trust in the French winger and Ribery and Bayern Munich benefited massively from it as a result. If he somehow manages to claw his way onto this list next year at the age of 35, then that will be highly impressive. Formula Score: 84.99.
After all his incredible exertions for Portugal at Euro 2016 in helping them lift the trophy, Pepe suffered horribly through injuries during the 2016-17 campaign. However, Real Madrid still won two trophies, including both La Liga and the UEFA Champions League and the Portuguese defender had a role to play in both. Pepe only featured in 13 matches in the league this season, scoring 2 goals with 1 assist but he always impressed with his defensive talent, continuing to look a much cooler head in the back-line as of late. The 34-year old defender finished off the season brightly with positive form at the 2016-17 Confederations Cup but it was just a little bit too late to earn him a spot inside of the top 80. Pepe is one of the best defenders in the world and his form at Euro 2016 was immaculate, but he unfortunately just suffered through injuries far too much in 2016-17 to claim a high up place on this list. Formula Score: 85.02.
86. Dries Mertens
2016-17 could not have been any better for Dries Mertens. The 30-year old Belgian has never been a centre forward throughout his career but after Arkadiusz Milik unfortunately suffered a torn ACL, Mertens was the man to fill the role. Suddenly, the Napoli star became one of the world’s most complete forwards, scoring for fun every single week. Mertens ended up finishing the season with an astonishing total of 28 goals and 9 assists, linking up perfectly with Insigne and Callejon and just narrowly missing out on the golden boot by one goal. Impressively, he also kept up his good goal-getting form in the UEFA Champions League, scoring 5 goals with 2 assists in 7 matches! Dries Mertens, 30-years old, just had the best season of his entire career. It could not have gone any better for him and now he has the reputation as one of the best in the world at his new position. Formula Score: 85.02.
Isco wasn’t a regular starter for Real Madrid in 2016-17 and that is primarily why he comes up just short of reaching the Top 100 this season, his first time failing to do so in three seasons. But as Gareth Bale was injured, Isco became Los Blancos’ most important player toward the end of the season and was the key factor behind them reaching the final after a stunning display in the semi’s against Atletico Madrid. Isco was just so massive towards the end of the season in both La Liga and the UEFA Champions League and ended up finishing the league campaign with 10 goals and 8 assists in 30 matches! Isco is a magnificent midfielder and is so unlucky not to start more matches for Zinedine Zidane’s team. When he plays, he shines and it very unfortunate that with the embarrassment of riches that Real Madrid have to offer that he does not get more regular playing time. He’s a creative genius and if only Monaco hadn’t had such an insane year, there would have been room for Isco on this list. Formula Score: 85.04.
84. Lorenzo Insigne
Arguably no player was better in 2016-17 in Serie A than Lorenzo Insigne. The Italian winger has rapidly developed over the years, quickly becoming better and better by the year and is now Napoli’s key man in attack. Almost outrageously, Insigne scored 18 goals with 9 assists in 37 league matches this season, leading Napoli to 3rd place and dominating play down the left-wing in every single match. His level of threat in attack was always imminent and at times it just seemed as though he was going to be impossible to stop. Also impressively, no other midfielder in Europe’s top five leagues scored more goals than Insigne, highlighting how important of a role he has played for Napoli this season. After a stunning 2016-17 campaign, Lorenzo Insigne is now one of the best players on the planet and there appears to be plenty more to come from the 26-year old. Formula Score: 85.07.
83. Nemanja Matic
Very few fans of football would pick Nemanja Matic over Cesc Fabregas in Chelsea’s XI, but Antonio Conte did and the Serbian became one of his favourite players. Matic was fantastic this season for Chelsea, almost changing up his game at times and becoming a crucial play-maker, on his way to helping the Blues lift the Premier League trophy. The big Serb assisted 7 goals in 35 matches this season, while also completing 88% of his passes and forming a formidable defensive partnership with N’Golo Kante. He was just so important to Chelsea’s lineup this season that far fewer fans would now pick Fabregas over him in the side. Nemanja Matic is easily one of the best central midfielders in the world and this season changed up his game to become one of the Blues’ key men in creating goal-scoring opportunities. Formula Score: 85.07.
82. Raphael Varane
It’s always unclear as to which centre back Zinedine Zidane truly prefers at the heart of his back-line alongside Sergio Ramos, but Varane always seems to have the one-up on Pepe in recent seasons. The French defender continues to try and establish himself as one of the world’s best defenders and even if he isn’t quite World XI quality like might have been imagined of him five years ago, he really is one of the best in the business at his position. The French National Team vice-captain had a great season and played a massive role in helping Los Blancos lift the La Liga and Champions League trophies. Varane scored 1 goal with 2 assists in 23 league appearances and notched 2 goals in 10 UEFA Champions League matches, growing his partnership with Ramos and making the pair of them one of the greatest defensive duos on the planet. Raphael Varane really is one of the best defenders in the world and with Pepe turning 35 next year, the Frenchman looks set to finally formally establish himself as Ramos’ long-term partner. Formula Score: 85.21.
81. Daniel Carvajal
When Real Madrid signed FC Porto captain Danilo in the summer of 2015, Daniel Carvajal’s place in the XI looked to be in jeopardy. However Carvajal’s positive play has ensured Danilo can never ever find a way into the side and the Spanish defender has in that time established himself as one of the world’s best. The 25-year old was crucial in both La Liga and the UEFA Champions League for Los Blancos, assisting 9 goals between the two competitions! His defensive work ethic was also immense, making 2.5 tackles per game in all competitions and shutting out some of the world’s most lethal left-wingers. Daniel Carvajal is one of the underrated stars of this amazing Real Madrid team and should be thought of as one of the best right-backs in the world. Formula Score: 85.24.
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Top 100 Footballers 2016-17