Top 100 Footballers 2016-17
60. Sadio Mane
This season, Sadio Mane not only established himself as one of the world’s best wingers, but also became Liverpool’s key man in attack. Loaded with pace and power, Mane has been Liverpool’s star and standout player this season and when he wasn’t in the team, Klopp’s system just wasn’t the same. The Senegalese winger ended the season on 13 goals with 5 assists from just 27 matches, a highly respectable tally in all regards. But it’s not just about the goals for the Senegalese winger. He’s been a constant source of energy for Liverpool and while helping out at both ends of the pitch has not only made Firmino and Coutinho better but Nathaniel Clyne as well! For me it wasn’t even a question that Sadio Mane deserved his selection to the PFA Team of the Year and he absolutely deserves his place high up on this list as well. Formula Score: 86.40.
59. Alexandre Lacazette
Alexandre Lacazette continues to be one of the best strikers in the world yet still doesn’t have the reputation that he deserves. France coach Didier Deschamps often even leaves him out of his squad despite scoring 20+ goals in three successive Ligue 1 seasons. 2016-17 was by far his best, as the stellar striker netted 28 goals in just 30 Ligue 1 matches! But that’s not all! Lacazette also found the back of the net 6 times in just 7 UEFA Europa League matches, helping Lyon make it to the semi-finals. Alexandre Lacazette really is one of the deadliest goal-scorers and best strikers on the planet and can no longer be ignored. Atletico Madrid, Paris Saint German, Liverpool and Arsenal have already come calling so it will be very interesting to see where he ends up next season. Wherever he plays his football next season, Lacazette is destined to establish himself as a household name around the world and one of the best players in the world. Formula Score: 86.41.
58. Pedro Rodriguez
What an incredible season Pedro Rodriguez has just had for Chelsea FC. He has been just as good this season as he was in his very best season for Barcelona and played so well that he managed to keep Brazilian superstar Willian out of the side. The Spanish winger had a massive role to play in Antonio Conte’s 3-4-3, occupying a few different positions to equal effect and scoring 9 goals with 9 assists in 35 Premier League matches. Equally instrumentally, he scored 4 goals in 5 appearances in the FA Cup as the Blues made it to the final. This was one of Pedro’s best ever seasons as a footballer and he was absolutely crucial to Chelsea’s 2016-17 Premier League win. Formula Score: 86.42.
57. David Alaba
After a poor 2016, David Alaba bounced back strong in 2017 and now looks like one of the best defenders in the world again. But he still wasn’t quite as good as we might expect him to be given his form in seasons prior to 2015-16. Alaba filled a number of different roles for Carlo Ancelotti’s side, playing very well regardless of the position he was given and helping Bayern Munich claim another Bundesliga title. The 24-year old Austrian scored 4 goals with 4 assists in 32 Bundesliga matches, only missing out on two games the entire Bundesliga campaign. The defensive-minded man also made 9 UEFA Champions League appearances, assisting 2 goals. David Alaba is a wonderful player and has perhaps even recently become a bit underrated. His form for Bayern Munich was good all season long and still only 24, has a very bright future ahead of him. Formula Score: 86.46.
Casemiro still seems to be so underrated in Real Madrid’s midfield despite always coming up big when it matters most. He’s been brilliant all season long, particularly in the UEFA Champions League where he made more tackles than any other player and dominated the final match. The Brazilian born midfielder missed a large majority of the first half of the season due to a broken leg, but bounced back so strong to help Madrid win their third Champions League in four seasons AND La Liga as well. The 25-year old made 4 tackles per game in La Liga, but did even better in the Champions League making 5.3 tackles per game, more than any other player. Impressively, he also showed off his prowess in attack on the rare occasion he went forward, scoring 4 times in Spain and bagging 2 goals with 2 assists in 9 Champions League games. Casemiro has now won the Champions League in every single season he’s played with Madrid. That in itself proves just how crucial his role to Zidane’s team truly is. Formula Score: 86.50.
55. Thiago Silva
Thiago Silva still remains one of the best defenders on the planet. He has certainly seen better times but still continues to lead PSG to glory with his leadership, organization and quality in Les Rouge-et-Bleu’s defensive line. The 32-year old featured in 27 matches in Ligue 1 this season and was probably the best defender in the league; scoring 3 goals with 2 assists in the process. He was also absolutely crucial in both the Coupe de la Ligue and the Coupe de France as The Perisiens won both. Between the two competitions he scored 3 goals and featured in 6 matches. Thiago Silva truly is still one of the best defenders on the planet. He may be beginning to get overshadowed by younger men, but still continues his fantastic reputation. Formula Score: 86.51.
54. Jan Oblak
Jan Oblak finished 2016-17 exactly where he left off in 2015-16, establishing himself as one of the best goalkeepers in the world of football. In both seasons, he’s become stronger as the season has gone on and finished with a massive splash to make the La Liga and UEFA Champions League Team of the Year’s both times. Atletico’s defense might be one of the tightest, best and most organized in the entire world, but Jan Oblak is still required every single game to come up with the goods and he always delivers. Some of the saves he pulls off game after game are outstanding, with his best moments coming in the UEFA Champions League, like his triple-stop against Bayer Leverkusen in the Round of 16. The Slovenian goalkeeper finished with 15 clean sheets in 30 La Liga matches and an even better ratio of 6 clean sheets in 11 Champions League matches, what is considered to be the greatest club competition in the world. Jan Oblak is an incredible goalkeeper and could soon be talked about in the same breath as Manuel Neuer. Formula Score: 86.51.
53. Dimitri Payet
Dimitri Payet had a bit of a strange season, swapping shirts halfway through and returning to his native France, but wherever he was playing his football he was almost always highly impressive. It’s been a season of great goals for Payet and with West Ham against Middlesbrough early on in the season, the Frenchman scored what was for me the best goal of the entire European campaign. His individual moments of brilliance culminated in just 6 goals and 9 assists, a reasonable tally, but perhaps not what we have come to expect of the French midfielder as of late. However, with West Ham United the 29-year old created 4.1 chances per game, 74 in total, a better per game ratio than any other player in Europe’s top 5 leagues. So perhaps 9 assists should have been significantly more had West Ham and Marseille’s strikers been slightly more lethal. All and all it was a good season for Payet and he is undoubtedly still one of the best midfielders on the planet, but he just was not at the same level as the vast majority of the players above him this season. Formula Score: 86.52.
52. Ivan Rakitic
Criticized for a few lackluster displays made to appear like several, Ivan Rakitic has gone severely unnoticed and underrated this season. He’s been far away Barcelona’s best midfielder this season and Croatia’s unsung hero as well in the process, but has been made to look by his critics as though he’s performed terribly while the untouchable Sergio Busquets and Anders Iniesta have somehow reached the same magical standards yet again. 2016-17 has actually been a great season for Rakitic and he’s been a star in a really under-performing Barcelona side. He’s been too good for how the club have performed in fact, scoring 8 goals and 5 assists in 32 matches, far better than his 2015-16 tally of 7 goals and 2 assists in which he was rightly recognized as one of the best central midfielders on the planet. The Croatian has severely under-performed in the UEFA Champions League but other than the incomparable Lionel Messi and Neymar Santos, who hasn’t for Barcelona this season? Overall it was a great season for Ivan Rakitic and his ranking on this list is hindered by his own club’s relatively deficient form rather than his own. Formula Score: 86.60.
51. Henrikh Mkhitaryan
A player that became so highly underrated by his club in 2016-17, Henrikh Mkhitaryan starred in nearly every single match he played in for Manchester United. Toward the end of the season, the Armenian was solely reserved for Europa League games and although it was a very important tournament that they needed to win in order to secure a place in the UCL next season, it was almost an insult to the great talent that he has. He was a lime- wire for Man United in the competition, at times even going unnoticed as the journalists raved about the far more inconsistent Marcus Rashford instead. Mkhitaryan in fact scored 6 goals from 11 Europa League matches, more than any other United player as he led Mourinho’s team to the trophy. His modest tally of 4 goals with just 1 assist in 24 Premier League matches paled in comparison to be fair to him, he was never truly given the chance to show his true ability in the league. More has to be expected from Mkhitaryan which is why he drops almost forty places from last season’s list, but there is no doubt that next season the Armenian legend will be the galactico superstar for the Red Devils that he is required and expected to be. Formula Score: 86.61.
50. Marek Hamsik
One of the most unstoppable footballers in the world on his day. Marek Hamsik is unplayable in so many aspects of the game and dominates Serie A year after year. Yet somehow, he never receives the recognition he truly deserves. He really is one of the best of his generation and probably deserves to be in the top thirty for his displays this season, especially after a relatively below-par 2015-16 campaign; he’s bounced back as if his life has depended on it. The creative Slovakian midfielder was massive for Napoli in 2016-17, leading his side to a 3rd place finish in the table and combining with that ever-stellar front three so fantastically well. Hamsik scored a stunning tally of 12 goals with 10 assists this season, appearing in all 38 Serie A matches as a central midfielder. His passing statistics were also up in all regards, boasting an impressive 88% pass completion rate and even scoring a further 2 goals with 2 assists in 8 Champions League games. Marek Hamsik is an extraordinarily footballer, character and a true Napoli legend. 29 years old and it feels like he’s been around forever, Marek Hamsik deserves to be thought of as one of the best of his generation. Formula Score: 86.82.
49. Mesut Ozil
I think we can all agree that this was by far Mesut Ozil’s worst season as an Arsenal footballer. He looked disinterested at times, struggled through injury and even when fit, never hit the same soaring standards that he had set for himself in the previous year. Ozil struggled for form in nearly every competition he played in, netting just 8 goals and 9 assists in 33 Premier League matches. His best run of form came in the UEFA Champions League as he scored 4 goals with 3 assists in 8 matches, but it was a competition in which Arsenal horribly crashed out of again far too early. His Premier League numbers are quite decent in all honesty, but not for a German legend, notorious for being the Premier League’s best creator of goals. Ozil is a player who tied the all-time record for PL assists last year with 19 and so only reaching 9 this campaign has to be thought of as disappointing by his god-like standards. Arsenal desperately needed Mesut Ozil to hit those same high standards in 2016-17 but he just couldn’t manage it and it’s no wonder as to why the club were in such shambles this season. Formula Score: 86.89.
48. Marco Verratti
Perhaps even PSG’s best player not named Edinson Cavani, Marco Verratti was in stellar form during the 2016-17 campaign. 2015-16 was riddled with injuries for the Italian but he was truly back to his best this season, dominating the midfield in nearly every game he featured in. So calm and composed in possession of the football, Verratti really does have a Xavi-esque way of playing the game and can be so crucial to PSG whenever he gets the ball to his feet. The defensive midfielder ended up scoring 3 goals with 5 assists this season in 28 Ligue 1 matches, also boasting impressive stats like 3.1 tackles per game and a league silver medal with 87.5 passes per game! But Verratti never let PSG down, impressing in every competition from the two French cups to the UEFA Champions League where he assisted two more goals from 7 matches. Marco Verratti, still only 24, continues his trajectory to becoming one of the world’s best midfielders and it won’t be too long before he is considered practically as good as Real Madrid’s Toni Kroos and Luka Modric. Formula Score: 86.90.
47. Mauro Icardi
What would Inter do without Mauro Icardi? The Italian club just seem so desperate to return to the glory days; the days with Diego Milito, Samuel Eto’o and that outrageous back-line that included Brazilian legends Lucio and Maicon. Never since that time has Inter encountered a star quite like Icardi who is head and shoulders above the rest of the squad, making Ivan Perisic look like a player just developing his trade by comparison. The Argentinean centre forward had an incredible 2016-17 campaign and although it was only enough to earn I Nerazzurri a 7th place finish, it was also enough to earn him plaudits for his play worldwide. The goal-scoring centre forward finished the season with a remarkable tally of 24 goals and 8 assists in 34 Serie A matches, only less than Belotti, Dzeko and Mertens, in what is becoming a league known for rising talents. He may not be elegant, graceful or the nicest striker around, but Mauro Icardi is effective, and one of the most effective in the world at what he does best. Formula Score: 86.95.
46. Angel di Maria
Not quite the stellar season we expected him to have but Angel di Maria was still very important and impressive for PSG, especially in several big matches this season. The Argentinean winger impressed in 7 UEFA Champions League matches this time around, scoring 4 goals with 1 assist in the process as he nearly led PSG to an impressive Round of 16 win over Barcelona; that is until it all came crumbling down in the final minutes of the second-leg. His form in the Coupe de la Ligue was also significant, netting 3 times in his 3 matches. However from 29 Ligue 1 matches, we all expect Di Maria to do more than just score 6 goals with 7 assists, and that is why he is so much lower on this list than his ability and talent would normally have him placed. It was a decent season for the 29-year old play-maker but more has to be expected of him and if he doesn’t step up to the plate in 2017-18, he could suffer a severe decline on this list. Formula Score: 86.95.
45. Philippe Coutinho
Liverpool’s stud and often star performer, Philippe Coutinho continues to defy expectations to become of the world’s brightest midfielders. So highly intelligent and effortless in his play, Coutinho is a creative genius and never seems to let Liverpool down. Of course he had that spell shortly after returning from injury in which he wasn’t at his best, but that can be almost completely forgotten about given how insanely positive he was in the first half of the season and the final few months of 2016-17 as well. Capable of occupying several different roles to equal affect, the 25-year old midfielder finished with 13 goals and 7 assists in 31 Premier League matches, by far his best tally despite not coming close to making the PFA Team of the Year. Just so talented in every aspect of the game, as Liverpool continue to grow under Jurgen Klopp, Coutinho is likely to flourish all the more and continue developing into one of the very best around. Formula Score: 86.98.
44. Romelu Lukaku
In previous years Romelu Lukaku has often been knocked for being too inconsistent and not stepping up to the plate when Everton have desperately needed him to most. This season, the only talk that has been about Lukaku has been whether he is a star or a superstar! It feels as though Lukaku has been around for so long, so it’s amazing to think that he’s still just 24 and remember the days he spent at West Bromwich Albion scoring for fun as a 20-year old. He’s just been so good all season long for Everton and with 25 goals and 6 assists from 37 matches, he looked destined to win his first ever golden boot until Kane stole the honour in the final few matches. Despite playing for just the league’s 7th best team, there was never any other option to partner Kane up top in the Premier League Team of the Year and I’ll be absolutely shocked if he is still at Everton next season. In addition, he’s been absolutely on fire as of late for Belgium, netting 12 goals in his last 16 appearances between 2016 and 2017. Lukaku no longer just has promise and potential, he’s already there, hitting the highest tallies in the biggest league in the world. Whether it’s with Bayern Munich, Chelsea or Man United, Romelu Lukaku is set to become one of the world’s best players. Formula Score: 86.98.
43. Dele Alli
For a 21-year old to do what Dele Alli has done in his Spurs career so far is just incredible. Like the PFA, I don’t care how quiet Dele Alli was in the first half of the season because in the second half he was absolutely immense, led the team to several impressive victories, stepped up in the absence of Harry Kane and scored for fun as Spurs challenged for the title for the second season in a row. Alli scored a stunning 18 goals with 7 assists in 37 Premier League appearances this season, tieing with Insigne for the highest scoring midfielder in all of Europe. And again, he’s only 21-years of age. His rashness cost him and his team in the Europa League, but Alli stunned the Premier League for the second season in a row and if he continues on this kind of trajectory, could soon become one of the world’s very, very best players. Formula Score: 87.00.
42. Sergio Busquets
Many of Barcelona’s outfielders received criticism in 2016-17, but Sergio Busquets was hardly ever one of them, continuing his usual dominance in central midfield and continuing to be a key factor in the back four/five receiving a significant more amount of support and concomitantly allowing Iniesta and Rakitic to surge forward. The Spanish defensive midfielder featured in 33 La Liga matches, assisting 3 goals and making 2.5 tackles per game. The 28 year old also made 8 appearances in the UEFA Champions League, making 2.9 tackles and 1.8 interceptions per game, necessarily intervening in what was a lackluster Barcelona defense at times. Overall it was a fantastic season for Busquets and he perhaps doesn’t deserve to be this low on the list. But far more footballers were even more impressive and that coupled with Barcelona’s disappointing form is perhaps the reason as to why he is as low as he is. Formula Score: 87.17.
41. Philipp Lahm
Philipp Lahm’s last season of professional football was a great one. He was again the best right-back in the league, hardly put a foot wrong for Bayern Munich and was so highly consistent in his play despite turning the age of 33. Lahm featured in 26 Bundesliga matches this season, scoring 1 goal with 2 assists and completing 73 passes per game. He also played 7 Champions League matches and 4 DFB Pokal games, being trusted to fulfill a role in every competition despite his relatively old age in footballing terms. The footballing world will definitely miss Philipp Lahm as he is a true legend of the game. One of Germany’s greatest ever footballers has said goodbye to the beautiful game in style and deserves to be remembered as one of the best defenders of all time. Formula Score: 87.22.
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TOP 100 FOOTBALLERS 2016-17