TOP 100 FOOTBALLERS 2016-17
40. David De Gea
Although it wasn’t his best season, David De Gea still did enough to earn the respect of his fellow professionals and earn a fourth PFA Team of the Year selection. Of his four TOTY selections, this was by far his weakest season, with Jose Mourinho even calling into question his focus in the final few matches as a transfer to Real Madrid continued to loom over his head. It was still a good enough season for the Spaniard, as he kept 14 clean sheets in 35 matches, made 2.11 saves per game and only conceded 0.83 goals per game. David De Gea is still the best keeper in the Premier League but he hasn’t been the best one this season and probably shouldn’t have earned a fourth selection to the Team of the Season. His future is still up in the air but if he is to return to his best form he needs to get his head right again and resolve this Real Madrid controversy once and for all. Formula Score: 87.22.
39. Karim Benzema
Karim Benzema’s career has hit turmoil these past few years but he was still immense in helping Real Madrid win their third UEFA Champions League title in the past four years. He was inconsistent and unreliable in La Liga, scoring only 11 goals with 5 assists 29 appearances but he was fantastic yet again for Madrid in the biggest competition of all, scoring 5 goals in 12 matches. This season was supposed to be the season where Alvaro Morata took over and although the Spaniard’s tally of 15 La Liga goals in 26 appearances it was still Benzema starting all the matches. As a result, Morata now appears to be on the move again with both Manchester United and Chelsea interested and should he move on, that might be the thing that helps the 29-year old Frenchman return to his best. Karim Benzema still isn’t as clinical as he once was and as we expect him to be, but his overall play is still as solid and he has proven this season that he can come up with the goods when it matters most. Formula Score: 87.32.
38. Mats Hummels
Mats Hummels had a relatively successful first season at Bayern Munich but it was no secret nor surprise that it was his worst season in years after leaving the club that contributed to his legendary status, Borussia Dortmund. Hummels was solid all season long and was Germany’s and Bayern Munich’s top defender, but he never truly found his footing to the same incredibly high standards as he had in other years. The German international featured in 27 Bundesliga matches, scoring once, and making 2.1 interceptions and 2.1 tackles per game. He also played 9 UEFA Champions League matches but wasn’t all that influential as Bayern crashed out in the quarter finals. Mats Hummels has to still be one of the best defenders in the world but after leaving the safety of Borussia Dortmund, his career, playing time and status was always likely to decline. Formula Score: 87.41.
37. David Silva
David Silva was perhaps Pep Guardiola’s star player this season. He is so good in possession of the football and just has this ability to make every player around him instantly better. From 34 Premier League matches this season, he scored 4 goals with 7 assists; while operating frequently in a deeper position in midfield. What is often forgotten about Silva is how hard he actually works to win the ball back, something many of his fellow teammates struggle with. The Spaniard has the ability to dominate every single football match he plays in, but at the same time doesn’t do it on a regular enough basis. If he was able to reach the same heights as Kevin de Bruyne he would easily be up towards the top twenty but consistently he just hasn’t managed to reach double figures in both goals and assists like far more players above him. Formula Score: 87.76.
36. Arturo Vidal
Carlo Ancelotti’s first season in charge was a bit of a strange one for Arturo Vidal as for the first time in his career, he wasn’t a regular starter and also for the first time in any recent year didn’t completely dominate every match he played in. Those are the high standards we hold Vidal too so 2016-17 almost comes as a disappointment for the Chilean. The 30-year old midfielder only scored 4 goals with 2 assists in 27 Bundesliga matches, only 21 of which were starts. He had more of an effect in the UEFA Champions League where he scored 3 goals and made 4.5 tackles per game in 8 matches but he wasn’t his usual self in the league and was often left out in place of Joshua Kimmich, Thiago Alcantara and Xabi Alonso. The defensive midfielder has always been excellent for his country and has made enough of an impact at Bayern this season to still place high on this list, but we simply do expect more from the man who is regarded as being one of the best midfielders in the world over the past decade. Formula Score: 87.78.
35. Marco Reus
Those who don’t follow the German Bundesliga closely might be remissed to believe that this has been another season in which Marco Reus has not reached his true best thanks to more injury troubles. In actuality, despite spending so much time out injured this season, he’s actually had one of the very best seasons of his entire career. Every single time he played, he was the difference between Dortmund winning and losing and came up so massively in all of their most important games this season. He scored a hat-trick against Warsaw after returning from injury in that historic 8-4 UCL win, led them to a crucial draw against Real Madrid weeks later and finished off the season in the same stellar manner by securing them a 3rd place finish in the table with a dominating display and a brace against Bremen. All and all, Reus scored 7 goals with 4 assists in just 17 Bundesliga appearances this season, never failing to make his mark. He also added a highly respectable 4 goals in 4 UEFA Champions League games and 2 goals in 3 DFB Pokal matches as the Black and Yellows lifted the trophy. Marco Reus really is one of the most talented and lethal footballers on this planet and hopefully next year he can be fit enough to participate in the World Cup and prove it to everyone once and for all. Formula Score: 87.87.
34. Paul Pogba
Despite always receiving a heavy amount of criticism, Paul Pogba had a very impressive first season back at Old Trafford. Obviously the transfer fee is ludicrous and perhaps he wasn’t as good as we would have expected of him given how lethal and clinical he was in front of goal for Juventus, but he still had a very good season, dominating several games. In fact, he was United’s dominating factor on route to lifting the Europa League, controlling every single game in all areas of the pitch and finishing with 3 goals in 15 appearances. The French midfielder was also more than solid in most of the Premier League games he played in, scoring 5 goals with 4 assists in 30 Premier League matches. However, with 3.1 shots per game, perhaps that tally should have been higher and that is perhaps the only really disappointing thing about Pogba’s play this season. He’s still one of the best midfielders in the world and still only 24 years of age so a future Ballon d’Or could very much still be on the cards. Formula Score: 87.89.
33. Harry Kane
This season Harry Kane has established himself as one of the best footballers in the world and if he stays in England, looks destined to become one of the league’s greatest ever strikers. After 100 Premier League games, he achieved a tally of 69 goals, the same as Liverpool great Luis Suarez who was given 990 more minutes of playing time when he to do so. The Tottenham striker didn’t even look likely to win the golden boot this season despite his high-goal-scoring capabilities as he spent a large amount of time on the bench. But then with a high flurry of goals towards the end of the season, he took over Romelu Lukaku in the final few games and finished with a remarkable 29 goals in 30 Premier League matches. Just imagine the record-breaking tally he could have achieved had he been fit for all 38 matches. The 23-year old also boasted impressive statistics like 7 assists, linking up with his teammates fantastically well, and 4 goals in 3 FA Cup matches as Spurs made it to the semi-finals. Harry Kane is not just a complete striker, he’s a complete player, and at the age of 23 it won’t be too long before we start to talk about the Tottenham star in the same breath as some of the all-time Premier League greats. Formula Score: 87.96.
32. Diego Godin
Season after season, Diego Godin continues to be one of the best defenders in the world. The Uruguayan is the main reason why Simeone’s defense are so incredibly solid and impossible to break down and never seems to let his team down. Godin featured in 30 La Liga matches this season, scoring 3 goals with 1 assist and making nearly 3 interceptions per game. The 31-year old also made 11 Champions League appearances, making 2.5 tackles, 2.6 interceptions per game and 6.1 clearances per game. Diego Godin is one of the best defenders in the world and perhaps the only reason why he has suffered a decline on this list is down to the fact that Atletico just could not make it happen in either La Liga or the UEFA Champions League this season. Formula Score: 88.23.
31. Miralem Pjanic
Miralem Pjanic has just had such a good season in the heart of Juve’s incredibly impressive midfield. But strangely, he hasn’t received nearly as much recognition for his play as perhaps he should have received this season. He’s worked his socks off in every game and in addition to showing his attacking prowess and playmaking abilities, he’s also often been a demon in defense. The Boznian midfielder scored 5 goals with 9 assists in 30 Serie A matches this season but also created 2 chances per game. He was also one of Allegri’s most important players in the Champions League, aiding them in their quest towards the final with 1 goal, 3 assists and over 2 tackles per game through 12 matches. Very few midfielders on the planet have been better in 2016-17 than Miralem Pjanic and he absolutely needs to receive that kind of praise far more. Formula Score: 88.24.
30. Manuel Neuer
Similarly to many of Bayern Munich’s legendary figures, Manuel Neuer did not have his best season at the club. The German goalkeeper actually spent a lot of time out injured, only playing 26 Bundesliga matches and struggled for form in 9 UEFA Champions League matches. Many of his statistics are still highly impressive though. He kept 14 clean sheets in 26 matches, made 3.81 saves per goal conceded and only conceded 13 goals the entire season. Manuel Neuer is still the best goalkeeper in the world but soon may be dethroned by the younger, more agile David De Gea or Atletico’s Jan Oblak. Formula Score: 88.25.
It really is time we start talking about Marcelo as one of the best footballers on this planet. He’s been doing it for years and years and years for Real Madrid yet still seems to go so underrated and understated. The Brazilian is easily the best left-back in the world and never disappoints for his club or country. Consistently one of Real Madrid’s best players, Marcelo scored 2 goals with 10 assists in 30 La Liga matches, enough to make him the most influential fullback in Europe’s top 5 leagues. He also assisted 2 goals in 11 UEFA Champions League matches, playing arguably some of his best football ever in the tournament as Madrid became the first ever back to back winners. Amazing in both attack and defense, Marcelo is easily one of Real Madrid’s best ever players and for me by far and away the best left-back in the world. Formula Score: 88.32.
28. Thomas Muller
Thomas Muller has been such a stellar star since the age of 19. But more recently, since around the time of Euro 2016, the German forward has suddenly been in decline. Carlo Ancelotti oddly enough didn’t even trust him enough to play him regularly in his side, leaving him out in place of a third central midfielder. When he played he was still very influential, scoring 5 goals with 12 assists in 29 matches, but that isn’t what we expected of Muller, hence the massive decline. Only five goals, compared to 20 from the season before was just not good enough and we may beginning to see a first glimpse of the decline of one of the all-time German greats. Formula Score: 88.38.
27. Dani Alves
Somehow at 34 years of age, Dani Alves is still the best right-back in the world. If you had asked me my opinion on Dani Alves at the start of the season I would have told you he was starting to fade away and that his move to Juventus was a bit of a signal that his best times have come and gone. But the exact opposite has turned out to be true. The Brazilian looked just as fit as ever before and his role in the Juventus team was immense, even contributing to all four goals they scored in the two Champions League legs against Monaco. The Brazilian may have only made 19 appearances in Serie A due to a broken leg at the start of the season, but was fantastic in those 19 games, scoring 2 goals with 2 assists. But even more impressively was his play in the UEFA Champions League where he scored 3 goals and 4 assists in 12 matches in addition to making nearly 3 tackles per game and creating 30 chances for his teammates. It was such a fantastic season for Dani Alves and so amazing given how his career really should have been over the moment he left Barcelona. Dani Alves really is just the complete fullback and with the way he’s going at Juventus this season he just shows no signs of slowing down whatsoever and now looks destined for a move to Manchester City. Formula Score: 88.40.
26. Sergio Aguero
Slightly inconsistent and not quite at his best, Sergio Aguero still managed to score so many goals this season. He wasn’t even Guardiola’s first choice centre forward at times after Gabriel Jesus came into the side, but towards the end of the season it was so much fun to watch them together up top. The Argentinean scored 20 goals with 3 assists in just 31 Premier League matches, always managing to find the back of the net even when not in full flow. He also scored an amazing tally of 5 goals in 7 UEFA Champions League matches but that was unfortunately only enough to help the Citizens reach the Round of 16. Sergio Aguero is still one of the best forwards on the planet but soon it appears his role in the Manchester City team could become less important as Gabriel Jesus grows more and more into the role. Formula Score: 88.40.
25. Kevin de Bruyne
Relatively quiet in the first half of the season, Kevin de Bruyne really came into his own in the second half of the season and went on to become one of the Premier League’s all-time top single-season play-makers. The Belgian midfielder assisted 18 goals in 36 matches, an assist every 1 out of 2 games. He also scored 6 goals and if that had been more he easily would have been back inside the top twenty for the third year in a row. So highly creative and always buzzing around trying to make things happen, Kevin de Bruyne is one of the most creative players in the world. If he could get his goal numbers up and do more defensively for Guardiola’s team he could soon crack the top ten. Formula Score: 88.44.
24. Diego Costa
In the first half of the season, Diego Costa was arguably the best centre forward in the Premier League. He was scoring goals for fun but more importantly, his link-up play, work ethic and tenacity were all second to none. In the second half of the season however, the Brazilian born forward suddenly went quiet, coinciding with a move to China looming over his head. A stuttering start that included 14 goals and 5 assists in 19 matches turned into a second half that included just 6 goals and 2 assists more through 16 more appearances. As a result, Costa slumped down nearly thirteen places between January and May. Still though, this was highly improved upon from last season and should he finally move on to China or go back to Atletico Madrid next season, he should hold his head up proud as he has had a brilliant Chelsea career thus far. Formula Score: 88.58.
23. Sergio Ramos
Through aggressive tackles, rash defending and a declining career for Spain’s national team, Sergio Ramos has almost become criminally underrated this season. He’s still by far one of the best defenders in the world and very few centre backs can do more in both attack and defense than the Spaniard. Ramos scored an incredible 7 goals in 28 matches this season in La Liga and added a goal with 2 assists in 11 UEFA Champions League matches. Apart from a rash red card against Barcelona, Sergio Ramos always came up big when it mattered most this season and had possibly his best season ever, captaining and leading Real Madrid to a highly successful campaign. Formula Score: 88.89.
22. Giorgio Chiellini
Last year Leonardo Bonucci emerged as Juve and Italy’s top defender but this year, Giorgio Chiellini might have taken over again. He was absolutely impeccable in every single game and his defensive play at times was just as exciting as some of Juve’s best moments in attack. Giorgio Chiellini played less matches than Bonucci, only 21 Serie A games and 9 in the Champions League, but for my money was even more astute. Such an intelligent footballer with a loud roaring passion for the game, Chiellini really is a brick wall that is so hard to break down. Very few forwards could get past him in 2016-17 and he nearly helped lead The Old Lady to the CL title. Giorgio Chiellini is an incredible defender, the second highest ranked on this list in fact and continues to be one of Juve and Italy’s all-time best. Formula Score: 89.04.
21. Leonardo Bonucci
Very few defenders on the planet are as capable as Leonardo Bonucci. He always seems to be in the right place at the right time and seems to get his body in the way of nearly every single shot, pass or cross. In terms of natural defensive talent and awareness, there might not even be a better one on the planet. The 30 year-old featured in 29 Serie A matches this season, scoring 3 goals and making 2.1 interceptions per game. He also rocked the UEFA Champions League, scoring 1 goal in 11 matches and just being such a nuisance for any opposing forward. The Italian defender is the highest ranked defender on this list, highlighting how awesome of a season he has just had. Forget about the bust-ups with his coaches (both Italy and Juve), Bonucci is obviously one of the best defenders on the planet and Juventus would not be the same team, the same Champions League silver medal winning team without him. Formula Score: 89.17.
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