JUST MISSED THE CUT
TOP 100 FOOTBALLERS 2018
Once hailed as a future version of Cristiano Ronaldo, Richarlison shocked everyone with a big money move from Watford to Everton, a club that only finished 8 points higher than the Hornets in 2018-19 and actually currently sit lower than them in the 2018-19 Premier League table. The Brazilian has had a great start to his Everton career though, scoring 9 goals in 18 league matches. He’s also started off his career for Brazil very well, netting 3 goals in 6 appearances for his national side in 2018. What has also been impressive about his play in 2018 has been the fact that he’s played equally well on both wings and up front as a centre forward. Richarlison, still only 21, could really be one for the future and if he continues on playing like this for Everton, could be set for an even bigger move next season.
109. Niklas Sule
With all of Boateng and Hummels’ struggles in 2018-19, Niklas Sule might be Niko Kovac’s first choice centre back at Bayern Munich right now. The German defender has featured in 16 Bundesliga matches to Boateng’s 11 and Hummels’ 9. He’s established himself not just as Kovac’s first choice in the lineup but also on form the best of the bunch and has made fewer errors leading to goals this season than the other two. A beast in the air, Sule has also played 4 Champions League matches, and 2 UEFA Nations League matches so far this campaign. Although he’s still learning his trade, it’s only a matter of time before Niklas Sule takes over as the best central defender at Bayern Munich.
108. Jamie Vardy
Jamie Vardy has gone somewhat under the radar in 2018 and perhaps that is as a result of not being a regular starter for England or not achieving the same heights as other Premier League strikers. But despite that, Vardy has been tremendous and has scored goals for fun just like he always does. The Leicester City striker finished off the 2017-18 campaign brilliantly with 11 goals in his final 16 appearances to help the Foxes finish in ninth place. Since then, he has been less lethal, netting just 6 times in 15 Premier League matches this term. None the less, Vardy is still one of the deadliest goal scorers on the planet and can not be forgotten on a list of the very best players in the world, even if 2018 was not his very finest.
107. Manuel Akanji
In 2018, Manuel Akanji became the best centre back in the Bundesliga. Akanji has been a dominant force for Borussia Dortmund since arriving from FC Basel in January and has been the standout defender in their rise to the top of the table in 2018-19. Akanji has started 13 Bundesliga and 4 UEFA Champions League matches so far this season, looking comfortable regardless of whom he is playing next to. The 23-year old plays with so much poise and composure, as if he’s been in the Bundesliga and Swiss National team for years. With strength, speed and an on-the-ball presence, there is very little that Manuel Akanji cannot do and he has demonstrated that throughout 2018 for both Borussia Dortmund and Switzerland.
106. Gabriel Jesus
For all the praise about being one of the best young players in the world, Gabriel Jesus has struggled to find the back of the net on a regular basis in 2018. The 21-year old striker failed to score at the World Cup despite being Brazil’s main man up front and his progress in the Premier League has stalled with just 3 goals and 2 assists in 16 matches so far. The one other factor to that is that he’s only actually played a little over 700 minutes in the Premier League this season, having to spend most of his time as Sergio Aguero’s understudy. On a more positive note, Jesus has scored 3 goals in 4 Champions League appearances in 2018-19, highlighting that when he is given the chance to play in the starting 11 that he can still score goals. Gabriel Jesus is one of the best young players on the planet, but if he’s never given the opportunity to show it then what good is that?
105. Timo Werner
Many expected Timo Werner to be in contention for the Golden Boot at the 2018 World Cup and unfortunately it didn’t quite work out that way. But apart from a poor run at the World Cup (and what German didn’t have a poor World Cup), Timo Werner has still had a very fine 2018. Few forwards score as many goals as the German striker and for all that is expected of Werner, it cannot be forgotten that he is still only 22-years old. His tally of 11 goals in 17 Bundesliga appearances this season is only bettered by Luka Jovic and Paco Alcacer, although both have seemingly made more headlines than the German striker. That is simply because people expect Timo Werner to score goals. He’ll never be Robert Lewandowski, but at 22, Timo Werner looks destined to become one of the all-time leading scorers in the Bundesliga. 2018 wasn’t his best, but Werner still scored more goals than most and has continued to build his fine reputation as one of the best on the planet at what he does best – score goals.
104. Florian Thauvin
Few players have been better than Florian Thauvin in 2018 and although the Frenchman does not have the most luxurious reputation, it is undeniable that he deserves his place on this list. Thauvin has been exceptional in 2018. He helped Marseille make it to the UEFA Europa League final with 2 goals in his final five appearances in the tournament and scored 11 goals in final 12 league appearances of the 2017-18 Ligue 1 campaign as Marseille finished in fourth. Thauvin has started off the 2018-19 campaign in similar fashion, scoring a stunning 11 goals with 3 assists in 16 appearances and finding the back of the net on 2 occasions in 3 Europa League matches this term. The only small blip in his year was that he was not given more of a chance to play his part in France’s 2018 World Cup win. Perhaps in the future if he continues on in this vein, Florian Thauvin could be a regular starter for France at the Euros in 2020.
103. Dimitri Payet
Another player that has gone under the radar in 2018 despite fantastic performances is Marseille’s star man Dimitri Payet. Payet was unlucky to get injured in the Europa League final just weeks before the 2018 World Cup, missing out on France’s fantastic triumph. Despite that injury, Payet has always fared well in 2018 when he’s been fit and has continued to contribute to Marseille’s success. With 4 goals and 5 assists in 17 Ligue 1 appearances this season, it hasn’t been exactly up to Payet’s incredibly high standards of seasons past. However, the role he played in helping Les Olympiens make it to the Europa League final with 3 goals and 7 assists in 9 matches can not be understated.
102. Nabil Fekir
By now most of the world should have heard of Nabil Fekir, yet he still remains one of the lesser known entities on this list. Fekir has been one of Ligue 1’s stars for about four years now, going back to when he and Lacazette used to terrorize Ligue 1 defenders together. 2018 was no different for Fekir and Lyon, although he finally gained recognition from the man whom he wanted recognition from most – Didier Deschamps. The 25-year old attacking midfielder finally broke into Didier Deschamps France squad just in time for the World Cup to feature in 6 matches, albeit all from the bench. Fekir however has never on the bench for his club team, Olympique Lyonnais, where he’s played a key role in helping them soar to the Round of 16 in the UEFA Champions League with 3 goals and 2 assists in 5 matches. On top of that, he’s managed 4 goals and 2 assists in 12 Ligue 1 appearances. It’s not quite the 18 goals with 8 assists he managed in 30 Ligue 1 matches last campaign, but it is still impressive. Soon, Fekir might finally get a big money move to one of Europe’s best. It’s only a matter time before the Frenchman truly announces himself on the world stage for all to see.
101. David Alaba
David Alaba hasn’t been at his best for years now but every time he plays you can still tell just how much quality and talent he possesses. Unfortunately for David Alaba he hasn’t been able to use that talent to do anything particularly noteworthy since the days before Euro 2016. Although not particularly poor, Alaba hasn’t exactly performed well in his 17 Bundesliga appearances this season. With the sale of Juan Bernat however, Bayern simply do not have a replacement and the Austrian has been able to keep his place. That has helped him perhaps to perform very well in all six of Bayern’s UEFA Champions League matches so far this term, assisting 2 goals those 6 matches. Nonetheless, it’s a bit depressing that a player with so much talent and quality in nearly every aspect of the game, simply hasn’t been able to produce a noteworthy impact for a little over two years now. Still though, David Alaba remains one of the standout left-backs in Europe and continues to hold down a place in one of the continent’s supreme clubs.
For the full Mastermind Top 100 2018 list click here ->OFFICIAL: Top 100 Male Footballers of 2018. Thanks for reading!