It’s almost the end of the year, so it’s only fitting that we count down the top 100 footballers of 2019. Check out the start of the list (100-91) below.
100. Teemu Pukki
Some Championship top scorers of seasons past have struggled to hit the mark in the Premier League, but not Teemu Pukki who has been on fire for a struggling Norwich team all the way through the 2019-20 season. The clinical finisher has scored 9 goals with 3 assists in 18 Premier League matches. It’s even more impressive considering how little Norwich and the Finnish finisher himself have actually had of the ball. When he gets in a dangerous area, he just always looks destined to score. Perhaps even more miraculously than his form for Norwich, Pukki has scored 10 goals in 10 matches for Finland this year as the Eagle-owls qualified for the Euros for the very first time. He might be 29-years old, but Teemu Pukki has certainly come into his own at Norwich the past two seasons and is the Canaries’ best hope at survival this season.
99. Raul Jimenez
Very few centre forwards on the planet have an eye for a pass like Raul Jimenez. Not only is the Mexican striker a deadly goal-scorer, he’s one of the best play-making attackers around. He’s formed an incredible partnership with Diego Jota, whose speed and dynamism compliments Jimenez’s frame and presence so well. He plays with his back to goal so much that it’s almost crazy to think he still scores as many goals as he does. Jimenez made a seamless transition into the Premier League in 2018-19, featuring in all 38 matches, scoring 13 goals and assisting 7 as Wolves finished in 7th place. He’s followed that up with a stellar 2019-20 season so far, again being one of the first names on the team sheet every single game. Jimenez has featured in 18 Premier League matches to date this season, scoring 7 goals with 5 assists, along with 3 goals and 2 assists in 5 UEFA Europa League matches. Raul Jimenez is not only one of the best forwards of 2019, but also one of the most underrated.
98. Ricardo Pereira
Ricardo Pereira has been instrumental to Leicester City’s success since Brendan Rodgers took charge. In fact, there might not be a more well-rounded fullback in the league. His ability to get up and down the right flank at exactly the right moments suggests not only great endurance and ability but also his fantastic tactical knowledge of the game. Pereira has gone forward to score 2 goals with 1 assist in his 17 Premier League matches so far, averaging 4.4 tackles per game and 2 interceptions per game. Only his teammate Wilfred Ndidi has made more tackles + interceptions in the Premier Leage so far this season, helping Leicester to 7 clean sheets in the process. Pereira has played every single minute of action so far this season and it is extremely easy to see why. Quite simply he’s become un-droppable for Brendan Rogers, and established himself as the most in-form right-back in the league this season even ahead of Aaron Wan Bissaka and Trent Alexander-Arnold.
97. Achraf Hakimi
Achraf Hakimi has been one of Dortmund’s standout players this season. It doesn’t even seem to matter whether he’s playing right back, left back, right-wing-back, right wing, or left wing, he’s performed magnificently well and has intelligently fulfilled every single role he’s been asked to. The Real Madrid loanee was unlucky to start the year with a broken foot, but he’s recovered fantastically well to become a standout performer for Dortmund and one of the top names on Favre’s team sheet every week. This season, the 21-year old defender has scored 2 goals with 6 assists in his 17 Bundesliga matches, performing admirably wherever he’s been asked to play. He’s also been Dortmund’s standout performer in the Champions League, currently leading the team in goals with 4 in 6 matches. Not bad for a fullback/make-shift winger. The scary thing is that Achraf Hakimi is still only 21-years old. He certainly has a bright future ahead of him, whether it’s as a fullback, winger or somewhere in between.
96. Alex Sandro
Suddenly very underrated on all these end of year lists, Alex Sandro has continued on his usual business as Juventus’ sure-fire starting left-back and one of the best defenders Serie A has to offer. Now 28-years old, Sandro has even come into his own as a starter for his national team, particularly with Marcelo’s injury troubles this year. Sandro has had a solid start to 2019-20, assisting 4 goals in 17 matches across Serie A and the UEFA Champions League. His defensive numbers have gone slightly down this season, but that could be down to Sandro becoming more experienced and learning to do less tackling. In the past few years the Brazilian fullback has quietly gone about his business as one of the world’s best left-backs, without receiving much of the recognition for it.
95. Marcelo Brozovic
At the age of 27, Marcelo Brozovic has quietly established himself as one of Europe’s finest defensive midfielders, acting as the key cog to make everything tick in Conte’s industrious 3-5-2 system at Inter Milan. The Croatian midfielder has simultanouesly become one of Europe’s supreme passers and tacklers in the past few years and this season has averaged 72.6 passes (1st in Serie A) and 2.9 tackles per game (2nd in Serie A). Despite being a defensive screen in front of the back four, Brozovic has also chipped in with 2 goals and 4 assists in 16 league matches this season, something very rare for a player of his position. If you can find a player with better off-the-ball movement than Brozovic please let me know. Marcelo Brozovic is a true tactician, midfield maestro and tough tackler all wrapped up in one, making him one of the most complete midfielders in Europe.
94. Wilfred Ndidi
Wilfred Ndidi might be one of the most intelligent players in the Premier League. Heck, I’ll even go one step further: Ndidi might be one of the most intelligent 23-years old ever seen in European football…and his birthday was only last week. His tactical and positional awareness is second to none in Europe at the moment, resulting in the Nigerian completing more combined tackles + interceptions than any other player in Europe this year, despite Leicester becoming a much more possession oriented team under Brendan Rodgers. He’s been so good that he even got his own special showcase section in our Leicester City Tactical Analysis. The more attack minded players will always get the plaudits, but Ndidi’s influence for Leicester City has been arguably better than anyone else this season. Take him out of the team and Leicester are nowhere near the same. It’s no easy task to replace the tough tackling N’Golo Kante, but Ndidi has been doing it exceptionally well since he was 20-years old. At 22 and 23, he has now fully established himself as one of the best defensive midfielders on the planet and his omission from The Guardian’s list is baffling yet unsurprising given the convoluded formula of picking players and the sensible agreement among judges that Ndidi is not yet one of the top 40 players in the world.
93. Dele Alli
Dele Alli has really come alive in the last few months of 2019 under the influence of Jose Mourinho. He’s arguably even been Tottenham’s best player since the arrival of the Portuguese manager, scoring 4 goals and 3 assists in no time at all. The revitalization of his career is actually a bit mystifying. He didn’t quite hit the mark last season under Pochettino, scoring and assisting the exact same tally he’s managed in fewer games this season of 5 goals and 3 assists in his 25 Premier League matches. Now that Pocchettino has departed, Alli’s been absolutely unstoppable and has even kept Denmark’s Christian Eriksen out of the side. With his overall ability and reputation of past seasons, Alli had to reclaim a spot on the Top 100 Footballers list.
92. Harry Maguire
Harry Maguire is the closest thing the Premier League has to Virgil Van Dijk other than the Liverpool man himself. The British centre-back has great tactical awareness, rarely makes mistakes and usually has a big role at both ends of the pitch. Maguire is one of the very best defenders in the Premier League, highlighted by his outlandish big money move to Manchester United at the start of the year. This notion is even further highlighted by the fact that he’s been named captain of the team on several occasions now, despite only having arrived five months ago. One of the best in the air, Maguire is also a silky passer of the ball. He’s won the 6th most aerial duels per game in the league and only Paul Pogba has gotten on the ball more times per game than the Englishman for Manchester United. Still only 26-years old, Harry Maguire is Manchester United’s best hope at greater defensive stability for years to come. He’s had a fantastic 2019 and deserves full credit for continuing to perform in a team of underperformers.
91. Blaise Matuidi
It’s almost amazing at this point that at the age of 32, Blaise Matuidi is the one name that can just never be left out of Juventus’ central midfield. Bentancur, Ramsey, Can, Rabiot and Khedira seem to rotate constantly, but Matuidi always stays along with Miralem Pjanic. His creative presence and goal-scoring ability have certainly diminished since his arrival at Juventus, but he’s been a queitly consistent performer for both and club and country in 2019. A man of many qualities, the French midfielder is perhaps best known for being a box-to-box midfielder with a great influence at both ends of the field. He’s one of the best passers in the league, fitting for a Juventus player, and also one of the most dominant midfield tacklers. So despite now being 32 and on the decline since his heroics for France in 2018, Blaise Matuidi remains one of the best central midfielders in the world.
So there it is! The Top 100 Footballers in the World (100-91). Be sure to check out the rest of the list in the upcoming days before the new year. Thanks for reading and see you soon.
SEE THE COUNTDOWN
For last year’s list be sure to check out -> OFFICIAL: Top 100 Male Footballers of 2018.