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 (90-81) below.
90. EDIN DZEKO
33-years old now, Edin Dzeko is still scoring goal after goal game after game. The 2018-19 Serie A season wasn’t the Bosnian’s absolute best. But between Champions League and Serie A matches he still managed 14 goals with 9 assists in his 39 appearances. This season Dzeko is on par to do even better, with 10 goals and 4 assists between his 24 Europa League and Serie A combined appearances so far. He’s never been the most prolific goal scorer on the planet. But Edin Dzeko has been one of the greatest strikers in Europe not only this year, but this decade as well.
89. DAVID ALABA
David Alaba remains one of the most versatile footballers on the planet, playing equally well as a left-back or centre-back for Bayern Munich, and still filling in on occasion as a central midfielder or left winger for his national team. Alaba has needed to fill in at centre-back throughout 2019 due to a variety of injury and performance problems at the back. With very little experience at the position, he’s performed admirably and has still found a way to create chances for his teammates from deep. Unfortunately Bayern Munich’s start to this season has not been wonderful, but Alaba was an unspoken key figure in the Bavarian giants’ revival to the top of the table in the second half of the 2018-19 campaign in which they narrowly scraped out the title. Whether it’s as a fullback or centre-back, David Alaba remains one of the best defenders in world football.
88. MEMPHIS DEPAY
Memhpis Depay has been bright and bold for club and country since his move away from Manchester United to Ligue 1 giants Olympique Lyonnais. The Dutchman has scored 6 goals in 7 matches for his national team this year, as Netherlands finished second in the 2019 UEFA Nations League. His performances for Lyon also haven’t disappointed, scoring 9 goals with 2 assists this season in 13 Ligue 1 appearances, along with 5 goals in 5 UEFA Champions League matches. A seriously impressive dribbler and goal-scorer, Lyon will do extraordinarily well to hold on to Memphis Depay for much longer.
87. KEYLOR NAVAS
Keylor Navas wasn’t a gauranteed starter at Real Madrid, and a move to PSG was somewhat risky given the host of talented goalkeepers they already had at their disposal. But the Costa Rican has managed to be something of a stalwart in the side, even despite competition from Sergio Rico and Alphonse Areola. Navas has continued his usual heroics in the UEFA Champions League this season, conceding just 2 goals in 5 matches and coming up with 10 saves in a single match against his former club. He’s been consistently solid in Ligue 1 as well, keeping out two fabulous goalkeepers and helping PSG on their way to just 10 goals conceded in their 18 matches so far this campaign. Overall, Navas remains one of the best keepers in the world and a move from Real Madrid to PSG has only further enhanced his illustrious reputation.
86. MARCO VERRATTI
Marco Verratti’s career has never quite fully taken off in the way that many would have hoped, especially in an era where Andrea Pirlo and Claudio Marchisio are no longer active. However, he always shines bright for PSG whenever he’s fit to play and is a superb technician for the club in balancing out the more robust style of a player like Idrissa Gueye or Ander Herrera alongside him. He’s had arguably his best start to a season ever at PSG, averaging the most passes per game in Ligue 1 (82.6) and the 3rd most amount of total tackles of anyone in his team (31). He’s also been superb for Italy in UEFA Nations League qualifying, averaging a ridiculous 111 passes per game. Unfortunately even despite his fantastic displays for one of Europe’s elite clubs, Verratti still hasn’t truly established himself as one of Europe’s top midfielders.
85. PHILIPPE COUTINHO
It never really worked out for Philippe Coutinho at Barcelona and more was made out of his underperformances than perhaps justified, due to his incredibly large transfer fee and reputation at the time of his arrival. Since moving to Bayern Munich, Coutinho has been absolutely on fire when he’s been given the chance to showcase his talent. He’s featured in 15 Bundesliga matches so far, scoring 6 goals with 5 assists in that time. He also had a great tournament at this year’s Copa America, playing a massive role in Brazil’s tournament winning success, not only with 2 goals in 6 matches but also playing a role in the defensive side of the game with 2.8 tackles per game. It’s almost amazing that after one slightly mediocre season by his standards, that Philippe Coutinho has almost become completely underrated.
84. CHRISTIAN ERIKSEN
After begging for a move away from Tottenham at the start of the year, Christian Eriksen has become the forgotten man at the club, especially under Jose Mourinho who has favoured the dynamism of Dele Alli. The Dane was evidently key in Tottenham’s Champions League success of this season and performed well as he’s always done for Tottenham in the 2018-19 season. But this season has not been up to his usual tricks and creative influence, even when he has had the opportunity to play. Only 1 goal and 2 assists in 14 appearances is simply not good enough from one of the best play-makers in world football.
83. DONNY VAN DE BEEK
It seems to be quite rare these days to find a central midfielder equally capable of playing as a ‘6’, ‘8’ or ’10’, but Donny van de Beek has established himself as exactly that for Ajax in the past two years. Van de Beek has been a key cog for Ajax since his arrival and was simply magnificent in the UEFA Champions League last season as Ajax reached the final. This season he’s continued on in the exact same form, scoring 6 goals with 4 assists in 16 Eredivisie matches and 2 goals, 1 assist in 5 Champions League matches. At 22-years old, it should be amazing to see what Van de Beek can do in the future and if any big name club pays the price for his services at the end of this year.
82. JORDAN HENDERSON
There might not be a Premier League player who has been more underrated this decade than Jordan Henderson. With a Champions League win under his belt in mid-2019, Jordan Henderson finally got the recognition he’s deserved for so long. He’s been such a crucial player for Liverpool in all of their recent success and is quietly one of the best players on the pitch every single match he plays in. His ability on-the-ball has been equally important for Liverpool to his movement off-the-ball and his partnership and understanding with Trent Alexander-Arnold and Mohamed Salah on the right side has gotten the best out of both players. Henderson will never be prolific with goals or assists, but his leadership, awareness, and just overall ability across a variety of areas have been so key in leading Liverpool to wide-scale success in 2019.
81. JAMES MADDISON
James Maddison looked destined to become one of Europe’s elite midfielders from his very first game with Leicester. Since Brendan Rodgers has come into the fold, Maddison has fulfilled a variety of different roles and has played well regardless of where he’s been asked to play. With his stellar performances on the way to 5 goals and 3 assists in 17 league matches, Maddison has been the best central midfielder in the Premier League this season not named Kevin de Bruyne. Only two players have won more fouls in the Premier League than James Maddison, and given that he’s created 43 chances (2.7 per game), he’s been incredibly unlucky to only accumulate 3 assists. He just seems to always be on the ball for the Foxes, constantly making things happen as Leicester have ticked all the boxes on the way to second in the table. Very few players have been as influential as James Maddison has been for Leicester City this season, adding on to the already fantastic campaign he had in his first season at the club in 2018-19.
So there it is! The Top 100 Footballers in the World (91-80). 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.
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