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 next section of the list (70-61) below.
70. Thiago Silva
Every single time Thiago Silva appears to be on the decline, he starts playing some of the best football of his career again. Thiago Silva has been magnificent this year for both PSG and Brazil. Silva featured in all 6 of Brazil’s Copa America matches, completing 95% of his passes as his nation lifted the trophy. He’s also been a consistent performer for PSG and one of the first names on the team sheet every week even despite having now turned 35 years old this season. In his 16 Ligue 1 appearances so far, the rock-solid centre-back has completed more passes (1233) and had a better pass completion rate (95.6%) than any other player in the league. Surely soon enough Thiago Silva’s career will wind down. But for now he remains one of the best centre-backs in the world, at the age of 35.
69. Hakim Ziyech
It’s amazing that Hakim Ziyech has not made a move away from Ajax at this stage in his career. But his loyalty certainly paid off last year as he led Ajax to a UEFA Champions League semi-final. The Moroccan has been arguably the player of the decade in the Eredivisie, and all of his fantastic play continued in 2019. Ziyech finished the 2018-19 season with an absolutely miraculous tally of 16 goals and 13 assists in 29 matches, proving to be simply far too good for the other players in the league. He’s gone on to be even more of a play-maker this season, scoring 6 goals with 12 assists in his 17 league appearances so far this term. His positive form in the UEFA Champions League has also continued, scoring 2 goals with 4 assists in 6 matches. All of this is truly something special. But Hakim Ziyech is going to need to make a move to a European giant if he is ever going to truly establish himself as one of Europe’s elite players. We know that he can perform to great heights on the biggest stage in club football, but we need to see him do it for one of the best clubs in club football as well.
68. Dusan Tadic
Typically, moving away from the Premier League to the Dutch League would be a sign of a downturn in a player’s career. But for Dusan Tadic, it could not have worked out better. The Serbian striker went from being an average Premier League player at a struggling Southampton, to scoring goals for fun in the greatest stage in the world, as he led Ajax to the semi finals of the UEFA Champions League. Last season Tadic managed 6 goals and 4 assists in 12 appearances as Ajax surprised everyone to make it to the final four.
The question becomes about if the 31-year old couldn’t become one of the best in his position in the Premier League, does he deserve to be so high up on this list after a move to a lower level league? But Tadic’s play these past two seasons has been truly something worth remembering. He’s fulfilled a variety of different roles, most notably as a false 9 in Ajax’s illustrious possession-based 4-3-3. In 2019-20, the Serbian striker has scored 8 goals with 13 assists in his 18 Eredivisie appearances so far, adding a further 3 assists in 6 UEFA Champions League matches. He’s also made a positive impact for his national team, scoring 2 goals in 6 appearances. But on top of all else, Tadic was simply unstoppable in the Dutch league last season, scoring a league leading 28 goals with 13 assists in 34 league appearances. Dusan Tadic never quite made the same impact in the Premier League, but Ajax has been where the Serbian superstar has gone to shine. He’s been the brightest star in the league since his arrival and continues to make the difference for a powerful Ajax team as we move into 2020.
Thomas Tuchel has never shied away from tactical innovations. But converting Brazilian defender Marquinhos into a defensive midfielder might be one of the greatest innovations he’s ever had. Tuchel has made Marquinhos into one of PSG’s prime players and simultaneously, one of the best defensive midfielders on the planet in the blink of an eye. Marquinhos was a key member of Brazil’s Copa America winning team, starting all 6 matches, and has made 23 appearances for PSG so far this term in all competitions, completing 92% of his passes. Whether it’s at defensive mid or centre-back, Marquinhos is finally fulfilling all the promise of his big money move from Roma to PSG all those years ago.
66. Dani Alves
Dani Alves is no longer playing for one of Europe’s elite clubs, but he still continues to be one of the world’s elite players. The 36-year old started all 6 of Brazil’s Copa America matches on their way to winning the tournament, and has also made a positive impact for his new club Sao Paulo, scoring 2 goals with 3 assists in 20 appearances. Alves has featured in a number of different positions since moving back to Brazil and although he’s maintained the starting right back birth predominantly, he’s also featured as a central mdifielder and right winger. That kind of versatility demonstrates Alves’ experience and durability as he enters what should be the twilight of his career.
65. Riyad Mahrez
Riyad Mahrez hasn’t found it easy to be a consistent starter for Pep Guardiola at Manchester City. But his hard work and silky skills certainly earned him more opportunities in 2019 than the year before. This season there is certainly an argument that the Algerian winger has been one of City’s best players, even despite only starting in 8 games. In his 14 total appearances, the smooth dribbler has scored 5 goals with 4 assists. He’s also notched a remarkable 4 assists in 5 UEFA Champions League matches so far, leading City into the next round with ease. Although not a guaranteed starter, Riyad Mahrez is so important for Manchester City and someone they really cannot afford to leave out of the lineup for too long. Probably most importantly, with 3 goals in 7 matches, Mahrez led Algeria to the African Cup of Nations title in 2019 for the first time since 1990.
64. Timo Werner
Anyone who does not think Timo Werner is one of the best strikers in the world clearly does not watch enough Bundesliga football. The German striker has absolutely terrorized every single defense he’s come up against this season, scoring a remarkable 18 goals with 6 assists in 17 league matches so far this campaign. 2018-19 wasn’t nearly as good, but it was still a fantastic season for the Leipzig striker, scoring 16 goals with 7 assists in 30 league matches total. It’s amazing to think he’s already done better in just more than half the matches this season. The German has also added 2 goals in 2 DFB Pokal matches and 3 goals in 6 UEFA Champions League matches. Still only 23-years old, Timo Werner could become the next Robert Lewandowski if he continues on at this rate.
Always a bit of an underrated and understated performer in Chelsea’s lineup, Jorginho is the perfect technician that Chelsea could ever ask for in a post-Cesc Fabregas era. Jorginho is a real leader on the pitch, constantly communicating with and organizing those around him. He had a great first season in the Premier League with Chelsea, featuring in 37 matches and completing more passes than any other player. He’s such a forward thinking passer of the ball too that it’s amazing he did not accumulate a single assist. This season Jorginho already has 2 assists in his 17 appearances for Chelsea, and has added a further 2 goals in 6 UEFA Champions League matches. An extremely key cog in Chelsea’s 4-2-3-1 system, Jorginho is one of the best defensive midfielders, passers and players in the world.
62. Axel Witsel
Speaking of best defensive midfielders in the world, no other Bundesliga midfielder has been better since Alex Witsel’s arrival to Germany for the 2018-19 campaign. The 30-year old has been a revolutionary for Borussia Dortmund and has made such a massive impact in both areas of the field for BVB. 4 goals and 93% of his passes completed was a remarkable way to start his first 33 Bundesliga matches in 2018-19 and it’s a real shame it didn’t end in a title for the Belgian midfielder. He’s been even more superb now in 2019-20, becoming fully accustomed to everything the Bundesliga has to offer and leading Dortmund in many games that they’ve struggled in, with his 3 goals and 3 assists in 13 matches so far. Hopefully he can bounce back quickly from his facial injury, as Borussia Dortmund cannot afford to play too many games without him.
61. Lautaro Martinez
Lautaro Martinez has had an exceptional 2019. Between replacing one of the world’s best goal-scoring strikers with ease in Mauro Icardi at the start of the year to becoming the key man in Antonio Conte’s revamped 3-5-2 system, few players have enjoyed as meteoric of a rise as Lautaro Martinez this year. The Argentinean striker has formed a fantastic partnership with Romelu Lukaku and has proven to be one of Inter’s most lethal weapons, scoring 8 goals in 16 Serie A matches and 5 goals in 6 UEFA Champions League matches. Not as though he was bad last year or anything, but he’s already managed to beat last year’s tallies in both competitions. The 22-year old has also managed to accumulate quite a few appearances for his national team; all the more impressive considering he has to contend with the likes of Messi, Aguero, Dybala, Higuaín and Icardi for a spot up top. Amazingly, Martinez scored 9 goals in 13 appearances for his Argentina this year, including 2 goals at the Copa America. Quickly developing into one of Europe’s elite strikers, Lautaro Martinez had a magnificent 2019 campaign and could be on his way to much greater things in the near future.
So there it is! The Top 100 Footballers in the World (70-61). 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.