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 (60-51) below.
60. Jordi Alba
It’s amazing to think that Jordi Alba is still only 30-years old. It seems as though he’s been at the top of the footballing world for over a decade now, but he still has many years to go in his career at the top level. Jordi Alba had a decent year with Barcelona and Spain, but others are beginning to take his crown as one of the best left backs in the world. The Spaniard has only featured in 9 La Liga matches so far this campaign, as the young Junior Firpo begins to edge him out. He also only featured in 3 matches for Spain this year, in comparison to 9 the year before. This season has been a bit of an anomaly in Alba’s career. Just last season he had one of his best ever, scoring 3 goals and assisting 13, between 47 combined La Liga and UEFA Champions League appearances. The Spanish fullback likely still has many years left to go at Barcelona, but his time might be cut shorter than expected if he can’t bounce back from a below average past few months.
59. Paulo Dybala
Since Cristiano Ronaldo’s arrival at Juventus, Paulo Dybala’s career has slowly fallen out of sorts and he’s failed to really meet all the potential we thought he might have many years ago. When he’s playing, he’s still one of the most influential players around. But Dybala has found it a bit difficult to have that same amount of influence given that Ronaldo constantly wants to be on the ball and do everything himself. Before Ronaldo’s arrival, Dybala’s teammates were constantly looking to him to be the man to change their fortunes. Now they’re looking to Ronaldo. The Argentinean forward went from 22 goals and 5 assists in 33 Serie A matches the season before Ronaldo’s arrival to a shocking 5 goals and 4 assists in 32 Serie A matches the season after. This season hasn’t been much better and although he’s performed admirably in the Champions League, the 26-year old striker has found it difficult to hit the same high notes in Serie A, scoring only 5 goals in 15 appearances so far.
58. Matthijs De Ligt
Matthijs De Ligt’s rise to worldwide stardom has been quicker than the Dutchman could have ever dreamed of. After one stellar season with Ajax, De Ligt made a big money move to Juventus and since then has been a regular in Sarri’s lineup alongside Leonardo Bonucci, replacing the all-time great Giorgio Chiellini. De Ligt has featured in 17 matches for Juventus so far between Serie A and the UEFA Champions League, completing nearly 90% of his passes. But the Dutchman’s real claim to fame this year was his success for Ajax back at the start of the year, accomplishing wonders to lead Ajax to the Champions League semi-finals. The 20-year old defender, at the time only 19, scored 2 goals in 11 appearances, while also winning more than 4 aerial duels per game. With a player like Matthijs De Ligt partnering Virgil Van Dijk at the back for Netherlands and Leonardo Bonucci for Juventus, the future certainly looks bright for both his club and country.
57. Jamie Vardy
Since the arrival of Brendan Rodgers at King Power Stadium, no Premier League player has scored more goals than Jamie Vardy. The Leicester City forward has been unstoppable this season, leading the league in goals with 17 goals and 3 assists in 19 matches. The 32-year old’s tally is so incredible, that he actually only needs one more goal and assist to match his 18 goals and 4 assists in 2018-19. Remarkably, unlike most strikers, Vardy has only averaged 2.6 shots per game. This makes him one of the most clinical, deadliest goal-scorers on the planet. For a comparison, Cristiano Ronaldo has scored 10 goals in 14 matches this season, averaging 5.6 shots per game. Vardy has been simply unstoppable in 2019 as he starts to make a claim to be back in Gareth Southgate’s plans for Euro 2020.
56. David De Gea
David De Gea had a torrid time in 2018-19, but he’s been much improved this 2019-20 campaign and right back to his best again. The Spanish goalkeeper has made 52 saves and only conceded 23 goals so far in his 19 Premier League matches, but unfortunately he’s only kept 2 clean sheets. In most games this season however, De Gea has done almost everything he could do to keep the ball out of the back of the net and his low clean sheet record is really much more down to United’s terrible defending than De Gea’s own misfortunes. Despite that, it has not been the best of years for David De Gea and the move to Real Madrid that he craved for so long appears as though it’s never going to come.
55. Frenkie de Jong
Frenkie de Jong was another Ajax player who in the blink of an eye established himself as one of the very best in his position. Perhaps the greatest of all the incredible Ajax performers of last season, de Jong scored 3 goals with 3 assists in 33 Eredivisie matches, completely dominating the midfield and controlling matches with his passing and moving. His performances were so impressive that even caught the eye and made a move to Barcelona before the season was even over. Since moving to Barcelona, Frenkie de Jong has finally filled the void that had been left by Andres Iniesta’s departure and has been a regular performer again, featuring in 18 matches with 1 goal and 2 assists. A player who could really be the next Xavi Hernandez, Frenkie de Jong had a wonderful 2019 and his career will only go up from here.
54. Saul Niguez
Probably the most versatile footballer in the world, Saul Niguez has become Atletico Madrid’s key man in a post Antoine Griezmann world. Saul has played 5 different positions so far this season for Atletico and Spain, most commonly as a central midfielder, where he’s done most of his damage and scored 4 goals in 16 appearances from that position. The complete player, Saul has scored 2 goals in 17 La Liga appearances so far this campaign, winning more than 4 duels and completing more than 2 tackles per game. He’s become the un-droppable man for Diego Simeone and the Argentinean manager knows that wherever he puts the 25-year old Spaniard, he’s probably going to be the best player on the pitch.
53. Thiago Alcantara
Thiago Alcantara is such a smooth operator for Bayern Munich and can completely control games when at his best. Whether it’s as a ‘6’ or an ‘8’, Bayern look to get Thiago on the ball at every opportunity. His goals and assist numbers have completely disappeared in 2019-20, but he’s still been integral to every bit of a semi-success that Bayern Munich have had, most notably in the UEFA Champions League. The Spanish midfielder has arguably been the best central midfielder in the Champions League so far this campaign, assisting 2 goals in 5 matches and completing the third most amount of passes per game, while having a massive defensive influence with 2.8 tackles and 2.4 interceptions per game. If only Bayern’s form had been better in 2019 or he had been able to establish himself as a regular for Spain, Thiago Alcantara would undoubtedly claim a spot on the top fifty footballers in the world list for another year.
52. Paul Pogba
Paul Pogba had just about the best month of his life on the football pitch when Ole Gunnar Solskjaer first arrived, but the last few months have been completely written off for the Frenchman as he’s been sidelined through injury. Adding onto all his injury troubles the French midfielder hasn’t had the best of times in 2019-20 as a whole, assisting only 2 goals in his 7 Premier League matches so far. Fortunately for Pogba when considering this list, the vast majority of his 13 goals and 9 assists in 35 Premier League appearances last season, came at the start of 2019. If any player is likely to make a massive rise on this list for next year, Paul Pogba is certainly that man.
51. Leonardo Bonucci
Leonardo Bonucci remains one of the best centre-backs in the world and like many of his age bracket, he’s been completely forgotten about for many making these types of lists, as the new shiny players receive all the praise. 32-years old now, Bonucci has not missed a beat this season, scoring 3 goals in his 17 Serie A appearances so far this campaign, and making a further 5 appearances in the UEFA Champions League. He’s actually performed much better than the man who is going to get all the praise, his new 20-year old partner Matthijs De Ligt, and in terms of physicality and lack of defensive mistakes could probably even still rival Kalidou Koulibaly for best centre-back in Serie A.
So there it is! The Top 100 Footballers in the World (61-50). 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.