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 (40-31) below.
40. Ederson Moraes
Manchester City have had a bit of a rough go of it this season. As a result, Ederson has also had a bit of a rough go of it. The City goalkeeper has needed to be more active than usual this season, and hasn’t necessarily come up with the goods to the same extent that he managed last season. The Brazilian has made 39 saves in his 18 matches so far, kept 6 clean sheets and has conceded only 20 goals, so it’s been a decent time for him, but certainly not his best. Last season though the Manchester City goalkeeper was one of the best in the world and even competed with Alisson for the title of best goalkeeper in the league, as Manchester City won the Premier League.
39. Ivan Rakitic
This season has been a strange one for Ivan Rakitic, as he’s been slowly eased out of Barcelona’s lineup for a variety of younger players and has only started 5 matches, playing 12 in total. He’s been solid in the Copa del Rey and really helps to make things tick when he’s available, but it’s been a bit of a mystery why he’s been so deeply out of favour this season and is clearly a sign of what is to come from Barcelona’s midfield in the future. Last season was a very good one for the Croatian, scoring 3 goals with 5 assists in 34 La Liga matches, and he’s still been a positive influence for Croatia throughout the year.
38. Heung-Min Son
Heung Min-Son’s career has transformed over the past couple of seasons and he’s gone from a semi-regular performer and starter to Tottenham’s key player that they simply cannot leave out of the lineup. The South Korean international has been amazing in the UEFA Champions League this season, scoring 5 goals in 6 matches. He’s also performed well in the Premier League, scoring 5 goals with 7 assists in his 16 league matches. With 12 goals and 6 assists in 31 Premier League matches in 2018-19 he was even named Tottenham’s Player of the Year ahead of the likes Christian Eriksen and Harry Kane. His performances for club and country have been so positive that he’s even been named Asian Player of the Year for the third time in a row, to which no other player has ever managed to do before.
37. Kalidou Koulibaly
Kalidou Koulibaly is regarded by many to be the only centre-back in the world capable of challenging the current world’s best in Virgil Van Dijk. A man with a similar style of play, frame and defensive ability as Van Dijk, Koulibaly has been Napoli’s key man for years now. The 28-year old has not had his best season this year, but he’s played in 14 Serie A matches and 6 UEFA Champions League matches. He’s been good in the air, good on the ball, has made nearly 3 tackles per game, but it hasn’t been enough to help Napoli to do better than 8th place in the table. Last season was something special from Koulibaly though as he featured in 35 Serie A matches, scoring 2 goals with 2 assists as Napoli finished 2nd in the table.
36. Karim Benzema
For years and years Karim Benzema’s career was in turmoil. But since Cristiano Ronaldo’s departure, Benzema has become the key man for Real Madrid. The French forward has been exceptional so far in this La Liga season, scoring 12 goals and 5 assists in 17 matches. His link up play has been exceptional, creating over 2 chances per game in addition to taking over 4 shots per game himself. He’s also scored 4 goals with 2 assists in 6 UEFA Champions League matches and 4 goals in 5 Copa del Rey matches, proving his worth to Los Blancos even now at 32-years old. 21 goals and 6 assists in 36 La Liga matches last campaign was also one of Benzema’s best, as he became a key figure for Real Madrid again for the first time in a while.
35. Angel di Maria
Angel di Maria’s career has been a roller coaster in recent years but under Thomas Tuchel he has been back to his best again at PSG. The Argentinean midfielder has scored 6 goals with 7 assists in 17 Ligue 1 matches, creating nearly 3 chances per game. He’s also been key for PSG in the UEFA Champions League, helping them top a group that involved Real Madrid. The 31-year old scored 3 goals with 2 assists in the Group Stages of the competition as PSG now go into the Round of 16 with hopes of having a better run this year. Unfortunately for di Maria he’s lost his place in Argentina’s midfield and has not been able to really perform to his normal heights for his country in recent times.
34. Luka Modric
One year ago Luka Modric was thought of to be the best footballer in the world, even winning the Ballon d’Or ahead of Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi for the first time since 2007 when Kaka won the honour. But the Croatian’s career has been on a bit of a decline since then and he’s had tough luck with injury. Modric had a decent time last season, scoring 3 goals with 6 assists in 34 matches. But this season he’s struggled to be a regular in Real Madrid’s roster. The Croatian has only played 13 La Liga matches this season, and only started 7 of those. In those 13 matches he’s performed decently well, scoring 2 goals with 4 assists and completing 89% of his passes. Although younger players are starting to edge him out in La Liga, he’s remained a key member of Croatia’s national team and on his day remains one of the best players in La Liga.
33. Miralem Pjanic
Miralem Pjanic is one of the best defensive midfielders in the world and has been for years and years and years. Juventus has been the perfect club for the Boznian over the years and now at the age of 29 he still has many years to go for the Italian giants. This season has been another stellar one for the Boznian, scoring 3 goals, assisting 2 and completing 90% of his passes. He’s been the key man for Boznia & Herzegovina over the course of the year and will prove immensely difficult to replace for both Juve and his national team when his career begins to wind down.
32. Sergio Busquets
Speaking of best defensive midfielders on the planet, Sergio Busquets has been exactly that for the best part of a decade for Barcelona and Spain. Featured heavily in our Tactical Analysis of the little known skill La Pausa, Busquets is a master of many arts and his positioning in front of Barca’s back four is second to none. This season the tough tackler has completed 2.4 tackles per game, completed nearly 70 passes per game and even chipped in at the front end of the pitch with 1 goal and 2 assists in 14 matches. Still the key man for Barcelona and Spain in making everything tick, Sergio Busquets has almost become underrated now as he remains one of the best defensive midfielders in the world.
When establishing the best defensive midfielders in the world you simply cannot leave out Real Madrid’s Brazilian superstar Casemiro. No player in La Liga has made more tackles than Casemiro and he’s completed the 10th most passes per game in the league this season. Zinedine Zidane always favoured him during his first spell in charge and that has certainly continued on in 2019-20. Casemiro has played 16 league matches so far, scoring 1 goal with 1 assist, and 6 UEFA Champions League matches with the exact same numbers. His numbers have also carried over to his national side Brazil, as he’s been favoured in front of players like Fernandinho and Fabinho.
So there it is! The Top 100 Footballers in the World (40-31). 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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