Top 10 Players in European Soccer
Less than two months after the conclusion of league play, Europe’s top five leagues are returning to action. After a short break, it will be up to the superstars to adapt and carry their teams to glory. Let’s take a look at the top ten players entering the new campaign:
10. Sergio Agüero: Striker, Manchester City
It seems that many have forgotten the spectacular showing Agüero had during the 2018-2019 season. That year, he scored 32 goals in all competitions and followed it up with a solid 23 this past season. Look for Agüero to be unleashed as his squad tries to reclaim the Premier League title from the defending champs of Liverpool.
9. Sadio Mané: Left Wing, Liverpool
When Mané’s teammate Mohamed Salah burst onto the scene during the 2017-2018 season, it seemed clear who the top Liverpool winger was. However, after remarkable campaigns the past two years, Mané has reopened the conversation. He may be more of a team player (12 assists in all competitions during 2019-2020 season), but Salah has just been too lethal to put below his opposite wing.
8. Kylian Mbappé: Striker, Paris Saint-Germain
If 30 goals and 19 assists are not enough to impress, Mbappé finally made it to a Union of European Football Associations Champions League Final. Despite a narrow defeat to the powerhouse that is Bayern Munich, the 21-year-old did not fail to impress under the spotlight. He will be one of the most exciting players to watch for years to come.
7. Mohamed Salah: Right Wing, Liverpool
A player who critics first deemed a one-season-wonder has quickly become one of Europe’s best. He has scored more than 20 goals in all three of his seasons at Liverpool and just scored a hattrick on matchday one. What more is there to say?
6. Neymar: Left Wing, Paris Saint-Germain
One of Europe’s most polarizing players, Neymar undeniably has top tier talent. However, if he wants to put himself back into the conversation for some of the world’s most prestigious awards like the Ballon d’Or, he will have to lead his squad to a major trophy outside of the French topflight.
5. Virgil van Dijk: Center Back, Liverpool
He is without a doubt, Europe’s best defender. When he arrived at Liverpool, the squad was able to get to the next level and win top competitions including the English Premier Leage and UEFA Champions League. He may make a mistake here and there, but van Dijk is Liverpool’s backbone for success.
4. Kevin De Bruyne: Center Attacking Midfield, Manchester City
Despite failing to repeat as Premier League Champions, De Bruyne was named the 2020 Professional Footballers' Association Player of the Year. That title will stand in this ranking as the Belgian international continues to impress in every facet of the game. This past season, De Bruyne scored 16 goals and had a superb 23 assists in all competitions.
3. Cristiano Ronaldo: Striker, Juventus
This might be the most controversial input in this ranking, but another striker has done too much to not be considered in the top two. It’s not what Ronaldo hasn’t done, more what somebody else has. At age 35, Ronaldo is still one of Europe’s elite and is not slowing down after becoming a Serie A champion for the second time in his career.
2. Robert Lewandowski: Striker, Bayern Munich
You cannot help but feel for Lewandowski after it was determined that the Ballon d’Or would not be handed out this year. It’s as if Europe’s most prestigious award was ripped from his fingers. Mourning aside, Lewandowski’s past campaign was outstanding as his club secured the Bundesliga and the Champions League which included a historic 8-2 thrashing of Barcelona.
1. Lionel Messi: Right Wing, Barcelona
At age 33, Messi is still the best. His time at Barcelona could come to an end soon, but not his outstanding form. What has fallen however, is his team’s performance. What we have seen happen at Barcelona has reminded fans that soccer is still a team game. One can only wonder if Messi will require one last change of scenery to secure his place as soccer’s best, but it will be interesting to monitor his performance this season as reports have swirled about his frustration with Barcelona’s board.
Maclain Young is a freshman majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email email@example.com