Thursday, December 31, 2015

Top 10 Best Players of 2015

This is my top 10 list of my favourite players of 2015. While making the list I was increasingly annoyed that these lists are getting too similar as best players play in the best clubs, reinforcing that the impression of players being better and better. The best example of this is undoubtedly the amazing trio of Barcelona, Messi-Suarez-Neymar, who not only are incredible to look at as they take apart defenses, but also make a strong Barcelona side stronger. So I am not going to hide that this list is subjective:

10) Cristiano Ronaldo: Surely an amazing football player; speed, skills, technique. The problem that I do not rate him as highly as other lists may do, is that he in my view continues to be less a team player than he should be. It all circles around him, and when it does in a weaker side, like the Portuguese national team, he does not carry the team on his shoulders. That said, an incredible player.
9) Zlatan Ibrahimovic: a top player and an individualist that also expects the team to play for him. He has been strong in Paris St. Germain, but more so in carrying, almost single-handedly, his native Sweden to the European Championships.
8) David Alaba: Although he was injured part of the year, he continues to amaze as one of the strongest all-round players in the world. He has been used in almost every position in Bayern Munich under Guardiola, playing normally defender, but showing his immense quality. The fact that he captains an Austrian national team that sailed its way to the European Championship.
7) Paul Pogba: He has only grown as a player this year both for Juventus and for the French national team (although automatically qualified for the European Championships, the French have not been overly under pressure).
6) Luka Modric: Although Real Madrid has struggled towards the end of the year, the absence of Luka Modric due to injury showed that they were missing one of their most important players for part of the year. Modric is not also core of the Real Madrid team, but also of the Croatian national team.
5) Thomas Muller: for a long time he has been one of the best, if not the best, in the world. Surely he is one the best all-round players with both creative, defensive and scoring abilities, both on the Bayern Munich side as well as on the German World Champions. Both teams continue to be among the best in the world, with Muller as one of the pillars.
4) Neymar: Has really grown as a footballer in 2015 as part of Barcelona's terrific attacking force, where he has also shown himself as a good team players, notwithstanding his amazing technique. It continues to be very annoying that he has too much temper, as he showed in the Copa America, and also dives and cries too much whenever someone touches him.

3) Robert Lewandovski: The Polish striker has been amazing this season. Who can forget his five goals against Wolfburg? But not only that, he has scored goals in the Bundesliga and Champions League for Bayern Munich, as well as for Poland, leading them to the European Championships.
2) Lionel Messi: Undoubtedly the Argentine continues to be amazing despite a period of injury where the Barcelona side did great anyway. That said, he continues to be unable to shine as brightly on the Argentine national team that only made it to the final of the Copa America, and has started World Cup qualifiers with terible results.
1) Ivan Rakitic: Rakitic is more often than not overseen on a team with Messi, Neymar and Suarez. But among these superstars anyone should be able to see that Rakitic is the one putting up the hard all-round work that keeps the team glued together. He is perhaps the best example of a modern all round player in 2015, both on Barcelona and on the Croatian national team.

Not an easy list! Other players I considered for the list: Andres Iniesta, Sergio Aguero, Manuel Neuer, Alexis Sanchez, Claudio Bravo, Arjen Robben, Diego Godin, Arturo Vidal, Angel DiMaria, Tibaut Courtois, Carly Lloyd and Luis Suarez.

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