OSG RECAP: TOP TEN FOOTBALL PLAYERS OF 2018
With Football being an emotional sport, every fan has his own opinion of who the best players are, and mostly tend to tilt towards their own bias.
In a sport as global as Football and with varying leagues and players vying for the supreme spot, it always seem a subjective matter to pick out who the best players are, since all of them are not playing in the same league or under the same condition.
That being said, there are players who stand out nonetheless, and whose remarkable consistency marks them apart from the rest. These are the ones that inspire love for the game and their team to glory – or just to higher grounds.
BELOW are the players we believe were the best over the course of the year and who, importantly, were often than not able to combine performance with end-product.
Messi is the victim of his own greatness. That is the only reason why he many feel he is having just an above average season. Why perception sometimes lie, data don’t and looking at Messi’s numbers over the last year reveal why he should still be at the peak of the summit.
Across Europe, Messi is the highest goal scorer; has the highest assist; the most successful take-ons. Any other player having these players will be crowned player of the year, but since it is Messi, we still it as just another day of him doing ‘Messi-things”
With what is happening with Real Madrid this season, it is now clearer that Ronaldo’s influence on that team was a huge reason they’ve won the Champion’s League three years in a row.
Although now with Juventus, Ronaldo is having a stellar 2018. From winning the Champion League to the World Cup, and now to Juventus, Ronaldo’s goals and form has been the constant thing.
His influence on Portugal can never be over-estimated too. He takes them. The consummate professional, Ronaldo, with Messi, has changed the trajectory of what it takes to be regarded as World Class. Like he has been doing for over 10 years, his good performances are backed up with output and game changing goals. That’s what separates him really. He takes him team by the scruff and sees them over the line. For him, there are only two options: Either win or win. Yeah. It’s all about winning.
Goals this year: 43
When Liverpool bought him from AS Roma, no one raised an eyebrow. It was thought to be just another routine transfer for a team that just finished 4th in the league. But the Egyptian caught fire and quickly asserted himself as the foremost striker in the Premier League, eventually totaling a record equaling 32 goals and winning the Football Writer’s Player of the Year award as well as the PFA Player of the Year Award. He also became the first player in Premier League History to win three player of the month award in a season.
While his performance at the world cup didn’t uphold his usual standard, Sallah’s overall performance over the course of the year makes him a mainstay of any list of top players.
Regarded as the best teenage player since the legendary Pele, Mbappe continues to shine and break records, both on and off the pitch. He became the most expensive teenager when he completed his move from Monaco to PSG, and at age 18 scored his 10th Champions League goal – making him the youngest player to ever do so. His goal at the World Cup final also made him the only teenager since Pele to do so. Great company he is keeping.
Mbappe plays with a maturity that bellies his age and with the assurance of a veteran. His explosive pace is also a problem for most defenders. But what makes him unique is that unlike other players of his age, his decision making at crucial moments are never found wanting. His versatility is also an added advantage. He can play on either flank or as the centre striker.
Neymar is possibly the most exciting player in the world right now. Infact, the only player able to match his catalogue of skill is Messi. Despite obvious showboating, he remains one of the
Modric might well end the Messi-Ronaldo duopoly on the best player award with his outstanding performance for both club and country over the course of the last 12 months. And deservedly too.
For both club and country, he is the glue that connected defense and attack and the conductor that dictated much of the play, and to great results.
Due to his position, he may not be as flashy as Neymar or Hazard. Neither is he as forceful as Ronaldo, or a one-man wrecking machine that is Messi. But he is just as important, and with the key role he played at the World cup, if not more important
Is there a better defender anywhere else in world football?
I doubt it.
Varane, through-out the year, especially at the Word Cup, showed just why he was the best defender, and remains the best defender in the world. He was as part of France’s triumph as much as Mbappe’s pace and unpredictability and Griezmann’s goals.
An ever present in the French team, the 25 year-old was the rock behind France’s stingy defense and it isn’t an overstatement to say he was the team’s unsung hero.
It’s hard for a 25 year-old defender to be at the height of his powers, but Varane seem to be an exception.
Griezman is the new face of the French team and is one of the main reasons for their success and that of Atletico Madrid.
His four goals at the World Cup earned his the silver boat and his team the ultimate prize in football. During the year, his 6 goals in 8 games also led his club, Atletico Madrid – where is the method to Simeone’s “madness”, to the Europa League. While he compares himself to Ronaldo and Messi, undeservingly, he deservedly has done enough to earn a place in this list.
Maurizzio Sarri famously said he believes Hazard has everything to be the best player in the world, and few would fault that assertion. Since that statement, Hazard has scored 7 goals in the league from just 11 games.
Even in a team as star studded as the Belgian one, Hazard remains their brightest light, and he showed exactly why at the World Cup where he led the team to their highest ever finish in the tournament’s history.
His winning goal at Wembley in March also gave Chelsea the edge over Manchester United in the FA Cup.
Already a Chelsea legend, the next couple of years will reveal whether he is the best in the Club’s history.
The fact that Kane’s 30 goals last season raised few eyebrows is a testament to his own rising standard. The Englishman – the new face of the current young and dynamic English team – is one of the best strikers in world football – if not the best and his penchant for striking from any angle and with any part makes him, like Ronaldo, an unpalatable opponent for defenders.
Through to form, he was the highest goal scorer at the World Cup with 6 goals, something almost unheard of on English soil.
If the three lions are to ascend to the summit of world football, then Kane is expected to spearhead the climb.