Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi, Mohamed Salah. It’s been a season of stunning performances from attacking players – not least from Salah, who broke the hegemony that Ronaldo, Messi, and Neymar had over the discussion of the best players in the world.
It’s those three who are the frontrunners for the Ballon d’Or, with Ronaldo and Salah just in front of Messi. But who are the other players who shined in attack this season?
Without further ado, here’s a look at our top ten forwards across Europe’s top five leagues.
1. Cristiano Ronaldo, Real Madrid
How do you split a top three of Ronaldo, Salah, and Messi? Ronaldo’s performance since the turn of the year has been extraordinary. But what seals the deal is that he’s almost single-handedly taken a Real Madrid side that has visibly dipped to a third straight Champions League final.
2. Mohamed Salah, Liverpool
The remarkable thing about Salah is how unfair it seems to not have him at No 1 on this list when only a year ago, he probably wouldn’t even have made the top 20. A joyful, thrilling, stunning player to watch. Bring on Salah vs Ronaldo in the Champions League final.
3. Lionel Messi, Barcelona
Messi’s brilliance is so routine, it’s almost normal. He single-handedly kept Barcelona‘s bid for an unbeaten La Liga season alive (unsurprisingly, it ended in a game where he was rested). But European disappointment, including his own below-par display against Roma, has cost him a top-two spot.
4. Robert Lewandowski, Bayern Munich
He’ll be disappointed with the way his Champions League campaign ended, but it’s been another stunning season for the striker – not least for the way he led Poland in the World Cup qualifiers.
5. Antoine Griezmann, Atlético Madrid
It’s been a strange season from Griezmann. In the first half he looked nothing like the player who had cemented his status as one of the best in the world. But he’s found form to lead Atlético to the Europa League final – and likely earned himself a move to Barcelona.
6. Neymar, PSG
The only reason Neymar is ranked this low is because his season’s been curtailed by injury. He was having a Ballon d’Or-calibre season before that – though the failure against Madrid in the Champions League, for which he was present for the first leg, goes against him as well.
7. Edinson Cavani, PSG
Most teams would miss a player like Neymar – just ask Barcelona how they felt at the start of this season. Most teams aren’t PSG playing in Ligue 1 with a striker in the form of his life. It was fitting that Cavani became the club’s all-time leading scorer after Neymar got injured.
8. Roberto Firmino, Liverpool
Is there any team so defined by one player? Salah might be the sensation but Firmino is the one who makes Jurgen Klopp’s system work at Liverpool. His selflessness, in the way he leads Klopp’s press, is remarkable. And he scores some outrageous goals.
9. Ciro Immobile
The last Lazio player to win the Capocannoniere was Hernán Crespo in 2000-01. That Immobile is set to put his name alongside such a legendary figure in club history shows what he’s accomplished. Hopefully he’ll be doing it again in the Champions League next season.
10. Harry Kane
Tottenham may have put the one-man team jibes to rest this season thanks to the form of Heung-min Son, Christian Eriksen, Dele Alli, and Mousa Dembele, but Kane is still the jewel in their crown.
As such, the five-time Ballon d’Or winner perhaps deserves to be regarded as the best player among the top five leagues in Europe this season according to a list compiled by the CIES Football Observatory.
The ranking takes into account players who have played more than 1,800 minutes this season and there are a few surprises.
For one, Liverpool talisman, Premier League Player of the Year and Golden Boot winner Mohamed Salah only takes sixth spot with three Manchester City players ahead of him in David Silva (second), Sergio Aguero (fourth) and Nicolas Otamendi (fifth).
Paulo Dybala, who has been rather hit and miss this season for Juventus, also ranks above the Egyptian, taking third place.
Fernandinho (sharing sixth place with Salah), Kevin de Bruyne and Raheem Sterling makes it six City players in the top 10.
Cristiano Ronaldo is in 16th place after an underwhelming La Liga campaign.
While Chelsea might have got a hammering at St James’ Park in their last game of the Premier League season, losing 3-0 to Newcastle United, Antonio Conte believes it is important to finish the season on a good note.
The Blues will be up against Jose Mourinho‘s Manchester United side in the FA Cup final on Saturday, May 19, and Conte believes having not finished inside the top-four, a win in their last game of the season becomes vital.
Find out what he had to say, after the loss against The Magpies.