F: Lionel Messi [Barcelona] In 47 appearances in the Primera Liga and the Champions League, Messi had 64 goals and 20 assists. It felt like a down year, since he ran out of gas at the end, but he still was absolutely insane.
F: Robin Van Persie [Arsenal] “He scores when he wants. He scores when he waaaaaants.” RVP was the Premier League’s top scorer, and had 36 goals in all competitions. He carried an underwhelming Arsenal team on his back to respectability after a rough start.
F: Cristiano Ronaldo [Real Madrid] In the same number of top level appearances as Messi, 47, Ronaldo had 56 goals and 15 assists. Still the second-best player in Spain. His only flaw is believing he has none.
M: Andrea Pirlo [Juventus] A.C. Milan let Pirlo walk on a free transfer last summer. It cost them the Scudetto. The 32-year-old is supremely intelligent and wields the ball like a paintbrush. This season he was fit, and thrived under a 4-3-3 at Juventus revamped to accommodate him. Pirlo led Serie A in assists and was instrumental in the club’s undefeated league season.
M: Yaya Toure [Manchester City] Manchester City was the only EPL club with a driving midfielder who could dominate physically and be a force box to box. That and his crucial goals were a major reason they won the title. He’s worth every penny, and gets paid quite a few of them.
M: Mesut Ozil [Real Madrid] “Avatar Eyes” led La Liga in assists with 17. His play is both perceptive and innovative. He was able to adapt and sublimate his game to fuel Ronaldo, sort of like Wayne Rooney did with Man U in 2008.
D: Philip Lahm [Bayern Munich] Never one to mince words, Lahm is versatile, consistent, tactically astute and great on the ball. Bayern Munich feeds off his link-up play with Arjen Robben. He’s an asset where many clubs have a liability.
D: Vincent Kompany [Manchester City] He’s a class act and a commanding leader. He excels at just about every facet of defending. He doesn’t make mistakes. Has a strong case to be EPL player of the season.
D: Thiago Silva [AC Milan] He’s a superb technical defender, and a fitting heir for Nesta/Maldini. The Brazilian should be the best player in Serie A for the next few seasons, but only because Barcelona may not have the cash to sign him.
D: Lukasz Piszczek [Borussia Dortmund] The Pole was a key member of a dynamic Dortmund back line. He was great going forward, chipping in four goals and seven assists. Like every breakout Bundesliga player, he should be off to Real Madrid in the summer.
GK: Iker Casillas [Real Madrid] Real Madrid seldom needed him. When they did he came through. He’s the best keeper in the world until he’s dislodged.
[Photos via Getty, Presswire]
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