The end of the season looms and, you guessed it, its time for another list-based feature.
Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo stand head and shoulders above the rest, but who are players that have made the greatest waves this season?
With the finish line in site, GMF runs down the finest 11 players on the continent over the course of the season. Disagree with our selection? Let us know in the comment section below.
GK - Manuel Neuer
Not exactly the most popular Bayern player after signing from rivals Schalke, Neuer has enjoyed an excellent season to win his new club’s supporters over, and pulled off two fine saves in Bayern’s Champions League semi-final penalty shoot-out win against Real Madrid last month.
While the German giants failed to win their seemingly customary league title this season it wasn’t because of a leaky defence: Neuer has kept 17 clean sheets this season while Bayern have shipped just 22 goals in the Bundesliga.
D - Vincent Kompany
Kompany has been a solid presence at the heart of Manchester City’s defence as they go in search of their first league title in over 40 years.
The Belgian international combines ruthless efficiency with excellent leadership skills as well as coming up with the occasional crucial goal, including his winner in the Manchester derby recently. If City win the title, Kompany deserves a great deal of credit.
D - Philipp Lahm
Bayern Munich’s leader and irrefutably one of the finest full-back in the game, Lahm’s finesse has been one of the hallmarks of Bayern’s season to date.
The 28-year-old has an exceptional pass completion of over 90% this term while he also makes on average three interceptions and two tackles per game.
D – Lucio
While the walls at Inter have collapsed all around him Lucio has remained impressively consistent despite his advancing years, making almost ten clearances a game on average from the heart of Inter’s defence.
M - Cristiano Ronaldo
Is there anything more to be said about Cristiano Ronaldo? Aside from showing he is mortal by missing a penalty in Madrid’s Champions League semi-final shoot-out, the Portuguese international has enjoyed a fairly flawless season.
Ronaldo became the quickest player to reach 100 La Liga goals this season while his 45 goals in the league for Madrid this term helped him become the first player to break the 40-goal mark in two consecutive seasons in any leading European league. His reward? A La Liga winners medal.
M - Eden Hazard
Amongst the most in-demand players in Europe, Hazard has demonstrated his outstanding ability for a second season running with Lille.
The leading assist provider in Ligue 1 and second only to Mesut Ozil in Europe, Hazard draws more fouls than any other player in Europe’s top five leagues and is on course to complete a big money move to the Premier League in the summer.
M - Mesut Ozil
If Ronaldo is the main draw at Madrid, then Mesut Ozil is the man behind the scenes making sure everything ticks along seamlessly.
The German international has laid on 17 goals for his team-mates so far, the highest of any player in Europe’s top five leagues, helping Madrid claim a first La Liga crown in four years.
M - Andrea Pirlo
The old timer showed his former club AC Milan just what they were missing as he helped new club Juventus win their first Serie A title since 2003.
Pirlo has been the heartbeat of Juventus this season, making on average 3.5 key passes a game, the second highest figure in Europe, while the 32-year-old has attempted almost 90 passes a game to date, which puts him behind only Xavi in Europe.
M - David Silva
Amongst Europe’s finest playmakers, David Silva’s Premier League campaign with Manchester City has been an unmitigated success.
Right in amongst the big boys in terms of assists created this season, Silva has been the creative spark that has allowed City to gain the upper hand on fierce rivals Manchester United.
S - Lionel Messi
Simply put, one of the greatest of all time. Messi has smashed record after record this season as he continues his one-man crusade to stand head and shoulders above all others as the best there has ever been.
Messi has an astonishing 71 goals this season, the most ever scored by any player in a single European season, while he is now Barcelona’s greatest goal scorer of all time at the age of just 24.
S - Klaas-Jan Huntelaar
Perhaps a controversial inclusion ahead of Robin Van Persie and Zlatan Ibrahimovich, the way in which Huntelaar led the line for Schalke as they secured Champions League football this season has been remarkable.
With 29 goals in 32 league appearances and eight assists, Huntelaar is only one goal behind Van Persie as the finest goal-scorer in Europe excluding Ronaldo and Messi, but has played five games less than the Dutchman in arguably a weaker team.
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