With another year out of the way, a number of players in world football have once again proved their class in 2013.
But which players were the best performing stars of the year?
Let's take a look:
5. Phillip Lahm
It seems defenders are usually forgotten on lists such as this but in 2013 there is no forgetting Phillip Lahm. He inspired Bayern Munich to one of the most dominant years in recent history.
In a year where they won five trophies Lahm became one of the most consistent and vital players in world football. Deployed mainly as a right back throughout his career he has now more commonly been used just in front of the back line to protect and to launch attacks.
He excels as a natural defender and can even pop forward with a cross or shot. Although he will never be recognised as the best in the game he was without a doubt one of the most vital and influential players of 2013.
4. Andres Iniesta
Some might find this inclusion quite strange but you cannot deny Iniesta’s overwhelming class. In a year where Barca were bested on more occasions then usual Iniesta continued to drive his team forward to a league title.
Although he is rarely the man on the score sheet he continues to make everyone around him better. With Xavi beginning to age it has fallen upon him to carry Barca’s attack. And he has done so time and time again over 2013.
By looking at the stats nothing really jumps out at you besides perhaps the passing percentage but stats really don’t tell the story of this genius playmaker. He is still the best midfielder today and he will be instrumental in Barcelona’s attempt at another Champions League title.
3. Zlatan Ibrahimovic
It is hard to imagine the 2014 World Cup without the creative, imaginative Ibrahimovic. Nobody can score goals quite like him and he really showed that in 2013 with a number of sensational strikes; a brilliant scorpion style goal against Bastia and a thunderous volley in the Champions League versus Anderlecht come instantly to mind.
He led PSG to the Ligue 1 title on the back of his 30 league goals – a Ligue 1 record - and to a Champions League Quarter-final place where they would eventually fall to Barcelona. This season he has partnered well with Cavani and already has 15 league goals as PSG again sit atop the league. Although he failed in his quest to reach Brazil the only thing that can stop Zlatan is Zlatan. Watch out 2014.
2. Lionel Messi
You can’t forget about a certain Argentine magician, although he has struggled through injuries he has been scoring at will whenever he has been on the pitch. He has 14 goals and 4 assists in just 11 matches this season and 41 goals for the year.
He picked up injuries early in 2013 but that didn’t stop his brilliant performances. Although he and Barcelona were picked apart by Bayern Munich, Messi played well in almost every other match to help steal La Liga back from Real Madrid. Messi will now finally be glad to leave the year behind and pick up his world class form just in time for the World Cup.
1. Cristiano Ronaldo
If there is anyone 2013 belonged to, it is this man. Although Real Madrid finished trophyless, that didn’t stop Ronaldo having perhaps the best year of his career. He fired in 69 goals and added 17 assists in only 60 matches in all competitions.
CR7 has dragged club and country through big matches highlighted by wins against United, Galatasaray, Barcelona and a brilliant second leg hat-trick against Sweden. This season so far has seen him score 27 goals in 21 games for Madrid and he hasn’t shown signs of slowing down. Although he picked up an injury in December he has returned to break the Champions League Group Stage goals record and now looks set to continue his brilliant form into 2014.
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