Football is obviously a team sport, first and foremost, but every player enjoys being recognised for their own individual contribution.
Most top-level footballers have won at least one Man of the Match award during their careers.
Some players are so good that they’ll win several Man of the Match awards every season.
We though it’d be interesting to see which players in Europe’s top five leagues have picked up the most Man of the Match awards over the course of the 2019-20 campaign so far.
Using WhoScored.com’s data, here are the 20 footballers in the Premier League, Serie A, La Liga, Bundesliga and Ligue 1 with the most Man of the Match awards to their name this season…
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20. Robert Lewandowski | 5 (Average rating: 8.11)
The Bundesliga’s top scorer with 22 goals to his name, it’s surprising that the Bayern Munich marksman hasn’t won more than five Man of the Match awards this season.
19. Denis Bouanga | 6 (Average rating: 7.06)
With seven goals and three assists to his name this season, the Gabon winger has made a big impact at Saint-Etienne following his summer move from Nimes.
18. Nabil Fekir | 6 (Average rating: 7.31)
Nabil Fekir is enjoying an impressive debut season with Real Betis following his summer move from Lyon. The 26-year-old Frenchman has scored six goals and registered one assist in La Liga this term.
17. Emiliano Buendía | 6 (Average rating: 7.32)
Wait, Emiliano Buendía has SIX Man of the Match awards this season? The Norwich City midfielder hasn’t scored in the Premier League but has set up seven goals for his teammates.
16. Marcus Rashford | 6 (Average rating: 7.34)
The Manchester United striker is enjoying his best season since turning professional, scoring 14 goals and providing four assists in 22 games. Had he not suffered a back injury last month, he would probably have at least one more Man of the Match award in his collection.
15. Sadio Mane | 6 (Average rating: 7.51)
The brilliant Liverpool forward has 11 goals and six assists in the Premier League this season and is a serious contender for the PFA’s 2019-20 Player of the Year award.
14. Adama Traore | 6 (Average rating: 7.75)
A constant threat to opposing defences whenever he’s on the ball, the powerful, skilful and lightning-quick Adama Traore has been a joy to watch for Wolves this season.
13. Kevin De Bruyne | 6 (Average rating: 7.90)
Probably the best player in the Premier League on his day, Kevin De Bruyne has provided 15 assists and bagged seven goals for Manchester City this term.
12. Luis Alberto | 6 (Average rating: 7.67)
Lazio are currently in with a chance of winning Serie A – they sit third in the table, one point behind both Inter and Juventus – and Luis Alberto has played a key role in his side’s title challenge.
11. Angel Di Maria | 6 (Average rating: 7.78)
Angel Di Maria has been one of PSG’s standout performers the season, scoring eight goals and setting up 11 more in Ligue 1.
10. Josip Ilicic | 6 (Average rating: 7.86)
The 32-year-old has bagged 14 goals and set up three more for Atalanta in Serie A this season.
9. Jadon Sancho | 6 (Average rating: 7.97)
Borussia Dortmund are set to lose some player this summer. Jadon Sancho, 19, has 12 goals and 13 assists in just 18 appearances this season, giving him an average rating just shy of 8.00.
8. Karim Benzema | 7 (Average rating: 7.57)
Karim Benzema is enjoying another fine season for Real Madrid. The Frenchman has scored 13 goals and registered six assists for Los Blancos, who currently sit three points clear at the top of La Liga.
7. Dimitri Payet | 7 (Average rating: 7.71)
Dimitri Payet might be 32 but he’s still a baller. The French midfielder has scored eight goals and provided three assists in 19 games for Marseille.
6. Ciro Immobile | 8 (Average rating: 7.33)
Serie A’s top scorer at the time of writing with 25 goals to his name, Ciro Immobile has scored almost half (47%) of Lazio’s goals this season. No player in Europe has scored a higher proportion of their club’s goals.
5. Timo Werner | 8 (Average rating: 7.69)
Liverpool are said to be keen on Timo Werner, who has netted 20 goals and chipped in with a further six assists in 21 games for RB Leipzig this season.
4. Joselu | 8 (Average rating: 7.75)
Both Joselu and Lucas Perez have scored nine of Deportivo Alaves’s 25 La Liga goals this season, but it’s the former Newcastle United striker who has sealed the most Man of the Match awards.
3. Cristiano Ronaldo | 8 (Average rating: 7.91)
Cristiano Ronaldo turned 35 years old this season but is still turning in world-class performances most weeks. The Portuguese legend has scored 20 goals and provided two assists in 20 appearances. Outstanding.
2. Neymar | 8 (Average rating: 8.66)
Neymar may have been desperate to leave PSG last summer but, to his credit, he’s knuckled down and played a starring role in Ligue 1 in recent months, scoring 13 goals and contributing six more assists in 14 appearances.
1. Lionel Messi | 10 (Average rating: 8.67)
The six-time Ballon d’Or winner is on double figures for goals (14), assists (11) and Man of the Match awards (10) this season. He’s on a totally different planet, isn’t he? You wouldn’t back against him winning the Ballon d’Or for a seventh time at the end of the year.