Grealish, Mbappe and Kane: Who are the greatest players in Europe this season?

Kylian Mbappe

This season has been like no other.

No fans and PPV television in the United Kingdom has plagued the sport we all know and love.

When the game gets back to normal only time will tell, but the latest international break reaffirmed the risks that come with playing elite sport at the moment.

A number of positive Covid tests were revealed, including within the Egypt camp where Mohamed Elneny and Mohamed Salah both picked up the dreaded virus.

Whoever thought travelling across the world in the middle of a pandemic is a good idea needs to put their P45 on the table because it has been a disaster.

However, we have still been treated to some extraordinary events on the pitch. We've only just recovered from the 8-2 battering Barcelona were handed by Bayern Munich last season before Spain swept aside Germany 6-0 on Tuesday evening. 

It was an incredible result to go with some of the amazing things we've seen throughout Europe this term. Real Sociedad and Milan are top of La Liga and Serie A respectively while Leicester leads the way in England. 

But who have been the best individual performers? Well, we consulted Football Observatory's performance data to put together the following list of names. They take into account the pitch production and efficiency at both individual and collective level (methodology), using data from OptaPro.

20. Harry Kane - 87.4

The Spurs striker has been absolutely phenomenal in the Premier League this term but has to settle for 20th spot for those in Europe. That's despite amassing a spectacular haul of seven goals and eight assists.

Harry Kane

19. Manuel Akanji - 87.5

Akanji has been an imperious figure in the Dortmund defence this season, completing nearly 92% of his passes and winning a colossal 3.5 tackles in the Champions League. At the age of 25, the Swiss is only getting better. 

18. Joshua Kimmich - 87.7

The German is one of the most consistent footballers on the planet and rarely seems to have a bad game. Kimmich has seven assists this season, making 2.3 tackles per game in the process.

17. Matteo Politano - 87.8

Inter must be regretting the decision to loan Politano to Napoli for the 2020/21 campaign because he has been nothing short of exceptional. The midfielder has three goals and two assists in nine outings.

16. Jannik Vestergaard - 88.0

If you told Southampton fans that Vestergaard would end up being one of the best centre-backs in Europe this season, they would have told you to lay off the drink. The £10.8m-rated colossus has been a mighty figure in the Saints' backline, helping them to fourth in the Premier League table. 


15. Ignatius Ganago - 88.0

The 21-year-old Lens winger has burst onto the scene in thrilling fashion this season and has four goals in just five Ligue 1 appearances. Handy work considering he managed just three in the whole of 2019/20.

14. Angelino - 88.1

Are Manchester City persevering with the wrong full-back? Since joining Leipzig on loan, Angelino has been absolutely brilliant and according to performance data, is one of the best full-backs in Europe this season. He has five goals in 11 games.

13. Pedro - 88.2

The Spaniard is enjoying a career rejuvenation in Italy and has been excellent for Roma since leaving Chelsea behind. The 33-year-old winger has found the back of the net on four occasions in 2020/21 so far.

12. Steven N'Zonzi - 88.2

N'Zonzi has had a very strange career. From playing at Blackburn and Stoke, he has become one of the most imperious defensive midfielders in Europe's top five leagues. The Frenchman is currently at Rennes after spells with Sevilla and Roma. 

Steven Nzonzi

11. Fabian Ruiz - 88.3

The 24-year-old midfielder has been the very definition of consistency this season for Napoli. Ruiz has four assists and a pass success accuracy north of 90%. Impressive stuff.

10. Dayot Upamecano - 88.7

One of the most sought-after central defenders in world football, Upamecano is only growing in stature this season. He is currently being eyed up by Liverpool after a campaign where he's won a colossal 2.3 aerial duels and 2.3 tackles per game.

9. Alessandro Florenzi - 88.8

What an acquisition this has been for PSG. The Italian joined from Roma on loan for the season and is proving to be a dynamic threat from right-back. Florenzi has two goals and creates 1.5 key passes per match.

8. Mohamed Salah - 89.0

The tricky attacker was always going to make this list. Perhaps one of the most underappreciated players in Europe, he has scored eight goals in eight league matches. He is simply world-class.

Mo Salah

7. Jack Grealish - 89.9

In the blink of an eye, the Aston Villa star has suddenly become the saviour of English football. Now firmly in Gareth Southgate's plans, Grealish is quickly establishing himself as one of the Premier League's best. He has five goals and five assists in all competitions this term.

6. Mikel Oryazabal - 89.9

If this man doesn't earn himself a big move at the end of the season it would be a surprise. Oyarzabal is still only 23 and is one of the most prolific wingers in world football at the moment. The Real Sociedad star has taken them top of La Liga with eight goals and three assists. Stellar stuff. 

5. Keylor Navas - 90.1

The best goalkeeper in Europe? Well, that honour goes to Navas. The PSG stopper has kept seven clean sheets in just ten games this term. 

4. Marquinhos - 90.1

Marquinhos is a man to be reckoned with. The stylish Brazilian has taken his game to the next level at PSG this season, combining elegance with brute force. The 26-year-old has completed over 90% of his passes and won 2.1 headers per game in the process. He has it all. 


3. Franck Kessie - 90.3

Speaking of powerful elegance, Kessie possesses very similar qualities to Marquinhos but from midfield. The Milan star has two goals and one assist in Serie A this season, but he's also made 1.7 successful interceptions per match. He is very effective at both ends of the pitch.

2. Robert Lewandowski - 91.3

The man widely tipped to win the Ballon d'Or this year if it hadn't have been cancelled due to Covid, Lewandowksi has begun 2020/21 in the same way he ended last season. The Bayern striker is one of the most lethal around, finding the net on 13 occasions in only 11 games. Phenomenal. 

1. Kylian Mbappe - 98.8

The Frenchman is all set to dominate world football for a very long period of time. Mbappe is a genuine star and his ridiculous performance rating of 98.8 proves he is pretty much perfect. The youngster has scored seven goals and provided four assists in only six Ligue 1 games. 

Kylian Mbappe

So there we have it, an illustrious list of the best players in Europe this term.

Quite incredibly, there is no room for the great Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo. Are we finally witnessing a changing of the guard? 

We'll have to wait and see. 

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