Messi, Mbappe, Salah: The 50 best players in Europe's big five leagues in 21/22

Messi, Mbappe, Salah: The 50 best players in Europe's big five leagues in 21/22

The 21/22 football season was certainly one that will live long in the memory. Week after week, fans were treated to fantastic action from around Europe.

Of the continent’s top five leagues, none could match the English Premier League for sheer drama as Manchester City and Liverpool fought all the way to the final day to decide who would be crowned champions.

While other competitions may have lacked such a rollercoaster finish, there can be no denying that La Liga, Serie A, Ligue 1 and the Bundesliga had some serious talent on show.

This has been proven by the folks over at WhoScored, with their stats gurus giving each of Europe’s top players a ranking out of 10, based on their cumulative performances over the course of the campaign.

Below we’ve taken a look at the top 50 performers, per their domestic performances.

Surprisingly, there’s no spot in the countdown for Liverpool’s Virgil van Dijk (71st) or Manchester United’s Cristiano Ronaldo (94th), but the list still features big names aplenty.

The top 50 players in Europe’s big five leagues according to stats

50. Andrew Robertson (Liverpool – 7.23)

49. Ilkay Gündogan (Manchester City – 7.24)

48. Lucas Paquetá (Lyon – 7.24)

47. Reece James (Chelsea – 7.24)

46. Marcos Reus (Borussia Dortmund – 7.25)

45. Joselu (Deportivo – 7.25)

44. Casemiro (Real Madrid – 7.26)

43. Sofiane Boufal (Angers – 7.27)

42. Bernardo Silva (Man City – 7.28)

41. Ivan Toney (Brentford – 7.28)

Robertson played a key role in an incredibly successful season for Liverpool – and the fiery Scotsman kicks off the top 50.

A pair of Premier League winners in Gündogan and Silva also make the cut, joined by Chelsea right-back James.

Real Madrid midfielder Casemiro could hardly have wished for a better campaign either. The combative Brazilian is the first of three Los Blancos players featured on this list.

40. Hakan Çalhanoglu (Inter Milan – 7.28)

39. Sadio Mané (Liverpool – 7.29)

38. Serge Gnabry (Bayern Munich – 7.30)

37. Phil Foden (Man City – 7.30)

36. Luis Muriel (Atalanta – 7.30)

35. Alphonso Davies (Bayern – 7.31)

34. Ciro Immobile (Lazio – 7.31)

33. Aurélien Tchouaméni (Monaco – 7.32)

32. Dusan Vlahovic (Fiorentina/Juventus – 7.33)

31. Thomas Müller (Bayern – 7.34)

Nobody created more chances from set-pieces (46) in Serie A in 21/22 than Çalhanoglu. His consistent invention saw Inter chase AC Milan all the way for the Italian championship.

It was Bayern’s Müller who provided the most assists across Europe’s top five leagues in 21/22, though, notching an impressive 18 over the course of the season.

30. Lorenzo Pellegrini (Roma – 7.34)

29. Joel Matip (Liverpool – 7.35)

28. Sergej Milinkovic-Savic (Lazio – 7.36)

27. Rafael Leão (AC Milan – 7.37)

26. Nabil Fekir (Real Betis – 7.38)

25. Nico Schlotterbeck (Freiburg – 7.39)

24. Téji Savanier (Montpellier – 7.40)

23. Florian Wirtz (Leverkusen – 7.41)

22. Martin Terrier (Rennes – 7.41)

21. João Cancelo (Man City – 7.43)

Cancelo managed more shots on goal in the Premier League than any of his Man City teammates. Milinkovic-Savic registered double-figure tallies for both goals and assists for the first time in his career.

20. Domenico Berardi (Sassuolo – 7.43)

19. Dimitri Payet (Marseille – 7.44)

18. Benjamin Bourigeaud (Rennes – 7.44)

17. Rodri (Man City – 7.44)

16. Patrik Schick (Leverkusen – 7.45)

15. Harry Kane (Tottenham – 7.45)

14. Ousmane Dembélé (Barcelona – 7.46)

13. Trent Alexander-Arnold (Liverpool – 7.51)

12. Son Heung-min (Tottenham – 7.52)

11. Mohamed Salah (Liverpool – 7.54)

Son and Salah might have shared the Premier League Golden Boot in 21/22. However, their 23 top-flight goals apiece were not enough for either to crack Europe’s top 10 in terms of performance ratings.

Alexander-Arnold and Kane also had fine Premier League campaigns, but both had to settle for a top 15 berth.

10. Erling Haaland (Borussia Dortmund – 7.55)

9. Vinicius Jr (Real Madrid – 7.56)

8. Joshua Kimmich (Bayern – 7.60)

7. Christopher Nkunku (RB Leipzig – 7.64)

6. Kevin De Bruyne (Man City – 7.64)

5. Neymar (Paris Saint-Germain – 7.65)

4. Karim Benzema (Real Madrid – 7.69)

3. Lionel Messi (PSG – 7.77)

2. Robert Lewandowski (Bayern – 7.89)

1. Kylian Mbappé (PSG – 8.04)

De Bruyne is the only Premier League representative in the top 10 – although he will be joined at Man City next season by prolific Norwegian striker Haaland.

All but two players in these final stages of the list were winners of their domestic leagues. Vinicius and Benzema powered Real Madrid to the La Liga crown with a sense of ease.

In Ligue 1, though, PSG absolutely cantered to the French domestic title.

PARIS, FRANCE – OCTOBER 19: Lionel Messi of Paris Saint-Germain celebrates after scoring their side’s second goal during the UEFA Champions League group A match between Paris Saint-Germain and RB Leipzig at Parc des Princes on October 19, 2021 in Paris, France. (Photo by Matthias Hangst/Getty Images)

Their star-studded attack of Neymar, Messi and Mbappé fill three of the top five spots in the countdown, with only Benzema and Bayern’s second-placed Lewandowski preventing a Parisian monopoly on the podium.

Messi may not have lived up to his sensational reputation in terms of goalscoring, but his 14 Ligue 1 assists is still a more than respectable return, alongside his six goals in the competition.

Neymar also posted similarly enviable numbers as PSG dismantled their opposition on a regular basis.

PARIS, FRANCE – SEPTEMBER 28: (L – R) Lionel Messi, Neymar and Kylian Mbappe of Paris Saint-Germain celebrate after victory in the UEFA Champions League group A match between Paris Saint-Germain and Manchester City at Parc des Princes on September 28, 2021 in Paris, France. (Photo by Matthias Hangst/Getty Images)

Top-ranked Mbappé, however, was the outstanding player in terms of domestic stats in 21/22.

In 35 appearances, the French maestro bagged 28 goals and 17 assists, resulting in 12 Man of the Match awards.

It’s no wonder PSG were willing to do pretty much whatever it took to keep him at the Parc des Princes, agreeing to one of the most outrageous contracts in football history to make it happen.

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