2016 has been one hell of a ride for football fans all around the world. The nail-biting matches between some of the biggest teams in club and international football ensured that a majority of the global footballing heroes lived up to their names. Leicester City’s astonishing rise to the helm of English Football, a whole lot of exciting matches in the Champions League, followed by Portugal’s triumphant Euro 2016 campaign, and not to mention the tumultuous summer transfer window, are some the numerous events that caught the eye of the footballing masses. As the year comes to an end, we take a look at the elite group of players who have proven themselves worthy of being included in the list of the best players in the world:
As the year comes to an end, we take a look at the elite group of players who have proven themselves worthy of being included in the list of the best players in the world:
5. Zlatan Ibrahimovic:
There are very few people in the world whose sheer persona is more than enough to hold them in awe. Manchester United superstar, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, surely ranks amongst the best of these people. The 35-year-old striker’s tally of 49 goals so far this year has been nothing short of phenomenal, thus proving that age is just a number for people like him. Only Lionel Messi, with 59 goals, is ahead of Ibrahimovic. Zlatan has netted 10 times in his last 9 games, taking his total to 16 goals for the Red Devils. In addition to the 33, he scored for PSG in the first half of the year.
He played almost every game for United and has been on the field till the final whistle for almost all. This essentially underscores the fitness level of a player who is supposedly nearing the end of his playing days. As was rightly put by Ibrahimovic himself in a recent interview, ” Even if I am 35, in my mind, I am 20. I think I can play also at 50. But the older I get, the better – like the wine.”
4. Antoine Griezmann:
France and Atletico Madrid forward Antoine Griezmann has had a stupendous year. From a lesser-known entity at Real Sociedad, he has now become a vital cog in the engine for both Atletico Madrid and the French national team. He holds the French Footballer of the year title for 2016 with the tally of 36 goals and 15 assists for both club and country. Griezmann was also a part of the year’s most awaited matches – the UEFA Champions League final against club rivals Real Madrid and the Euro 2016 final against Portugal – apart from being the third nominee alongside Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo to receive the Ballon d’Or.
3. Luis Suarez:
Luis Suarez is amongst the deadliest strikers in world football. With his frightening accuracy and intelligent runs, the Uruguayan forward can send shivers down the spine of any defense. Suarez has now been involved in 51 goals for Barcelona in 2016. He tore defenses apart in August 2016 with his four hat-tricks in six league games. He became the first player in the history of La Liga to score four goals or more in two consecutive games.
Suarez ended the La Liga season with a tally of 34 goals, 3 more than Cristiano Ronaldo and 9 more than Lionel Messi. He became the only footballer to have been involved in 7 goals in a single match when he registered 4 goals and 3 assists in the 8-0 rout of R.C Deportivo. Well, such terrific form is one thing, Luis Suarez’s form this year can be summarized using a single word: RIDICULOUS!
2. Lionel Messi:
Any list of best footballers in the world for past 8 years or so has rarely been without the name of Lionel Messi, and this list is no exception. The FC Barcelona and Argentina icon enjoyed another fantastic year, mesmerizing critics and fans alike with his beautiful style of play. Messi has scored 59 goals so far, the most by any player in this calendar year. In 62 appearances for club and country, Messi has also assisted 32 goals this year, which includes 51 goals and 25 assists for FC Barcelona and 8 goals and 11 assists for Argentina. Crashing out of the Champions League in the semifinals of the Champions League at the hands of Atletico Madrid and a heartbreaking loss in the Copa America final against Chile saw him miss out on an unprecedented 6th Ballon d’Or to Cristiano Ronaldo.
1. Cristiano Ronaldo:
In the race for being touted as the best player in the world this year, Cristiano Ronaldo takes the honors by a mile. Like Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane said after the club’s recent win in the FIFA Club World Cup final, ” I don’t need a player who can do 10-20 dribbles per game, I’d rather have a player who can score a hat-trick and win me the final”, Ronaldo has been an absolute beast of a goalscorer this year. He has scored 42 goals and assisted 14 others for Real Madrid and 13 goals and 3 assists for Portugal in 2016. Ronaldo has won almost every tournament in which he has participated The Champions League, The UEFA Super Cup and the FIFA Club World Cup with Real Madrid and the Euro 2016 with Portugal. He scored his 500th club goal in Club World Cup semifinal and a record-breaking 40th
Ronaldo scored 42 goals and assisted 14 others for Real Madrid and 13 goals and 3 assists for Portugal in 2016. He has won almost every tournament in which he has participated The Champions League, The UEFA Super Cup and the FIFA Club World Cup with Real Madrid and the Euro 2016 with Portugal. The Portugal star scored his 500th club goal in Club World Cup semifinal and a record-breaking 40th hat-trick for Real Madrid in the following final. All these statistics made even the likes of Lionel Messi pale in comparison, as Ronaldo won his 4th Ballon d’Or and became the only player in football history to win these 5 trophies in a single year.