Jan Oblak – Adapted to the more open Atlético system so much better than his teammates.
Dani Carvajal – Firmly established as the best right back in the game.
Leonardo Bonucci – Crunching tackles and pinpoint long balls. Complete defender.
Mats Hummels – Another defender that checks all the right boxes. Makes all phases of the game look easy.
Marcelo – Easily Real Madrid’s greatest attacking threat and their best player. Yeah, I said it, and it’s not up for debate.
Marco Verratti – Watching him play is a treat for the eyes. Its a shame he’ll never win a Champions League in Paris.
Toni Kroos – One half of a central midfield partnership that has Barcelona fans cursing their inept management team.
Luka Modrić – The other half of a central midfield partnership that has Barcelona fans cursing their inept management team.
Lionel Messi – The best there is, was and ever will be. Messi continues to mesmorise and delight in a fashion that cannot be matched.
Robert Lewandowski – Reasonable arguments could be made that it is the Bayern marksman and not Luis Suarez who is the best centre forward in the game.
Kylian Mbappé – The kid is magic.
Subs: Gigi Buffon, Bernardo Silva, Mertens, Fabinho, Thiago Alcântara, Alex Sandro, Sergio Ramos.
Gianluigi Donnarumma – While it was difficult to leave out Gianluigi Buffon, perhaps the greatest goalkeeper to have played the game, Milan’s teenage sensation was in imperious form for much of the season. The 18-year-old won many points for his team and kept them in games week after week. A few blunders here and there placed a chink in his armour, but this is just the process while learning and developing his trade.
Leonardo Bonucci – Synonymous with most Italian clubs, being solid at the back is a trademark. In Italian Serie A and across Europe, there is perhaps none better on current form than Leonardo Bonucci. Perhaps the most complete central defender playing today, the 30-year-old is on top of his game and one of the major forces in the Juventus ranks.
Marquinhos – At the age of just 23, Marquinhos seems to have been around for quite some time and has long been hailed as a great prospect. However, he was the most improved central defender this season and for a player under 24 years old, this could not be ignored. The young Brazilian took some major steps in terms of development over the course of the season and now looks a top quality defender. He may opt to stay at the Parc des Princes this summer, but there will be quite a few of Europe’s elites chasing his signature.
Marcelo – The Brazilian has simply been a cut above the rest for much of the season. Juventus’ Alex Sandro has been brilliant. However, the Real Madrid star proved many doubters wrong, especially on the defensive aspects of his game. The 29-year-old was at times Real’s most potent attacking weapon and came up with some very important goals and assists in big games.
Dani Alves – The third Brazilian in the defensive unit must have Barcelona must be kicking themselves for allowing the former Sevilla star to leave the Camp Nou. He’s hit the ground running in Turin and has been in total control of everything on the right flank this season. Solid in defence as expected playing for an Italian manager, the 34-year-old has continued his goal-scoring form while creating numerous opportunities for his teammates in the attacking third.
Fabinho – The 23-year old Brazilian showed immense maturity in a very young Monaco team; and this may be the reason he was deployed in a defensive midfield role by manager Leonardo Jardim. Known more as a right back, the former Real Madrid player showed exceptional awareness and great appreciation of his surroundings. He showed wonderful composure and assurance on the ball and his distribution was surprisingly excellent. His maturity and quality has caught quite a few top European clubs and as such is expected to leave the Stade Louis II this summer.
Thiago Alcântara – One of the biggest positives this season at Bayern Munich was the announcement of this Spanish international midfielder as one of Europe’s best. The 26-year-old showed everything Carlo Ancelotti could have asked for; grit, flair, stamina and innovation. The former Barcelona youngster has finally arrived as the quality player he was deemed to become and the fans in Bavaria must be hoping their new superstar can move to even higher heights next season.
Toni Kroos – At the moment, Kroos is perhaps the best midfielder in the world. Comfortable in possession anywhere on the pitch, the German showed great stamina throughout the season and is the man that keep things ticking over for the Spanish champions Real Madrid. His passing ability is ridiculous and it seems he never gives away possession. He has improved massively on the defensive side of the game and now operates as a deep-lying playmaker while picking his moments to arrive late in and around the penalty area.
Lionel Messi – The Barcelona forward needs no explanation after yet another season where he finished as Europe’s top scorer and proved yet again that he’s head and shoulders above everyone else. The Argentine continues to reinvent his game. It seems that his goal-scoring and playmaking capabilities only get better with age.
Cristiano Ronaldo – He may no longer be the player who has the ability to dribble past 3-5 players, but Cristiano Ronaldo definitely knows how to score goals. He’s converted himself into a goal-scoring machine and drives fear in opposition defences because he’s always in dangerous positions where he can hit the back of the net.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang – Borussia Dortmund’s hitman made the cut just ahead of PSG striker, Edinson Cavani, purely because if it wasn’t for his goals BVB wouldn’t be in Europe next season and could very well not have won the German Cup. With 40 goals from 45 appearances, the 27-year-old is a nightmare for defenders. Not only is he clinical in the final third, the Gabon international has electric pace that stretches any defence and is able to get in behind at will. There’s a pattern of consistency for the former St Etienne forward in front of goal over the last three seasons which must be one of the major reasons he’s been linked with a move away from the Signal Iduna Park.
Subs: Gigi Buffon, Diego Godín, Julian Weigl, Neymar, Miralem Pjanić, Paulo Dybala, Edinson Cavani.
And the best from the rest of Europe is: