With the football season having ended across Europe, talk naturally turns to deciding who were the most impressive players on the continent during the course of the campaign. But could you make up a respectable team out of the various players of the year awards that have been handed out? We’ve had a go at putting together a team and, although we’ve had to be a bit creative in some positions, this side would surely be among the elite.
As top European clubs like Chelsea and Juventus have dominated their respective leagues by using a 3-4-3 formation this season, that’s what we’ll be using for our team as well. Let’s take a look at the players we’ve gone for. A number of these names will definitely be in the running next season as top goal scorer in their respective leagues and to take an early punt you can get £70 when you deposit £10 at Sky Bet for next season’s early betting markets.
Petr Cech – Arsenal
Goalkeepers tend to be kept out of the spotlight by attackers when the time comes to hand out individual awards at the end of the season. But Arsenal stopper Petr Cech – whose side won the FA Cup for the third time in the last four seasons – has at least got another trophy to put up on his mantelpiece at home.
Cech has been crowned Czech Player of the Year for the 11th time in his career. That’s a lot of Golden Balls! The 35-year-old kept 12 clean sheets for Arsenal this season.
Javi Martinez – Bayern Munich
Spanish international Javi Martinez is the first player to make our team as a result of studies carried out by the CIES Football Observatory. Martinez was named the best defender in Europe by the organisation, earning a rating of 87.0 for his performances for the Bundesliga champions.
While Martinez excelled for Carlo Ancelotti’s side, it was a disappointing campaign overall for Bayern, who were controversially knocked out of the Champions League quarter-finals by Real Madrid. They also lost in the semi-finals of the DFB-Pokal to rivals Borussia Dortmund.
Leonardo Bonucci – Juventus
While this season’s player of the year awards has not yet been handed out in Serie A, Leonardo Bonucci won last year’s prize and the Juventus defender will be in the running again this time out. Bonucci was a transfer target for Chelsea last summer and it is clear why Antonio Conte wanted to bring him to Stamford Bridge as he is just as good on the ball as he is at taking it off opponents.
The 30-year-old helped Juve to win the Serie A title for the sixth year in a row, while they claimed the Coppa Italia by beating Lazio and also reached the final of the Champions League.
Mats Hummels – Bayern Munich
The second player to make our list from Bayern also comes from the CIES Football Observatory, which placed Mats Hummels a touch behind colleague Martinez with a rating of 86.5. In terms of centre-backs in Europe, the Bayern duo ranked a clear distance ahead of Paris Saint-Germain’s Brazil international Thiago Silva, while Nicolas Otamendi of Manchester City made a surprise appearance in the top five as well.
Hummels’ decision to move from Borussia Dortmund to Bayern last summer was justified as he won his third Bundesliga title, while Dortmund could only finish third in the final league table.
Ander Herrera – Manchester United
Manchester United’s player of the year for 2016/17 and a member of the Europa League’s team of the tournament, Ander Herrera is the first midfielder to be included in our team. The Spaniard thrived as Jose Mourinho’s men set a club-record for the longest unbeaten Premier League run in a single season, claiming United’s players’ player of the season in addition to the club’s main award.
“It is very special for me to win this award because when you see the list of the winners you see how important it is,” Herrera – man of the match in the Europa League final – told MUTV.
N’Golo Kante – Chelsea
No team of the season would be complete without Chelsea’s midfield dynamo N’Golo Kante, who was named the Premier League Player of the Year after helping his side to win the title. Kante, who also picked out the French Player of the Year prize, has won the Premier League two seasons in a row, having left Leicester City for Chelsea a year ago.
With so many attackers to come in the rest of our team, Kante will help to provide balance with his boundless energy in the middle of the park providing protection for the defence alongside Herrera.
Scott Sinclair – Celtic
Scotland’s Player of the Year this season was Scott Sinclair, who has successfully rebooted his career at Celtic after flopping at Manchester City.
Sinclair was a key man for Celtic as they swept all before them north of the border this season, winning all three domestic trophies without suffering a single defeat under boss Brendan Rodgers.
Mesut Ozil – Germany
While it has not been regarded as a classic season for Mesut Ozil, he makes it into our side as a result of claiming Germany’s Player of the Year for the fifth time in six years.
The Arsenal playmaker can be a frustrating presence in the Gunners side, but surrounded with so much quality in our attack he really should thrive, like he does when he plays for his country.
Cristiano Ronaldo – Portugal
There’s no place for both Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi in our team and the Real Madrid man gets the nod after winning the Portugal Player of the Year prize for 2016.
Ronaldo won both the Champions League and Euro 2016 titles last year and he has been strong again in 2017, firing his side to the final of the Champions League again by scoring two hat-tricks in back-to-back knockout games. There is no doubt Ronaldo will be considered a great of the game when he hangs up his boots.
Edinson Cavani – Paris Saint-Germain
After having his best season yet, PSG forward Edinson Cavani earns a place in our attack. The Uruguayan brilliantly filled in for Zlatan Ibrahimovic after his departure to Manchester United, claiming the Ligue 1 Player of the Year prize in the process.
Cavani blitzed the competition in the goal scoring charts, hitting 35 Ligue 1 goals for PSG, nine goals clear of his nearest rival in the French top tier, Lyon forward Alexandre Lacazette.
Harry Kane – Tottenham
Completing our team is Tottenham striker Harry Kane, who bludgeoned 29 goals in the Premier League to claim the league’s fans’ player of the year.
Kane won the league’s Golden Boot prize for the second season in a row despite missing two spells of the season through injury and he will be our cutting edge in the opposition box. The England international has set himself a goal of breaking Alan Shearer’s record of scoring 260 Premier League goals and as he is only 23 years old there is every chance of him doing that.