TOP 10 ATTACKING MIDFIELDERS
James Rodriguez must have wondered where his career was going last summer. He wasn’t exactly a poor player at Real Madrid, but he couldn’t force his way into Zinedine Zidane’s starting XI. Bayern Munich came to his rescue, and the Colombian has thrived in Germany. So much so, that he’s regained his place among the best attacking midfielders in the game. He tops our list of the best at his position from Europe’s top-five leagues – who else made the cut?
This season has brought James full circle. He earned a move to Real Madrid after a stunning showing at the 2014 World Cup. Having left Madrid on loan last summer, he heads into this year’s World Cup at the top of his game again.
There were so many things to love about Napoli this season, even if their title bid ultimately fell short. Insigne’s form was one of them, leading a thrilling attack with flair, skill and plenty of drive. It is a real shame Italy are not at the World Cup.
Harry Kane may get all the goals but Son has been one of Spurs’ most effective performers this season with 12 goals and six assists in the league. That Son plays with a visible, infectious joy, much like Mohamed Salah, only adds to his aura.
If anyone was worried that Fekir’s severe injury debacle would derail his progress, they needn’t worry anymore. The Frenchman has been absolutely superb this term, leading Lyon’s charge for a Champions League spot.
Eriksen must have felt that Harry Kane and Dele Alli had been hogging the headlines for too long. It’s been a stunning season from the Dane, who also scored a hat-trick in a World Cup qualifying playoff to seal Denmark’s spot in Russia.
It’s strange that Bayern Munich let him go to Juventus on loan in the first place. The Brazilian is certainly not complaining – he’s hit top form for the Serie A’s best side with his pace and trickery proving a real handful. Bayern may rue his departure.
Cut free from the pressure and expectation at Manchester United, Memphis has thrived in France. He had a run of six games with either a goal or an assist at one point, making sure Lyon didn’t miss a beat when Fekir was injured.
What Insigne did for Napoli this season, former Liverpool man Alberto did for Lazio. Ciro Immobile and Sergej MilinkovicSavic stole the headlines for the Rome team, but the Spaniard’s incisiveness and vision underpinned their play.
It says it all that a season where he scores twice as many league goals while recording nearly the same number of assists as the previous year is considered a disappointing campaign. Granted, Dybala hasn’t hit the heights of last season, but he’s still a rising star.
It’s tempting to wonder how good Sterling’s season would have been had he been a better finisher. Would we be talking about him in the same breath as Mohamed Salah? Of all the players to have grown under Guardiola’s tutelage, he showcases it best.