We’re counting down the list of players that amazed the world of football the most this 20!5. In case you missed the first part, you can catch up here
11. Arturo Vidal
His eyes swollen, apparently tearful. He was left explaining his silly act of drink-driving during a tournament where he was the poster-boy, He was the symbol of the nation, and he had somewhat entangled himself in trouble, after lifting hearts with masterful performances in their first two games of the tournament. He was expecting to be punished. But the ANFP went soft, the fans forgave him, and he repaid their faith in full. He was the beacon as they won their first ever international title in front of their own fans after a peach performance in the final. He was named Man of the Match and was only included in the Team of the Tournament.
The manner in which Vidal evolved in 2015 was crucial both for the man and the team, right from his ‘New’ Advanced role at Juventus through to his more withdrawn role at Bayern. His consistent performances birthed 8 goals in 39 appearances (the league and Champions league) which resulted in a fourth straight Scudetti and a Champions League Silver medal as well as a Coppa Italia title. The stats speak in his favour just as much. His knack for important goals which put the mind of the fans at rest were a common feature of his game this year. One only need look at the Champions League quarter-final win against Monaco and the opening game of the Copa. If 2014 was the year Arturo Vidal showed promise, He definitely lived up to it in 2015.
10. Mesut Ozil
In football terms, the German international can be said to be more Spanish than German. Get it? Indulge me… let me Ozil (assist) you. His game isn’t about intensity, work rate or the machine-like efficiency associated with Germans. In fact if German footballers are likened to Mercedes-Benz, he’d be a Porsche or a Lamborghini, such is the finesse and class his game exudes (now if you don’t get it, you just can’t).
If you thought he had the world’s attention while at Madrid, now the whole universe watches in awe. Highest number of assists this season in the top 5 leagues in Europe, arguably the best playmaker in the game right now. The 15/16 season is only half-way through but he has already assisted twice as many goals as the next player on the list (Kevin de Bruyne, 8 assists). What more can be said
2015 has been Ozil’s best year yet and he’s still gathering plaudits with his constant ‘eye popping’ performances. Ozil is football’s illuminati, utilising the all-seeing eyes for passing accuracy and assists. Little wonder Cristiano Ronaldo was furious he was sold.
Earlier this year, according to Opta, Ozil had the best minutes per assist rate in the Premier League history! And that was last season. In the game against Bournemouth this season, Mesut Ozil created nine goalscoring chances, the most by a player in a single Premier League game this season.
In this same year, in the game against Man. City, he made his 14th and 15th assists of the season in the 16th game of the season; the fastest any player has ever managed in the EPL history.
9. Paul Pogba
He is not the best goal-scoring machine in the Old Lady’s arsenal but whenever he scores, his goals made headlines.
His 15 Serie A starts this 15/16 Serie A season is a testament to his indispensability at Juventus. In this same season, no player has won possession in the final third more times than Octopus Paul in the Serie A. He is power and combativeness combined.
While his team was beaten in the Champions League final and denied a treble by Barcelona, he was named in the ten-man shortlist for the UEFA Best Player in Europe award, which he later finished 10th.
In a year where some players did not win any club trophies, he won 3. Not bad Paul, not bad.
8. Alexis Sanchez
The Golden boy with the golden touch. You only need to see him play the piano to judge his football skills; he is just as exquisite, his fingers striking each chord like his foot striking the ball into the net.
If his arrival at Arsenal was mired by his inability to deliver on the big stage for Barcelona as some had called it, he has not only proven them wrong, he has just as much put them to shame. His goals were just as important as he himself, and even though his 2015 didn’t start too well, he was celebrating two titles in the space of a month as he played a massive role in Arsenal’s FA Cup win before leading the charge along with Edu Vargas and Arturo Vidal for Chile at the Copa America, his goals crucial in the groups and his assist for the winner in the semis. He returned to club action to lift the Community shield with the Gunners after which he embarked on a scoring run of 9 goals in 6 games for club and country.
He has shown no signs of stopping. He was rewarded with the 2015 Fans Premier League Player of the Year and you only need to ask his Arsenal team mates and they’d explain his ever burning desire to be the best… Balon d’Or consideration maybe? You have another 12months Alexis…
Author: Rotimi “Papi the Great” Daramola
Rotimi Daramola aka Papi the Great is the owner of ForTheGoal.
A freelance sports writer who focuses on football, Rotimi is also a freelance writer, a copywriter and a football analyst who regularly appears on radio and television to talk football. You can follow him on twitter @papi_thegreat to keep up with his writings, engage him and also find out about how you can secure his writing services.