The 2018/19 club football season has wrapped up, and what a season it’s been. With Liverpool, Tottenham, Chelsea and Arsenal all muscling their way into European finals, Juventus and PSG asserting their dominance at the top of the Serie A and Ligue 1 respectively, and Barcelona showing why they are one of the greatest teams in the world with yet another La Liga title, this season will go down in history as one of the most exciting of all time.
When we watch football, we only want to see one thing – goals. While we have seen some great strikes, and celebrated some of the top goalscorers, the players who carve out the chances and set up the goals often get very little praise. These were the top playmakers in each of Europe’s top leagues this season.
Teji Savanier – Nimes, Ligue 1
Image source: ie10sport.com
French midfielder, Teji Savanier had a remarkable season in the Ligue 1. Playing in his first ever season in top flight football, Savanier produced a number of eye-catching performances that could see him snapped up by a bigger club in the next transfer window.
Despite playing for a ‘smaller’ club, Savanier had no problem delivering frighteningly accurate balls that put his teammates in on goal. If he couldn’t pick a pass, he would simply have a go himself, even managing to net a worldie from halfway against Dijon.
His influence both with the ball at his feet and without it was a huge contributing factor to Nimes finishing in the top-half of the Ligue 1 table and retaining their place in France’s top-flight.
Eden Hazard – Chelsea, EPL
Image source: espn.com
Chelsea had an admirable run this season, finishing third in the EPL and claiming the Europa League title. Their success can largely be attributed to Eden Hazard. The Belgian midfielder topped the EPL for number of assists, setting up 15 goals in total, while also managing to find the net a respectable 16 times himself.
Hazard’s pace and creativity, especially on the wing, has led to many arguing that not only is Hazard one of best players in the Premier League, but that he is also one of the best players in the world at the moment.
Following his amazing season in the Premier League, and his guidance of Belgium to a third-place medal at last year’s World Cup, Hazard looks to be on his way to La Liga giants, Real Madrid, after a €100,000 fee was agreed between Los Blancos and Chelsea.
Jadon Sancho – Borussia Dortmund, Bundesliga
Image source: telegraph.co.uk
The future looks very, very bright for 19 year-old Jadon Sancho.
Playing for the Bundesliga’s Borussia Dortmund, Jadon Sancho put his teammates through on goal 14 times this season, and managed to net 12 goals of his own. What makes this feat even more impressive is that he only started 26 of his side’s 34 games, and featured as a sub in the other eight.
After impressing in the Manchester City youth academy, and at Under-17 level, Sancho was snapped up by Borussia Dortmund in 2017 for a fee of around £8m. The tenacious winger has continued to grow in his new home, and while his talent is still raw, he looks set to have a massively successful career.
Axel Witsel, one of the Bundesliga’s best players and teammate of Sancho, has gone as far as to say that he believes that the English starlet will go on to become one of the greatest wingers in football.
Lionel Messi – Barcelona, La Liga
Image source: sportsnet.ca
Of course this list wouldn’t be complete without the little Maestro. Barcelona’s Messi and Sevilla’s Pablo Sarabia both ended up with 13 assists in the La Liga in 2018/19, but we thought it fitting to name Messi as he was also the top La Liga goalscorer with 36 goals, a massive 15 goals more than teammate Luis Suarez who sits in second.
While Barcelona might have had a less than stellar end to their season, suffering two shock losses in a row – the first at the hands of Liverpool in the Champions League, the second to Valencia in the Copa del Rey final – Messi still managed to deliver the kind of performances we have become accustomed to seeing.
Much like a fine wine, Messi seems to be getting better with age and it seems as if he tries to outperform himself in each new season. Whether you regard him or Ronaldo as the G.O.A.T, one thing is for certain, we will never see another player like Lionel Messi.
Alejandro Gomez – Atalanta, Serie A
Image source: espn.com
Affectionately known as "Papu", Alejandro Gomez plays for Serie A side, Atalanta. At the ripe age of 31, Gomez played a key role in Atalanta’s success this season, setting up his teammates 11 times and finding the net seven times himself.
Despite being off the pace of rivals Juventus and Napoli, the side from Bergamo finished third in the Italian Serie A and secured their place in next year’s Champions League competition for the first time in the club’s 112-year history.
Gomez was a key part of that success and has been lauded as the side’s star player this season, his age and experience on the field proving to be key for Atalanta. Despite sides like Lazio and Liverpool showing interest in the midfielder, he seems content with his place at the moment and will be spending at least one more season with his current teammates.
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