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Top 10 football players of 2018

Sports Social takes a look at the top 10 individuals for 2018 based on individual performances and contributions to their respective teams.

Last updated: 07.01.2019
Top 10 football players of 2018 | Sports Social Blog

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2018 is over! We're already beyond the halfway mark of season 2018-19.

Modric claimed all the individual awards in 2018 including the prestigious Ballon d'Or. But did he really deserve it based on his individual performances?

2018 was an eventful year on so many levels with France claiming the World Cup, Manchester City breaking records on their way to another Premier League title, Barcelona were close to being the first team in Spain to clinch the La Liga unbeaten until they were beaten on a penultimate day and Real Madrid made history when they claimed a hat-trick of Champions League titles.


Sports Social takes a look at the top 10 individuals for 2018 based on individual performances and contributions to their respective teams.

10. Kevin De Bruyne (Manchester City/Belgium)

Titles: Premier League, Carabao Cup, Community Shield.

There is no doubt that KDB was City's best player in their record-breaking campaign. Eight goals and 16 assists, he was instrumental to City claiming 100 points in the league. An important goal against Brazil sent Belgium to the semi-finals where they fell to eventual winners France. If it wasn't for his injury-hit start to this season, he would have definitely been placed higher than number 10.  

9. N'Golo Kante (Chelsea/France)

Titles: World Cup, FA Cup.

A dynamic and hardworking box-to-box midfielder. If not for a footballer, he would have definitely been a rugby player. The unsung hero for France in the World Cup. He may not push himself into the spotlight but he was the decisive factor in the final against Croatia. He may have missed out on a third consecutive Premier League title but he did bag the FA Cup with Chelsea.

8. Eden Hazard (Chelsea/Belgium)

Titles: FA Cup.

He put in one of the best displays in the World Cup. Many expected him to have been awarded the Golden Ball over Modric but he had to settle for the Silver Ball. He was not able to replicate his 2017 form for Chelsea but he did help his club beat Manchester United in the FA Cup final scoring the only goal of the match. Under Sarri, he has started the season brightly and may have his most productive season to date.

7. Raphael Varane (Real Madrid/France)

Titles: World Cup, UEFA Champions League, FIFA Club World Cup.

The only defender to make it to this list and why wouldn't he? He was the only player to win the World Cup and the Champions League last year. Scored the first goal in the quarter-final against Uruguay and formed a solid partnership with Umtiti at the back. Another player who could have been ranked higher in this list but he has had a rocky start to the season as Real Madrid continue to struggle to find their form.

6. Antoine Griezmann (Atletico Madrid/France)

Titles: World Cup, UEFA Europa League, UEFA Super Cup.

Griezmann had an eventful 2018 after failing to win the Champions League and the Euros in 2016. Brace in the Europa League final against Marseille. Second highest scorer in the World Cup with four goals including one in the final. Three of those goals may have been from the spot but taking penalties in a World Cup is not as easy as they look. Ask Messi or Ronaldo. He was disappointed that he finished third in the Ballon d'Or but an early exit in the UCL affected his chances.

5. Mohammed Salah (Liverpool/Egypt)

Titles: Premier League Golden Boot

The Egyptian King has set records tumbling since his move to Liverpool. He scored a record 32 goals in the league and helped Liverpool to a Champions League final against Real Madrid where he suffered a shoulder injury during the game. He scored a last-minute penalty to send Egypt to the World Cup for the first time in 28 years. Egypt was never expected to go past the group stages but Salah did manage to bag a couple of goals in the group stages. He began slowly this season but has hit through the gears in recent months and Liverpool will be counting on him to deliver the Premier League title.

4. Luka Modric

Titles: UEFA Champions League, FIFA Club World Cup, Ballon d’or, The Best FIFA Men's Player, World Cup Golden Ball.

Ballon d'Or winner and forth here. Modric may have grabbed all the accolades in 2018 but was he really the best player individually? Taking nothing away from the Croatian, he is definitely one of the best midfielders in world football today. Ended the duopoly of Messi and Ronaldo after 10 years. He's having a rough start to this season as Real get used to life after Ronaldo but he was great towards the end of last season and had a great start to the World Cup but his performances began to dip as Croatia made it to the latter stages. He is fourth in this list because the players in the top 3 have been in a league of their own.

3. Cristiano Ronaldo (Juventus/Real Madrid/Portugal)

Titles: UEFA Champions League.

Ronaldo's form has switched on and off at random intervals in 2018. But that hasn't stopped the Portuguese from being the second top scorer with 49 goals in Europe in 2018 and guiding Real Madrid to a third consecutive Champions League title. Ronaldo shook the footballing world when he decided to part ways with Real Madrid for Juventus. A slow start in Turin but since then he has been scoring at a rapid pace. He put in one of the best performances of 2018 in the World Cup when he netted in a hattrick against Spain in the group stages. He has had a slow start to the UCL this season with one goal in five games. But as we all know, cometh the knockout stages, cometh the man.

2. Kylian Mbappé (PSG/France)

Titles: World Cup, Ligue 1, Coupe de France, Coupe de la Ligue.

The future of football. Winning the Ligue 1 is more of a formality for PSG but it was in the World Cup where Mbappé became a global superstar. Four goals in the World Cup. He put in one of the best performances in the quarter-final against Argentina when he scored a brace and ended Messi's dreams of lifting the prestigious prize. He went on to score in the final against Croatia and became the first teenager since Pelé to score in a World Cup final. A strong start to this campaign for PSG as they topped their UCL group against the likes of Liverpool and Napoli. At 20, it is hard to imagine how far could the Frenchman go.

1. Lionel Messi (FC Barcelona/Argentina)

Titles: La Liga, Copa Del Rey, Supercopa de España, Pichichi Trophy, European Golden Shoe.

He may have not had the best of World Cups for Argentina but if it weren't for him, they wouldn't have even been there in the first place. Most goals scored and most assists provided in 2018, Messi has been on a league of his own. Barcelona was unbeaten for 36 games in La Liga when Messi was around but when they decided to rest the Argentine for the penultimate game against Levante. They lost. He put in a rare bad performance in the return leg of the UCL against Roma as Barcelona were dumped out of the UCL in the quarter-final for the third consecutive season. Already the top scorer in the league this season and he looks determined to bring the UCL back to the Camp Nou. And with the Copa America taking place in 2019, Messi will be looking to finally end his international trophy drought.

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