Sports India Show’s Year End Awards: The 5 best footballers of 2018


It never is easy to compile such lists of best ‘things’, especially when the domain is as wide as sports, something like football of all, when the range is… well… the whole wide world! What with all the new age stars rising, be it youngsters or seasoned pros outperforming everyone, it is difficult to sieve out the rest in order to find the best, as biased feelings associated with one’s favorite clubs often get in the way of the sieving.

So we at willingly put our heads to the knife to bring you, what we believe, are 5 of the Best football players we’ve seen this year! These Eilte 5 have shone throughout the year, managed to have various accolades to their names and still going strong at it with iron will, cost their owners a fortune or two, awed us with breathtaking arts of which they deservedly are masters, and worth all the salt they cost!

5. Hakim Ziyech Dutch legendary club Ajax Amsterdam proudly boast of midfield wizard Hakim Ziyech, whose technical prowess on the field is often termed as a thing of beauty. A master of set pieces, free kicks in particular, along with insightful plays, the 25-year old Moroccan is all that one could ask for in an attacking midfielder. After signing for Ajax back in 2016, Ziyech took the Eredivisie by storm on first impact, enjoying considerable success in form of 9 goals and 18 assists, he helped Ajax to a second position finish last campaign, and has racked 10 goals and 5 assists so far in 13 Eredivisie games only, where Ajax sit yet again second with 43 points, only a couple adrift of previous champions PSV Eindhoven.

4. Virgil van Djik  Virgil joined Liverpool FC earlier in January this year for a record £75 million after spending three years at Southampton. The deal made him the most expensive defender in the world, and you can very well be sure that the Dutch national team captain has surely lived up to expectations. Averaging over 73% tackle success and 78% this season in the Prem alone, flawless defensive plays leading to zero goals due to errors and an equal number of own goals, throughout, he helped the Reds book a Champions League final berth the very season he joined them (although they lost it), and with them sits at the summit of the Premier League unbeaten in the same, so far.

3. Jan Oblak Success follows this 25-year old Slovenian stopper wherever he goes. After debuting for Portuguese side Benfica in 2010 aged 17, he went on to win the domestic treble with them in the 2013-14 campaign before joining Spanish side Atletico Madrid the following season for a then record €16 million making him La Liga’s most expensive goal keeper that season. As soon as the next season, he won the acclaimed Ricardo Zamora trophy for the best goal keeper and went on to win it consecutively for the following three seasons. Oblak helped Atletico reach the 2015-16 Champions League final, and further won the Europa League in 2017-18 as well as the UEFA Super Cup, beating rivals Real Madrid. He was nominated twice for the Ballon d’Or in 2017 and 2018 for his stellar performances year in, year out and as of 2018, Oblak has more clean sheets than goals conceded since 2014-15!

2. Cristiano Ronaldo At 33-years of age, one would think Ronaldo’s footballing days are basically over, but that’s far from the truth. Prior to joining Serie A champions Juventus for club record €100 million in the summer transfer window this year, the Portuguese national team captain won the Champions League for a record third consecutive season earlier this year with Real Madrid, racking up 44 goals in the campaign. Following a move to Turin and rough start in the Serie A, he now stands at 10 goals and 5 assists so far for Juventus, and as if new life had been breathed into him, the Portuguese forward’s ability to consistently perform and deliver week in, week out for years and years just shows how much he still has left in him.

1. Kylian Mbappe You know how they say age is but a number? As of the time of writing this, 19-year old Kylian Mbappe is just that “child” prodigy who is the exact representation of that saying. Aged just 16 when he won his first major title, the Ligue 1 Cup with Monaco, a year later the French forward was on his way to the French capital for a massive €180 million fee, making him the world’s most expensive teen, where he has enjoyed nothing but success in form of the domestic treble and other domestic titles. To add another feather to his star studded cap, he went on to win the 2018 FIFA World Cup with France scoring once in the finals, and cumulatively a joint second at 8 goals for the team. Following the success at the WC, Mbappe netted 15 times and assisted 10 in 18 games for PSG this season, with whom he won his second Ligue 1 Cup last season.

Those are our prestigious picks for 5 pieces of world football’s crown in 2018. We hope we did well to bring to you the best of the best!