Club football for the 2016-17 season has come to an end. Champions across various leagues have been announced and we are headed for the Confederation Cup that starts this week. As always, a large number of clubs have grabbed the eyeballs this season, be it AS Monaco from France or Leicester City with their incredible run in the Champions League. Some footballers have broken out in spectacular fashion this season, while others have fizzled out and some have underlined their class on the biggest stages once again.
Here in this article, Sportwalk takes a look at the best starting line-up in Europe for the season that went by:
Goalkeeper: Manuel Neuer
The German Captain and also supposedly the next Bayern Munich captain has once again had an excellent season between the sticks. The 30-year-old had a save percentage of over 80% and has been vital as usual in the campaign en-route to Bayern’s 5th consecutive Bundesliga title victory.
He conceded 25 goals in 40 matches of which 6 came in the controversial tie against Real Madrid in the quarter-finals of the Champions League. The former Schalke man is showing no signs of slowing down and has also been adjudged the best goalkeeper by CIES (Centre international d’étude du sport), which is based out of Switzerland who gave him a rating of 88, with a comfortable lead over 2nd placed Sergio Asenjo.
Right back: Dani Carvajal
The Spanish international is improving leaps and bounds with each passing season. The 25-year-old was once again in marvellous form this season and has been crucial in Real Madrid’s La Liga-winning campaign as well in successfully defending the Champions League.
He registered 12 assists across all competitions this season for the club and was equally good on offence and defence. His growing maturity and confidence have been visible throughout the season with his improved gameplay.
Centre-back: Mats Hummels
The talented German defender made a comeback to his youth club Bayern Munich from arch rivals Borussia Dortmund this season. Ever since joining, he has been Mr. Consistent for Bayern showcasing his best defensive display in years.
The 28-year-old was phenomenal and has been outstanding quite a few times with moments of individual brilliance and was also been adjudged Man of the Match twice in the Bundesliga this season. Known for his superb anticipation and game-reading ability the defender showed his technical brilliance quite a few times this season.
Centre-back: Javi Martinez
After getting plagued by injuries for the past seasons which made him a bit inconsistent, Javi Martinez finally found his form this season and was rock solid at the back. His partnership with Mats Hummels was superb in the absence of injured Jerome Boateng.
Though there’s nothing flashy in his game like his defensive partner Hummels, an in-form Javi Martinez knows how to defend and that is exactly what he executed to perfection leading to fewer goals concession for the Bavarians once again.
Left back: Marcelo
Dani Carvajal’s teammate has been definitely the best left back this season. The 29-year-old Brazillian in all probability is the best left back out there right now and has drawn comparisons to his countryman and legend Roberto Carlos.
Known for his attacking abilities, Marcelo was good in defence too this season most notably keeping Arjen Robben at bay in the Champions League quarter-finals. He scored 3 times and assisted a further 12, which played a significant role in Real winning the La Liga and Champions League.
Central Midfield: N’Golo Kante
The 26-year-old Frenchman who joined last summer from Leicester City has been one of the primary reasons for Chelsea’s Premier League title victory. He has been rock solid in the midfield and consistent throughout the season.
He averaged 3.6 tackles and 2.4 interceptions in the 35 appearances he made in the Premier League for Chelsea. He was a midfield engine, a workhorse under Antonio Conte and gave immense stability to the midfield and assurance to the Chelsea backline.
Left midfield: Toni Kroos
The highest valued German player on the planet once again dazzled throughout the season. Real Madrid at this point of time are indispensable without Toni Kroos and he has also probably been their best player this season.
Averaging a pass accuracy of over 92% once again for the 4th season in a row, he delighted the supporters with his cool and calm presence and marvellous distribution alongside improved defensive abilities.
Right midfield: Thiago Alcantara
The Spanish magician has been the best Bayern Munich player this season. The 26-year-old has been in tremendous form putting up eye-catching displays, both in domestic and continental levels.
He has averaged a 94.9% pass accuracy in the Bundesliga and average 2.8 tackles and 4.6 interceptions this season showing his improved defensive ability. He was injury free which led him to achieve greater consistency and his excellent performances were rewarded with an improved contract till 2021.
Right Forward: Lionel Messi
The Argentine is undoubtedly a creative genius on the pitch. This season under Luis Enrique, he has played a playmaking role while going about his usual task of scoring goals
The 29-year-old is the joint top scorer in Europe having notched up 56 goals and 11 assists so far across all competitions this season for club and country. He dazzled everyone with his playmaking skills this season and at times single-handedly won matches for Barcelona which is evident from the 18 man of the match awards he won this season.
Left Forward: Cristiano Ronaldo
The Portuguese goal scoring machine has been very well utilised by Zinedine Zidane this season which is one of the reasons for both of titles won by Madrid. He was rested whenever possible and this led to better output especially in the later stages of the Champions League.
The 32-year-old proved his doubters wrong once again with his performances and notched up 56 goals and 13 assists for club and country this season.
Striker: Robert Lewandowski
The Polish international has been the main man for Bayern Munich this season. He scored quite a few delightful goals and was the best centre-forward despite patches of not being in form.
He was sensational for both club and country racking up 55 goals and 6 assists during the period thereby giving him an edge over others for this position.
Preferred Formation: 4-3-3
Preferred Coach: Zinedine Zidane.
Substitutes: Luka Modric, Kylian Mbappe, Ander Herrera, Cesar Azpilicueta, Miralem Pjanic