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Top Ten Players Of The 2023-2024 Season across Europe’s Top Five Leagues

Top Ten Players Of The 2023-2024 Season across Europe’s Top Five Leagues

Kai Iliev Kai Iliev

As the curtain falls on another pulsating campaign, it’s time for a top-ten rating of the world’s best players from Europe’s big five leagues – England’s Premier League, Spain’s La Liga, Germany’s Bundesliga, Italy’s Serie A, and France’s Ligue 1. The large talent pool makes the selection difficult.

Bear in mind that cross-league comparisons are always hard, with each division boasting its own unique challenges and nuances. But without further ado, let the celebrations begin as we herald the game’s brightest stars. 

10. Phil Foden

When Kevin de Bruyne went missing, Phil Foden became the attacking and creative soul of the team. Pep Guardiola’s prodigious protégé was undoubtedly Manchester City’s player of the season, with a staggering 27 goals and 12 assists across 53 outings. 

When the prolific Haaland experienced a dry spell, Foden was there to find the weaknesses of the opposing defenders. While Manchester City are often branded too robotic, Foden provided the flair and unpredictability – the ying to Rodri’s yang as the team’s most impactful performer, if not the Premier League’s finest.

9. Lautaro Martinez

The Argentinian sharpshooter is often forgotten, as he has normalized world-class performances. Forming one of the deadliest duos in Europe alongside Marc Thuram, Martínez scored  27 goals and seven assists in 44 games for Inter, helping Inter secure the Seria A title, the Coppa Italia and the Supercoppa Italiana

While the Nerazzurri exited the Champions League prematurely, the Argentinian is cementing his legacy as an all-time great for the Italian club. If not an outright elite lone striker, his partnership with Thuram creates the perfect balance between striking and mobile movements. 

8. Serhou Guirassy

This list i littered with Bundesliga stars – and for good reason. Guirassy’s achievements might have been overlooked, as Leverkusen hogged the limelight, but Stuttgart’s season was equally as impressive. 

The South Germans unexpectedly ended in second place, pipping Bayern Munich by a point. A big reason for their qualification has been the resourceful Guirassy, racking up 30 goals and 3 assists in just 30 outings – by far the most prolific return of his career to date. 

Incredibly, the former unsung hero will play the Champions League with Stuttgart for the first time in his life, at the peak of his career at 28 years old. Sometimes life smiles on you at just the right moment – Guirassy’s feel-good story personified.

7. Xavi Simons

Another La Masia graduate, whose performance has not stopped impressing since departing the Catalan cradle. Loaned to RB Leipzig, the Dutch wunderkind truly announced himself on the continental stage after a stint at Dutch giants PSV. In 43 games, the Dutch super-talent scored 10 goals and provided 15 assists. 

Simons is back on Europe’s radar after a splendid season despite the difficulties of his team, RB Leipzig. His brand of slick, gliding dynamism focused on exploiting defenders’ frailties has quickly established Simons as a nightmare opponent. Parent club Paris Saint-Germain will not sell him for cheap – if at all. Whether he will stay remains to be seen – with Europe’s elite now circling for his signature after a breakthrough season in the spotlight.

6. Alejandro Grimaldo

Once a forgotten figure after emerging from La Masia, Grimaldo transferred to Benfica and disappeared from the radar of full-backs. But Leverkusen called him up and never regretted it. This season is by far Grimaldo’s most productive in the final third, contributing 12 goals and 19 assists across 51 outings. 

The most remarkable part about it is that Grimaldo is not a forward nor a midfielder either – he is a full-back. His offensive numbers reflect the form of Leverkusen, an unbeatable team until the Europa League final. By some distance, Grimaldo tops the charts as the most prolific defender across Europe’s elite – inevitably attracting the eye of many clubs. 

5. Jude Bellingham

This list would be incomplete without Bellingham. The English phenomenon exceeded the astronomical expectations from the moment he donned the famous white shirt – scoring in his debut against Athletic Club. Not every 20-year-old arrives at the club from Dortmund, settles himself as a starter, and can boast Bellingham’s record. The Englishman scored 23 goals and 13 assists in 42 outings. 

Bellingham’s playing style did not change a bit from his previous stints at Dortmund and Birmingham, which makes it even more impressive. He has acted as the main player, the soul of Real Madrid. At his age, this is unique. Satisfying the notoriously demanding Madridistas as a superstar signing is not for everyone – but Bellingham’s character, displays and rapid mastery of Spanish make him the people’s favourite across the Iberian peninsula.

4. Artem Dovbyk

I typically try to omit forwards from such rankings, but Artem Dovbyk’s breakout campaign demands inclusion – it was as surprising to me as anyone else. The Ukrainian market had already provided Girona with a brilliant forward in the form of Viktor Tsygankov – and the CFG-owned club struck gold again with Artem Dovbyk. 

A staggering 24 goals and 8 assists across just 36 outings is not bad for a player sampling Europe’s big five leagues for the first time. The Ukrainian sensation won the Pichichi trophy as La Liga’s most prolific marksman. The combination of a striker who strikes with precision and an impressively solid physique was a pain for La Liga’s defenders, and Dovbyk imposed himself as Spain’s best striker.

3. Cole Palmer

Playing for Chelsea is not easy in a time of perpetual upheaval at Stamford Bridge. If evidence were needed, the Blues ruthlessly axed Mauricio Pochettino after just one season and instead hired Enzo Maresca. Having swapped the Etihad for West London, Palmer has become the driving force behind Chelsea’s chance-creation in the attack. Cole Palmer has scored an impressive 22 goals and 11 assists across just 34 outings at the tender age of 22. 

There is no doubt that scoring high figures in a dysfunctional team without support is impressive. For this reason alone, Cole Palmer completes the podium. 

2. Florian Wirtz

Wirtz came back from a lengthy ACL lay-off Wirtz picked up where he left off before truly taking the game by storm for Leverkusen. He was instrumental in their Bundesliga and DFB-Pokal double. In 49 games, the German superstar scored 11 goals and assisted 12. 

Wirtz’s playing style is unique. He is not physically dominant nor the fastest, but he is always placed in the best spot – he ghosts into pockets of space, exposing defensive frailties others fail to spot. Together with Jamal Musiala, he is by far the greatest talent in the Bundesliga, and you sense it’s only a matter of time before Europe’s elite covet his signature.

1. Harry Kane

The English striker takes the crown as the player of the season and, potentially, the best signing of the campaign. Having finally departed the unfulfilling confines of Tottenham, Harry Kane joined Bayern Munich. Although he remains trophyless, he gave his all for the team. 

The Bavarians were looking for a replacement up front following Robert Lewandowski’s high-profile exit. Arriving in Bavaria to fill that enviable void, Kane calmly applied the Caesar-esque mantra of “Veni, Vidi, Vici” (I came, I saw, I conquered). Kane scored 36 goals and 8 assists across just 32 outings is a testament to a striker finally liberated. 

Kane proved to be the best striker of the season – nobody reached these figures in Europe’s top five leagues. Trophyless but not joyless, Kane’s campaign was all-conquering.

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