Another season began and new names went up and others went down, as players like Erik Lamela, Thomas Vermaelen, Marco Van Ginkel, Ryan Bertrand, Joe Allen and many others faded away from the scene, many players emerged making the headlights. We take a look at the top 20 players who surprised us or drastically improved from last season:
20- Jorginho Frello (Hellas Verona, Brazil)
He’s only 21 years old and this is his first season in Serie A with a club that recently achieved promotion, but he’s been quite playing just behind Luca Toni, he managed to score five goals and send Hellas Verona above Inter, Fiorentina, Milan and Lazio!
19- Zakaria Bakkali (PSV Eindhoven, Belgium)
Just 17 years old, Zakaria has already three Eredivisie goals to his name and has already featured in 10 games this season for PSV, there is no doubt that as the season proceeds he will be getting much more attention and will eventually become one of the best players in the league.
18- Max Kruse (Borussia Moenchengladbach, Germany)
The 25-year-old German striker has grabbed five goals and three assists in the Bundesliga. He will play a big role this season as Borussia Moenchengladbach aim to reach a Europa League qualifying position.
17- Marc Bartra (Barcelona, Spain)
The 22-year-old has found in Barcelona in the early part of the season due to injuries at the back and he repayed the trust Tata Martino put in him. Tackling, intercepting balls, clearing danger and even scoring! With Carles Puyol returning to the side his appearances might be limited but he will definitely get his break soon.
16- Alessandro Lucarelli (Parma, Italy)
A late bloomer? At the age of 36, Alessandro has been surprisingly superb. He’s been a stellar in the heart of defense for Parma. It was rumored that he no longer has a place at the club and it would be better if he retired but he stuck around and showed that he still has what it takes to be one of the best defenders in Serie A. Italians perhaps are just like wine, with aging they get better.
15- Alexandru Maxim (Stuttgart, Romania)
The Romanian midfielder has been enjoying a superb season, four league goals and five assists have made him among the best in the Bundesliga so far this season. He does not only score goals and supply team-mates but his dribbling has been worthy of noting as opponents fail to take the ball from his feet.
14- Juan Iturbe (Hellas Verona, Argentina/Paraguay)
A bad spell at Porto made him return to his home country on loan and play with River Plate by the Argentine club decided not to spend cash on him to sign him permanently and Hellas Verona pounced and signed him from Porto, he’s been dribbling past Serie A players like training cones and his partnership with Luca Toni and Jorgingho has helped Hellas Verona break into the European qualifying positions in Serie A.
13- Olivier Giroud (Arsenal, France)
This season Giroud has found the form he had enjoyed with Montpellier, four goals and four assists in the Premier League as well as two goals in the Champions League, the French striker has become an essential player in Arsenal’s title challenge this season.
12- Sidney Sam (Bayer Leverkusen, Germany)
Player of the season so far in the Bundesliga with no doubt, he scored seven and assisted four cementing his place in Leverkusen’s starting line-up after being a fringe player just last term. “I don’t know what Sidney did during the summer, but he’s been doing very well since pre-season,” said head coach Sami Hyypiä while he deservedly earned a call-up to the German national team making his debut against Ecuador in a friendly game.
11- Konstantinos Mitroglou (Olympiakos, Greece)
Greece’s World Cup hopes are still alive ahead of the play-offs and they can bet on Mitroglou to take them to Brazil. He scored nine goals (two hatricks) from seven games in the Greek Super League with Olympiakos as he made sure his team remains unbeaten after eight matchdays. In the Champions League he grabbed a hatrick against Anderlacht, he became the first Greek player to complete a hat-trick in the Champions League and the first player to score two consecutive hatricks in the Greek Super League.
10- Kolo Toure (Liverpool, Ivory Coast)
Ever since joining Liverpool, Kolo Toure has shown signs of everything but age. He has been playing with a young heart and being a pillar at the back for Liverpool and playing an important role in preventing opposition attacks while he’s been vital in building up quick play for the Reds.
9- Ricardo Alvarez (Inter, Argentina)
When Inter splashed millions for him, many people criticized them and he did nothing to prove them wrong in his first two seasons, but now under Walter Mazzarri, he finally matured into the player he was supposed to be. He’s been the brain behind Inter’s attack and directing all the play through dribbles and smart passes.
8- Alessio Cerci (Torino, Italy)
His times at Roma and Fiorentina went bad but the man once dubbed Valmontone’s Henry has finally found his feet at Torino with Giampiero Ventura the man who coached him at Pisa and Atalanta in his early years. Torino are in the top half of the table thanks to his six goals and the numerous penalties he won.
7- Mohamad Salah (Basel, Egypt)
The Egyptian winger has been doing quite well at Basel and he proved to be among the best XI in the Swiss league but this season he proved himself at the European stage and his performance in the Champions League is superb. Alexander Frei might have retired but Basel still seem to have some magic in them thanks to Salah, though he is most probably going to miss out on the World Cup unlike the top 6.
6- Romelu Lukaku (Everton, Belgium)
Another striker Chelsea should regret losing. Lukaku could have been a great asset to Jose Mourinho’s side this season but the Portuguese manager preferred to loan him out and in four games played Lukaku scored four goals and provided an assist if he continues playing like this season, Chelsea might want to claim him back as soon as January.
5- Kouassi Gervinho (Roma, Ivory Coast)
His stint at Arsenal wasn’t spectacular but a move to Roma made him reunite with his former coach Rudi Garcia who showed the world the true quality of Gervinho. He’s been on great form for Roma, winning penalties and scoring goals as well as making defenders chase him all over the pitch. He played eight games with Roma so far and won them all.
4 Giuseppe Rossi (Fiorentina, Italy)
A two year absence through injury did not even leave its mark on the American-Italian. Rossi’s recent form for Fiorentina has been capped off by a hatrick against Juventus but before that he had already scored five Serie A goals and a single Europa League one. He’s been essential for Vincenzo Montella’s side and he is a sure bet at the World Cup in Brazil this summer.
3- Daniel Sturridge (Liverpool, England)
Chelsea and Manchester City did a big mistake by letting the English forward go, he joined Liverpool last season and impressed but this time around, he’s been the soul of the team while Luis Suarez was out through suspension. Seven goals and two assists made him the league’s top goal scorer until this moment.
2- Aaron Ramsey (Arsenal, Wales)
This season has taken Aaron Ramsey by a storm, while it was always known that he is talented, he was never expected to explode suddenly. This season he’s been able to score five Premier League goals and another in the Champions League while he grabbed 4 assists in total. He’s been phenomenal this season and his form accounts to much of Arsenal’s current league position.
1- Diego Costa (Atletico Madrid, Brazil/Spain)
Undoubtedly the biggest surprise this season, Diego Costa was the subject of transfer speculation in the summer but Europe’s teams were afraid of his attitude on the pitch. He proved them wrong and disciplined himself on the pitch, but he did even more than disciplining himself, he scored 10 goals in La Liga more than each of Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo to put Atletico Madrid just two points behind league leaders Barcelona.
Do you agree with our list? Is there a player you think should be added or removed? Share with us your opinion in the comments below