EUROPEAN FOOTBALL

Europe’s team of the season: 5 from La Liga, 3 from Premier League, 1 each from Bundesliga, Ligue 1

David de Gea doesn’t make it and neither does Harry Kane.

The Premier League and Bundesliga seasons are over, and the Serie A, La Liga and Ligue 1 seasons are just one game away from completion.

Manchester City, Bayern Munich, Barcelona and PSG are all run-away champions with Juventus the only one of the champions of Europe’s top five leagues to sweat, because of Napoli’s persistence.

That said, it’s time to pick our team of the season from Europe’s top five leagues.

Jan Oblak – Atletico Madrid

Premier League and Manchester United fans may well pick David de Gea and the Spaniard has bailed out the Mancunians on many occasions, but Atleti’s Slovenian shot-stopper has been the most consistent of them all.

The 25-year-old has kept 21 clean sheets in 34 appearances for this team in La Liga and is the rock on which Diego Simeone has built his defence. Oblak has a 91% claim success and has only let in 18 goals this season. Arsenal are not the only ones interested.

Joshua Kimmich – Bayern Munich

Germany and Bayern Munich may never have a full-back of the calibre of Philipp Lahm again but Joshua Kimmich is determined to make a mockery of those claims.

Dani Alves has been his consistent, energetic self but Kimmich truly deserves the right-back slot, boasting a 90% pass accuracy. The 23-year-old German has bagged 10 assists in just league starts for Bayern, an incredible statistic for a defender to have.

Milan Skriniar – Inter Milan

Signed from Sampdoria this season, the 23-year-old central defender has been a constant at the back for Inter, making 37 appearances in the league.

It could be argued that the Slovakian is Inter’s most important player, even more than Mauro Icardi. Apart from scoring four goals and boasting a 91% passing accuracy, Skriniar has made zero defensive errors directly leading to a goal.

Diego Godin – Atletico Madrid

It had to be the Uruguayan, didn’t it, with his last-ditch clearances and grass-searing tackles. Godin is one half of the centre-back combination which conceded the lowest goals in Europe’s top five divisions.

He has been on top of his game this season as well, as Los Colchoneros have only let in 20 all season. Boasting 4.7 clearances and 2 interceptions per game, Godin has been truly world-class, despite the chopping and changing in defence.

Jordi Alba – Barcelona

With David Alaba not at his storming best this season, that leaves the door open for Jordi Alba to take his spot in defence.

As Barcelona strolled to the title, Alba played an integral part, starting 29 games for the Blaugrana and having a hand in 10 goals, including eight assists. Alba’s helped out defensively as well, making 1.9 tackles, 2 interceptions and 1.6 clearances per game.

Mousa Dembele – Tottenham

When on song, there are few better than the Belgian in a compact Spurs unit. The 30-year-old continues to operate deep in Spurs’ midfield and Dembele’s contribution can’t really be gauged by his stats.

Mauricio Pochettino really trusts his man and you can see why; Dembele registered a 92% accuracy with his passes, 70% of which were played forward. The shimmies to beat two men, or the floating passes sprayed around, Dembele’s game has it’s intangible pros and he’s the reason that Christian Eriksen, Harry Kane and Dele Alli do what they do best.

Kevin de Bruyne – Manchester City

From one Belgian to another, there are very few words which can describe Kevin de Bruyne this season. One of the words is majestic, the other is stupendous.

The Premier League has rarely seen a playmaker operate at this level and Pep Guardiola has taken de Bruyne to the next. He ranks first in the Premier League for assists (15), chances created (104), crosses (237), accurate through balls (15) and goals from outside the area (5). If you’re still debating over whether he’s world-class, throws those doubts into the nearest bin right now.

Neymar – PSG

He might have been upstaged by Mo’ Salah this season, but the Brazilian’s transfer to PSG brought an unreal amount of criticism, some of which centred around the quality of the French league.

Yet, with injury curtailing his season, Neymar has led from the front, and is the fulcrum around which Edinson Cavani and Kylian Mbappe operate. A tally of 19 goals and 13 assists in just 20 league appearances, farmer’s league or not, the World Cup in Russia would be poorer without Neymar’s presence.

Mohamed Salah – Liverpool

Chocolate Oreos, baby pugs, Mo’ Salah – there are a few things in the world that you have to be heartless not to love.

Salah now holds multiple records, including one for most Premier League goals in a season, 32. That’s more than Michael Owen, Wayne Rooney, Alan Shearer, Cristiano Ronaldo, Didier Drogba, Ruud Van Nistelrooy, Sergio Aguero, Thierry Henry ever managed in a single 38-game campaign. Let that sink in for a moment.

Lionel Messi – Barcelona

What Salah does in 2017-’18 is an average season for the atomic flea. No list is really complete without him, and neither is this one.

Messi at times has played in a deeper role this season but that hasn’t stopped him from racking up the numbers. Leo has scored 34 goals and has notched up 12 assists in 32 starts to all but confirm another Golden Boot.

Cristiano Ronaldo – Real Madrid

Ask yourselves, did you write him off after his early season struggles? The 33-year-old started slowly (for his lofty standards), scoring only two goals in his first 10 La Liga games but has come storming back in the second half of the season.

Ronaldo has 44 goals in all competitions across 44 games, fewer than Messi and Salah have played. The man from Madeira just won’t go away, not this easily.

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