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Zlatan Ibrahimović, Lionel Messi & Other Top World Football Players of November

Willie GannonSenior Writer IOctober 9, 2016

Zlatan Ibrahimović, Lionel Messi & Other Top World Football Players of November

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    November 2012 will live long in football's memory.

    We've had some mesmerizing performances and some stunning goals along the way.  

    Think Zlatan Ibrahimović for Sweden against England or Victor Wanyama for Celtic against the mighty Barcelona. Not to mention a few more superlative performances from the likes of Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo and Liverpool's Luis Suarez.

    Here, Bleacher Report looks at 10 of the best players to grace football this year—never mind November.

    Don't forget to leave your comments, suggestions and YouTube clips of great goals, saves and moments in the section below.

Zlatan Ibrahimović (Sweden & PSG)

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    After years in the football wilderness, Zlatan Ibrahimović has finally announced himself on the world stage...

    Ibra is almost as divisive a figure as Mario Balotelli with the exception that he has actually won a shed load of trophies over the years.

    This November was not Zlatan's best month in football by a long shot but his amazing performance for Sweden against England Nov. 14 deserves special mention.

    This month the giant Swede has only played five games in all competitions. This was mainly down to getting sent off in the Ligue 1 fixture against St Etienne Nov. 3.

    After this his main contributions were in the Champions League where he helped PSG to 4-0 and 2-0 wins over Dynamo Zagreb and Dynamo Kiev respectively. He then made a return to domestic action with two goals in PSG's 4-0 win over Troyes Nov. 24.

    In between, he scored four for Sweden against England including one of the best goals ever seen.

Luis Suarez (Liverpool)

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    Luis Suarez had a month to remember in November 2012 as he inspired Liverpool to a five-game unbeaten run while bagging four goals on the way.

    The Uruguayan striker is almost as divisive a character as Zlatan Ibrahimović and Mario Balotelli put together—but for completely different reasons.

    However, all of that was put behind him this month as he went on the offensive with an amazing goal against Newcastle United, another against Chelsea and a superb brace against Wigan Athletic.

Asmir Begović (Stoke City)

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    It is no exaggeration to say that at this very moment in time Asmir Begović is probably the best goalkeeper in the Premier League.

    The Bosnian international has been outstanding for the Potters since the start of the season. But the high level of performance he has put in during November has really made him stand out.

    During the month, which started with a 1-0 defeat to Norwich City, Begović has been the main protagonist in Tony Pulis' team rising from the lower reaches of the Premier League.

    Since the loss to Norwich, Stoke are unbeaten in three games and have only conceded one goal against West Ham. The main reason for this is Begović's fine form. 

Victor Wanyama (Celtic)

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    On paper the month of November is something of a mixed bag for Celtic and Victor Wanyama.

    The Bhoys record of W-2 D-2 L-2 does not look great but when you look at the results and analyze the performances you begin to see why Wanyama was easily one of the month’s best performers.

    The Kenyan international played every single minute in all of Celtic's six November matches. However, it is his incredible performance against Barcelona Nov. 7 that will linger longest in most people’s memories.

    To say the 6'2" central midfielder was incredible against Barca would be doing him a disservice; he was better than that times 10.

    He covered every single inch of Celtic Park like a guard dog, snapping into tackles with the likes of Andrés Iniesta, Xavi Hernandez and Lionel Messi with incredible frequency.  On the rare occasions when they did elude him the first time he somehow managed to recover and came back twice as vigilant as before.

    Add in the fact that he scored Celtic's first goal (watch the video for an amazing live fan reaction at Celtic Park) in the historic 2-1 win over the Catalan giants and you can see why Wanyama easily makes this list.

    It is little wonder that the central-midfielder, bought for just £900,000 in 2011, has been linked with a £25 million move to Manchester United.

Lionel Messi (Barcelona)

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    Looking at the photo above one would almost assume that Lionel Messi's halo had slipped.

    Not so, the little Argentinian genius was, once again, one of the month's best players.

    While the month did include a blip Nov. 7 with a 2-1 defeat to Celtic, it also included five wins and nine goals for the best player in the world.

    The month of November is also hugely significant for Messi.

    It was in November 2012 that the 5'6" forward broke Pele's milestone of 75 goals in a calendar year which was set all the way back in 1958.

    Since that fateful day on Nov. 11 against Mallorca, Barca won 4-2 with Messi scoring twice to break Pele's record.

    He has since scored six more goals and now sits just three goals behind Gerd Müller's 40-year-old record of 85 goals in a calendar year.

    With Barcelona still to play six games between now and 2013, Messi could and should have a new record on his hands alongside the Ballon D'Or for 2012.

Kwadwo Asamoah (Juventus)

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    The month of November was bittersweet for all associated with Juventus.

    It did not start well with the Old Lady picking up their first league defeat, to Inter Milan, since May 15, 2011 and ended with another defeat to AC Milan Nov. 25.

    However, and most importantly, it did include a number of superb results.

    They bounced back from the Inter loss with the easy 4-0 hammering of Nordsjælland in the Champions League, a 6-1 away win at Pescara, a 0-0 draw with Lazio and a stunning 3-0 Champions League win over Chelsea—the reigning champions.

    As with all wins and losses, they are shared equally amongst the team but in November one Juve player really stood out from among their star-studded lineup.

    Kwadwo Asamoah played every single minute in each of Juve's November matches with his sterling reputation rising on each and every occasion.

    The Ghanaian international midfielder is as combative as they come and covers every inch of the pitch like a midfielder of old. He compliments these physical skills with a simplistic passing style and direct dribbling style that aids his team when dictating the tempo of matches.

    The 23-year-old helped run the show against Chelsea Nov. 20 and on the back of both his and Juve's superb performance they are now seen as real Champions League contenders and a growing power within the game.

    Much of that is down to Asamoah's dynamic performances.

Sergio Agüero (Manchester City)

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    For Manchester City fans November 2012 will always be remembered as the month their club surprisingly and embarrassingly exited the Champions League at the group stages.

    Their elimination from the game's greatest club competition is made all the more hard to bear when you realise that we will not see Sergio Agüero pit his wits against the games best defenders for at least one more year.

    Like his fellow countryman, Lionel Messi, Agüero was in stellar form during November and fired in five goals in seven games.

    The month was bookended by two 0-0 draws to West Ham United and Chelsea respectively but in between the stockily built Argentinian was in mesmeric form.

    He scored against Ajax, Tottenham Hotspur, fired in a brace in the 5-0 mauling of Aston Villa and another from the penalty spot against Real Madrid as they exited the Champions League Nov. 21.

    Agüero's five goals during the month were welcome because it really showed the strikers return to form after being dogged with injury and a lack of fitness since the start of the season.

    It is no coincidence that City's return to form coincides with Agüero's return to hitting the back of the net on a regular basis.

    In that regard it is a shame he won't play in Europe's premier competition until next season.

Bastian Schweinsteiger (Bayern Munich)

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    Bayern Munich's Bastian Schweinsteiger is without doubt the most complete midfielder in world football today.

    He has super-human levels of stamina and endurance, is a great passer of the ball, can head and tackle and is as tactically astute a player as one could hope for.

    Saying all that, the midfielder is not known for his goals return. 

    Having only scored 52 goals in 440 matches before November, hopes weren't high that he would really add to the tally.

    However, Schweinsteiger scored twice in six games as Bayern picked up four wins and two draws.

    His first goal of the month was the all-important first in a 3-0 win away to Hamburg Nov. 3, and he backed that up with another in Bayern's stunning 6-1 Champions League win over Lille Nov. 7.

    From there Schweine reverted to type and patrolled midfield like it was his own domain as he put in some excellent performances against Eintracht Frankfurt, Nuremberg, Valencia and Hannover.

Toni Kroos (Bayern Munich)

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    Like Bastian Schweinsteiger before him, Bayern Munich's Toni Kroos has enjoyed a superb month during November 2012.

    Kroos is a completely different type of player to Schweinsteiger but is equally as important for Bayern.

    He is more creative than destructive and, while Schweine does all his best work in his own half of the field, Kroos comes to life in the opponents' half.

    During Munich's excellent month Kroos scored three goals to bring his tally to seven for the season and given his current outstanding form he is on course to break double figures for the first time in his career.

    When you consider that Kroos is just 22 years old and that this season represents his eighth as a professional, he is some talent.

Edinson Cavani (Napoli)

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    There is no doubting that Édinson Cavani is one of the best footballers in the world at the moment.

    It is therefore little wonder that the prolific Napoli striker has been linked with the likes of Arsenal and Liverpool in recent times.

    This season the Uruguayan 25-year-old has scored an amazing 15 goals in 16 matches and seven of those goals came during the month of November.

    During a month that saw Napoli go unbeaten across five games, winning three and drawing two, the striker added to his growing reputation with a number of brilliant performances.

    The month started well with a solitary strike against Torino Nov. 4 and he followed that up with an amazing four-goal haul against Dnipro, the fourth of which was a spectacular volley, in the Europa League Nov. 8.

    He then scored against Genoa and AIK Solna with his only goalless game of the month coming between those two when Napoli drew 2-2 with AC Milan in Serie A.

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