World Football's 20 Best Players of December
As the final month of 2012 comes to a close, it is time to look at the best players from the month of December in world football.
The selection of the 20 players was based off of match ratings from WhoScored.com and weekly articles from the wonderful staff here at Bleacher Report.
The players on this list come from the five major leagues in Europe: the EPL, La Liga, Serie A, Bundesliga and Ligue 1.
The 20 players went above and beyond with their performances in December and deserve every acknowledgement they receive for their spectacular play over the past month.
Radamel Falcao's month of December was highlighted by his five-goal performance on December 9 against Deportivo de La Coruña.
The highly sought-after forward for Atlético Madrid also scored against Barcelona one week later to open the scoring at the Camp Nou before Atléti were trampled by the thunderous Barca attack.
The Colombian's six goals in December added to his season total of 17, which is not good enough for the La Liga lead, which is held by Lionel Messi's 26 scores for Barcelona.
Robert Snodgrass has come out of nowhere to become one of the EPL's best players over the past month.
The Norwich City midfielder has been named man of the match three times in December by WhoScored.com for his performances against Swansea, West Brom and Wigan.
Snodgrass has earned those honors with his magnificent play on right wing for Chris Hughton's club.
His best match came at the beginning of the month against Swansea, where he scored once and assisted on two other goals in his club's 4-3 win.
Thiago Silva has been one of the best defenders in Ligue 1 since his move from AC Milan to PSG over the summer.
Silva was a part of PSG defense that did not give up a single goal in four Ligue 1 matches over the past month.
In the only match where the Parisians gave up a goal in December, Silva scored against Porto in the Champions League.
The run of four clean sheets has kept PSG ahead of Lyon at the top of the Ligue 1 table.
Another part of the strong PSG defense over the past month has been their right-back, Christophe Jallet.
The 29-year-old has played well in all four shutouts by the Ligue 1 leaders, and he has also contributed to the club's attack, as well.
Jallet has recorded two assists over the past month, one against Evian and the other coming against Brest in the club's final match before the winter break.
Another European club that put together a strong run of clean sheets in December was Stoke City.
One of the main reasons for the Potters' success was their goalkeeper, Asmir Begović.
Begović boosted his clean sheet total to nine with three shutouts over the last month.
Begović and the Potters are in the midst of a 10-match unbeaten run, which have included wins over Liverpool and West Brom, as well as a draw at Tottenham.
Stefan Kießling only played in three matches in December for Bayer Leverkusen, but he made his 263 minutes on the pitch well worth it.
In his latest match on December 15 against Hamburg, Kießling scored two goals and assisted on a third goal.
In his other two matches over the past month, Kießling scored a goal in each match.
Thanks to his recent exploits, Kießling now holds the lead in the Bundesliga scoring race with 12 goals.
Chievo Verona has been one of the better clubs in Italy over the past month and their keeper, Stefano Sorrentino, has been one of the main reasons for their success.
Chievo won three of their four December matches, two of which were clean sheets by Sorrentino.
With the two clean sheets, Sorrentino improved his season total to five for the 12th-placed club in Serie A.
David Luiz has revitalized his career at Chelsea by moving to the defensive midfield position in the club's 4-2-3-1 formation.
Manager Rafa Benitez experimented with the Brazilian at the position during the Club World Cup and it has worked to perfection.
Luiz has been a permanent fixture at the position ever since, and it looks like the Blues have found their replacement for the injured Oriol Romeu.
Luiz also contributed a goal in the club's 8-0 blowout of Aston Villa on December 23.
Eintracht Frankfurt only played two matches in December, but in those two matches the club won by a combined 6-1 score.
The best player for the fourth-placed club in the Bundesliga during those two matches was Pirmin Schwegler.
According to WhoScored.com, Schwegler has been the man of the match for both contests against Werder Bremen and Wolfsburg.
The Swiss midfielder scored a goal in the 4-1 win over Werder Bremen and provided an assist in his club's 2-0 win over Wolfsburg.
Another impressive player on the Eintracht Frankfurt squad has been left-back, Bastian Oczipka.
Oczipka has been one of the best performers in the Bundesliga all season long, and he has been one of the main reasons that the club are in fourth place at the moment.
The 23-year-old has seven assists this season, with one of them coming in Eintracht's 4-1 over Werder Bremen on December 8.
Roberto Soldado has been one of the hottest goal scorers in Europe over the past month.
Soldado scored in three of Valencia's four matches in December.
The 27-year-old scored four goals in December, including a double in his club's 5-2 loss to Real Sociedad on December 1.
Soldado also scored a goal against Osasuna and Getafe for the ninth-placed club in La Liga in December.
Danilo has been a part of one of Europe's most stubborn defenses in December.
Udinese gave up just four goals in six December matches, with the Brazilian center-back being one of the club's top performers.
Over the past month, Danilo also contributed on the offensive end of the pitch with two goals, one against Cagliari on December 2 and the other eight days later against Sampdoria.
Unfortunately for the Serie A club, they were unable to advance to the knockout round of the Europa League after losing to Liverpool in the final match of group play at home.
Over the past month, Barcelona extended their massive lead in La Liga to nine points over Atlético Madrid.
During that excellent run of form in December, Adriano has starred for the Catalan club.
The versatile Brazilian defender produced two goals in three La Liga matches for Barcelona.
The 28-year-old has developed into a strong first-team performer in December and he will be a key to club's success in 2013.
Theo Walcott finished December with a bang as he had one of the best performances of the season against Newcastle United on Saturday.
The Arsenal player played a part in five of the club's seven goals by scoring three times and assisting on two other goals.
Walcott also scored a goal against Reading on December 17 to help double his scoring total from the beginning of the month.
Arsenal fans will hope that Saturday's performance was not a fluke and that Walcott will be a trusted option in the Gunners attack for the rest of the season.
Julien Féret came alive in the month of December for Ligue 1 club, Rennes.
Féret scored five goals in five matches for the fourth-placed club in France over the past month.
The Frenchman's best performance came during his final December match against Ajaccio, where he netted two goals.
The 30-year-old also scored against Troyes, Brest and Valenciennes to boost his goal total to eight on the season.
Sandro has been one of the most improved players in the EPL this season and he has been an integral part of Tottenham's four-match unbeaten run.
In his most recent match against Sunderland, the Brazilian midfielder completed 84 percent of his passes, which is just under his season average of 85 percent.
Sandro has forged one of the best midfield combinations in England this season alongside Moussa Dembélé, and the two are only getting better by the match.
Martin Demichelis has been one Málaga's best players all season and he shined during the month of December.
Demichelis was a strong presence in the back four for Málaga in their final two matches before the winter break against Sevilla and Real Madrid.
The 32-year-old even contributed a goal in the club's 2-0 win over Sevilla.
Málaga will need Demichelis to perform at the same high level that he did in December if the club want to leapfrog over Real Madrid to finish in third place in La Liga.
Edinson Cavani scored in every December match for Napoli.
Cavani scored six goals in five matches for the Partenopei despite his club's lack of results.
The Uruguay international has been one of the best forwards in the world over the past few months as he has only failed to score in a match once since October 20.
In December, Cavani's form was highlighted by a double at the beginning of the month as Napoli defeated Pescara, 5-1.
Michu started off December with a bang by scoring four goals in two matches.
The Spanish sensation led Swansea to a 2-0 victory over Arsenal and a 1-1 draw with Manchester United through his goal scoring abilities.
The summer signing from Rayo Vallecano will be in contention to be the EPL's leading scorer with prolific players like Robin van Persie, Demba Ba and Luis Suarez.
Robin Van Persie
Robin van Persie has been a goal-scoring machine all season for Manchester United since his move from Arsenal this summer.
The Dutchman's fine goal-scoring form continued in December with five goals in six matches.
Van Persie was also involved in one of the more controversial events of the past month when Swansea defender Ashley Williams almost kicked the forward in the head with a ball during the match on December 23.
The next month should be another big month for the Dutch forward with Wayne Rooney being absent from the lineup with an injury for the next few weeks.
All statistics provided by WhoScored.com.
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