Top 5 Players from Around the World This Weekend
After the global interlude of World Cup qualifying and other international friendlies, the club game has made its glorious return.
Across the world, national leagues have returned to take precedence, meaning tens of thousands of professional players have been scrapping once again for a place in our top five. (Of course they haven't—they've just been trying to win—but we like to pretend.)
So here are Bleacher Report's top five world football players from this weekend.
Disagree with any of the picks or feel as if there’s a standout omission? Let us know in the comments section below.
But before then, here are our top five performers:
Giuseppe Rossi, Fiorentina
The other is Giuseppe Rossi.
2010-11 saw the New Jersey-born star take La Liga by storm. As part of a fluent Villarreal side Rossi claimed 32 goals in all competitions throughout the season.
The two years since have been hellacious, with Rossi spending practically all his time on the treatment table after a series of potentially career-ending injuries.
Nonetheless, in January Vincenzo Montella and Fiorentina were brave and jumped in to sign Rossi in a cut-price deal from Villarreal, following their relegation to Spain's second tier. Rossi made just one substitute appearance for the Viola last season as he worked his way back.
This season, with a full pre-season behind him, signs of the old Rossi have been emerging. He netted five goals in seven Serie A matches ahead of the match against Juventus.
And against Juventus, he penned his name in Viola folklore.
Two goals down against Antonio Conte's side midway through the second period, the Viola appeared out of it. Obviously someone hadn't told Rossi.
A clumsy challenge on Mati Fernandez sent him to the floor and a penalty to the home side; cue Rossi, who fired into the bottom corner past Gianluigi Buffon with aplomb.
Ten minutes later, a marvelous piece of individual brilliance had them level. Rossi controlled, pirouetted and shrugged off Paul Pogba before firing into the far corner from 25 yards.
The Viola went 3-2 ahead less than 120 seconds later. Joaquin fired home from the edge of the box after an excellent team move. In the 81st minute, a lightning-quick counter saw Juan Cuadrado tee up Rossi, who coolly planted his shot past Buffon for his hat-trick.
Standing ovation as @GiuseppeRossi22 is replaced. To say he deserves it would be an understatement. Transformed this match.— Alex Richards (@AA_Richards) October 20, 2013
It was an outstanding treble, earning Rossi a Twitterverse full of plaudits and taking him to the top of the Serie A scoring charts with eight.
Rossi endured two years of painful rehabilitation for moments like this.
Willy Caballero, Malaga
How wrong he was.
Schuster's side were dominated from first to last by Los Blancos, but somehow they only came away from the Spanish capital with a two-goal defeat.
I say "somehow," but that somehow has a name: Willy Caballero.
While he couldn't stop his side succumbing to a 2-0 defeat, the Malaga goalkeeper was in inspired form, so much so that compatriot Angel Di Maria—who opened the scoring in the 46th minute—stated immediately after the game that the Argentine stopper deserved a call-up to the national squad, as reported by Football Espana.
All in all, Caballero was magnificent, a one-man army standing defiant in the face of a serious bombardment. Ronaldo and pals had 22 shots, 13 of which were saved by the 'keeper. Caballero commanded his box with authority while he effectively swept up off his line also—he had 53 touches over the course of the match.
The 32-year-old ended the game as WhoScored's man of the match with a 9.3 rating. Though it will be of little consolation given his side lost, his showing will have only furthered his reputation.
13 - Willy Caballero has made 13 saves against Real Madrid, the best record of a keeper in a La Liga game this season. Inmense— OptaJose (@OptaJose) October 19, 2013
Eden Hazard, Chelsea
It was an interesting day at Stamford Bridge. The Blues struggled for the large part to break down their visitors.
That they did and that they eventually romped to a 4-1 victory—despite manager Jose Mourinho getting sent to the stands—was largely down to an exceptional performance from Eden Hazard.
Playing nominally from the left, the Belgian winger was at his frightening best, full of driving runs and weaving showings of class.
In the end, the Blues scored four and Hazard had a hand in three of them.
Eden #Hazard on fire. Two goals and an assist. His best game of the season.— Kristof Terreur (@HLNinEngeland) October 19, 2013
The first saw him pinch onto Samuel Eto'o's quick thinking when stealing the ball off David Marshall—we'll ignore just how much of a shocker the referee had—to turn home. He wrapped up the game with a brilliant individual effort where he terrorised the Cardiff defence one last time before firing past Marshall.
In between, the 22-year-old probed as he looked to create openings. It was he who played a lovely reverse pass to Eto'o for the Cameroonian to score his first goal in the Premier League.
Much is made of Hazard, his talent and just how good he could be. This was a mature display that seems to signal a player grasping that he can be a major difference-maker.
Nemanja Pejcinovic, OGC Nice
Though he's by no means a household name to anyone not familiar with Ligue 1, the Serbian defender is now into his fourth season with OGC Nice.
After he was a regular last season—only missing when injured or suspended—for Claude Puel, Pejcinovic missed his side's opening four matches this term through injury. Since being restored to the starting XI, he has overseen a run of four wins in six, including three successive home victories.
The latest of those came in the Friday night match. Nice played host to Olympique Marseille, and the left-footed centre-back was in dominant mood as the home side claimed a 1-0 win.
Andre-Pierre Gignac barely gave him a kick thanks to a mixture of tenacious tackling and intelligent positioning.
Additionally, he also passed the ball out well from the back while winning 100 percent of his aerial duels, all of which combined to see Pejcinovic pick up an 8.87 WhoScored rating.
Mesut Ozil, Arsenal
Rather than spending to cover his side's deficiencies this summer, Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger chose instead to invest in accentuating his side's attacking quality when he splashed out £42.5 million on Mesut Ozil from Real Madrid.
And in the 4-1 win over Norwich, the 25-year-old was at his best.
Verb Ozil: to help somebody do something, to assist. Ex: We'll do all we can to 'ozil' you. Ozil me please. Ozilled [past], Ozillous [adj].— Mohammad (@Bayernoholic) October 19, 2013
Noticeable since his arrival at the Emirates Stadium has been Ozil's willingness to commit to running into the opponent's penalty area in the hope of getting on the end of moves. This helped Ozil help himself to two of the Gunners' four goals.
The first saw Ozil meet an Olivier Giroud cross in something of a role reversal, as a beautifully guided header gave John Ruddy no chance. His second saw him coolly volley past Ruddy after an Aaron Ramsey cut-back.
However, there were also the typical facets of an Ozil performance: intelligent lateral movement to create two-on-ones, clever passes, and fleet-footed dribbles. Some of his link-up with Santi Cazorla—the pair starting together for the first time—hinted that the pair could thrive as their relationship improves.
Arsenal meet Borussia Dortmund in midweek. It will be fascinating to see how Ozil does against his compatriots.