The 2008-09 season has effectively come to an end, highlighting some of the best performances on club level and individual level for a few. Here are those players whose skill and form have made them stand up above the rest.
10. Zlatan Ibrahimovic - Sweden (Inter Milan - Italian Serie A)
He is definitely one of the best strikers in world football, with his thunderous long range bolts. A potent header and some silky touches which are unbelivable for his size. Having bagged 23 goals for his club he has surely impressed.
After taking the Scudetto for the umpteenth time, the Swedish talisman will hope that next year will be a better year in Europe as he and Inter have failed to make impact on Europe's biggest stage.
9. Diego Forlan - Uruguay (Atletico Madrid - La Liga)
The "blonde" hitman stole the pichichi (La Liga top scorer) from Samuel Eto'o in the last two weeks of the Spanish big league. With 32 goals to his name, this will be a season that he will never forget and it's no surprise that he is already making rumours on the market. He really has outdone himself this season and proved why he is lethal in front of goal.
8. Frank Lampard - England (Chelsea - Premier league)
The 30-year-old attacking midfielder has, in truth, been Chelsea's best player for a number of years now. This season has been the same on an individual level, if not better. He has proved to be the most consistently scoring midfield machine alongside his compatriot, Steven Gerrard. 20+ goals make up a great season for Lamps.
7. Yoann Gourcuff - France (Bordeaux - French Ligue 1)
Quite simply he has been one of the revelations of this season. He has bloomed a little late, but it has been worth the wait. The Ligue 1 player of the year has been amazing in France. With touches and flicks of the ball that take your mind to the Zidane era, he has definitely established himself as one of the biggest talent in world football. Sensational season from Gourcuff.
6. Franck Ribery - France (Bayern Munich - German Bundesliga)
The 26-year-old who is plying his trade with the Germans has proved this season once again why he is one of the most sought-after wingers in Europe. His impressive dribbling and occasional breath-taking screamers have really been impressive this year. His 14 goals for Bayern do not tell half the story of how important he is to the Bavarians.
5. Steven Gerrard - England (Liverpool FC - Premier league)
His team might have finished without a single trophy, but Captain Fantastic has seriously been fantastic on an individual scale. His new role of playing just behind the striker position has proved a profitable as he has netted 24 times for the Reds with seven of them being in the Champions League. Injuries which sidelined him in the period that Liverpool needed him most have been evident in results as they crashed out of Europe and lost grip on Manchester United at the top.
4. Cristiano Ronaldo - Portugal (Manchester United - Premier League)
CR7 has in no way been as scintillating this season as he was in the last campaign. However this season was not a bad one in truth statistically speaking. 25 goals and eight assists for the Red Devils may not be on par with last season but is decent for a player who started with a serious injury.
Ronaldo has always been threatening from any position from the field, goals like the 40-yarder in Porto and his rifle of a freekick against Arsenal in the Champions League semifinal tell the story. On top of that he has helped his team to a 3rd successive Premier League title, World Cup of clubs and Carling Cup this season.
3. Andres Iniesta - Spain (FC Barcelona - La Liga)
The 25-year-old attacking playmaker (best attacking midfielder in the world) has certainly put himself as certainly one of the very few exceptional players in the world today. San Andres' vision, seductive dribbling and pinpoint passing have certainly made him a very integral part of the ridiculously talented squad of the kings of Europe.
His highlight performances include the 4-0 drubbing of Sevilla in La Liga and the 93rd minute heartbreaker against Chelsea in the Champions League in the semis. His performance in the final was a joy to behold which summed up his brilliance throughout the season. Injuries have put him in third, which otherwise, could have simply been 2nd place.
2. Xavi Hernandez - Spain (FC Barcelona - La Liga)
The man who ended in 5th position in the 2008 FIFA player of the year had a simply outstanding season this time with La Blaugrana. Without a shadow of a doubt he has established himself as the finest central midfielder in the world, relying heavily on his superior intelligence and needle eye passes. Quite simply the best passer in the game. 33 assists (yes, 33) on top of his 10 goals make a historic season for the artist.
1. Lionel Messi - Argentina (FC Barcelona - La Liga)
The atomic flea was really on the loose in 2008-09 season. This being the first season without and injury, Leo has proved why he is a wonder. Being part of the legendary trio (with Henry and Eto'o) which has bagged a century of goals, 38 of which belong to Messi, He has scored some of the most outrageous solo goals this season.
He has also shown to be deadly creating goals as well, with no less than 21 assists to his name. Statistics don't tell it all as his unrivaled mesmerising skills, twists and turns often requires a camera playbacks to actually see what he did.
His threat has been very apparent as he has had to be marked constantly by three people (which seems to be the minimum number of defenders who should be assigned to him to keep him still), which in turn creates room for the rest of the creative colleagues to exploit.
These are the player whose overall skill, as well as the form has placed them above the others in this season.
Other honourable mentions include:
- Samuel Eto'o (Cameroon - Barcelona)
- Nemanja Vidic (Serbia - Man. United)
- Daniel Alves (Brazil - Barcelona)
- Wayne Rooney (England - Man United).
Do you agree with the list? Who would you rather see?