The 2022/23 European season has given football lovers across the globe something to cheer about as some top stars have lived up to expectations while others just faded out. Europe’s top five leagues witnessed a change in champions in Spain and Italy as Barcelona and Napoli defied the odds to emerged as La Liga and Serie A winners respectively.
The Likes of Manchester City, Paris Saint-Germain and Bayern Munich all retained their domestic titles as they continued their dominance in the Premier League, Ligue 1 and Bundesliga. The players however have been the reason for the successes and failures of these clubs and the 2022/23 season has seen some prominent stars rise to the occasion for their various teams.
10. Marc-Andre ter Stegen (Barcelona)
As the last line of defense for Europe’s top defensive team, Marc-Andre Ter Stegen has been outstanding all season long and recently set a new La Liga record for shutouts.
The Barcelona goalkeeper doesn’t have anything to do all the time either. After a couple of subpar seasons, Ter Stegen once again established himself as one of Europe’s top goalkeepers by far leading La Liga in save percentage.
9. Lionel Messi (PSG)
It’s challenging to put a number on Lionel Messi’s club season. After all, Lionel Messi’s World Cup victory less than six months ago served as the culmination of this later phase of his career and the moment when the best player to ever play the game of football officially retired.
Messi will finish the campaign with more than 30 direct goals and assists in Ligue 1, matching Kylian Mbappe’s total. Although the seven-time Ballon d’Or winner won’t be playing at Parc des Princes next season, he left a lasting impression during his final season.
8. Robert Lewandowksi (Barcelona)
In the first half of the season, Robert Lewandowski led La Liga in goals for Barca, helping the Blaugrana establish what would eventually prove to be an unstoppable lead at the top of the standings.
His campaign was halted by a suspension in the first few months of 2023, and he never quite reached the same heights as the early part of the season. However, Barca needed goals, and Lewandowski scored a ton of them.
7. Victor Osimhen (Napoli)
Victor Osimhen is ferociously direct, deadly in the box, and immense in the air. His understanding with Kvaratskhelia has been instrumental in Napoli’s domestic success, with the two forming a deadly duo that has torn up Serie A.
The Nigerian striker has been linked with a Premier League move for nearly two years now, and it appears this summer, the window after his best season yet, that could finally happen. England beware.
6. Ronald Araujo (Barcelona)
Araujo has always had access to the necessary resources. He has always had great one-on-one defending skills and has been great in the air. But he had never consistently been in shape enough for him to put everything together. But this year, he’s emerged as Barcelona’s defense’s undeniable leader and the best in Europe.
5. Harry Kane (Tottenham)
The fact that Harry Kane may have had his best season to date in north London has been overlooked due to Tottenham Hotspur Football Club’s poor season
The 30 Premier League goals scored by the England captain were Spurs’ lone bright spot during a terrible campaign.
4. Kylian Mbappe (PSG)
Kylian Mbappe was PSG’s undeniable talisman, scoring 28 league goals and adding seven more in Europe, despite being clearly bothered by a hamstring injury for a few weeks.
Importantly, the Frenchman gave PSG supporters the reassurance that he would remain with the club for at least another year, which was welcome good news for a team that had been subject to a barrage of criticism for months.
3. Vinicius Jr (Real Madrid)
Vinicius Jr. has always been a master of the dribble and an undeniable showman, but this year, he improved his game and started scoring goals and dishing out assists more frequently.
Massive displays in the Champions League, like his performance in the first legs against both Man City and Liverpool, demonstrated that he is capable of winning big matches as well. Unbelievably terrifying for anyone who is not a Real Madrid fan.
2. Kevin De Bruyne (Man City)
It’s difficult to imagine many players who have performed better recently than Kevin De Bruyne. Only a select few players in the Premier League era have been gifted with a right foot of his caliber and the ability to read games.
For the Belgian, this year was expected to be challenging. The Guardiola principles were still in place, but he had to adjust to a new system and new players. However, he made the change with ease, teaming up deadly with Haaland to put Man City on the verge of a treble.
1. Erling Haaland (Man City)
To win the Premier League, Man City didn’t need to acquire Erling Haaland. The unusually talented Norwegian was hired to lead Pep Guardiola’s team to Champions League victory, and he may yet succeed in doing so.
Until then, the 36 goals he has scored in the Premier League, the thrashing of Arsenal in a match that was crucial to the race for the title, and the five goals he scored against RB Leipzig serve as proof that this striker is truly unique and miles ahead of anyone else in Europe.