The 2013-14 season has been nothing short of phenomenal. The magical ingenuity of Pep Guardiola has largely been the inherent proposition for excellence this season. While the Champions League has been highly contested, each of the top five leagues has been a different story. In England, the title has yet to be decided as the teams in the contention are very close in the number of points. Manchester City’s draw yesterday has comprehensively ruled them out of the title chase and left the honor between Chelsea and Liverpool. The clash between the two of them next weekend could potentially decide the title. Italy, France and Germany have been significantly one-sided with Juventus, PSG and Bayern Munich dominating throughout the season leaving the other teams with nothing to achieve. Bayern, in particular have been amazing and have left their oppositions breathless. Spain, on the other hand has been a three-horse race after a relatively long time. A certain Diego Simeone has inspired Atletico Madrid to great heights and they find themselves in the Champions League semifinal and heading the La Liga table. This could possibly signal the arrival of a new force in world football. With Barcelona waning, Atletico could potentially replace them at the helm of European football. With such an exhilarating season coming to an end and a few more nervous matches to witness, let’s take a look at the best European 11 this season from across the continent:
Manuel Neuer Manuel Neuer has continued to inscribe his position as the best goalkeeper in the world with another brilliant season. Playing in a rejuvenated role this season, Neuer has essentially been positioned as a third defender by Guardiola. And he has excelled in this role by making short work of long balls played by the opposition. Added to this, his distribution has been phenomenal and his reflexes are second to none. Surely, he is a key player for Germany going into the World Cup.
Forever under the shadow of his teammate Leighton Baines, Seamus Coleman has finally found solace in the fact that his contributions have come good for the team and that he is finally being recognized as a world-class right back. He has been impressive going forward this season with six goals and an assist to his credit. One of the main reasons for Everton’s presence in the Champions League spots is Coleman. Defensively, he has been solid with just three bookings and averaging two tackles a match. He is dribbled past once every two matches and his average defensive statistics is better that of Lahm’s. Surely, Everton possess a quintessential defender in their squad. Mehdi Benatia
Playing in AS Roma, Mehdi Benatia has followed suit in Italy’s long tradition of possessing brilliant defenders in the Serie A. Hailing from Morocco, he has been Roma’s most influential player this season. His exemplary form has attracted the interests of various clubs in Europe like Bayern Munich and Manchester United. Seeing as he is Serie A’s best defender, it shouldn’t be a surprise. Giorgio Chiellini
Another defender from the Serie A and it shouldn’t be a surprise. After all, who can produce better defenders than Italy? A tough tackling and aerially powerful defender, Chiellini is one of the world’s foremost defenders. Usually a part of the three man defense, he is renowned for being the crux of the side and his excellent man-marking abilities. Ricardo Rodriguez
Just 21 years of age and already, he has been sending ripples through oppositions. A left back by trade, the Swiss has been incredible this season and could warrant a place in the team of the season with consummate ease. With 5 goals and 7 assists, his skill on the ball has never been in question. The Swiss could soon be moving into a bigger team in Europe than Wolfsburg, where he has risen to fame and is currently playing.
He is the orchestrator in the Bavarian side. A midfielder of the highest order, Kroos is one of the most complete players. A credible ability to strike from distance along with his neat passing skills and timely dribbling, he is the most influential player in all of Europe. From the middle of the park, Toni Kroos can decisively subdue any team in the world. Bayern Munich’s formidable stature and impregnable fortress of success is often credited to players like Ribery, Robben and Schweinstiger. However glaringly it may showcase, people fail to realize the importance of a certain Toni Kroos in the side. The Bavarian’s incredible performances this season are mainly due to the individual panache of Toni Kroos. Ivan Rakitic
Luka Modric’s partner in the Croatian National team, Ivan Rakitic has showed the world why he should be considered a power to be reckoned with. Sevilla’s impressive performance in the Europa League is primarily due to the presence of Ivan Rakitic. He is capable of playing anwhere in the center of the park and has contributed with his fair share of goals and assists. With 13 goals and 12 assists, Sevilla have largely relied on his brilliance and there is no fault in saying that he has lived upto their faith in him. With the likes of Mandzukic and Modric already in the team, he may be the man who could take Croatia the extra mile in Brazil this year. James Rodriguez
Considered to be one of the best young players in the world and touted as the next ‘Ronaldo’, James Rodriguez has been excellent this season for Monaco. With nine goals and 11 assists in 27 games, he has shown himself to be one of the top players in Europe. Above his statistics, it is his playing ability that has made fans and critics admire him. With Falcao all but out from the World Cup, Colombia will be looking up to him to provide some inspiration.
The primordial insinuation of football was followed with a set of great players in every era. While the past and the future may continue to produce players of better ability, the present has failed to do so. A player who can singlehandedly turn the game by the scruff of its neck, Cristiano Ronaldo has essentially cemented his place as the World’s best this season. Performing at a noticeably higher level than his competitor, Leo Messi, Ronaldo has been Europe’s best player this season. With an amazing 42 goals in 35 games this season, Ronaldo has won 13 MOTM to inspire Real Madrid to a treble. With the Copa Del Rey in their pockets, the league and the Champions League remains to be won. Seeing his form throughout the season, I should say he would take the team all the way through. Zlatan
The mere mention of the name brings a smile on our faces. The exquisite back heel volley, a stunning bicycle kick from forty yards and half volley from 35 yards out of nowhere. Now, those are some of the accomplishments of Zlatan Ibrahimovic in this season. A player par excellence, Ibrahimovic has been revelling at PSG. He is the nucleus of the side that has been playing brilliantly this season. He has scored a stunning 35 goals this season along with 11 assists. Scoring four goals against Anderlecht in the Champions League, he became the eleventh player to score four goals in a Champions League match. He has undoubtedly been the best player in France and it is a shame he will not play in the World Cup. Luis Suarez
Having scored 29 goals in the Premier league, he is one of the highest goal scorers in the leagues across Europe. Forming a deadly partnership with Daniel Sturridge and the ever-fascinating Gerrard behind him, Suarez has successfully staked his claim as Europe’s best striker this season. Suarez has been phenomenal throughout the season with his high goal scoring and assist rate. Having won 14 MOTM awards, clubs are lining up to prize him away in the summer. At 27 years of age, he is at his peak. Should Liverpool hold on to him, they would become a menacing force in the near future.