So, Lionel Messi has won his fifth career Ballon D’Or and the little Argentinian takes a starring role in this year’s FIFA team of the year. Featuring 8 La Liga players, a Bundesliga player, a Serie A player and a Ligue 1 player, it isn’t hard to tell that the Premier League wasn’t quite as successful as some hoped in 2015.
Manuel Neuer: Not quite as successful as his outstanding 2014, but Manuel Neuer is still the best goalkeeper I the world, and despite missing a penalty in the German Cup semi final shoot out defeat to Borussia Dortmund and crashing out of the Champions League (also in the semi-finals) to Barcelona, “The Wall”, as he is otherwise known, was vital in helping Bayern to a third successive Bundesliga title.
Dani Alves: The Barcelona full back continued to demonstrate just why he plays for such a decorated club as Barcelona, his attacking qualities were second to none in 2015 as he was part of Luis Enrique’s treble winning side. Despite not being known for his defensive qualities, there is no disputing that Alves was an important figure for Barcelona last year.
Sergio Ramos: Solid in defence and also proving a threat going forward, Ramos was a somewhat good point of a Real Madrid team that failed to build on their success in 2014. The Spaniard thrived under former coach Rafa Benitez in Real’s brilliant start to the season (from a defensive point of view).
Thiago Silva: After the disappointment of the 2014 World Cup, the Brazil and PSG captain lead his side to a domestic double of Ligue and the Cuope de France. The centre back also scored his side’s vital goal in the 2 leg defeat of Chelsea in the Champions League, before being knocked out by eventual winners Barcelona.
Marcelo: An attacking threat who is similar to fellow Brazilian Dani Alves, Marcelo was a slightly controversial pick for the team of the year as he failed to win any trophies, but has started this season in good form.
Paul Pogba: Paul Pogba could be the real deal. He possesses all the qualities needed to be one of the greats, and starred in a Juventus side that aswell as winning Serie A and the Coppa Italia, also reached the Champions League final, only to fall to Barcelona. With unbeatable strength, the ability to prove an attacking threat whilst also being solid in defense, and a superb long shot talent, Paul Pogba can build on an incredible 2015.
Luka Modric: Luka Modric finally looks at home with Real Madrid after being called “La Liga’s worst signing the season he joined the Spanish giants. The 30 year old has played well with German Toni Kroos after the departure of Xabi Alonso, and is looking like the old Modric that we used to see at Tottenham Hotspur.
Andres Iniesta: Winning his second treble with Barcelona last season, the 2010 World Cup winner demonstrated just why he is so good in one of the biggest games of the year – in Barca’s 4-0 demolition of Real Madrid. A superb goal accompanied by an all round sensational classic Iniesta performance meant that he could once again prove that he is one of the best in the world.
Neymar: The Brazilian enjoyed an outstanding 2015, and after an okay start to his Barcelona career, Neymar kicked on and showed just why Barcelona paid so much money for him. With the goals and assists flowing, he was essential to Barca’s outstanding trident of Messi, Neymar and Suarez. Moments of utter jaw-dropping skill like his goal against Villareal, aswell as a goal in the Copa Del Rey final and the Champions League final saw Neymar have his greatest year yet, and it looks like there’s is much more to come.
Cristiano Ronaldo: Yet again brilliant, but maybe this time not quite brilliant enough. 5 goal hauls against Granada and Espanyol respectively reminded us of his sheer talent, but 2015 could be the start of Ronaldo’s decline. Obviously records were still broken and goals were scored at a freakishly high rate, but Cr7 failed to live up to the expectations that were set after his brilliant 2014.
Lionel Messi: Not only did he get the most assists in La Liga last season, Lionel Messi still scored goal after goal, and not only were they brilliant, but they came just when Barca needed him most. For example, his outrageous skill to discard Jerome Boateng followed by his audacious chip on Manuel Neuer in the Champions League final, or his incredible solo goal in the Copa Del Rey final, or even his neat finish that secured the title for Barca against Atletico Madrid. Messi also helped Argentina reach the Copa America final before losing on penalties to Chile, and his telepathic understanding with team-mates Neymar and Suarez was at times truly unstoppable.
Who missed out?: Jordi Alba, Ivan Rakitic, Luis Suarez, James Rodriguez.