5 Most underrated players in European Football this season
With the major European leagues heading for the Christmas break, and the UEFA Champions League group stages nearing its end, many players have had stellar seasons so far, albeit with lesser plaudits than the expectations.
While top clubs like Manchester City, Borussia Dortmund and Juventus have been in fine form in both league and the European tournament, other's success has not been so rich. Clubs like Chelsea, Arsenal and AC Milan are playing the Europa league, and many more under-performers seem likely to join them.
While it was heartening to see the re-emergence of teams like Ajax and Inter Milan in the Champions League, much has been desired from the below-par performances of Monaco, Valencia and PSV Eindhoven.
So as we speak about all the starry names of every team quite often, here are five footballers who are not getting much recognition for their talent and their display on the pitch. The list contains one player each from Bundesliga, LaLiga, Premier League, Serie A and Ligue 1 who deserve more credit for their achievements than what they have received this season:
1. Axel Witsel (Bundesliga)
While most of the attention was towards the possible transfer of Luka Modric and the likes of Chelsea signing Jorginho, Borussia Dortmund pulled off a low key coup of sorts by signing the Belgian international midfielder from Chinese club Tianjin Quanjian.
The Belgian headed into the Bundesliga high on confidence after a podium finish at the World Cup and has not disappointed since. He has been a regular in Lucien Favre's XI and has been key in the middle of the park.
His inclusion has allowed the likes of Christian Pulisic, Marco Reus, Jadon Sancho, Maximilian Philipp and Mario Gotze to play with more freedom up front, thus making Dortmund's attack a force to be reckoned with.
Witsel has formed a stable partnership with Thomas Delaney in the midfield and has also helped in involving fullbacks Raphael Guerreiro, Achraf Hakimi and Łukasz Piszczek on offence. All in all, he is a complete package who has delivered the goods for the Bundesliga's leaders this season and certainly deserves more praise.