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Performance analysis of 2019 Ballon d’Or nominees for the period Jan to Oct' 19, Part 2: Midfielders

Dusan Tadic is one of 9 midfielders nominated for the 2019 Ballon d'Or
Dusan Tadic is one of 9 midfielders nominated for the 2019 Ballon d'Or
Bhargav

The 30 nominees for the 2019 Ballon d'Or award, announced by the French football magazine French Football, comprise players from 12 different clubs and 15 different nationalities.

Continuing on from the first part of the 2019 Ballon d'Or nominee player report card which dealt with strikers, this second part analyses the performance of the midfielders, for the period of January to October 2019.

Similar to the evaluation for strikers, the evaluation for midfielders also considers 2 points for each goal scored, 1 point for an assist, and 5 points for any title won for club or country.

Let us meet the midfield men who have been nominated for the prestigious 2019 Ballon d'Or.

#9 Frenkie de Jong (Barcelona, Netherlands)

Frenkie de Jong
Frenkie de Jong

Frenkie de Jong starred prominently for Ajax in the first half of the year. He inspired a youthful Dutch side past defending champions Real Madrid and Italian giants Juventus and onto the semifinals of the Champions League.

For his versatility in both central midfield and defence, De Jong was signed by Barcelona for €75m during the off-season. The 22-year-old scored his first goal for his new club in a 5-2 LaLiga victory over Valencia.

De Jong was awarded the Eredivisie Player of the Year in February 2019, completing 354 of 390 passes and making 53 ball recoveries. The youngster has also scored one goal in 6 Euro 2020 Qualifiers for Netherlands.

De Jong doesn't score goals by the truckload, as his return of 3 goals and 5 assists in 46 games for club and country during the first 10 months of the year would suggest. But the young Dutchman has a high work rate and doesn't dither from doing the 'dirty work' in midfield and defence, which enables his teammates to shine at the other end of the field. .

Frenkie de Jong in 2019
Frenkie de Jong in 2019

#8 Georginio Wijnaldum (Liverpool, Netherlands)

Georginio Wijnaldum
Georginio Wijnaldum

Georginio Wijnaldum starred prominently in the Liverpool midfield as the Anfield club won their first Champions League title in 14 years, beating fellow Premier League club Tottenham Hotspur in the final.

The UEFA Nations League Midfielder of the Tournament has scored one goal in 15 club games this season. He has a total of 10 goals and 3 assists in 45 games for club and country during the first 10 months of the year.

Wijnaldum is adept in both a defensive midfield role or as a playmaker. The 28-year-old Dutchman is a pivotal link between Liverpool's formidable attack and impressive defence, but his work often goes unnoticed.

Georginio Wijnaldum in 2019
Georginio Wijnaldum in 2019

#7 Eden Hazard (Real Madrid, Belgium)

Eden Hazard
Eden Hazard

The creative fulcrum of the English side's midfield, Eden Hazard is at ease in a number of offensive roles but mostly operates as a left winger, cutting into central positions to unleash his stronger right foot. Hazard won the Europa League for Chelsea before joining Real Madrid for €100m during the off-season.

The diminutive Belgium captain has scored one goal in eight games for his new club and has scored thrice for his country in six Euro 2020 Qualifier games.

During the period January to October 2019, Hazard has scored a total of 26 goals and provided 16 assists in 47 games for club and country.

Eden Hazard in 2019
Eden Hazard in 2019

#6 Kevin de Bruyne (Manchester City, Belgium)

Kevin de Bruyne
Kevin de Bruyne

An injured Kevin de Bruyne missed large swathes of the 2018-19 season. He scored a goal in 13 Premier League games in the first half of the year as Manchester City held off a determined challenge from Liverpool to successfully defend their Premier League title.

The versatile central midfield player has scored three times in 12 club games in 2019-20 and has also twice found the back of the net in four Euro 2020 Qualifying games for Belgium.

De Bruyne has scored 10 goals and has provided 20 assists in 39 games for club and country during the first 10 months of the calendar year.

Kevin De Bruyne in 2019
Kevin De Bruyne in 2019

#5 João Félix (Atlético Madrid and Portugal)

João Félix
João Félix

João Félix scored 13 goals in 20 Portuguese Liga games as Benfica romped to the league title. The 19-year-old was promptly snapped up by Atlético Madrid for €126m during the off-season after his stellar performances in his native country.

Félix is a versatile player who often plays as a winger or as a second striker. The teenager's creativity and ability to pick out teammates belie his age.

Félix has scored three times for his new club Atlético in 11 games in all competitions, which includes two goals in the Primera Liga and one in the Champions League.

João Félix in 2019
João Félix in 2019

#4 Donny van de Beek (Ajax, Netherlands)

Donny van de Beek
Donny van de Beek

Donny Van de Beek played a stellar role at Ajax, inspiring the club to a semifinal run in the Champions League (lost to Tottenham Hotspur).

Since the turn of the year, Van de Beek has scored five goals in the Eredivisie and three in the Dutch Cup with Ajax winning titles in both competitions. As is mostly the case with Dutch players, Van de Beek has outstanding tactical awareness, discipline and a range of passing skills - attributes when combined with his explosive pace make him an indispensable part of team.

The 22-year-old attacking midfielder has scored 4 goals in 15 club games this season and has scored 14 times in 45 games for club and country during the first 10 months of the season.

Donny van de Beek in 2019
Donny van de Beek in 2019

#3 Bernardo Silva (Manchester City, Portugal)

Bernardo Silva
Bernardo Silva

Bernardo Silva is a versatile player, most often playing as a midfielder but also adept in a second striker role. The Portuguese player scored two goals and provided four assists as Manchester City successfully defended their Premier League title. Silva also scored in his club's successful title run in the FA Cup.

In the 2019-20 season, Silva has scored four goals in nine Premier League games for his club and in the season-opening Community Shield against Liverpool. The 25-year-old has played in six Euro 2020 Qualifiers and two Nations League games for Portugal during the calendar year, scoring two goals and providing six assists.

During the period January to October 2019, Silva scored 11 goals and provided 18 assists in 47 games for club and country.

Bernardo Silva in 2019
Bernardo Silva in 2019

#2 Riyad Mahrez (Manchester City, Algeria)

Riyad Mahrez
Riyad Mahrez

Riyad Mahrez scored five goals in 16 games for Manchester City in the first half of the year, winning the league title and the FA Cup.

Mahrez starred for Algeria in the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations, scoring three goals in six games as Algeria won their second title in the competition.

In the 2019-20 season, Mahrez has played 14 games in four different competitions for his club, scoring three goals and providing eight assists.

The Algerian winger mostly prefers playing on the left wing, looking to pick up teammates with defence-splitting passes or crosses. But his relative lack of versatility has proved a hindrance in him holding down a regular starting position at his new club.

Riyad Mahrez in 2019
Riyad Mahrez in 2019

#1 Dusan Tadic (Ajax, Serbia)

Dusan Tadic
Dusan Tadic

Dusan Tadic scored a joint league-high 28 goals (18 goals since the turn of the year) during his first Eredivisie season, as Ajax won their 34th Dutch top-flight title in 2018-19. The left-winger also scored a goal in the Dutch Cup which Ajax won, and scored in the Champions League knockout round where Ajax were eliminated in the semifinals by Tottenham Hotspur.

The Serbian international, who captains both club and country, has scored nine goals in 19 games in the 2019-20 season. He has also scored once in four Euro 2020 qualifying games for his country.

During the first 10 months of the calendar year, Tadic has scored 30 goals and provided 27 assists in 50 games across competitions for club and country.

Dusan Tadic in 2019
Dusan Tadic in 2019
Edited by Musab Abid

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