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Ranking the 7 best players in Ligue 1 this season (2021-22)

Neymar Jr. (left) and Lionel Messi (right)
Neymar Jr. (left) and Lionel Messi (right)

After an exciting 2020-21 season where the title race went right down to the wire, Paris Saint-Germain ambled their way to the Ligue 1 title this term. They snatched it back from last season's champions Lille, ending the season with a 15 point lead over Olympique Marseille at second.

Star-studded Paris Saint-Germain dominant in the 2021-22 Ligue 1 season

PSG massively strengthened their squad last summer and their triumphant domestic run was forecasted by most pundits. Marseille climbed from fifth to second this year while Monaco retained their place in third.

Meanwhile, French giants Lyon fell four places since last season to finish the season at a lowly eighth. St-Etienne, Metz and Bordeaux have been relegated to Ligue 2.

Without further ado, let's take a look at the seven best performers from the 2021-22 season.


#7 Wissam Ben Yedder (AS Monaco)

Wissam Ben Yedder (cred: Ligue 1)
Wissam Ben Yedder (cred: Ligue 1)

AS Monaco captain Wissam Ben Yedder has looked as sharp as ever in front of goal this season. He has been one of AS Monaco's standout performers and finished the season as the second highest goalscorer in the league.

Heading into Monaco's final game of the season against Nice, Ben Yedder had scored a goal with every third shot in the league. That was the best ratio of any player across Europe's top five leagues. The 31-year-old also picked up five assists.

The captain led by example this term and played a huge role in Monaco securing a Champions League berth.

3 - Wissam Ben Yedder has scored a goal every 3 shots in Ligue 1 this season (24 goals, 71 shots), best ratio in the Top 5 European leagues (min. 10 goals).Remarkable. https://t.co/6ZuOwOLRJ2

#6 Neymar Jr. (Paris Saint-Germain)

Real Madrid v Paris Saint-Germain: Round Of Sixteen Leg Two - UEFA Champions League
Real Madrid v Paris Saint-Germain: Round Of Sixteen Leg Two - UEFA Champions League

After missing a major chunk of the season due to a knee injury, Neymar made an emphatic return in February. Although he did struggle to stamp his authority over games initially, once he settled back down, he was back to his best.

The Brazil international scored 13 goals and provided six assists in 22 Ligue 1 appearances this season. He turned on the style in the closing stages of the campaign and was an absolute treat to watch alongside Lionel Messi and Kylian Mbappe.

#5 Aurelien Tchouameni (AS Monaco)

Real Sociedad v AS Monaco: Group B - UEFA Europa League
Real Sociedad v AS Monaco: Group B - UEFA Europa League

Aurelien Tchouameni has quickly established himself as one of the best defensive midfielders in Europe. As per ESPN, he has garnered interest from top European clubs with Real Madrid and Liverpool being the most prominent among them.

Tchouameni has been a stalwart in midfield for Philippe Clement's side. He made more interceptions (101) than any other player in Ligue 1 this season. That's 22 more than Boubakar Kouyate, who comes second on the list and it speaks volumes of the 22-year-old's game reading abilities.

He also scored three goals and provided two assists in 35 Ligue 1 appearances this season.

#4 Lionel Messi (Paris Saint-Germain)

Real Madrid v Paris Saint-Germain: Round Of Sixteen Leg Two - UEFA Champions League
Real Madrid v Paris Saint-Germain: Round Of Sixteen Leg Two - UEFA Champions League

Lionel Messi had a rather underwhelming debut season in Ligue 1 by his own lofty standards. PSG can't be faulted for expecting the Argentina international to bring in a bucketload of goals. However, Messi ended the 2021-22 Ligue 1 season with just six goals to his name.

However, his playmaking continues to be elite. As per FBRef, he ranks first for progressive passes, through balls, passes into the area, assists per 90 and numegs in Ligue 1 this term. It goes to show just how good Messi has been at creating chances for PSG this season.

He finished his debut Ligue 1 season with six goals and 14 assists in 26 appearances.

Lionel Messi's new role at PSG as a creative midfielder is underlined by his 21/22 Ligue 1 rankings (FBRef):1st | Progressive passes1st | Through balls1st | Passes into the area1st | Assists per 901st | Nutmegs

#3 Benjamin Bourigeaud (Rennes)

Stade Rennes v Tottenham Hotspur: Group G - UEFA Europa Conference League
Stade Rennes v Tottenham Hotspur: Group G - UEFA Europa Conference League

Rennes midfielder Benjamin Bourigeaud has enjoyed the best season of his career this term. He is easily the most improved player in Ligue 1 and has surprised everyone with his movement, vision and link-up play.

Bourigeaud hit double figures for both goals and assists this season, netting 11 times and setting up another 12 in 38 Ligue 1 appearances. The Frenchman's delivery from the flanks has already been likened to David Beckham's.

Bourigeaud was extremely consistent for Rennes this term and started each of their 38 league games this season. He has been undroppable and outperformed the likes of Martin Terrier and Nayef Aguerd, who have had excellent campaigns themselves.

#2 Dimitri Payet (Olympique Marseille)

Olympique Marseille v Feyenoord: Semi Final Leg Two - UEFA Europa Conference League
Olympique Marseille v Feyenoord: Semi Final Leg Two - UEFA Europa Conference League

At 35 years of age, Dimitri Payet ought to be in the twilight of his career, but he just pulled the curtains on one of the best ever campaigns. Payet was the difference maker for Marseille on plenty of occasions this term, thanks to his exemplary technique and inventiveness on the ball.

The French midfielder was a joy to watch. Payet ranks first for most shot creating actions (188) in Ligue 1 this term. He also registered 220 progressive carries, which is ninth among all Ligue 1 players this term. The 35-year-old is second only to Messi for most accurate through balls (20) played in Ligue 1 this term.

Payet also played 70 passes into the final third and was only bettered by Benjamin Bourigeaud and Lionel Messi. Payet scored 12 goals and provided 10 assists in 31 Ligue 1 appearances this season.

#1 Kylian Mbappe (Paris Saint-Germain)

Paris Saint Germain v RC Strasbourg - Ligue 1 Uber Eats
Paris Saint Germain v RC Strasbourg - Ligue 1 Uber Eats

Kylian Mbappe has operated at a different level altogether this term. The French forward was widely tipped to leave PSG this summer but he has now pulled a U-turn and extended his contract with them until 2025.

That's great news for the French giants as Mbappe showed over the course of the 2021-22 season why he is indeed the next big thing in football. He scored 28 goals and provided 19 assists in 35 Ligue 1 appearances this season.

He is the top goalscorer and assist provider in the French top flight. Mbappe also registered the most shots on target (60) in Ligue 1. He also ranks first for most players dribbled past (111) in the 2021-22 Ligue 1 season. Mbappe also tops the chart for most progressive carries with 333 to his name.

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Edited by Shambhu Ajith
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