As 2013 draws to a close, Luis Suárez ends the year at the halfway point in the season as WhoScored’s highest rated player in Europe’s top 5 leagues. The Liverpool frontman currently boasts an average rating of 8.73 following a blistering return to domestic action having missed the opening 5 games of the season through suspension.
In his 14 appearances, Suárez has netted 19 league goals; no player has found the net more, while his 9 man of the match awards is the most on the continent. The 26-year-old also has 5 assists to his name, highlighting his overall contribution to the team, this notion reinforced in his average of 3.1 key passes per game – only creators David Silva (4.1) and Francesco Totti (3.4) are executing more per encounter.
However, when it comes to creativity, Barcelona’s Cesc Fábregas and Manchester United frontman Wayne Rooney are the stand out performers having both registered 9 assists thus far. The duo may only be executing 1.9 and 2.4 key passes per games, respectively, but have evidently ensured that they’re providing their teammates with high quality service to capitalise upon
Fábregas in particular has thrived for the Liga champions this term, highlighted in the 19 clear-cut goalscoring opportunities he’s already created in his 16 appearances, the highest in Europe’s top 5 leagues. To put that into context, Mesut Özil’s 24 was the most of every player in the whole of last season.
With the likes of Lionel Messi, when available, Neymar, Pedro and Alexis Sánchez leading the attack, it’s clear that Barcelona are utilising his inventiveness having netted 48 times this season, only Manchester City (50) and Real Madrid (49) have scored more in Europe. The performances of players these currently sees them end the first half of the 2013/14 campaign as WhoScored’s top rated team with an average rating of 7.33.
Yet, regardless of the displays by the Barcelona stars, there is no place for any of them in the WhoScored European team of the season so far. While Messi (8.34) is behind only Suárez (8.73) and Franck Ribéry (8.45) as the highest rated player in Europe, his lack of action means Hertha Berlin’s Adrián Ramos partners Suárez in the attack. That is, Ramos’ 8.07 over 17 starts is worth more – and more impressive a feat – than Messi’s 8.34 over 10 starts.
The Colombian has netted 11 times for his team this term, exhibiting his impressive striking ability in the Bundesliga, while no player has scored more in Germany’s top tier. Fellow Bundesliga stars Ribéry and Ricardo Rodriguez take their place in the current team of the season as a result of their impressive performances for Bayern and Wolfsburg, respectively.
Ribéry, currently the second highest rated player in Europe, has 6 goals and 7 assists to his name this term as he stakes his claim to land the 2013 Ballon d’Or ahead of Cristiano Ronaldo and Messi. Rodriguez meanwhile has impressed at left-back this season having netted 3 and provided a further 3 for his Wolfsburg teammates. The Switzerland international has been attracting interest across the continent and his WhoScored rating of 8.09 is more than deserving following a fantastic first half of the campaign.
At the halfway point of the season, there are no real surprises surrounding the top 20 highest rated players in Europe’s top 5 leagues. Aaron Ramsey impressed for Arsenal early on and it can be argued that he’s the reason they sit atop the Premier League heading into 2014.
The Welshman has 8 goals and 6 assists to his name and while he has recently succumbed to injury, his average rating of 7.79 means not only is he one of the best performing midfielders this term, but he’s also deserving of a spot in the team of the season. Household names Neymar (7.93), Robert Lewandowski (7.87), Carlos Tévez (7.8) and Isco (7.79) are also among the 20 players to have impressed in 2013.
Diego Costa (7.81) is perhaps one that wouldn’t have been expected to have ranked so highly at the beginning of the season, but the striker has impressed for Atlético Madrid this term and his 19 goals thus far means he’s the joint top goalscorer in Europe along with Suárez. Following the departure of Radamel Falcao, the 25-year-old has stepped up to become the focal point in Los Rojiblancos’ attack as the Spanish capital club look to win their first La Liga title since 1996.
Despite a number of clubs registering an interest in the Atlético star – justifiably so with him having netted 13 clear-cut goalscoring opportunities, the most in Europe – the club are expected to hold onto their prized asset as he continues to flourish alongside David Villa in attack.
Yet, regardless of the exploits of a number of performers in Europe thus far, Suárez’s outings trump those of his fellow professionals. The Liverpool frontman may not be the most impressionable of footballers, but there is no denying his talent on the football pitch, mirrored by his exceptional WhoScored rating at the end of 2013.