This article is part of Football FanCast’s Opinion series, which provides analysis, insight and opinion on any issue within the beautiful game, from Paul Pogba’s haircuts to League Two relegation battles…
As we approach the end of the year, awards are being given out to the players who have lit up football over the past season.
Of course, the Ballon d’Or is the most prestigious, but a number of publications have been putting their own lists together, including ESPN. In a slightly different format, they have decided to choose the best player in each position rather than a simple list with all the players mashed together.
Liverpool have had a clean sweep of the defence in the rankings, with goalkeeper Alisson, right-back Trent Alexander-Arnold, centre-back Virgil van Dijk and left-back Andrew Robertson all picking up top spot in their respective roles.
Watch Liverpool Videos With StreamFootball.tv Below
The latter was particularly reserved when picking up his award. Rather than patting himself on the back, he was adamant that, in his eyes, Barcelona’s Jordi Alba was still number one. However, although his humility is nice to see, he needs to have more confidence in his ability. Over the last year, there is only one winner.
Both players were mainstays in their respective sides last term. The Scotland international started 36 Premier League games, whilst Alba was in the starting XI on 32 occasions in La Liga – although he did make four substitutes appearances as well.
In terms of their attacking contribution to their respective teams, the former Hull City man led the way. He picked up 11 assists to the 30-year-old’s eight, which came from 1.4 key passes per game to his rival’s 1.3.
Not only that, he managed more dribbles per match – 0.8 to 0.4 – and also landed 0.6 crosses to 0.3. In terms of pass accuracy, the Blaugrana man had the edge, with 85.6% to 83.2%, but he still lags behind in those other areas.
In the Champions League, £45m-valued Alba – as per Transfermarkt – has the edge, picking out five assists to Robertson’s two. But in the end, the former Dundee United defender had the last laugh, starting 12 out of 13 matches in the competition as the Anfield outfit lifted the trophy in Madrid after a 2-0 victory against Tottenham. Medals also play a part in these rankings, and Robertson had the edge once again.
Given Alba’s stunning career and brimming trophy cabinet – such as his five La Liga titles – he deserves credit and must be recognised as one of the best. Having said that, over the past 12 months, he has been out-done by the £54m-valued man – as per Transfermarkt. This is something for Robertson to revel in.