With Tottenham Hotspur hiring José Mourinho as their manager early on Wednesday, ESPN FC probably wished they didn’t publish their annual list of the 100 best players later that same day. After seeing their rankings of several Paris Saint-Germain players, I kind of wish they held off as well.
In the intro to the feature, ESPN FC explains that the list was developed with input from more than 40 experts from around the world. They were given a list of approximately 250 players and based on a 4-3-3 formation, plus a manager, the experts came up with their top 10 in each category.
What’s interesting about the process is that after the experts weigh in on their top players, “a select few writers” do the final review. That doesn’t sound sketchy at all…
Anyway, here’s where Paris Saint-Germain players ended up in this ridicu-list:
Neymar Jr. – Forward – 8th
Neymar barely makes it as one of the 10 best forwards in the world. At number eight, the Brazilian is considerably behind Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo, Kylian Mbappé, Mohamed Salah, Roberto Firmino (laughably), Antoine Griezmann, and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. Neymar is ahead of Dušan Tadić and João Félix so I guess we can’t complain too much.
Neymar has spent much of 2019 injured and he has had some off-the-field issues, but only those with an agenda would rate Neymar considerably lower than Firmino. Liverpool FC fans would literally drive Firmino to Paris if it meant they could return with Neymar.
The ranking does prove how important this season is for Neymar, who is set to return against Lille OSC on Friday. People are forgetting how good he is and they have an agenda against him. If he can stay healthy, I have no doubt he will silence the critics and prove his world-class talent on the biggest stage.
Kylian Mbappé – Forward – 3rd
I don’t have too much of an issue with Mbappé’s third-place rating amongst forwards. You can certainly make the argument that right now, the Frenchman is better than Cristiano Ronaldo who is second.
I think if PSG offered Mbappé to Juventus FC right now in a straight swap for Ronaldo, they would do that deal in a second. Mbappé is faster than Ronaldo and is more feared on the pitch than Ronaldo at this moment. Anyone putting together a 4-3-3 formation would be foolish to include Ronaldo over Mbappé.
Edinson Cavani – Striker – 6th
I can’t figure out why Edinson Cavani is on this list much less ranked as the sixth top striker in the world! I love El Matador and everything he’s done for PSG but his appearance on this list probably speaks more to the lack of quality strikers in the game and why even after a host of injuries, clubs like Atlético Madrid are interested in signing him.
Even though his resume is short, Tammy Abraham should probably be on this list along with Jamie Vardy, Timo Werner, and, um…Mauro Icardi? The Argentine only relegated Cavani to the bench with his outstanding performances this season.
Marquinhos – Center-Back – 8th
Is Marquinhos really even a center-back anymore? If that’s the position ESPN wanted to go with, it’s a crime to rate him considerably lower than Matthijs de Ligt. What has the Dutchman done with Juventus since joining last summer? He’s been a dud compared to the hype after his run in the Champions League with AFC Ajax. In fact, everything ESPN said under his blurb was about his accomplishments with Ajax. Against much tougher opponents in Serie A and bigger expectations, he hasn’t raised his game.
Marquinhos is a world-class defensive midfielder and he only just started playing that position! He is an even better center-back and it’s a crime that he’s ranked below the 32-year-old Leonardo Bonucci and the 35-year-old Giorgio Chiellini.
Marco Verratti – Central Midfield – 9th
Marco Verratti as the ninth-best central midfielder is downright disrespectful. When I saw Frenkie de Jong as the second-best player in this position I nearly emailed ESPN FC to make sure their office hadn’t been taking over by deranged farm animals who learned how to use a computer. The blurb under de Jong’s ranking even said, “he will perhaps need a little time to settle at Barcelona…” Like de Ligt, de Jong has been “de Crap” since leaving Ajax.
Verratti is a top-five central-midfielder in the world and don’t @ me.
Angel Di Maria – Wing – 7th
I don’t have a ton of issues with Angel Di Maria’s ranking. There’s a lot of talented players in this position and it’s only been the past few months that Di Maria has elevated his game. He’s always been quality but recently he’s taken his game to another level.
Thomas Tuchel – He’s only been targeted by FC Bayern Munich and Tottenham Hotspur. But he’s not a top 10 manager?
Mauro Icardi – Given how many Juventus players in the list, it’s clear Icardi omission is down to his antics while at Inter Milan. If you go off of just quality alone, Icardi is easily a top 10 striker, especially if you think Cavani is the sixth-best striker!
Thiago Silva – If you’re going to include 35-year-old Chiellini, you have to include 35-year-old Silva. He led Brazil to a 2019 Copa America title and this season, he’s led the way for PSG defensively, holding opposing teams in the UEFA Champions League to ZERO GOALS SCORED through four games, including one against Real Madrid.
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