April 15, 2023, Rome, France: Lionel Messi of PSG celebrates his goal with Kylian Mbappe (left) during the French championship Ligue 1 football match between Paris Saint-Germain and RC Lens on April 15, 2023 at Parc des Princes stadium in Paris, France

The 10 best players in Europe this season – according to WhoScored

Picking out the top 10 very best-performing footballers across Europe this season seems a straightforward task that wouldn’t cause any kind of heated debate verging on argument, right? Right? Of course not. That’s why WhoScored exist to save the day, ranking those players by performance metrics so far this season to eliminate any room for debate.

The 2022-23 season is far from over just yet but is racing to a close across Europe, and it’s become abundantly clear who has stood out from the rest this season. WhoScored has handily compiled a list of the best players on the continent so far this season, using their only complex statistical algorithm to work out match ratings for each player. Here are the top 10 based on their averages.

Kvaradona this, Mbappe that, let’s waste no further time and get into who’s made the cut.

10. Gabriel Jesus – Arsenal

The Brazilian has enjoyed somewhat of a career revival since completing a £45million switch from Manchester City to the Gunners last summer.

Now out of the shadow that was an incredibly automated system under Pep Guardiola involving lots of squad rotation, Jesus has become the lynchpin for Arsenal’s glistening attack and given them a steel up front that has helped transform them into Premier League title contenders.

Nine goals and six assists in the Premier League is an impressive return considering he was sidelined for three months after undergoing knee surgery, while his 7.53 average rating from WhoScored also stands out.

9. Victor Osimhen – Napoli

Stealing the show over in Italy, Osimhen has been instrumental to Napoli’s domestic dominance.

25 goals in 30 games and counting for the Nigerian forward doesn’t even tell the entire story of just how obscenely good he has been leading the line for Luciano Spaletti this season. Napoli are running away with it in Serie A and look destined to lift their first Scudetto since 1989-90.

In fact, it’s surprising to see him only ninth on the list with a 7.55 average rating for just how prolific he has been.

8. Kvicha Kvaratskhelia – Napoli

The man supplying Osimhen all season long and rolling back the years with unrelenting trickery and style at the same time? Kvaratskhelia.

To highlight exactly how sublime he has been since heading to Naples last summer is the nickname he has earned through the course of the season – ‘Kvaradona’.

Anyone being compared to the late, great Diego Maradona is clearly doing something right, especially when doing it in front of the Napoli crowd every week. His 7.56 rating sees him sneak in marginally higher than his team-mate, although both have been sensational and could earn Napoli some serious money in transfers this summer.

7. Karim Benzema – Real Madrid 

It’s been a frustrating campaign for the French forward following a Ballon d’Or win that felt long overdue. After his wonderous 2021-22 season, Benzema has succumbed to injuries more frequently this time around.

The fact he clocks in at seventh in the top 10 despite that, however, is testament to his frightening abilities when he is around for Real Madrid. 34 games, 32 goal involvements and five player of the match performances per WhoScored. That is outrageous for a 35-year-old who has been plagued with fitness issues.

Please, Mr Benzema, never change.

6. Erling Haaland – Manchester City

The alien is not at the top. We are just as shocked as you are.

Haaland has simply taken the p*ss since arriving at City from Borussia Dortmund in a £51m deal that looked like an absolute bargain from the get-go. In his debut Premier League season, he’s bagged 32 goals after 28 games played and is only three away from beating the league’s record for the most goals scored in a single season.

He’s 22 years old. Twenty two. This is genuinely frightening. And a tad perplexing to read a 7.57 rating that only places him sixth currently.

5. Kevin De Bruyne – Manchester City

As good as he is – which is absolutely unplayable in full stride – it’s a little surprising to see De Bruyne rank higher than City team-mate Haaland this season, purely on the premise of how unbelievable the Norwegian has been.

But without De Bruyne spraying line-splitting passes left, right and centre, Haaland wouldn’t have anywhere near as many chances to score goals for fun, and the Belgian midfielder’s numbers back that up.

Quietly, consistently excellent.

4. Neymar – Paris Saint-Germain

‘B-But he plays in a farmer’s league!!!’ Wherever Neymar plays, he does it extraordinarily well.

Is he the most well-rounded, clean-cut player in 2023 that would walk into any elite side and improve them? Probably not. But is he completely one of a kind and the last of a dying art, while also providing an array of technical qualities and the numbers to support it? Absolutely.

Appreciate the 31-year-old while he’s still around. Marvel in his mercurial wizardry before it’s too late.

3. Martin Terrier – Rennes

One for the football hipsters, this. Tote bags and cropped trousers at the ready.

Taking a spot on the podium, ahead of some of the biggest names in football right now, is 26-year-old versatile Rennes forward Terrier. Following on from a seriously prolific 2021-22 campaign, the French forward is putting together another impressive season that sees him as the focal point for a side chasing a finish in the European positions.

Terrier occupies space on the left flank or even down the middle, boasting an impressive technical ability and eye for goal. He’s also put in seven player of the match displays according to WhoScored, which is huge. Clutch player.

2. Kylian Mbappe – Paris Saint-Germain

The best in the world in the eyes of many, and the heir to the throne, but not quite there yet according to WhoScored.

Mbappe boasts a higher pass success percentage and more goals than a certain somebody occupying top spot, but falls short when it comes to assists, discipline and standout performances. That is likely the reason his 7.73 rating simply wasn’t enough to take the cake.

There’s always next season, Kylian.

1. Lionel Messi – Paris Saint-Germain

The certain somebody occupying top spot? Messi, of course.

Even with his PSG future in doubt, the Argentine continues to excel in Ligue 1, dazzling with flashes of skill and trickery that simply nobody else on the planet can muster up. That’s the difference between himself and his younger colleague, who while breath-taking, still has a way to go before reaching near-immortal status like Messi has done throughout his career.

Goals, assists, chance creation, shots, and man-of-the-match performances, the 35-year-old is doing it all for Les Parisiens. His 8.43 rating puts him well clear at the top of the tree.

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