Top 100 players of 2015: Where do Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo rank?

Top 100: Messi, Vardy and Koscielny make WhoScored's list
Image: Top 100: Messi, Vardy and Koscielny make WhoScored's list

Sky Sports counted down the top 100 players of 2015 as ranked by WhoScored.com in a four-part series, making it all the way to Lionel Messi at No 1 on Christmas Day.

After every game, WhoScored.com gives players competing in Europe's top five leagues a mark out of 10 based on a wide range of statistical data. Each player received an average score for 2015, and to qualify for the list, players had to have made at least 20 league appearances.

In case you missed it, we've put the four parts together into a complete top 100. So how does Cristiano Ronaldo compare to Messi? Was Jamie Vardy or Riyad Mahrez Leicester's best player over the course of the year? Did Harry Kane do enough to crack the top 50?

Find out the answers to these questions and more as we run down the top 100 players in our 2015 countdown...

100. Milan Badelj - Fiorentina - 7.299 average rating

Signed from Hamburg by former Fiorentina manager Vincenzo Montella, Badelj has thrived under new boss Paulo Sousa, and the deep-lying playmaker has been integral to the club's strong campaign so far.

99. Hilton - Montpellier - 7.300 average rating

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Troyes forward Perea Vargas (right) battles with Montpellier defender Vitorino Hilton
Image: Troyes forward Perea Vargas (right) battles with Montpellier defender Vitorino Hilton

Hilton remains a mainstay of Montpellier's backline and, even at 38 years old, shows no sign of losing that happy knack of being in the right place at the right time.

98. Alexander Meier - Eintracht Frankfurt - 7.301 average rating

Meier enjoyed his best goalscoring season last term, hitting 19 in 26 Bundesliga appearances, and that fine form has continued through 2015.

97. David Luiz - PSG - 7.302 average rating

David Luiz celebrates after scoring against Shakhtar Donetsk for Paris Saint-Germain
Image: David Luiz has been part of a brilliant PSG defence

PSG, streaking clear at the top of Ligue 1, conceded just nine league goals before the winter break, and perhaps it will surprise Chelsea fans to hear this, but David Luiz has been a crucial part of that impressive record.

96. Alejandro Gomez - Atalanta - 7.304 average rating

After an up-and-down first five months of the year, Gomez has appeared in every Atalanta league game so far this season, contributing eight goals (five goals, three assists) to produce a Whoscored rating that puts him fourth in Serie A.

95: Paulo Dybala - Palermo & Juventus - 7.305 average rating

Italian football's breakout star of 2014 earned a move to Juventus over the summer, and when he's on the pitch, he has been as good as advertised. Practically impossible to knock off the ball and with a keen eye for a pass, Dybala has a league goal or assist every 100 minutes he's on the field.

Goalscorer Paulo Dybala celebrates Juve's win
Image: Paulo Dybala has settled quickly following his summer move

94. Phil Jagielka - Everton - 7.309 average rating

Statistically, Jagielka enjoyed one of his best seasons for Everton last year. He was injury-free, chipped in with a handful of key goals, and seemed to be building a promising partnership with John Stones, but Jagielka's latter part of 2015 has been ruined by ligament damage sustained against Arsenal in late October. 

93. Patrick Herrmann - Borussia Monchengladbach - 7.310 average rating

Herrmann scored 11 goals and provided four assists in the 2014/15 Bundesliga, but missed the final three months of the year due to injury.

Patrick Herrmann celebrates after scoring during the German first division Bundesliga football match FC Schalke 04 vs Borussia Moenchengladbach
Image: Patrick Herrmann celebrates after scoring against FC Schalke 04

92. Claudio Marchisio - Juventus - 7.310 average rating

Marchisio was a regular for Juve in the 2014/15 campaign as they won Serie A, the Coppa Italia and reached the Champions League final.

91. Romain Genevois - Nice - 7.312 average rating

Genevois has only made a handful of appearances this season, but in 2014/15 the defender was Nice's fifth highest-rated player at an average of 7.29.

90. Fernandinho - Manchester City - 7.313 average rating

Behind City's star forward players, Fernandinho has been a solid presence in midfield and has also pitched in with a few goals throughout the year.

Fernandinho of Manchester City controls the ball as Claudio Marchisio of Juventus closes in
Image: Fernandinho is established as a key part of Man City's midfield

89. Santiago Garcia - Werder Bremen - 7.313 average rating

Rated as Bremen's best player this season behind Jannik Vestergaard, Garcia was also influential for the Bundesliga side during the 2014/15 campaign.

88. Daniel Didavi - Stuttgart - 7.316 average rating

After scoring four goals last season, Didavi already has seven to his name in the Bundesliga, along with three assists, and is the second highest-rated Stuttgart player behind Daniel Ginczek.

87. Wahbi Khazri - Bordeaux - 7.321 average rating

Midfielder Khazri has enjoyed a fine start to the Ligue 1 season with five goals and six assists to his name.

86. Idrissa Gueye - Lille & Aston Villa - 7.327 average rating

Idrissa Gueye in action for Aston Villa
Image: Idrissa Gueye swapped Lille for Aston Villa

Gueye was one of Lille's standout performers in the 2014/15 season with a rating of 7.41, four goals, two assists and four man-of-the-match displays.

85. Jeremy Toulalan - Monaco - 7.337 average rating

The experienced midfielder has been among Monaco's top five highest-rated players in 2014/15 and in 2015/16 while also putting in four man-of-the-match performances this season.

84. Raul Bobadilla - Augsburg - 7.338 average rating

After finishing the 2014/15 season as Augsburg's top scorer in all competitions, the Paraguayan has netted six times in five Europa League matches and also three times in the Bundesliga.

83. N'Golo Kante - Caen & Leicester - 7.343 average rating

After being rated as Caen's top player last summer, Kante has proved to be one of the Premier League signings of the year. He ranks in the top five in the league for tackles-per-game and interceptions-per-game.

Ayoze Perez (L) of Newcastle United is challenged by N'golo Kante (R) of Leicester City during Newcastle United and Leicester City at St.James' Park
Image: Kante has been one of the signings of the summer for Leicester

82. Ilkay Gundogan - Borussia Dortmund - 7.344 average rating

The Germany international is the third-highest rated player in the Dortmund squad this campaign behind Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, and scored three goals and provided four assists in the Bundesliga in 2014/15.

81. Wesley Lautoa - Lorient - 7.353 average rating

The versatile Lautoa played a key role in Lorient's Ligue 1 survival last season, and continued that form this term until injury interrupted his campaign in late October.

80. Gonzalo Rodriguez - Fiorentina - 7.353 average rating

Rodriguez has made the most interceptions and clearances of any Fiorentina defender this season and was La Viola's second highest-rated player in 2014/15.

79. Jannik Vestergaard - Werder Bremen- 7.359 average rating

Werder Bremen may be struggling in the Bundesliga, but their giant 23-year-old centre-back has been solid since joining the club in January, and grades out as their best player this season.

78. Yaya Toure - Manchester City - 7.360 average rating

Yaya Toure celebrates scoring his team's second goal with his team mates during the Barclays Premier League match between Manchester City and Swansea City
Image: Yaya Toure scored a screamer in the defeat by Arsenal

The year ended without a trophy for Manchester City, but Toure remains a force for Manuel Pellegrini's side. The midfielder is playing deeper following the additions of Raheem Sterling and Kevin De Bruyne but, as he showed against Swansea, he can still provide match-winning contributions.

77. Omer Toprak - Bayer Leverkusen - 7.360 average rating

Limited by a thigh injury earlier this season, Toprak has been back in the side and was back to his best in Bayer Leverkusen's 5-0 demolition of Borussia Monchengladbach on December 12.

76. Morgan Schneiderlin - Southampton & Manchester United - 7.360 average rating

The France international finally earned his big-money move to Manchester United after helping Southampton secure European football with a seventh-place finish, and he already looks a natural at the top level.

Morgan Schneiderlin scored at Everton in October
Image: Morgan Schneiderlin left Southampton for Man Utd in the summer

75. Vieirinha - Wolfsburg - 7.363 average rating

Wolfsburg ended the year on a high, dumping Manchester United out of the Champions League, and Vieirinha has been a chief creative force alongside Max Kruse and Julian Draxler.

74. Josip Ilicic - Fiorentina - 7.364 average rating

Ilicic finished as the club's joint-top scorer in 2014/15, and has seven goals in 11 Serie A starts this season with the club challenging top-of-the-table Inter Milan.

73: Filipe Luis - Chelsea and Atletico Madrid - 7.366 average rating

Chelsea's loss has certainly been Atletico Madrid's gain. Luis has slotted back in under Diego Simeone and continues to be one of the most consistent full-backs in La Liga.

LISBON, PORTUGAL - MAY 24:  Filipe Luis of Club Atletico de Madrid in action during the UEFA Champions League Final between Real Madrid and Atletico de Mad
Image: Filipe Luis has quickly settled back in at Atletico Madrid

72: Shkodran Mustafi - Valencia - 7.370 average rating

Mustafi has a habit of picking up yellow cards (eight in the league so far), but the Germany international has been statistically Valencia's best player this season with an average rating of 7.57 from 12 league appearances.

71: Daniel Parejo - Valencia - 7.370 average rating

The former Real Madrid midfielder cracked double figures in the league for Valencia last season, and is well on his way to repeating that feat again. Effective in attack and defence, Parejo will be central to Gary Neville's hopes of guiding his new club back towards the top four.

Gary Neville and Daniel Parejo face the media
Image: Gary Neville and Daniel Parejo face the media

70: Salif Sane - Hannover - 7.372 average rating

Hannover may be having a tough time of it, but Sane is establishing a reputation as a physical, ball-winning defensive midfielder. Strong in the air and a threat from set-pieces, the Senegal international will be key to Hannover's survival hopes.

69: Felipe Anderson - Lazio - 7.379 average rating

Last season, Anderson's second at Lazio, was something of a breakout year for the Brazilian as he managed 10 goals and nine assists by April. 

Felipe Anderson: Midfielder celebrates scoring for Lazio
Image: Felipe Anderson was in sensational form in the early part of 2015

68: Tiago - Atletico Madrid - 7.380 average rating

A model of consistency in the middle of Atletico's midfield, Tiago helps set the tone for Simeone's talented title challengers.

67: Sofiane Boufal - Angers & Lille - 7.382 average rating

One of the most exciting dribblers in Ligue 1, Boufal has flourished since joining Lille from Angers in January.

66: Jamie Vardy - Leicester - 7.383 average rating

Jamie Vardy celebrates the opening goal against Chelsea
Image: Jamie Vardy broke Ruud van Nistelrooy's record for goals in consecutive Premier League games

Against Tottenham in March, Vardy ended a six-month goal drought in the Premier League. A few months on, he had broken Ruud van Nistelrooy's consecutive goals record in the division. It's been a remarkable 12 months for the Leicester forward.

65: Angel Di Maria - Manchester United & PSG - 7.391 average rating

He endured a disappointing end to his brief United career, but Di Maria has been quick to get back to his best in Paris. The winger has contributed to 24 goals already (13 goals, 11 assists) in 26 appearances for club and country this season.

Angel Di Maria of Paris Saint-Germain looks to the audience during the UEFA Champions League Group A match between Real Madrid
Image: Angel Di Maria has been brilliant for PSG since signing in the summer

64: Wendell - Bayer Leverkusen - 7.395 average rating

The Bayer Leverkusen left-back had no trouble adjusting to European football following his move from Brazil last year, improving as the season went on. Still aged just 22, his impressive form has reportedly caught the attention of one or two bigger clubs.

63: Marc Albrighton - Leicester - 7.395 average rating

Following his release by Aston Villa in May 2014, Albrighton helped keep Leicester up last season, and has been a key provider from the left wing this campaign, most recently assisting Riyad Mahrez's goal against Chelsea.

62: Bas Dost - Wolfsburg - 7.396 average rating

Dost started the year on fire, hitting 13 goals in eight competitive games before mid-March. That kind of hot-streak rarely lasts, but he still finished the season with 16 league goals in 17 starts.

61: Simone Missiroli - Sassuolo - 7.397 average rating

It's been a real team effort at Sassuolo, but in a side lacking star quality, Missiroli certainly looks the part of a leading man. He's dazzled defences all year long, and has helped the Modena club challenge the big names on a fraction of the budget.

60: Javier Pastore - PSG - 7.400 average rating

Pastore has barely featured for table-topping PSG this season, a late return from the Copa America and niggling injuries kept him on the sidelines until mid-December. But the playmaker was an assist machine for the Parisian club in early 2015, ending the campaign with 12 assists, second only to Dimitri Payet.

 Edinson Cavani celebrates his winning goal for PSG
Image: Javier Pastore was second to Dimitri Payet for Ligue 1 assists last season

59: Fabinho - Monaco - 7.400 average rating

After two seasons on loan, Monaco made his move permanent in May, and Fabinho won international recognition with Brazil a month later.

58: Lucas Biglia - Lazio - 7.404 average rating

Biglia was instrumental in securing a top three league finish for Lazio last season, only for Bayer to knock them out of the Champions League at the play-off stage. That was a harbinger of things to come in a difficult campaign for Lazio, but Biglia is one player whose performances have not dropped off.

57: Sergio Aguero - Manchester City - 7.407 average rating

Sergio Aguero of Manchester City and Adam Lallana of Liverpool during the Barclays Premier League match
Image: Sergio Aguero has recently returned from injury

It's been a familiar story for Aguero in 2015 - plenty of goals, but a few frustrating injuries too. He picked up a hamstring problem at the Copa America, and hobbled off against Southampton while playing for Manchester City in late November. When he plays, he's still lethal and his fitness over the course of the season could be key to City climbing back to the top of the Premier League table.

56: Christophe Jallet - Lyon - 7.413 average rating

A broken rib kept Jallet out of the side longer than he would have liked this season, but the right-back remains an important, and hugely experienced, part of Hubert Fournier's young squad.

55: Johannes Geis - Mainz & Schalke - 7.414 average rating

Geis has been a stand-out player for Schalke since his 12m euro (£8.9m) move from Mainz in June. He got off to a good start with a goal on his competitive debut.

54: Lars Stindl - Hannover & Borussia Monchengladbach - 7.416 average rating

Summer signing Stindl has swiftly become a hit with four Bundesliga goals in his first 15 league appearances. The midfielder has a knack for goals, having struck 10 in 21 league games for his former club last season.

53: Harry Kane - Tottenham - 7.417 average rating

Kane earned the PFA Young Player of the Year award after a 32-goal season for Spurs. England recognition followed, and he is already almost a certain pick for next summer's Euro 2016.

Harry Kane celebrates after putting Spurs in front
Image: Harry Kane has been in fine goalscoring form under Mauricio Pochettino

52: Chris Smalling - Manchester United - 7.418 average rating

Smalling has enjoyed a superb individual 12 months. He is in the top three for clearances, blocks and interceptions-per-game for United this term.

51. Naldo - Wolfsburg - 7.422 average rating

Naldo is a key player, alongside compatriot Dante, at the heart of the Wolfsburg defence. He demonstrated his considerable value at the other end with a double that helped eliminate Louis van Gaal's Manchester United from the Champions League.

Naldo goal celeb, Wolfsburg v Manchester United, Champions League
Image: Naldo scored a brace against Man Utd that helped eliminate the English club from the Champions League

50. Thomas Muller - Bayern Munich - 7.424 average rating

The Bayern Munich forward does it all for Pep Guardiola's all-conquering Bavarians. With Euro 2016 on the horizon, expect to see Muller's broad grin and wide-eyed celebration a few times next year too.

49. Antoine Griezmann - Atletico Madrid - 7.425 average rating

The focal point of Atletico's attack, Griezmann has 13 goals in 22 appearances in all competitions at the winter break. Last season he scored a third of Atletico's league goals too, and so far this term he has got the ninth highest average rating in the Spanish top flight.

Antoine Griezmann missed two clear-cut chances as Atletico Madrid failed to go top of La Liga
Image: Antoine Griezmann has been the star man for Atletico

48. Aleksandar Kolarov - Manchester City - 7.426 average rating

In a team full of star names, Kolarov often slips under the radar, but the left-back has enjoyed a good year on the flank. As he showed against Southampton in late November, Kolarov can be most useful as an attacking outlet. He caused problems all afternoon, and capped a great display with a fine goal.

47. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang - Borussia Dortmund - 7.428 average rating

After making Bundesliga history by becoming the first player to score in the first eight games of the season, Aubameyang has continued his superb year by netting 18 goals in 17 Bundesliga appearances in the first half of the campaign. He finished the 2014/15 season by scoring nine times in the last 12 games and confirmed recently that he is happy at Dortmund. "The people here accept me for who I am. Dortmund has become my second home," he said.

46. Diego Perotti - Genoa - 7.429 average rating

Perotti enjoyed his best season yet at surprise package Genoa last year, and a slight drop off in form for the winger corresponded with a slow start to the new campaign for his club. At his best, Perotti can create something out of nothing.

45. Luka Modric - Real Madrid - 7.429 average rating

Luka Modric is regarded as one of the top midfielders in Europe
Image: Luka Modric is regarded as one of the top midfielders in Europe

A recent uncharacteristic mistake against Villarreal proved costly, but in the main Modric has been his usual creative self for Real Madrid. His 91.2 per cent pass completion percentage is second only to Toni Kroos at the club this campaign.

44. Arturo Vidal - Juventus & Bayern Munich - 7.435 average rating

The Chile international has had a year to remember, helping his country to a Copa America title, his club to the Serie A crown and nearly the Champions League, before capping it off with the big-money move to Bayern Munich. He's started life well in Germany, and is currently the fifth highest-rated league player at the Allianz Arena.

Chile's Arturo Vidal enjoys defeating rivals Brazil
Image: Arturo Vidal enjoyed international success with Chile

43. Stefan Bell - Mainz - 7.446 average rating

Mainz's highest-rated player in the 2014/15 season, the defender has continued to impress this campaign with the most interceptions and clearances for his team.

42. Granit Xhaka - Borussia Monchengladbach - 7.458 average rating

The Swiss player was Gladbach's highest-rated player in the 2014/15 season and has again been influential as the Foals have recovered from a poor start to climb up the Bundesliga table in 2015/16. He signed a contract extension earlier in the year and has become the youngest captain in the club's history.

41. Christian Fuchs - Schalke & Leicester - 7.459 average rating

Snapped up by the Foxes after a great year in the Bundesliga, Fuchs has been impressive for top-of-the-table Leicester. Stats show only three team-mates have been better than the Austria international in the league this season.

40. Philippe Coutinho - Liverpool - 7.461 average rating

The Brazilian was named in the Premier League team of the season for 2014/15 and was also the Liverpool Fans' Player of the Year and Players' Player of the Year. He has continued to impress in 2015/16.

Philippe Coutinho scored Liverpool's second in a 4-1 win over Man City
Image: Philippe Coutinho has emerged as a key player of the Reds

39. Gonzalo Higuain - Napoli - 7.462 average rating

After finishing the 2014/15 season with 18 league goals, Higuain is already close to surpassing that mark at the turn of the year. The Argentine is the leading scorer in Serie A with 16 goals in 17 matches.

38. Diego Godin - Atletico Madrid - 7.462 average rating

A part of one of the best defences in Europe, Godin was named in the Champions League team of the group stage as Atletico topped their group. Atletico have conceded just eight goals in 16 La Liga matches this season and Godin has made more clearances and interceptions than any of his team-mates.

37. Jonas Hector - Cologne - 7.473 average rating

The defender was Cologne's highest-rated player of the 2014/15 season and is their top performing player so far this campaign as well. He has made more interceptions than any of his team-mates and also makes it into the WhoScored team of the season at the winter break in the Bundesliga.

36. Karim Benzema - Real Madrid - 7.476 average rating

Not at his most prolific in the first half of the year, but Benzema has scored 11 goals in La Liga this season and has also netted four times in three Champions League starts. The France international finished the year with a hat-trick in Real's 10-2 thrashing of Rayo Vallecano.

Karim Benzema during a Real Madrid training session
Image: Karim Benzema continues to be an important player for Real

35. Loic Perrin - Saint Etienne - 7.485 average rating

The centre-back made it into the WhoScored team of the season for 2014/15 with a rating of 7.6 and is the club's highest-rated player so far in Ligue 1 this campaign. He has also chipped in with three goals in the second half of the year and was called up by France for the first time in November.

34. Aritz Aduriz - Athletic Bilbao - 7.487 average rating

The experienced striker has topped Athletic's scoring charts in La Liga for the past three seasons and looks like doing so again with 10 goals in 15 league games in the first half of the 2015/16 campaign. His highlight of the year was scoring four times in the two-legged Spanish Super Cup as Athletic thrashed Barcelona 5-1 on aggregate.

33. Eden Hazard - Chelsea - 7.488 average rating

The Belgian won a host of awards after playing a starring role in Chelsea's title-winning campaign of 2014/15 with 14 goals and nine assists in the Premier League. He was named Chelsea's Player of the Year, the PFA Players' Player of the Year, the Premier League Player of the Season and the FWA Footballer of the Year. While his form dipped in the second half of the year, there have been signs recently that he is getting back to somewhere near his best.

Chelsea's Eden Hazard races to catch the ball
Image: Eden Hazard scooped several awards last season

32. Nacho Monreal - 7.492 average rating

The highest-rated left-back so far in the Premier League 2015/16 season, Monreal has established himself as an important first-team player for the Gunners. While Laurent Koscielny might be ranked higher, it is Monreal who has played more minutes in the league's joint-best defence of 2015.

31. David Silva - Manchester City - 7.493 average rating

Even though he missed seven weeks with injury, Silva is still City's second-highest rated player this season behind Vincent Kompany. He was labelled the "best player in the Premier League" in 2015 by team-mate Edin Dzeko and also former Sky Sports pundit Gary Neville.

Manchester City's Spanish midfielder David Silva
Image: David Silva remains a creative force for Manuel Pellegrini

30. Mats Hummels - Borussia Dortmund - 7.499 average rating

Hummels was a key part of the Dortmund side that ended a turbulent 2014/15 season with victory over Bayern Munich in the German Cup. The captain is WhoScored's highest-rated defender in Dortmund's team at the winter break and head coach Thomas Tuchel says he has rediscovered his confidence in recent weeks.

Mats Hummels celebrates his goal for Dortmund
Image: Mats Hummels is a big player for Dortmund

29. Laurent Koscielny - Arsenal - 7.508 average rating

The Frenchman made it into the WhoScored Premier League team of the season for 2014/15 with a rating of 7.4 and is the highest-rated centre-back so far this campaign with a 7.5 rating. He has made more interceptions and blocks than any of his defensive team-mates this campaign.

28. Paul Pogba - Juventus - 7.509 average rating

Part of the Juventus side that reached the Champions League final and won Serie A and the Coppa Italia, the 22-year-old was also named in the Serie A team of the year for 2014/15. He was linked with a move away from Turin in the summer but opted to remain and is Juventus' second highest-rated player this season behind the in-form Dybala.

27. Marco Verratti - Paris St-Germain - 7.52 average rating

In a star-studded PSG side, Verratti has continued to establish himself in 2015 as one of the most promising young players on the continent. The Italian set up two goals in the win over Saint Etienne in October and earned a rating of 8.57 for his display in the 3-0 victory over Shakhtar Donetsk in the Champions League.

Image: Marco Verratti is one of the most stylish players in Europe

26. Layvin Kurzawa - Monaco & PSG - 7.524 average rating

The left-back was signed by PSG in the summer after six man-of-the-match displays in the 2014/15 Ligue 1 season earned him a WhoScored rating of 7.54. The 23-year-old has scored twice for the runaway league leaders this season and is part of the best defence in the French top flight.

25. Nicolas Otamendi - Valencia & Manchester City - 7.547 average rating

After being named in the La Liga team of the season for 2014/15, Otamendi made a big-money move to Man City in the summer. His standout display so far has been in the Manchester derby when he earned a man-of-the-match rating of 7.94.

Manchester City's Nicolas Otamendi puts Man City 1-0 up against Norwich
Image: Nicolas Otamendi can be a big threat from set-pieces, as Norwich found out this season

24. Nabil Fekir - Lyon - 7.55 average rating

The highly-rated Frenchman was named the Ligue 1 Young Player of the Year after a breakthrough season in 2014/15 and started the 2015/16 season with four goals in four matches. However, he suffered a cruciate ligament injury playing for France in September that not only ended his year but also damaged Lyon's prospects. "I can guarantee you that with Nabil we would be in the top three in the league and that we would have six more points in the Champions League," said club president Jean-Michel Aulas in October.

23. Marcelo - Real Madrid - 7.556 average rating

A fan favourite at the Bernabeu, the Brazilian has improved defensively over the last few years and is always a threat going forward. Named in the WhoScored La Liga team of the season for 2014/15, the Brazilian was rewarded for his improvement with a contract extension in the summer.

22. Santi Cazorla - Arsenal - 7.570 average rating

Santi Cazorla in pre-season action for Arsenal
Image: Santi Cazorla has adapted to a central role for Arsenal

The Spaniard has become a key component in Arsenal's midfield over the past few seasons. At the time of a year-ending injury in early December he had played more minutes than any other midfielder in the 2015/16 Premier League season aside from Daley Blind.

21. Francis Coquelin - Arsenal - 7.58 average rating

After being recalled from a loan spell at Charlton in December 2014, Coquelin firmly established himself in the defensive midfield role for Arsenal in 2015. "He has gone through a lot of doubt, questioning himself," said Arsene Wenger. "Now that he has a chance he doesn't want to let it slip away. But he is a winner - that's why he is so committed." At the time of his injury, Coquelin led the way for tackles and interceptions among Arsenal's midfielders and also had the best pass success percentage.

20. Thiago Silva - PSG - 7.592 average rating

Paris Saint-Germain's Brazilian defender Thiago Silva (L) celebrates with Paris Saint-Germain's French forward Jean Kevin Augustin after scoring during the
Image: Thiago Silva and David Luiz both make the top 100

Ibrahimovic might grab most of the headlines, but Thiago Silva has proved himself to be another key part of PSG's star-studded side. The captain led his team to a domestic treble in 2014/15, was named in the Ligue 1 team of the year and is part of a defence that has conceded just nine goals in the league this season.

19. Dimitri Payet - Marseille & West Ham - 7.606 average rating

One of the signings of the summer in the Premier League, Payet's success might not be too surprising considering he assisted more goals than any other player in Ligue 1 in 2014/15 and created more chances than anyone else in Europe's top five leagues. When he was ruled out for the year with injury against Everton, only Mesut Ozil had created more chances in the Premier League.

18. Robert Lewandowski - Bayern Munich - 7.617 average rating

Robert Lewandowski celebrates
Image: Robert Lewandowski scored five in one game as a sub earlier this season

The striker won the Bundesliga with Bayern and was the top goalscorer in Euro 2016 Qualifying with Poland, but his standout moment of 2015 came as a substitute when he scored five goals in nine minutes against Wolfsburg. It was the fastest Bundesliga hat-trick (three minutes and 22 seconds), the first time a sub had scored five times in the league and his first treble for Bayern.

17. Henrikh Mkhitaryan - Borussia Dortmund - 7.618 average rating

"One of the most talented players in the world," according to Jurgen Klopp, but the Armenian appears to have benefited from the appointment of Thomas Tuchel at Dortmund. The attacking midfielder is in WhoScored's Bundesliga team of the season at the winter break with a rating of 7.9 and has provided the joint-most assists along with Raffael.

16. Ricardo Rodriguez - Wolfsburg - 7.620 average rating

A creative talent on the left flank, Rodriguez has become an important player for Wolfsburg both defensively and going forward. 

15. Raffael - Borussia Monchengladbach - 7.633 average rating

The Brazilian enjoyed an impressive campaign in 2014/15 as Gladbach finished third in the Bundesliga. He scored twice in a 2-0 win at Bayern Munich and set up a goal as Gladbach beat Bayern again in December. He leads the way in the German top flight in 2015/16 with eight assists alongside Henrikh Mkhitaryan and makes it into the WhoScored team of the season so far.

14. Gareth Bale - Real Madrid - 7.664 average rating

The Welshman has not had his most prolific year at club level but has continued to chip in with goals and assists for Real. He finished the year on a high by scoring four times in the 10-2 thrashing of Rayo Vallecano in late December and also played a key role as Wales qualified for Euro 2016.

Gareth Balecelebrates after scoring his team's eighth goal during the La Liga match between Real Madrid and Rayo Vallecano at Santiago Bernabeu
Image: Gareth Bale scored four against Rayo Vallecano in December

13. Jordan Amavi - Nice & Aston Villa - 7.664 average rating

Described as a "perfect fit" by Tim Sherwood when he signed in the summer, Amavi impressed in a struggling Villa side until he was unfortunately sidelined for the season with a knee injury suffered on international duty. He was the highest-rated player in Ligue 1 last season with four goals and eight man-of-the-match performances.

12. Kevin De Bruyne - Wolfsburg & Manchester City - 7.683 average rating

Manchester City's Kevin de Bruyne celebrates
Image: Kevin De Bruyne has quickly settled into City's team

After inspiring Wolfsburg to a second-place finish in the Bundesliga with a league-record 21 assists and 10 goals, the Belgian made a £54.5m summer move to City. De Bruyne has continued to provide goals and assists in his new surroundings and has settled in well at the Etihad. After scoring the winner against Sevilla in October, Manuel Pellegrini described him as the "perfect player" for City.

11. Franco Vazquez - Palermo - 7.691 average rating

The Argentinian-born Italy international enjoyed a breakthrough year with 10 goals and 10 assists in the 2014/15 season. His performances earned him his first international call-up and he is reportedly not short of admirers across the continent. The 26-year-old is Palermo's highest-rated player so far this season at 7.59 and ranks in the top five for shots-per-game in Serie A.

10. Alexis Sanchez - Arsenal - 7.724 average rating

Alexis Sanchez opens the scoring against Watford
Image: Alexis Sanchez has been a brilliant signing for the Gunners

The PFA Fans' Player of the Year for 2014/15, Sanchez has established himself as arguably Arsenal's most important player. He scored a stunning goal in the FA Cup win over Aston Villa before leading Chile to their first major tournament win at Copa America. This season he averages the second-most shots-per-game in the Premier League, has made more dribbles than any of his team-mates and has scored six goals.

9. Nolito - Celta Vigo - 7.753 average rating

It says plenty about how good Nolito's 2015 has been that, four years after leaving Barcelona, the Catalans reportedly want him back. The 29-year-old has been a driving force behind Celta's impressive start to the 2015/16 season with eight goals and five assists in La Liga. His impressive form saw him earn his first Spain call-up in November.

8. Mesut Ozil - Arsenal - 7.754 average rating

David Moyes might think the jury is still out on Ozil, but the German has impressed almost everyone else with his level of play in 2015. Named the Premier League Player of the Month for November, he is the leading assist-maker in the top flight by some way in 2015/16 and has also provided more assists than any other player in Europe's top five leagues in 2015. "Mesut is an absolute complete, collective player," said Arsene Wenger after the win over Aston Villa in December. "He's a very important link in our game."

Mesut Ozil of Arsenal warms up before the Barclays Premier League match between Aston Villa
Image: Mesut Ozil leads the Premier League in assists

7. Riyad Mahrez - Leicester - 7.762 average rating

After only scoring two league goals in the first half of the year, Mahrez burst onto the scene with a string of dazzling displays for the table-topping Foxes. The tricky Algerian has scored 13 goals in the Premier League this season, including a hat-trick in the 3-0 win over Swansea and two against Everton, while also providing seven assists. The good news for Leicester is that it looks like he will be staying beyond January. "I don't think Leicester want to sell him and he is focused on doing well with them," his agent Kamel Bengougam told Sky Sports recently.

Riyad Mahrez has been on top form this season for Leicester
Image: Riyad Mahrez has been on top form this season for Leicester

6. Luis Suarez - Barcelona - 7.834 average rating

After scoring in the Champions League final win over Juventus to ensure his first season at Barca ended in a historic treble, Suarez has improved as the year has gone on. He has scored 13 times in La Liga and provided three assists while in Europe he netted five goals in five games. He missed out on a nomination for the Ballon D'Or even though Lionel Messi said he "deserved to be there".

5. Cristiano Ronaldo - Real Madrid - 7.9 average rating

It might have been a trophy-less year for the Portuguese, but the goals have continued to flow for club and country. After ending the 2014/15 season with a remarkable 48 league goals, he has netted 12 in the second half of the year and also took his tally to a record-breaking 11 in the group stage of the Champions League when he scored four against Malmo. He is in contention to win a fourth Ballon D'Or if he can pip Messi and Neymar to the award.

Hat-trick hero Cristiano Ronaldo celebrates
Image: Cristinao Ronaldo has enjoyed a spectacular individual season

4. James Rodriguez - Real Madrid - 7.904 average rating

His start to the 2015/16 season has been disrupted by injuries, but the Colombian proved a key player in the first half of the year for Real, who felt his absence when he was out for February and March. Rodriguez finished the 2014/15 campaign with a rating of 7.9 to make into the WhoScored team of the season.

3. Zlatan Ibrahimovic - Paris St-Germain - 8.077 average rating

Scored 19 goals in the 2014/15 season to lead PSG to the Ligue 1 title and, in October, became the club's all-time leading goalscorer when he netted twice against Marseille. At the winter break in France he is the top scorer with 15 goals and has also chipped in six assists on his way to becoming the highest-rated player in the league. Zlatan also scored three times in Sweden's Euro 2016 play-off tie with Denmark to book their place in France.

2. Neymar - Barcelona - 8.37 average rating

 Neymar of FC Barcelona celebrates after scoring the opening goal against Real Sociedad
Image: Neymar just misses out on top spot

It's been a breakout year for the Brazilian. After playing a key role in Barcelona's treble-winning season, including scoring in the Champions League final, he stepped up along with Suarez when Messi missed two months with injury. In November, Sky Sports Spanish football expert Guillem Balague said he is the second best player in the world and at the winter break he is the top scorer in La Liga with 14 goals along with five assists. He has been nominated for the 2015 Ballon D'Or along with Messi and Ronaldo.

1. Lionel Messi - Barcelona - 8.821 average rating

It was another remarkable year at club level for Messi, one that was highlighted by winning La Liga, the Champions League and the Copa del Rey. In 2015 he scored 51 goals for club and country, including three hat-tricks, provided 26 assists and is the favourite to win the Ballon D'Or. He finished the year by scoring in the Club World Cup final win over River Plate while in late November he was labelled the best player in the world by team-mate Luis Suarez. "It makes you happy just to see him out on the pitch," said Suarez. "None of the rest of us would say that we can be the best in the world because he is."

BARCELONA, SPAIN - NOVEMBER 24:  Lionel Messi of FC Barcelona looks on during the UEFA Champions League Group E match between FC Barcelona and AS Roma at C
Image: Lionel Messi is ranked number one

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