Top 100 players of 2016: Countdown kicks off with players ranked 100-81
Last Updated: 20/12/16 9:07am
Sky Sports is counting down the top 100 players of 2016, as ranked by WhoScored.com in a five-part series. But who will come out on top?
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 2016, and to qualify for our list, players had to have made at least 20 league appearances.
So will Lionel Messi retain his crown or can Cristiano Ronaldo clinch first place? Where do Luis Suarez and Gareth Bale place? And how do Premier League stars Philippe Coutinho, Harry Kane and Sergio Aguero compare?
In part one of our series, we kick off our countdown by looking at the players ranked 100-81...
100. Armando Izzo - Genoa - 7.26 WhoScored.com rating
Italian centre-back Armando Izzo was rewarded for his fine form for Genoa with a call-up to the national team squad in November and has been an ever-present for the Serie A club this term.
99. Dele Alli - Tottenham - 7.2606
Dele Alli's breakthrough campaign last season saw him pick up the PFA Young Player of the Year award, while his stunning volley against Crystal Palace at the start of the year will be watched for decades to come.
98. Jonathan Viera - Las Palmas - 7.2609
Las Palmas are becoming a neutral's favourite in La Liga given their attractive style and playmaker Jonathan Viera is key to that, picking up where he left off last season having had a hand in 19 goals from attacking midfield.
97. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang - Borussia Dortmund - 7.2625
Whilst not particularly heavily involved in their build up play, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has proven the ideal striker in Dortmund's system under Thomas Tuchel; lethal in the box, he ended the previous Bundesliga campaign with 25 goals.
96. Gerard Pique - Barcelona - 7.2632
Gerard Pique's reputation as one of the world's best centre-backs has carried on into 2016. The defender helped Barcelona to a league and cup double, but will want to forget Spain's Euro 2016 campaign after the then-holders fell to hosts France in the last 16.
95. Frederik Sorensen - Cologne - 7.2635
While Anthony Modeste has been scoring for fun up front for Cologne, Frederik Sorensen has been doing the hard work in defence, allowing them to boast one of the best defensive records in the Bundesliga.
94. Daley Blind - Manchester United - 7.2710
While Daley Blind's position appeared to change for Manchester United every other game in 2016, the Dutchman always put in consistent performances for the FA Cup winners, regardless of the job he had been asked to do.
93. Alejandro Gomez - Atalanta - 7.2721
Atalanta midfielder Alejandro Gomez scored or assisted in almost every other game for the Serie A club last season, and that trend has continued into the current campaign.
92. Thomas Lemar - Monaco - 7.2743
Thomas Lemar, 21, has already scored six and assisted four in Ligue 1 this season having worked his way into Monaco's starting XI. The Frenchman also netted twice in the Champions League as Monaco finished top of their group, which also featured Tottenham and Bayer Leverkusen.
91. Asier Illarramendi - Real Sociedad - 7.275
Since moving from Real Madrid in 2015, Asier Illarramendi has impressed for Sociedad, and his tireless work in midfield helped the Spanish side to a top-half finish in La Liga.
90. Antonio Valencia - Manchester United - 7.2818
When fit Antonio Valencia has been a favourite of a number of Manchester United managers and that certainly seems to be the case under Jose Mourinho, making the perceived problem right-back position his own.
89. Hakan Calhanoglu - Bayer Leverkusen - 7.2823
Four goals and four assists this season helped the Turkey international sneak into our list. The creativity that the Bayer Leverkusen talisman provides makes him a huge asset.
88. Bruno - Villarreal - 7.2824
Central midfielder Bruno was integral in Villarreal's European run last season, which only came to an end in the Europa League semi-finals when Liverpool knocked them out. He's already netted three times this term for the La Liga high-flyers.
87. Domenico Berardi - Sassuolo - 7.2824
Domenico Berardi has a phenomenal goalscoring record for one so young. Having turned down a summer move to Juventus, the 22-year-old has gone from strength to strength, scoring seven goals in six appearances across all competitions this season.
86. Danny Drinkwater - Leicester - 7.2827
A huge part of the Leicester fairytale last season, Danny Drinkwater controlled many a game last season, and was as crucial a part as any to that incredible title success.
85. Corentin Tolisso - Lyon - 7.2845
One of an impressive crop of young talent to emerge through the Lyon ranks, interest in versatile midfielder Corentin Tolisso is believed to be high, and for good reason given his all-action playing style.
84. Benjamin Hubner - Ingolstadt and Hoffenheim - 7.2892
Hoffenheim are flying high in the Bundesliga and their current position of third has been aided by centre-back Benjamin Hubner, who moved from Ingolstadt in the summer.
83. Xabi Alonso - Bayern Munich - 7.2908
He may have turned 35 last month but Xabi Alonso is still pulling the strings for one of the world's finest clubs, breaking up play in the middle of the park and distributing as effectively as ever.
82. Wilfried Zaha - Crystal Palace - 7.2931
It didn't work out at Manchester United, but that hasn't stopped Wilfried Zaha from getting his head down, working hard and improving. Six assists so far this season is some return from an attacker playing in a side struggling for form.
81. Nicolas de Preville - Lille - 7.2962
Nine assists and six goals for Reims last season earned Nicolas de Preville a move to Lille, where he has continued his fine form.