8. Chelsea CM Mateo Kovacic
Chelsea were one of the best teams in world football this season. After all, they took Real Madrid to their absolute limit in the Champions League and actually outplayed them for much of the two legs. And the best player on the Blues? Mateo Kovacic.
Last season, N’Golo Kante and Jorginho rightfully got all the shine, but this year, it was the press-resistant former Real Madrid player who got his due.
Luka Modric’s Croatian compatriot, Kovacic has magic feet of his own. The physically strong 28-year-old “only” had two goals and five assists in the Premier League, but he did so much to help make his Chelsea teammates look better. And with a more prolific front line, who knows what Kovacic’s basic stats would have looked like?
It jumps out, though, that the midfielder completed two dribbles per game in the Champions League with a pass completion percentage just under 90. He is a rare talent.
7. Manchester City AM Bernardo Silva
There is a reason why many Real Madrid fans want the team to pursue Bernardo Silva as a long-term Luka Modric successor and see if he would be willing to push Manchester City into selling him for a new challenge.
Silva is a left-footed right winger by trade, but the forward has been even better in the midfield this season for Pep Guardiola’s side. Speaking of pushing Real to the limit in the Champions League, Silva was fantastic as City were just edged out by the Merengues on the big stage.
Another player in the prime of his carer, the 27-year-old Silva had eight goals and four assists in the Premier League with an additional three goals and three assists in the Champions League. His creativity, end product in the final third, and work ethic make him one of the most dangerous midfielders in the world. And it feels like he has only scratched the surface.