The CIES Football Observatory has released its 2016/17 Team of the Season from Europe's top five leagues, based on the research body's usual 'approach to measure player performance on an objective and comparable basis'. Players were ranked by position and then put into a line-up in a typical 4-3-3 formation. Prior to injury that has ruled him out since April, Manuel Neuer had only conceded 13 goals in the Bundesliga this season. And only once has the German superstar picked the ball out of his...
Prior to injury that has ruled him out since April, Manuel Neuer had only conceded 13 goals in the Bundesliga this season. And only once has the German superstar picked the ball out of his net more once in the same league game.
Bruno Peres is only on loan at Roma from Torino but is the highest ranked right-back in all of Europe. The Brazilian has played both as a conventional full-back and in a wing-back role, as well as a brief spell on the left side too.
Injury to Jerome Boateng has seen Javi Martinez regularly play at centre-back for Bayern Munich this season. The Spaniard has been a Bayern player since and after three injury hit years he's managed his most Bundesliga games since his debut campaign.
Alongside Martinez, Mats Hummels enjoyed a fine first year back at Bayern Munich after rejoining the club from former side Borussia Dortmund last summer. Martinez is the only centre-back in Europe rated higher than the 28-year-old World Cup winner this season.
Alex Sandro has become Juventus' undisputed left wing-back following the summer departure of Patrice Evra, going from strength to strength. He was ranked higher than Marcelo and David Alaba by CIES to land a spot in this star studded XI.
Paul Pogba is seen by some to have had a poor season after returning to Manchester United for a world record fee, but his contribution has been huge. Reaching a level of consistency will be key next season for the Frenchman to really fulfil his vast potential.
Thiago Alcantara fully recovered from a serious knee injury injury in 2014 to have the best season of his career to date at the heart of Bayern Munich's midfield in yet another Bundesliga triumph. Xabi Alonso's retirement will only push him further into the spotlight.
Guinean midfielder Nabu Keita has made the step up from Austrian to German football look effortless after driving RB Leipzig to a second place Bundesliga finish just 12 months after the club was promoted from the second tier. At just 22 years of age the future looks bright.
Lionel Messi is on course to finish 2016/17 with the fourth European Golden Shoe of his career after scoring 35 times in 33 league games for Barcelona. He's unlikely to collect a ninth La Liga title, but there is still a chance for Copa del Rey glory.
Napoli's Dries Mertens has enjoyed a career year at the age of 30 this season. Only Edin Dzeko has scored more than the Belgian's 25 goals, while he's also provided eight assists to help Napoli once more secure Champions League football.
Even a slightly below par season for Cristiano Ronaldo is still better than nearly everyone else. The Ballon d'Or holder has only scored 24 La Liga goals with one still to play and could well end the campaign with his lowest league tally since joining Real Madrid in 2009.