Messi, Mbappe, Hazard & the European Team of the Season so far

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With another international break upon us, Goal selects the most impressive performers of the 2018-19 European club campaign so far…

GK: Tomas Vaclik

An early contender for signing of the season, Tomas Vaclik joined Sevilla from Basel for just €6.3 million during the summer and has already proven himself a bargain buy.

The Czech Republic international has made more saves (57) and kept more clean sheets (seven) than any other goalkeeper in Europe’s ‘Big Five’ leagues, with his sensational shot-stopping propelling the Rojiblancos to the top of the Primera Division.

RB: Joao Cancelo

Inter’s loss has proven Juventus’ considerable gain, with former Valencia right-back Joao Cancelo having slotted seamlessly into his new surroundings in Turin after spending last season on loan at San Siro.

As well as playing his part in the Old Lady keeping six clean sheets already this season, the Portugal international has been sensational going forward.

Indeed, only Youcef Atal has completed more dribbles than Cancelo, who Bianconeri boss Massimiliano Allegri insists has everything in his locker to become the best right-back in the world.

CB: Virgil van Dijk

Riyad Mahrez may have let Virgil van Dijk off the hook with his horrific penalty at Anfield on Sunday but that reckless challenge on Leroy Sane aside, the Dutch centre-half has been Liverpool’s most reliable performer so far this season.

The Netherlands international is the primary reason why the undefeated Reds have conceded just three times in the Premier League and it is telling that nobody is querying Jurgen Klopp’s decision to pay £75m for the aerially dominant defender anymore.

CB: Kalidou Koulibaly

Napoli may not have made any stellar signings during the summer but they did manage to hold on to Kalidou Koulibaly, the defensive rock on which their 2017-18 Scudetto challenge was founded.

However, how much longer they can hold on to a player now repeatedly being linked with Barcelona remains to be seen, with the Senegal international picking up where he left off last season by helping the Partenopei keep five clean sheets in all competitions already this term, including one in the Champions League against Liverpool’s much-vaunted forward line.

LB: Jordi Alba

Luis Enrique may not have any place for him in his Spain squad but Jordi Alba remains one of the best of the left-backs in the world, as he is once again demonstrating this season.

No defender in Europe’s ‘Big Five’ leagues has racked up more assists in all competitions in 2018-19 than the man who shares a telepathic understanding with Barcelona superstar Lionel Messi (4).

CM: Allan

The loss of Jorginho to Chelsea during the summer came as a massive blow to Napoli but Allan’s form this season has helped soothe the Partenopei’s pain.

The midfielder, who was immense against Liverpool in the Champions League, is playing arguably the best football of his career thanks to Carlo Ancelotti’s decision to regularly employ a more orthodox 4-4-2 formation and Italy boss Roberto Mancini is now hoping to persuade the former Brazil Under-20 international to declare for the Azzurri.

CM: Jorginho

Jorginho’s decision to follow Maurizio Sarri from Napoli to Chelsea rather than join Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City is already looking like the most pivotal move of the Premier League’s summer transfer window.

The midfield metronome has been integral to the Blues’ surprise transformation into immediate title challengers under their new Italian coach and is already breaking passing records in England.

RW: Kylian Mbappe

A true sporting phenomenon, the 19-year-old Kylian Mbappe continues to make football look like a ridiculously simple game.

After lighting up the 2018 World Cup for France, the jet-heeled attacker is showing no signs of burn-out, having racked up 10 goals in just seven appearances this season for Paris Saint-Germain, including four in just 13 minutes in last weekend’s Ligue 1 win over Lyon.

Incredibly, Mbappe felt he should have scored more in that particular game and that’s the truly scary/exciting thing here: this true teenage sensation is only going to get better.

AM: Lionel Messi

Now 31, and coming off the back of yet another traumatic World Cup campaign with Argentina, yet Lionel Messi remains a true joy to behold, with the No.10 producing one of his all-time best performances in the Champions League win over Tottenham last week.

The Barcelona ace scored twice during a wondrous display at Wembley and, despite the erratic form of his club-mates, he has already racked up 11 goals in 11 outings in all competitions this term, as well as five assists.

LW: Eden Hazard

Now shorn of the defensive responsibilities that weighed him down under Antonio Conte, Eden Hazard is enjoying the most prolific spell of his career under new boss Maurizio Sarri.

The brilliant Belgian is the Premier League’s top scorer after eight rounds of action, with seven goals, while he also knocked Liverpool out of the Carabao Cup with a stunning solo strike at Anfield.

CF: Krzysztof Piatek

The revelation of the season so far, Krzysztof Piatek has taken Serie A by storm after joining Genoa from Cracovia for just €4.5m during the summer.

The Poland striker, who also opened his international account against Portugal on Thursday, has scored more goals than any other player in Europe’s ‘Big Five’ leagues so far this season, netting a barely believable 13 times in only eight outings in all competitions.

Consequently, Piatek, who struck four times alone in one Coppa Italia clash, is now being linked with Barcelona!

European Team of the Season so far

So, there’s our selection. What are your thoughts? Anyone who doesn’t deserve to be in there? Any glaring omissions? Let us know in the comments section!
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