5) Joshua Kimmich
Signed as a long-term replacement for club legend Bastian Schweinsteiger, Kimmich attracted great attention when he signed for the Bavarians from up and coming RB Leipzig. The young prodigy had to wait for his chance to impress in the midfield; however, it was only after a string of injuries that Kimmich found himself at the heart of the defence. After containing an on-fire Aubameyang in the Der Klassiker, Kimmich was praised by then manager Guardiola. In the Euros, Germany’s constant lack of options in the full-back position saw Low try Kimmich out in the same position. The German impressed and was even named in the Euros XI and has since replaced Philipp Lahm for both country and club. Despite playing in the defence, Kimmich is always assisting goals like Lahm did and add to that he even regularly gets his name on the scoresheet.
4) Gareth Bale
The Welsh was signed by Tottenham as a young left-back at the age of 17; however, was nearly sold after failing to impress the hierarchy. An injury to BeniotAssouEkotto pushed Bale a little further up the pitch and the fortuitous moment revolutionised Bale’s career. As a left-sided midfielder, Bale terrorised the Premier league with his pace and power. Like Kane, Bale carried Spurs on his shoulders in the 2012-13 season. His form convinced Real Madrid to break the transfer record for his services, and Bale has repaid the investment, scoring in crucial moments for Los Blancos, and has since won 3 Champions league titles with the whites.
3) Cristiano Ronaldo
After absolutely destroying John O’Shea in a friendly game against United in ‘04, Sir Alex Ferguson insisted on signing a young Portuguese winger that very night before anyone else could get a chance. Signed as a replacement for David Beckham, Ronaldo had to be content with a place on the right wing with Giggs occupying the left side. Nevertheless, Sir Alex soon realised that Ronaldo could be unleashed if placed on the left side and thus began the Ronaldo era. Running down the flanks, Ronaldo dominated the Premier league while also winning the Champions league forming a ferocious trio with Tevez and Rooney. So much so that even United fans understood Ronaldo’s desire to leave for Real in ’09. Since joining Real, Ronaldo has evolved even further with goals coming easy for the Portuguese. And with time, Ronaldo has now become more of a box player, with his hat tricks last season in the Champions league demonstrating his ability to play as a lone centre-forward as his age progresses.
2) Lionel Messi
Arguably the greatest of all-time, Lionel Messi never ceases to amaze the football world despite years of brilliance. Even reading the regular praises from the likes of Rakitic and Pique seem boring but watching Messi never gets boring. An architect with the ball, the Argentine played the best football of his career as a false 9 under Guardiola, with his presence unsettling even Zlatan Ibrahimovic. The likes of David Villa too had to settle with playing on the wings, but the Argentine proved his flexibility when to accommodate Suarez, Messi had to move to the right wing. The magician continued his fine run and now with Iniesta waning and Xavi no longer at the club, Messi has now become the chief creator for the Catalans. Against Real in the recent El Clasico, Messi played deeper but still created as many as nine chances including a glorious assist for Vidal.
1) Sergio Ramos
Few would remember Ramos playing as a right-back, with the Spaniard easily amongst the finest central defenders in the world. Indeed it was as a right-back that Ramos won two league titles, a world cup and a European title with Spain. After more than four years at right-back, Ramos moved to the heart of the defence where he has been a revelation ever since. At the centre-half position, Ramos has been a leader for Madrid, leading them to three Champions League titles in four years. The defender even played in midfield sometimes under Ancelloti, using his aggression to break up play.