Football statistics institute CIES have announced their Player and Team of the Season, snubbing the likes of Neymar, Luis Suarez and Robert Lewandowski.
Click through the gallery to CIES’ European Team of the Season.
The Swiss-based football stats experts have developed an objective approach to measure player performance, based on a set of key indicators.
Only players, who have played at least 2000 minutes this season were taken into consideration, and the top players were ranked on how many points out of 100 they can score in CIES’ analysis.
Goalkeeper Manuel Neuer (88 points) is one of four Bayern Munich players – more than from any other club – in the Best XI. The 31-year-old beat Sergio Asenjo (Villarreal) and Hugo Lloris (Tottenham Hotspur) in his position.
Roma's Bruno Peres (84 points) only sits in joint-fourth place in the full-back category but he made the Best XI, because he is the highest-ranked right-back.
Bayern duo Javi Martinez (87 points) and Mats Hummels (86.5 points) made the cut as centre-back pairing, while Juventus’ left-back Alex Sandro (87 points) just beat Real Madrid’s Marcelo and David Alaba to complete the top four.
With Thiago Alcantara (90 points), another Bayern star made the selection, being the highest ranked central midfielder, while Paul Pogba (89 points) somewhat surprisingly was also included.
RB Leipzig’s Naby Keita (88.5 points) completes the central midfield three, who received more points than players such as Marco Verratti and Toni Kroos.
On the wing, Lionel Messi (93 points) beats Cristiano Ronaldo (90 points) to first place, but both of them ended up in CIES’ Best XI, leaving no space for Neymar or Philippe Coutinho.
Upfront, Dries Mertens (91 points) is the surprise inclusion, beating established strikers such Lewandowski and Suarez.
Overall, Messi has been ranked the best performing player in Europe by CIES with 93 points, beating Mertens (91) and Edin Dzeko (90.5) to second and third spot.
Do you think the XI above represents the top performers in Europe this season? Have your say in the comments section below.