Football Previews

Player of the Year predictions for each of Europe’s top five leagues

By Muhammad Butt

Player of the Year favourites: Predicting the winners in each of Europe’s top five leagues

Published: 11:30, 16 June 2020

With league campaigns entering the serious part of the run-ins, focus is beginning to drift to potential players of the season.

Across Europe’s top five leagues we have two titles sewn up in England and France (albeit only the Ligue 1 is official), one where the favourite is well out in front in Germany, and two intense title races in Spain and Italy.

So we had a look and came up with a list of the favourites for Player of the Year in the Premier League, La Liga, Bundesliga, Serie A and Ligue 1. It should be noted that all of these awards could be compromised/suspended given the Covid-19 pandemic, especially Ligue 1’s awards as they outright cancelled their season as a result of the pandemic.

Still, a collection of impressive players have stood out above their opponents and will be seeking nomination as Player of the Year 2019/20.

Read on and find out who we think will take home the awards, and their main contenders.

Premier League

Main Contender: Jordan Henderson

The Liverpool captain was cruising to the award as the heartbeat of a historically dominant Liverpool side before injury struck him down. One could argue that Henderson’s work is done already as the Reds have such a gargantuan advantage atop the table they were guaranteed to win the title even before he got injured.

Main Rivals: Here’s where things get interesting, because Henderson’s injury opened the door for others to end the season strong and claim the award, but he’s now back. For Liverpool; Alisson could set some incredible clean sheet record or perhaps Sadio Mané could find some form to fire his own way to the award. But the strongest contender won’t come from Anfield but from deposed champions Manchester City.

Kevin de Bruyne has been sensational all campaign and is the most dominant individual player in the league. When Manchester City won the title in 2017/18, it was Mohamed Salah who was crowned Player of the Year off the back of his record-breaking 32-goal haul. Well, if De Bruyne is able to break Thierry Henry’s 20-assist record, that would give him a very strong case to be player of the year.

La Liga

Main Contender: Leo Messi

The Argentine missed the first month of the season through injury and then had to play his way to fitness in competitive games and is still the top scorer (20) and top assister (14). He is a peerless presence on and off the field and an absolute thrill to watch.

Main Rivals: Barcelona are largely a one-man show in attack, but should Real Madrid manage to claim the title then there will be a serious campaign for someone like Sergio Ramos or Raphael Varane to win the award, such has been the strength of Real Madrid’s defensive unit this season (Thibaut Courtois will win the Zamora trophy, so will probably be excluded from winning the main award) and Ramos, who hasn’t been as solid as Varane, is the team’s second-highest goalscorer.

Bundesliga

Main Contender: Robert Lewandowski

The German Player of the Year award, decided by journalists and most recently awarded to Marco Reus, is interesting because it can be won by a German player who isn’t playing in the Bundesliga. However lacking any outstanding candidates abroad, it’s likely that one of the three title contenders will provide the victor, depending on who wins it. Should Bayern retain their crown then there may be some desire to see Thomas Muller, who leads the division for assists (20 so far), pick up his first award. But Robert Lewandowski is currently on 30 Bundesliga goals along with 11 in the Champions League and was breaking all sorts of records at the start of the season. The Bayern striker is bidding to equal or better Gerd Muller’s single-season goalscoring record in the competition (40) so keep your eyes on this race.

Main Rivals: Beyond Muller, Kimmich has been a consistent performer at the heart of Bayern’s midfield and is also a well-liked youngster. Should Borussia Dortmund claim the top prize, or at least push their rivals close, then don’t rule out Jadon Sancho either. The young Englishman has been sensational and has probably been pound-for-pound the second-best attacking player in Europe this season after Messi.

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Serie A

Main Contender: Ciro Immobile

Last season, winning the Capocannoniere wasn’t enough for Fabio Quagliarella to win this award. But this time, Immobile could score more goals than anyone has ever managed in Serie A, smashing Gonzalo Higuain’s record. Moreover, the Italian has genuinely fired Lazio into the title race and could even help them over the line to end Juventus’ stranglehold on Serie A.

Ciro Immobile, best striker in Europe?

Main Rivals: Obviously Cristiano Ronaldo and his immense goalscoring feats have to be a contender, especially if Juventus win the title again. And you can’t rule out someone like Lautaro Martinez or Romelu Lukaku should Inter come from behind to take the Scudetto.

Ligue 1

Main Contender: Kylian Mbappé

Given the season was cancelled these awards may not even take place, but if they do the main contender is clear. PSG have won Ligue 1 and their top scorer this season is the phenomenal Kylian Mbappé (only Monaco’s Wissam Ben Yedder can match his 18 goal haul). The young striker won the award last year too, but you can’t deny his excellence and consistency.

Main Rivals: Angel Di Maria is probably the only realistic rival to Mbappé this season. The Argentine has more assists than anyone else in Ligue 1 this season (14) and has been just as big a part of PSG’s title win as the Frenchman. Neymar has been sensational and is the best player in the division when fit, but he’s not been fit anywhere near enough to argue that he should be player of the season.

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