So you’re here. Week two of 90min’s DEFINITIVE European Player Rankings. You ready? Inhale. Exhale. Now get ready for the drama.
That was an irrelevant (somewhat altered) reference to Camron’s ice-cold classic ‘Killa Cam’ if you were unaware, but that’s the kind of mood we’re in this Monday. We’re ready.
They’re back. They’ve expanded. They’re bigger than ever. They’re your motherf*ckin saviour is what they are. 90min’s DEFINITIVE European *Player* Power Rankings. Brought to you by The Wire S4 ?https://t.co/tYj7TNVad1 via @90min_Football
— Wilfred Laurence (@WilfredLaurence) August 13, 2019
Last week saw ‘The Wire‘ Season Four take centre stage for Raheem Sterling’s coronation atop the Player Power Rankings, but that was when there were just three European Leagues up and running, only two of which could be considered ‘top’. That was Child’s Play. Now, with the return of La Liga and the Bundesliga, it’s getting real. Really real. It’s getting, like, esoteric.
Because football is back, sure, but did it ever really leave? Or is time a flat circle and everything that has happened will happen again and again, one way or another?
If you hadn’t guessed already, it’s ‘True Detective’ Season One time. Get that six-pack of Lone Star out. We’re traversing infernal planes here.
15. James Maddison (New Entry)
“Is sh*tting on any moment of decency part of your job description?”
All Leicester had to do on Sunday was roll over and let the Frank Lampard festivities take their rightful place in the limelight of this captivating affair. And, to be fair, they seemed content to do that, at least in the first half.
But then James Maddison emerged in the second half with renewed vigour and spirit, and he sh*t on that decency with a showing of pure playmaking class. Shame on him.
14. Mason Mount (New Entry)
“I don’t sleep. I just dream.”
Mason Mount may be a dreamer – you have to be, if your goal is to break through the Chelsea academy’s thinly veiled glass ceiling – but he’s a realist when it comes to the work required.
And it was his work rate, combined with that oh-so composed finish (that had more than a few echoes of his boss), that impressed the Stamford Bridge faithful on Sunday. So yes, it was a dream debut, but it was founded in cold-hard discipline and hard-wrought talent. No time for sleep though, that’s for sure.
13. Erik Lamela (New Entry)
“Yeah, and we ain’t gonna get ’em all. That ain’t what kind of world it is. But we got ours.”
Winning at the Etihad is a near fallacy. It is, if not impossible, then highly improbable. With that in mind, Spurs were never likely to take all three points. But a draw, well, a draw is great. And a draw is what they got, thanks in no small part to the talents of Erik Lamela, who scored Tottenham’s first and assisted their second.
Stellar stuff from the Argentine. You might say… Interstellar? A nice Matthew McConaughey extended universe joke, there. But how does that affect the Rustin Cohle extended universe? Ah sheeeet. Back to the storage unit we go.
12. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (Up 2)
“I know who I am. And after all these years, there’s a victory in that.”
Sure, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang may frustrate a few people now and again with an errant miss, but he’s also a goalscorer, and by God (Rust would not approve of this phrasing) does he know it.
Two games, two goals, up two places in the European Player Power Rankings. It’s all gravy for Pierre at the minute.
11. Moussa Dembele (New Entry)
“I’m not supposed to be here.”
Moussa Dembele scored two goals in Lyon’s 6-0 drubbing of Angers SCO. They were both expertly taken, unapologetic finishes of the calibre that, well, maybe don’t befit Ligue 1.
To be fair though, with form like this, they won’t be befitting Ligue 1 for much longer.
10. Joao Felix (New Entry)
“I think the honourable thing for our species to do is deny our programming. Stop reproducing. Walk hand in hand into extinction, one last midnight. Brothers and sisters opting out of a raw deal.”
This is likely what every Getafe player was thinking as Joao Felix sliced through the entire side with THAT incomprehensibly skilful run. But, instead of giving up altogether, they just fouled the kid, giving away a penalty that, surprise, surprise, Alvaro Morata missed.
9. Ashley Barnes (Down 3)
“You’re trapped, by that nightmare you keep waking up into.”
This is Ashley Barnes’ world. We’re just living in it.
8. Sadio Mane (New Entry)
“I’m through talking to you like a man.”
Sadio Mane was sick of seeing Liverpool pinned back. Sick of seeing Southampton treated like they were the better team. So he did something about it. And that ‘something’ happened to be a – you love to see it? – Philippe Coutinho-esque bending strike that rifled the top corner.
7. Memphis Depay (New Entry)
“People out here, it’s like they don’t even know the outside world exists. Might as well be living on the f*cking moon.”
You know what I said about Moussa Dembele? Well, yeah, the same thing applies for Memphis Depay, except it’s arguably even more relevant, cause Memphis Depay has fire assists to go with his braces, and you best believe I’m not talking about the clothing or orthodontal kind.
6. Teemu Pukki (New Entry)
“Life’s barely long enough to get good at one thing. So be careful what you get good at.”
Aware that one skill is a precious commodity, Teemu Pukki has trained all his life – except when he’s in Scotland, apparently – to just score goals. And, judging by that wondrous hat-trick against Newcastle, and the place atop the top scorers list it has given him, it’s paid off in the Premier League.
5. Eduardo Camavinga (New Entry)
“Once there was only dark. If you ask me, the light’s winning.”
Spoiler alert – only one of the players in this picture is present in these here rankings, and that’s the 16-year-old on the right, not the has-been on the left. Assuming Nuno Tavares’ position as the week’s incredible youngster, Eduardo Camavinga had some sizeable shoes to fill.
But by God (got to stop doing that, ‘Transference of fear and self-loathing to an authoritarian vessel’ and all that) did Camavinga do so, singlehandedly marshalling his experienced counterparts out of the game with an unforgettable performance. Sure, it’s easy for a young forward to pop up and get a goal, but controlling a game when you can’t even drive?
4. Raheem Sterling (Down 3)
“This is a world where nothing is solved. You know, someone once told me time is a flat circle. Everything we’ve ever done or will do, we’re gonna do over and over and over again.”
Manchester City’s draw against Tottenham proved that the universe really is a flat circle twice over on Saturday. Firstly, it showed that, yes, Raheem Sterling is just gonna score again and again and again until eternity. Hell, he’ll even score some with his head.
And, secondly, with those VARian interventions, it also showed that, when it comes to hosting Spurs, the video assistant will never not be far away from dashing the Citizens’ last-gasp dreams. Never.
3. Jadon Sancho (New Entry)
“I think human consciousness is a tragic misstep in evolution.”
Jadon Sancho has no conscience. He has no guilt. No moral quandaries. He is ruthless in setting upon his goal, and that goal is to, err, set up and score goals. And he does it ALL. THE. TIME.
I mean sure, he’s conscious of the opposition, where they are on the pitch, how he can beat them, where his teammates are on the pitch, when he should pass to them etc etc etc.
But that’s just semantics.
2. Kevin De Bruyne (New Entry)
“My ascension removes me from the disc and the loop. I’m near final stage. Some mornings, I can see the infernal plane.”
Sometimes Kevin De Bruyne can ascend the normalities of football. Sometimes he nears the precipice of that oh-so coveted ‘final stage’. Hell, sometimes he can clearly visualise the ‘infernal plane’, for Christ’s sake.
The man is mythic, for sure, but those exceptional assists were both grounded in reality, implausible swaz and all.
1. Aritz Aduriz (New Entry)
“To realise that all your life–you know, all your love, all your hate, all your memories, all your pain–it was all the same thing. It was all the same dream, a dream that you had inside a locked room, a dream about being a person. And like a lot of dreams, there’s a monster at the end of it.”
Not only did Barcelona find out that their La Liga existence was insignificant on Friday, they found their monster at the end of it all. That monster was Aritz Aduriz, and he is your new champion.
He is 38 years old, yet he belies all the constrictions and limitations of normal life. Instead, he scores goals like the 88th minute winner he notched against Barca. Most goals are the same thing, the same dream, a dream had by a footballer, a dream about being a goal at all, that is never realised.
But this goal happened, and it was transcendent. This goal reset the space-time continuum. This goal was both the dream and the monster, and Aduriz was its everlasting creator. Bow down.