With less than 18 days to go until Christmas, Squawka’s advent calendar moves along another spot.

We’re a week into December and just over a fortnight away from Christmas. Things are getting serious now, Christmas shopping is entering that period where prices are starting to go up as stock diminishes. Decorations are going up in earnest and any minute now and, of course, the advent calendars are getting run through. So is ours, where we are comparing players via the grouping of their shirt numbers.

While overall quality was obviously considered when ranking our top three players of the year, the deciding factors were obviously how well they performed during the year, with notable weighting being given to the World Cup.

No. 1: Marc-André Ter Stegen
No. 2: Kyle Walker
No. 3: Giorgio Chiellini
No. 4: Virgil Van Dijk
No. 5: Raphael Varane
No. 6: Paul Pogba

There’s been lots of talent to choose from, but here are Squawka’s three favourite No.7s in Europe for 2018:

3. Antoine Griezmann (Atlético Madrid/France)

What makes him special? Few, if any, players had quite the impact on big games across 2018 as Antoine Griezmann. This playmaker led Atlético Madrid to the Europa League final, scoring key goals in the semi and final. He then turned down a move to Barcelona before leading France to World Cup glory with some clutch penalties and fabulous free-kick assists. He’s been a bit of a beg in his attempts to win the Ballon d’Or since then, but on the field he was electric.

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Key stat: Antoine Griezmann had more combined goals and assists (5) than anyone else in the knockout rounds of the 2018 World Cup

2. Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid-Juventus/Portugal)

What makes him special? Cristiano Ronaldo is very good at scoring goals. He bagged a bunch in the Round of 16 and quarter-finals of the Champions League to help Los Blancos win their third title in a row. He then had his first-ever great World Cup game, notching a hat-trick, and went on to score 10 goals in record time for new club Juventus. October’s rape allegations cast a cloud over his year, and should not be ignored nor overlooked. On the field, however, he continues to produce.

Key stat: Cristiano became the first Juventus player to score 10 goals in his first 14 Serie A games since 1958.

1. Kylian Mbappé (PSG/France)

What makes him special? Kylian Mbappé came into 2018 like a bat out of hell (ask your parents). His Godzilla-esque 2017, emerging from deep within the earth to wreak havoc, was over. Could he sustain? You bet your ass he could sustain. He helped fire PSG to a domestic Treble, which is impressive enough, but then came the World Cup, and that’s when the real magic happened.

He scored in the group stages. OK cool. Then he bagged a brace against Argentina in the first 2018 World Cup knockout round, becoming the first teenager to do so since Pelé in 1958. Sixty years previously. He was quiet against Uruguay but spellbindingly good against Belgium in the semi-final. In the final, he smashed home France’s fourth to seal the title. It was the first goal scored by a teenager in a World Cup final since, yup, Pelé in 1958.

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Oh, and he’s currently the joint-leading scorer across all of Europe’s top five leagues (12). All Hail King Kylmonger!

Key stat: Kylian Mbappé has scored or assisted a goal once every 96.1 minutes for club & country so far in 2018.

Honourable Mentions:

N’Golo Kanté (Chelsea/France), Raheem Sterling (Manchester City/England), Philippe Coutinho (Barcelona/Brazil), Cristhian Stuani (Girona/Uruguay), Heung-min Son (Spurs/South Korea), James Milner (Liverpool/England), Jadon Sancho (Borussia Dortmund/England), Franck Ribery (Bayern Munich/France), José Callejon (Napoli/Spain)

The post Squawka’s Xmas advent squad: who’s 2018’s top No.7 in Europe? appeared first on Squawka News.

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