90min’s Definitive European Player Power Rankings: Week 2

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.

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)

James Maddison

“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)

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“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)

Rodrigo,Erik Lamela

“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)

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang

“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)

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“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)

Joao Felix,Bruno

“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)

Ashley Barnes

“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)

Sadio Mane,Trent Alexander-Arnold,Mohamed Salah

“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)

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“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)

Teemu Pukki

“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)

FRA-LIGUE1-RENNES-PARIS

“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?

That’s different.


4. Raheem Sterling (Down 3)

Raheem Sterling

“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)

Jadon Sancho,Marco Richter

“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)

Kevin De Bruyne

“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)

Aritz Aduriz

“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.


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Arsenal Hatch Incentive-Based Plan to Keep Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang Amid Talk of Potential Exit

​Arsenal want to reward striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang for his brilliant goalscoring form and have hatched an incentive-based plan designed to keep him at the club.

The Gabon international has been brilliant since switching the Bundesliga for the Premier League back in January 2018, managing 43 goals in 67 appearances in all competitions for the Gunners.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang

There has, however, been talk of Aubameyang potentially leaving the club in the future, but Arsenal are eager to reward the striker for his great performances and are working on a ‘complicated’ deal to keep him, according to ​the Telegraph.

The north London side will give Aubameyang a major bonus if he fires them back into the Champions League, with head of football Raul Sanllehi leading negotiations and hopeful of pulling off another extraordinary piece of business.

Arsenal were widely praised for making some marquee signings during the summer transfer window, with Nicolas Pepe, Dani Ceballos, Kieran Tierney and David Luiz all seen as brilliant investments.

FBL-ENG-PR-ARSENAL-BURNLEY

While any new contract would not see Aubameyang earn the same fixed amount as the club’s top earner Mesut Ozil, who currently bags £350,000-a-week, the new offer would be structured in such a way that the former Borussia Dortmund star could end up making that amount through added bonuses if Arsenal qualify for the Champions League.

What is not yet clear is whether Aubameyang’s deal will be extended under the new terms, but ​Arsenal understand the 30-year-old interested a number of clubs over the summer and hope the new deal and its big pay rise would make their commitment to him clear to see.

​Aubameyang scored in Arsenal’s 2-1 victory over Burnley on Saturday, adding to the strike that helped the side beat Newcastle on the opening day. Unai Emery’s team face ​Liverpool on Saturday next.

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Arsenal Defender Hints He Will Prefer Facing Liverpool Forwards to Burnley Counterparts

​Arsenal defender Sokratis Papastathopoulos has admitted hopes that the Gunners may have an easier time defending against Liverpool’s style of football next weekend than they did against Burnley’s.

Sokratis was involved in a physical encounter with Sean Dyche’s Burnley side, the Gunners emerging battered and bruised with a 2-1 win, but Burnley’s physical strike duo of Chris Wood and Ashley Barnes were hard to contain.

FBL-ENG-PR-ARSENAL-BURNLEY

Sokratis and his ​Arsenal teammates face the Premier League leaders this coming weekend, the Reds having scored six goals in their opening two matches as they look to go one better than last season’s second placed finish.

Even though the Gunners will be facing one of the most lethal frontlines in the Premier League, the former Dortmund man told the ​Evening Standard that he and his teammates may find it more comfortable to defend against Liverpool’s less bruising style.

“It is a different game,” he said. “Maybe it is more easy, because you don’t have to fight a lot – but they also play football.

“If they are on a good day and you are having a bad day, it is hard. In the end we know it is difficult and we respect Liverpool a lot. But I think the best [way] is to go and play our style of game. We will see what happens.” 

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Arsenal lost 5-1 at Anfield last season, but the Greek defender insisted Saturday’s encounter will be different – not least because of the summer arrival of ​David Luiz at the Emirates.

The Brazilian was signed from Chelsea for £8m on deadline day and made his Gunners debut this weekend. After playing alongside Luiz for the first time, Sokratis said: “When I was in Dortmund I played with Hummels, who has the same style as David. It was also a very good partnership and it is very good [now with Luiz]. It was his first game, it is important that we won and we can go from here.” 

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Ashley Cole: 5 of the Greatest Moments in the Arsenal, Chelsea and England Legend’s Career

​After nearly twenty years in the professional game, England’s most-capped full-back has hung his boots. 

Ashley Cole’s retirement brings to end an illustrious career which saw the former Chelsea and Arsenal man win 16 trophies, including a record seven FA Cups, three Premier League titles and a Champions League trophy. 

Cole started his career at boyhood club Arsenal, making over 200 appearances in north London and helping the Gunners to finish the 2003/04 Premier League season unbeaten.

Cole moved to Chelsea in controversial circumstances in 2006 and went on to become a legend at Stamford Bridge, making 338 appearances for the Blues in his eight-year spell there. 

He also amassed 107 caps for the England national team over a period of 13 years, playing for the Three Lions at three World Cups. So…the highlights?


Arsenal’s Invincible Season

Arsenal's Ashley Cole and Dennis Bergkam

Cole played a pivotal role in ​Arsenal’s ​Premier League success in 2003/04, where his defensive contributions helped Arsenal to concede just 26 goals over the course of the season, keeping 15 clean sheets. He also contributed further up the field, getting four assists. 

His impressive performances earned him a spot on the PFA Team of the Year and the UEFA Team of the Year – although unfortunately, Cole’s time at Arsenal is now more remembered by how it ended than the many successes he had there. 


Keeping Cristiano Ronaldo At Bay (Twice!) 

Portugal's forward Cristiano Ronaldo (To

Cole was one of the standout performers in England’s ill-fated UEFA Euro 2004 campaign and was named in the Team of the Tournament despite his team only making it to quarter-finals. 

His personal highlight of that tournament was his performance against Portugal, successfully keeping an emerging ​Cristiano Ronaldo at bay throughout the game. England could only draw against the hosts after extra time though, and despite Cole converting a penalty in the shootout, the Three Lions crashed out of the tournament. 

Cole would come back to face off against Ronaldo again two years later at the 2006 World Cup, once again keeping the forward at bay. Unfortunately, England once again lost to Portugal on penalties, and Cole ended his international career eight years later without a single trophy. 


Screamer Against Sunderland 

Ashley Cole

Cole wasn’t exactly known for his goalscoring exploits over the course of his career, scoring just 21 goals in his 702 total appearances. Despite this, his sensational goal in Chelsea’s 7-2 demolition of Sunderland in 2009/10 earned Chelsea’s Goal of the Season award that season.

In the 21st minute, John Terry hoofed the ball down to a sprinting Cole, who turned to beat a Sunderland defender going in for a sliding tackle before beating the goalkeeper at the near post. 

Injury troubles in 2009/10 didn’t stop Cole from having an fantastic individual campaign, in which he scored four goals and made five assists as Chelsea won the Premier League title for the first time in four years. 


Performance Against Barcelona 

Ashley Cole,Isaac Cuenca

Cole gave what may have been his most impressive and perhaps his most important performance in Chelsea’s ​Champions League semi-final against Barcelona in 2011/12, when the Blues beat a ​Barcelona side which included the likes of Xavi, Andrés Iniesta and ​Lionel Messi in their primes.

He worked tirelessly and won a number of defensive duels against a peak version of Dani Alves, while his overall defensive performance helped Chelsea keep a clean sheet against a high-scoring Barcelona side. His most notable contribution, however, was an excellent goalline clearance which denied the Catalan side an away goal.

Chelsea would go on to draw against Barcelona in the away leg, reaching the Champions League for only the second time in their history. 


2012 Champions League Final​

Arjen Robben,Ashley Cole

Proving once again that he thrived under pressure, Cole gave a sensational defensive performance in Chelsea’s Champions League final defeat of ​Bayern Munich, converting a decisive penalty as the Blues became the first London side to win the Champions League. 

His performance cemented his status as a Chelsea legend and he left the club in high regard two years later. 

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‘Better Than Roberto Carlos’: Twitter Reacts as Ashley Cole Retires From Professional Football

He played for ​20 years, managed 687 appearances and lifted 19 major trophies, and former  Chelsea, Arsenal and England left-back Ashley Cole has now announced his retirement from professional football.

The 38-year-old brought his final stint with Derby County to an end at the end of last season and has been without a club ever since, using his new-found free time to take his coaching badges and do some punditry on the side. 


It was on media duty that he announced his decision not to return to playing, in fact, speaking on Sky Sports’ Super Sunday ahead of Sheffield United vs Crystal Palace. 

“After hard thinking and consideration, it’s time to hang my boots up,” he said. “I can look forward to my next chapter which will hopefully be coaching. I’m doing a course at the moment.”

One of the most celebrated players of his generation, Cole won everything there is to win in club football in England, including three ​Premier League titles, one Champions League and seven FA Cups. 

He controversially moved from ​Arsenal to ​Chelsea in 2006, but to many, the impact he made for both clubs overshadows the ‘snake’ tag he was branded with at the time.




A solid left-back both in defence and attack, some even said he was better than Roberto Carlos…*

*inclusion in this article does not necessarily indicate endorsement by 90min


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To others, however, he wasn’t even the best English left-back of his generation. 

Of course, we’re dealing with football twitter here. You best believe there are a fair amount of Arsenal fans not in the mood to forgive or forget.




Outside of England, he spent two years with Roma and three with LA Galaxy before returning home to play for Derby. Despite his achievements in this time, however, the jetsetting portion of  his career will forever be remembered for that team photo.


​​Next Derby manager? Only time will tell.


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