Jump directly to the content

News Corp is a network of leading companies in the worlds of diversified media, news, education, and information services.

DREAM TEAM

Your Sun

A News UK Company
TOP
SPOTLIGHT

9 criminally underrated players from Europe’s top five leagues this season

You probably haven't even realised how good most of this lot have been this season...

Move aside Mohamed Salah, Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo!

Take a hike Kevin De Bruyne, Neymar and Robert Lewandowski!

This space is dedicated to nine players who you may not have realised have torn up trees in Europe’s top five leagues this season.

You know, the underrated, unappreciated stars whose stats rival those of the headline-hoggers.

Not you, Bobby…

PA:Press Association
10
Not you, Bobby…

Before we get into it, you should know that you won’t find Roberto Firmino on this list.

Not because the Brazilian hasn’t been brilliant, but because he can hardly be called underrated when literally everyone on Earth thinks he’s amazing.

Got it? Good…

1 Luis Alberto

Remember him, Liverpool fans?

Getty - Contributor
10
Remember him, Liverpool fans?

You’re probably vaguely aware that Lazio have dipped their toe into the world of ‘doing bits’ at times this season.

Circo Immobile and Sergej Milinkovic-Savic have lapped up the praise but how about some love for Luis Alberto?

Only Kevin De Bruyne has provided more league assists than the 25-year-old Spaniard this campaign.

Man City’s strawberry-blonde playmaker hasn’t reached double figures for goals like Alberto though.

The ex-Liverpool midfielder is one of only nine players with at least ten goals and at least ten assists to their name at the time of writing.

2 Florian Thauvin

Just an obscene number of goals

REUTERS
10
Just an obscene number of goals

Hold fire on the farmers chat.

Florian Thauvin has run riot in Ligue 1 this season and is genuinely in contention to start for France at the World Cup.

Marseille’s talisman has bagged 20 league goals and provided ten assists to boot.

Not bad for a Newcastle reject, eh?

3 Fabio Quagliarella

Like a fine wine or Season 2 of The Wire, he’s only getting better with age

EPA
10
Like a fine wine or Season 2 of The Wire, he’s only getting better with age

Some of you probably didn’t even know Fabio Quaglirella was still playing, let alone banging in goals for fun.

The 35-year-old has outscored Dries Mertens, Edin Dzeko and Gonzalo Higuain in the league up to this point.

The veteran Italian poacher’s 19-goal haul for Sampdoria has been one of the most enjoyable features of Serie A this season.

4 Son Heung-min

Football isn’t a popularity contest, but if it was…

REUTERS
10
Football isn’t a popularity contest, but if it was…

Okay, so maybe Son Heung-min is a bit like Firmino in that he’s been labelled ‘underrated’ so many times he’s now suitably rated.

Although a few non-Premier League followers may still be unaware of the South Korean’s excellence.

Son has been involved in 17 goals for Spurs in the league this season and has only started 26 games.

5 Iago Aspas

The Luis Alberto caption also applies here

EPA
10
The Luis Alberto caption also applies here

Who is going to lead the line for Spain at the World Cup? Diego Costa? Alvaro Morata?

How about Iago Aspas?

The tenacious Celta Vigo forward is joined by Messi, Ronaldo and Luis Suarez in the quartet of players to have scored 20+ goals in La Liga this season.

The Spanish public have largely been convinced of Aspas’ pedigree, but Premier League fans who only remember his joyless spell with Liverpool may think their eyes are deceiving them.

6 Nils Petersen

Pulling his weight

REUTERS
10
Pulling his weight

Be honest, how many of you knew Freiburg’s 29-year-man target man was the biggest threat to Robert Lewandowski’s Torjagerkanone crown?

Admittedly, Nils Petersen’s 15 goals is considerably shy of the prolific Polish poacher’s 29-goal tally, but he still deserves plenty of credit.

Petersen has scored exactly half of his club’s league goals this season with just one game left to play.

7 Karl Toko Ekambi

Fair play to Angers for ruining their kit with 16,000 different sponsors

Getty - Contributor
10
Fair play to Angers for ruining their kit with 16,000 different sponsors

Get to know about one of Cameroon’s finest.

Nabil Fekir, Memphis Depay and Mario Balotelli have plundered goals in Ligue 1 this season to much fanfare but Karl Toko Ekambi has matched them all the way.

The 25-year-old Angers forward has scored 17 league goals and provided five assists to just about keep his club out of the relegation scrap.

8 Jose Callejon

The other one

ALBERTO LINGRIA
10
The other one

Just as Firmino and Salah somewhat hog the limelight from Sadio Mane, more column inches are donated to Lorenzo Insigne and Dries Mertens than Jose Callejon.

Napoli may have fallen short in their quest to break Juventus’ stranglehold over Serie A but Maurizio Sarri’s men have played truly beautiful football this season.

Their front three of Insigne, Mertens and Callejon may not be the most physically imposing trio around but their fluidity and technical charm is impossible to resist.

9 Cristhian Stuani

Just as good as Suarez and Cavani… well, not really

EPA
10
Just as good as Suarez and Cavani… well, not really

19 La Liga goals? Where did that come from?

Last seen on English shores being generally ineffective for Middlesbrough, the Uruguayan striker has enjoyed himself in sunnier climes.

He may not offer much else, but there’s a lot to be said for a striker who provides the final touch.

Stuani is yet to provide a single assist in the league for a Girona team-mate this campaign but the bottom line is he’s scored as many goals as Antoine Griezmann.

All hail the unsung heroes!


PLAY DREAM TEAM WEEKENDER Pick seven players to win £10k!


READ MORE: