It began almost a year ago but the 2019-20 season is finally nearing its conclusion.
The final La Liga matches of the campaign were played last weekend and it won’t be much longer before the Premier League and Serie A are also wrapped up.
The Bundesliga season ended last month, while Ligue 1 was cancelled in April due to the coronavirus pandemic.
It was announced by France Football this week that the 2020 Ballon d’Or has been cancelled, which was obviously bad news for all the players in contention to win the prestigious individual accolade, including Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo, Karim Benzema and Robert Lewandowski.
But which of these players - and, indeed, every other footballer from Europe’s top five leagues - has won the most Man of the Match awards this season?
Using WhoScored.com’s data, let’s take a look at the top 25.
Note: Players with the same number of Man of the Match awards have been ranked by their WhoScored ratings for the season.
25. Raul Garcia | Athletic Bilbao (6 MOTM awards)
La Liga’s fifth-highest scorer this season with 15 goals, Raul Garcia has helped Athletic Bilbao seal a comfortable mid-table finish.
24. Richarlison | Everton (6 MOTM awards)
How much longer can Everton keep hold of Richarlison? The Brazilian has scored 13 goals and provided three assists for the Toffees this season.
23. Gerard Moreno | Villarreal (6 MOTM awards)
Only Messi and Benzema scored more La Liga goals than Villarreal’s Gerard Moreno (18) this season.
22. Mohamed Salah | Liverpool (6 MOTM awards)
Mohamed Salah probably won’t end the season with yet another Premier League Golden Boot award but Liverpool’s Egyptian king has still been worth his weight in gold for the Reds this term.
21. Adama Traore | Wolves (6 MOTM awards)
The 24-year-old has improved massively this season and Wolves may have a job on their hands keeping hold of the lightning-quick winger.
20. Angel Di Maria | PSG (6 MOTM awards)
Angel Di Maria is 32 now but he’s still one of the world’s most effective midfielders. In 26 league appearances this season, the Argentine scored eight goals and set up 14 more.
19. Kylian Mbappe | PSG (6 MOTM awards)
In just 20 appearances, the exceptional Kylian Mbappe scored 18 goals and registered five assists.
18. Hassane Kamara | Reims (7 MOTM awards)
Seven Man of the Match awards for the Reims left-back, who scored two goals during the 2019-20 season, is a hugely impressive return.
17. Marcus Rashford | Manchester United (7 MOTM awards)
Marcus Rashford just gets better and better. The young Manchester United forward has scored 17 goals and registered seven assists in 29 appearances.
16. Sadio Mane | Liverpool (7 MOTM awards)
No Liverpool player has received more Man of the Match awards than the brilliant Sadio Mane this season.
15. Serge Gnabry | Bayern Munich (7 MOTM awards)
The Bayern Munich ace has cemented his status as one of Europe’s top wingers this season, scoring 12 goals and setting up 10 more in the Bundesliga alone.
14. Jadon Sancho | Borussia Dortmund (7 MOTM awards)
Seventeen goals and 16 assists is an astonishing return from the 20-year-old who looks set to leave Borussia Dortmund this summer.
13. Josip Ilicic | Atalanta (7 MOTM awards)
Atalanta are enjoying an excellent season - they currently sit second in the Serie A table - and Josip Ilicic, who has netted 15 goals this term, has been one of their star performers.
12. Robert Lewandowski | Bayern Munich (7 MOTM awards)
In truth, it’s a little surprising to see Lewandowski this low down the list. Bayern’s star man has scored a remarkable 34 goals in 31 games this season. Surely he deserved more than seven Man of the Match awards?
11. Rodrigo de Paul | Udinese (8 MOTM awards)
Udinese haven’t enjoyed a great season but Rodrigo de Paul’s performances have saved them from a relegation battle.
10. Nabil Fekir | Real Betis (8 MOTM awards)
In 10th place, it’s Nabil Fekir, the French attacking midfielder who has rediscovered his form and confidence at Real Betis this season.
9. Ciro Immobile | Lazio (8 MOTM awards)
Ciro Immobile is currently battling it out with Ronaldo for Serie A’s top scorer award. The Lazio forward has netted 30 goals this season - the same tally as the Portuguese legend.
8. Dimitri Payet | Marseille (8 MOTM awards)
Dimitri Payet is 33 years old now but still bossing it with Marseille in Ligue 1. The playmaker scored nine goals and provided four assists this season.
7. Kevin De Bruyne | Manchester City (9 MOTM awards)
Eleven goals, 19 assists… it’s been a brilliant season for Premier League Player of the Year contender Kevin De Bruyne.
6. Joselu | Alaves (10 MOTM awards)
Alaves survived the drop from La Liga by three points and Joselu, who scored 11 goals, deserves a large slice of credit for keeping his team in the Spanish top-flight.
5. Karim Benzema | Real Madrid (10 MOTM awards)
It’s been one of the best individual seasons of the 32-year-old’s illustrious career. Karim Benzema has scored 21 goals this season and provided a further eight assists. He thoroughly deserves his La Liga winners’ medal.
4. Luis Alberto | Lazio (10 MOTM awards)
One of five players to bag an impressive nine Man of the Match awards this season, Lazio’s Luis Alberto has scored six goals and registered 15 assists this season.
3. Timo Werner | RB Leipzig (10 MOTM awards)
The Chelsea-bound striker scored 28 goals and 33 games this season and set up eight more goals for his teammates.
2. Cristiano Ronaldo | Juventus (10 MOTM awards)
Age is just a number to the ageless Cristiano Ronaldo, who has bagged 30 goals in as many Serie A games this season.
1. Lionel Messi | Barcelona (22 MOTM awards)
But in first place, with an insane 22 Man of the Match awards - 12 more than Ronaldo, Werner, Benzema and Joselu - it is, of course, Lionel Messi.
The Argentine contributed a magnificent 25 goals and 21 assists in 32 games this season. Where on earth would Barcelona be without him?
If anyone even attempts to suggest that Messi has been poor this season, remind them that he picked up more than double the number of Man of the Match awards compared to any other player in Europe.
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