Following the release of the CIES Football Observatory’s Top 100 Most Valuable Players list earlier this week, we’ve put together the most valuable XI we could, featuring players from eight different clubs and totalling a staggering €1.25billion in value.
Goalkeeper — Jan Oblak, €59.8million (Atletico Madrid)
He may not be considered the best goalkeeper in the world, but according to CIES he is the most valuable.
Jan Oblak signed for Atletico Madrid in the summer of 2014, and last season won the Ricardo Zamora Trophy for La Liga’s best goalkeeper after conceding just 18 goals in 38 games. This equalled the record set by Francisco Liano for Deportivo La Coruna in 1994.
The Slovenian stopper is currently linked with Manchester City with a 2.5 on the Whisper Index.
Defender — Nicolas Otamendi, €53.1million (Manchester City)
You might be somewhat surprised to see Argentine Nicolas Otamendi in this XI, but according to the Football Observatory’s top 100 he is the second most valuable defender in the world.
He has played a significant role in Manchester City’s much-maligned back line this season, and has not exactly set the Premier League alight since his £28.5million transfer from Valencia. Is he living up to his €53.1million valuation? Not at the moment.
Defender — Raphael Varane, €64million (Real Madrid)
The most valuable defender in the world according to this list, French defender Raphael Varane has appeared in 13 of Real Madrid’s 17 La Liga matches this season, as well as all six of their Champions’ League group stage games.
Varane has been capped 35 times for France, making his debut in a World cup qualifier against Georgia in 2013.
Defender — Hector Bellerin, €70.3million (Arsenal)
Spanish full-back Hector Bellerin has become a regular for Arsenal in the last 18 months, with his performances earning him the attention of Barcelona recently.
Bellerin has played in 17 of Arsenal’s 21 Premier League games this season, boasting a passing accuracy of 85% and winning over half of his duels.
Defensive Midfielder — N’Golo Kante, €74.5million (Chelsea)
We all knew that N’Golo Kante had been crucial to Leicester City’s title success last season, but it wasn’t until their collapse in form this term that it was clear just how crucial the French defensive midfielder had been.
Kante has adapted to life at a bigger club quickly too since his switch to Chelsea in the summer, appearing in all but one of the league leaders Premier League games so far this campaign.
The Stamford Bridge club bought the Frenchman for £32million, and the move has undoubtedly been one of the best pieces of business completed this season.
Defensive Midfielder — Eric Dier, €69.5million (Tottenham Hotspur)
The only Englishman in our Most Valuable XI, Eric Dier has been pivotal to Tottenham’s impressive form over the last 18 months (their end of season collapse last term notwithstanding).
Dier has been almost ever-present for Spurs during this campaign, while picking up 15 caps for England since his debut back in 2015.
Left-sided Attacking Midfielder — Neymar, €246.8million (Barcelona)
One third of the most fearsome attacking trilogy in the world, Barcelona’s Neymar is the most valuable player in the world according to CIES Football Observatory.
The Brazilian has scored 59 goals in 107 appearances for the Catalan giants since signing from Santos in 2013. His return of just four goals in 14 La Liga games this season is a long way from the returns of Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez this season, but the 24-year old is still one of the talented goalscorers — and creators — on the planet.
Central Attacking Midfielder — Paul Pogba, €155.3million (Manchester United)
Paul Pogba might have become the most expensive player in the world when Manchester United signed him for £89million last summer, but he’s only the third most valuable according to CIES.
The French midfielder’s performances in his first half-season back at Old Trafford have been mixed, struggling to make an impact initially until a more impressive series of showings helped United to six Premier League victories in a row.
His performance in the crunch clash with Liverpool recently was disappointing, but the initial signs are good that this transfer will end up representing good value for United.
Right-sided Attacking Midfielder — Lionel Messi, €170.5million (Barcelona)
There are few top XIs that don’t feature Lionel Messi, and this one is no different.
Relegated to the second most valuable player in the world behind Neymar, owing to the Brazilian’s young age and recently extended contract, Barcelona’s all-time leading goalscorer is still considered by many to be the world’s best player, despite Cristiano Ronaldo winning the 2016 Ballon d’Or.
Uncertainty over Messi’s contract has seen the emergence of rumours linking the 29-year old with a reunion with old manager Pep Guardiola at Manchester City, but the player has publically stated that he wishes to remain at the Camp Nou.
Striker — Luis Suarez, €145.2million (Barcelona)
Most pundits would have expected Luis Suarez to prove a success at Barcelona following his transfer from Liverpool for £65million, but few would’ve predicted just how successful.
The Uruguayan has scored 70 goals in 79 league appearances for the five-times European champions, forming an incredible relationship with fellow forwards Neymar and Lionel Messi.
Suarez is the fifth most valuable player in the world according to CIES, behind teammates Neymar and Messi, Paul Pogba and Antoine Griezmann.
Striker — Antoine Griezmann, €150.4million (Atletico Madrid)
The second Atletico Madrid player to feature in our most valuable XI, French striker Antoine Griezmann has been turning the heads of some of the world’s biggest clubs with his performances over the last 18 months, scoring 22 goals in La Liga last season as the 25-year old featured in every game for Diego Simeone’s side.
Griezmann has been heavily linked with Manchester United in recent weeks, however a link with Chelsea has also emerged following the reports that Diego Costa is unsettled at the club, coming in at 2.9 on the Whispers Index at the time of writing.