Football is, first and foremost, a team game. Teams win championships, trophies and leagues.

But as our collective vivacious appetite for individual awards—such as the Ballon d’Or, the Player of the Year and even Man of the Match—suggests, there’s plenty of room to discuss the individual.

Here we identify each of Europe’s top teams’ “Jenga piece”—the one whom without, the team falls apart. It’s less “best” player and more “vital” player, the key or irreplaceable cog that greases the entire team’s wheels or justifies their style. In some cases, where it was a close call, we’ve listed an honourable mention.    Continue reading

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