Top 10 African players in Europe 2010-11

With the European season almost complete, here are the continent's 10 best African players of the campaign
By Peter Pedroncelli

African players graced the football pitches of Europe's finest leagues once again this season, and many of these were key individuals whose performances allowed them to stand out among their peers. A number of men made their mark in the goalscoring charts, while others were able to create assists for team-mates.

Some broke records in their respective top flights, leading to personal recognition and team success, with leagues and cups won due to great effort on the part of these stars. Many were well-balanced examples of hard work and raw talent, showing consistency throughout a long European season.

It was not easy to finalise the top 10 for this category, as the African continent is well represented in Europe and many shone during the course of 2010-11, but despite the difficulty, certain players were indisputably deserving of the honour.

With that in mind, takes time to reflect on the Top 10 Africans in Europe for the 2010-11 season.

10. Kevin-Prince Boateng (AC Milan)

The Ghana midfielder carried his momentum from the World Cup into 2010-11, and fully established himself as an AC Milan player as soon as his boots touched the pitch. The 24-year-old had an outstanding campaign overall, contributing some crucial goals and battled in the Rossoneri midfield with determination and stamina to help them win the Serie A title.

9. Yaya Toure (Manchester City)

The experienced Ivorian midfielder has had a fantastic first season at Manchester City. His pace and strength on the ball allowed him to underline an impressive campaign with a goal in both the semi-final and final of the FA Cup at Wembley Stadium to give the Citizens their first trophy in 35 years. These exploits have secured Toure a place in the club's history.

8. Asamoah Gyan (Sunderland)

The 25-year-old Ghanaian was a revelation at Sunderland, fitting in quickly and repaying the club's fans with important goals against top opposition. He made an excellent start in England, with 10 goals in 30 appearances in the league, and although his influence waned as the season went on, he showed glimpses of real class and superb skill. His dancing celebrations have also endeared him to the fans.

7. Didier Drogba (Chelsea)

The physical striker is an irreplaceable part of Chelsea’s squad. Drogba's pace, power and skill makes life difficult for most defenders, and although he did not impress as much as last season for the Blues, his 11 goals helped to propel the London club into title contention, losing out to Manchester United in the end. The Ivorian is in a class of his own, and is often considered an example for his peers.

6. Gervinho (Lille)

Many will agree that Gervinho has been one of the main reasons for Lille's success in France throughout this year. The French Cup has been won, and the Ligue 1 title is within reach, largely due to fine play from the frontman. The Cote d'Ivoire star provided countless assists for his team-mates, and was able to get on the score sheet on many important occasions to set up a potential domestic double for his club.

5. Peter Odemwingie (West Brom)

The Nigerian striker has been in blistering form this season. A goalscoring return of 15 in 29 Premier League games for a team that punched above its weight all season shows that he is comfortable with the English game. He led West Brom to victory against Arsenal at the Emirates and scored in five consecutive Premier League games in April and May, breaking records at the club and winning personal accolades in the process.

4. Papiss Demba Cisse (Freiburg)

Cisse has been the Bundesliga's second highest goalscorer this year behind Mario Gomez. His strikes were the main reason why Freiburg were able to save themselves from a relegation battle and aim higher than they are used to. The Ivorian scored 22 goals, breaking Tony Yeboah's record for the most goals by an African player in a season in the German top flight.

3. Andre Ayew (Marseille)

After an impressive display of his maturing talent at the World Cup in South Africa, Ayew became a regular starter in the Marseille squad. Playing on the left, his pace and strength have no comparison in Ligue 1, and his ability to dictate the play despite his young age is astonishing. He has the stamina to run for 90 minutes without tiring, and was nominated for the Ligue 1 Young Player of the Season award.

2. Moussa Sow (Lille)

The Senegalese striker has made a huge impact on Ligue 1 this season with a phenomenal return of 21 goals in 33 games for Lille, and as a result the team is on the verge of clinching the league title, after recently winning the French Cup. Sow has been one of the best free transfers of the campaign, and certainly one of Africa's best in Europe during 2010-11.

1. Samuel Eto'o (Inter)

The captain of Cameroon's Indomitable Lions has enjoyed another magnificent year on a personal level, showing consistency through a number of coaching changes at Inter, and proving himself to be a world-class striker, scoring 21 goals in Serie A to add to his eight strikes in the Champions League. The 2010 African Player of the Year added the Club World Cup to his trophy count in December, scoring for the Nerazzurri in the final against Africa's TP Mazembe.

There you have it. Disagree with our selection? Let us know who you would have included in your esteemed line-up. As ever, we’re open to your suggestions and musings.

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