I think nothing ever disappoints me more than to find out that an international break has hit football in the middle of a very crucial part of the season. Do I really have to wait two weeks The classic and the Champions League semifinals after seeing a lackluster performance from Bayern Munich?

Anyway, let’s take a look at the best players in club football ahead of this international break.

Note: There will be no power rankings for the international break. Is anyone really that interested in international friendlies or EURO qualifiers?

10. Thibaut Courtois (New)

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El Clasico was the most important game of the week, although honestly it didn’t feel like it beforehand. However, the game itself was fantastic and Courtois was the standout performer of the night.

Courtois was all over Barcelona’s attack and while Real Madrid might have conceded twice, it could have been a lot more if the Belgian hadn’t stopped the shot’s elite. Courtois has shown that no matter how inconsistent he may seem at times, he always shows up in the big games when Real need him.

9. Vinícius Júnior (Last week: 2)

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Vinícius Júnior didn’t have his best game in El Clasico, but he still showed up.

Vini was strong on the left, threatening Ronald Araújo throughout the 1990s and eventually scoring as well when Vini’s cross bounced back into the net from Araújo. Aside from that one moment, Vini just couldn’t put all the pieces together that night as he didn’t consistently find his teammates or get his way, often managing to go around Araújo but never really beating him. It wasn’t a quiet night for the Brazilian, but it certainly wasn’t his best.

8. Alphonso Davies (Last week: 4)

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Like Vini, Alphonso Davies had a week that wasn’t quiet, but it wasn’t eventful either.

Bayern Munich lost 2-1 to Bayer Leverkusen and Davies wasn’t at his best in the ’90s. He slipped on the pitch, as has become a tradition for Davies in recent months, but never really managed to put his foot in front of Jeremie Frimpong on his cross. It’s safe to say that he’s only here in the rankings because he previously ranked high, similar to Vini. His defensive performance was great nonetheless and he had no part in the two penalties Bayern conceded.

7. Bukayo Saka (Last appearance: WM)

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Bukayo Saka is perhaps the Premier League’s best winger at just 21 years old.

Saka came on with twenty minutes remaining against Sporting Lisbon in the Europa League and made an immediate impression despite failing to score the all-important equaliser. It’s clear Arsenal are a completely different team when Saka plays down the right and they are all the better for it.

However, Saka really shone against Crystal Palace at the weekend. Saka assisted the opening goal with a brilliant turn and cross into the box with his weaker foot, which led to a shot from Gabriel Martinelli. Saka then scored his own goal, a fantastic bit of movement and anticipation coupled with Ben White, before unleashing a deft shot that snaked between goalkeeper Joe Whitworth, Marc Guéhi and James Tomkins before reaching the net. Arsenal’s fourth goal of the day was the perfect capstone to that performance, a perfectly executed first shot straight from the box that curled into the corner of the net. Saka is possessed.

6. Adrien Rabiot (new)

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Adrien Rabiot played quietly as the best midfielder in Serie A and then the World Cup brought his quality to the fore.

Rabiot now has to play in a 15-point-penalized Juventus and has just upped the ante. In a team blessed with defensive brilliance but plagued with inconsistencies in attack and an occasional reliance on individual performance, Rabiot has scored four goals in his last three games.

Rabiot dominated against Freiburg, led the game for large parts of the 90 unhindered by Maximilian Eggestein or Nicolas Höfler and bagged an assist for Federico Chiesa. Side note: how good is it to see Chiesa back on the pitch and in the goals again?

Rabiot provided another assist against Inter Milan at the weekend, this time finding Filip Kostić on the left after a Dušan Vlahović pass. A great pair of performances from a world class player.

5. Kim Min-Jae (Last week: 6)

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The Serie A leaders beat Torino four at home and didn’t concede a goal. They really are the best team in Europe at the moment.

Kim Min-Jae put in another great defensive performance. This time the performance was a collective masterclass rather than an individual player, but as the leader of the back line, Kim deserves credit – as does Alex Meret for a few snaps. Kim was virtually flawless as always, winning the few tackles he chose, getting to every ball first, moving the ball effortlessly and displaying the same qualities I seem to rave about every week. There’s really nothing new I can say about him at this point, he’s defending every week and he’s defending better than anyone.

4. Khvicha Kvaratskhelia (Last week: 8)

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Napoli kept a clean sheet, yes. But let’s not forget that they scored four points.

No prizes for guessing two of the names on the score sheet.

Khvicha Kvaratskhelia expertly placed a ball between three defenders in the penalty area before being fouled. Kvara takes the resulting penalty himself and skillfully shoots it in the middle with a soft shot. Later in the game, Kvara received a ball from teammate Victor Osimhen on the counterattack before putting it across the box to a free Tanguy Ndombélé, who slotted the ball into a virtually empty net.

Another powerhouse of a Kvaratskhelia performance, packed with dangerous moves in all areas of the offensive half of the field, dotted with labyrinthine runs and killer passes. What a player.

3. Joshua Kimmich (Last week: 7)

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It feels strange that Kimmich has moved up places after Bayern Munich’s loss to Leverkusen, but his individual performance was flawless.

As usual, Kimmich was Bayern’s most important valve for their whole game and offered the back three a constant option. With Julian Nagelsmann opting for his 3-1-4-2 system, Kimmich was the only constant in midfield and fulfilled his role perfectly. It’s another case of Kim Min-Jaeitis, there’s nothing I can’t say about his performance this week that I haven’t already done with his performances in the previous weeks. The goal was a nice touch to his performance, although nothing special.

He does the midfield thing and he does the midfield thing better than anyone. The worlds best.

2. Erling Haaland (Last week: 5)

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Erling Haaland is if the word ‘inevitable’ was a footballer.

The only reason he’s not number one is because while Burnley are doing well in the league they’re still a second tier side and it was still a cup game.

Haaland snagged a wonderful through ball from Julian Álvarez and managed to slide it past Bailey Peacock-Farrell with the slightest touch. Not even three minutes later, Foden played a beautiful driven cross that spun perfectly around the defenders before making it to Haaland’s feet, who spun while running pretty close to full speed, and wrapped his foot around it, the Ball landed in the net again. Haaland completed his hat-trick with half an hour to go, a beautiful move involving Haaland himself, Riyad Mahrez and Phil Foden, who saw the ball hit off the woodwork before Haaland capitalized on the loose ball. In typical Pep Guardiola fashion, he immediately took Haaland off.

Haaland has scored eight goals in his last two hours on a football pitch. Do I need to say anything else?

1. Victor Osimhen (Last week: 1)

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Victor Osimhen is a special player on a special team.

Osimhen opened the scoring against Torino with a fantastic flying header from a Piotr Zielinski corner. He then doubled his tally for the day when a cross from Mathías Olivera escaped the Torino defense and headed in Osimhen at the far post. Osimhen didn’t stop fighting, pushing tenaciously before winning the ball against all odds and laying it down for Kvaratskhelia who would set up Ndombélé.

Osimhen is just about everywhere on the pitch for Napoli and he never seems satisfied with scoring his goal and retiring. He wants every ball and he wants it for the team. He’s a real asset to any football establishment and with each passing week he continues to justify Napoli breaking their transfer record to take him on (although other questions surround the deal).

What do you think of our ranking? Is there anyone you would have included? Let us know in the discussion below.

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