Top Five: Best players outside Europe

Lucas Barrios, Landon Donovan & Neymar all make the list of the best players plying their trade outside of Europe

Sergio Dos Santos
Published 04/27/2013 12:17 by Sergio Dos Santos, read by 18,541 people.


The majority of the best players ply their trade in Europe, and it comes with little surprise that players abroad are left underrated. 

Some have had good spells in Europe and gone overseas but still carry the same boasted talent. Even so, there is always a chance for a return when European clubs realize the talent they’ve let go. 

However, some are on the verge of moving into Europe, having learnt their roots in the streets of their hometowns. This is, in my opinion, a list of the five best players who don’t play in Europe.

5. Lucas Barrios | Guangzhou Evergrande (China)

Lucas Barrios was one of the best strikers in the Bundesliga when he was playing for Borussia Dortmund, gaining interest from big clubs all around Europe, including Chelsea. His goal scoring record for Dortmund was good, helping them lift back-to-back titles, despite suffering from injury and form in the latter. 

Adding to his effectiveness in the area, Barrios is also can assist his teammates and helped Paraguay to the quarterfinals of the 2010 FIFA World Cup and runners-up in the Copa America a year later. Barrios is highly paid at his club in China, along with Dario Conca, but the striker comes with surety of bags of goals.

4. Diego Reyes | America (Mexico)

Diego Reyes has already agreed to sign for Porto, a signing from Mexico similar to star striker Jackson Martinez. Diego Reyes is a young, talented central defender, and was played key role in Mexico’s success in the Olympics. 

He has already come up against class players such as Oscar and Neymar, and showed his valiant qualities. He garnered interest – along with many of his Mexican teammates – during the Olympics. 

The 20-year-old is likely to become a star in Porto’s talented team, and could play a major role for years to come in an underachieving Mexico team.

3. Leandro Damião | Internacional (Brazil)

Damio started his career as a midfielder, but he is now one of the most lethal strikers in Brazil. His qualities are similar to Ronaldo, with a poacher’s eye for goal and a deadly shot from distance as well. 

Leandro has been constantly linked with Tottenham, but he is nearing a deal with Napoli where he is likely to join or replace Edinson Cavani. Already 23, Leandro didn’t play much professional football in his teen years, but there is no doubting this player’s ability to score goals, as his record in the Olympics shows.

2. Landon Donovan | Los Angeles Galaxy (USA)

Landon Donovan is the best player to come from the United States, and is one of a few players in the MLS who is highly regarded around the world. His spell in Bayer Leverkusen didn’t bear the fruits expected, but since his return to the United States, combined with successful spells at Everton and Bayern Munich, Donovan is touted as one of the most consistent footballers in the world. 

Over the years, he has been linked with a permanent move to Europe, but the American talisman has now led his team to back-to-back championships. Although he’s been feuding with Jurgen Klinsmann (manager of the United States national team) over the past two years, at only 31, Landon Donovan has an amazing 49 goals in 144 caps for the Americans. The workhorse forward comes with determination, similar to Wayne Rooney, and contributes to all areas on the field for his team.

1. Neymar | Santos (Brazil)

It’s been a while since Neymar burst onto the scene, and the world is not seeing enough of him. The skillfully talented and unique player is the most talked about player outside Europe, doing amazing tricks and scoring amazing goals. 

He is labeled the future of Brazil, and much is expected from the forward who could be the only threat to Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi in world football. With the ability to skip pass defenders at will, fans around the world have been begging this world-class midfielder to move abroad. 

In the nature of the success of Lucas Moura, Neymar comes with talent far beyond that, and a move to Europe any time soon will only start giving defenders new nightmares.

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