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ESPN FC  By ESPN

Lionel Messi was unparalleled in 2017-18, topping year-end Power Rankings

Following his record-breaking season, the FC crew debate whether Mohamed Salah has surpassed Neymar as the best player after Messi and Ronaldo.

We tabulated the votes from all our global editors throughout the 2017-18 Player Power Rankings to see who had the best season of them all. Could anyone match Lionel Messi's magic?

1. Lionel Messi

Why he's here: Messi played all over the pitch for Barca this season, in a campaign in which the Blaugrana did the Liga and Copa del Rey double, and still managed to win Europe's Golden Shoe race with 34 goals in La Liga; across all competitions, that number rose to 47, and he chipped in 21 assists to boot.

2. Harry Kane | Tottenham

Why he's here: Kane finished third in that Golden Shoe race after his 30-goal performance in the Premier League this season, which raises the question: What might've been had his 0.89-goals-per-game scoring rate not tumbled to 0.50 in the final 10 matches of the season?

3. Paulo Dybala | Juventus

Why he's here: Dybala was a mainstay at the top of our Power Rankings early in the year, scoring 10 goals in his first six Serie A appearances. The 24-year-old racked up votes during that hot start, but his performances faded, adding a further 12 goals in the following 28 appearances in the league.

4. Mauro Icardi | Inter

Why he's here: Icardi finished joint fourth in the continent's Golden Boot race, scoring 29 times in Serie A for Inter -- helping them secure a valuable Champions League place on the final day -- in a mere 34 starts.

5. Mohamed Salah | Liverpool

Why he's here: No. 2 in that Golden Shoe race by two goals, Salah too suffered a springtime swoon; the Egyptian could only muster four Premier League goals in the final month of the season, to Messi's eight in La Liga. But what a debut season he's had in Liverpool, with European silverware still on offer.

Lionel Messi won Europe's Golden Shoe this season and topped our yearlong Player Power Rankings voting.
Lionel Messi dominated our Player Power Ranking voting throughout the 2017-18 season.

6. Neymar | Paris Saint-Germain

Why he's here: Neymar hasn't played a minute of football since Feb. 25, yet he still finished sixth on our list. That's because despite missing the final three months of the season, Brazil's No. 10 still amassed an astonishing 26 goals and 16 assists in 29 appearances across all competitions.

7. Cristiano Ronaldo | Real Madrid

Why he's here: Eighth in this year's Golden Shoe race, Ronaldo still plundered 45 goals and nine assists in 42 appearances for Real Madrid this season, and the 33-year-old has the chance to lift his third straight Champions League title on Saturday against Liverpool in Kiev.

8. Sergio Aguero | Manchester City

Why he's here: Aguero missed 13 Premier League matches this season with a knee injury and a broken rib, yet he still registered 21 goals and six assists in his 25 appearances in the league.

9. Luis Suarez | Barcelona

Why he's here: Through the end of November, Suarez had accumulated just five competitive goals for Barcelona, raising questions over whether the 31-year-old's inevitable decline had begun. He rebounded incredibly, scoring 26 goals and 15 assists in the 34 remaining matches he took part in through the end of the season.

10. Kylian Mbappe | Paris Saint-Germain

Why he's here: Having completed a €180 million move from Monaco to PSG (technically it was a loan with an obligation to buy this summer, but who's counting), the spotlight was on Mbappe from the beginning of his career in Paris. And the 19-year-old delivered, netting 17 times and adding 13 assists in his first 35 appearances for the capital club.

Let us know what you think of the countdown by commenting below or on Twitter using #ESPNFCrankings.

Follow @ESPNFC on Twitter to keep up with the latest football updates.

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