Footy Player Rankings: Messi retains top spot as Neymar moves up in October

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On the final Monday of each month, theScore will be rank the top 20 footballers throughout Europe. In October, the list is led by three of South America's finest players.

Just missed: Isco (Real Madrid), Salif Sane (Hannover 96), Mohamed Salah (Liverpool), Joshua Kimmich (Bayern Munich), Alejandro Gomez (Atalanta BC)

20. Simone Zaza (Valencia CF)

Marcelino's methods might not seem so effective if it wasn't for Simone Zaza's meteoric rise. The Italian striker is a microcosm of Valencia CF's revolution and looks nothing like the lost figure who failed to score goal for West Ham United. He found the back of the net in all four of Los Che's La Liga games in October and will enter November as the league's second-top scorer.

19. Jorge (AS Monaco)

Jorge, the latest left-back off Brazil's production line, joined AS Monaco at the right time, filling the hole left by Benjamin Mendy at Stade Louis II. The product of Flamengo is glowing in his first full season with Les Monegasques, showing a maturity beyond his 21 years of age. His interceptions are a defining feature of the club's defence, and he capped off October with a phenomenal display in a 2-0 victory over FC Girondins de Bordeaux.

18. Casemiro (Real Madrid)

Real Madrid was underwhelming in October, but Casemiro was still the rock on whom Los Blancos rely. After ensuring that Brazil finished its 2018 World Cup-qualifying campaign with a victory over Chile, the defensive midfielder returned to Spain and resumed his role of one-man wall, keeping Tottenham Hotspur at bay as Spurs visited the Santiago Bernabeu.

17. Raheem Sterling (Manchester City)

Off the pitch, Raheem Sterling admitted that he didn't "think one minute" about Arsenal's reported wish to buy him. On the pitch, the English forward enjoyed a wonderful month, tallying three goals in all competitions in October. He opened the scoring as Manchester City beat SSC Napoli in the Champions League and bagged the winner in the Citizens' triumph at West Bromwich Albion, becoming their joint-top scorer in the Premier League as a result.

16. Dries Mertens (SSC Napoli)

Dries Mertens compared himself to a "street dog" in an interview and described himself as a "mix of everything." It's a great comparison. The Belgian striker is still thriving one year after Napoli had a front-line crisis, and boasts 10 goals in Serie A, including three in the club's last two games in October. With the pitbull in its squad, the club looks more ready than ever to compete for the Scudetto.

15. Leroy Sane (Manchester City)

Leroy Sane is striking at an alarming rate. At a club oozing with superstars, the German winger quietly holds six goals and five assists to his name through 10 Premier League appearances. After representing Germany in 2018 World Cup qualifying, he returned to the Etihad Stadium and tallied three goals and three assists in City's last three league games of October. Oh, and he also proved he can be counted upon for penalty kicks.

14. Faouzi Ghoulam (SSC Napoli)

Napoli's front three is something to behold, but, further down the pitch, Faouzi Ghoulam is establishing himself as Serie A's best full-back. There's something Brazilian about the Algerian left-back's style of play, as he shows no hesitance in joining the attack and can dribble past opponents like it's nothing, evidenced by two goals and three assists in the top flight of Italian football this season.

13. Mikel Oyarzabal (Real Sociedad)

In April 2016, Mikel Oyarzabal scored the lone goal as Real Sociedad stunned Barcelona. It was a sign of things to come for the Basque winger, who excelled in October, tallying three goals in La Liga and one other in the Europa League. He's only 20 years old, and, if he maintains his form, there's no reason why his phone won't be ringing before the 2018 World Cup.

12. Goncalo Guedes (Valencia CF)

Valencia is working out for Goncalo Guedes and vice versa. Possessing pace, skill, and a ridiculously good shot, the Portuguese winger is making the most of his minutes after a season at Paris Saint-Germain where he barely played. He boasts three goals and five assists in La Liga, including some goals that border on absurdity. One newspaper described him as "an extra-terrestrial," while Los Che's supporters are praying that he stays at the club after the loan is over.

11. Luis Alberto (SS Lazio)

Luis Alberto produced an assist in five straight games in October as SS Lazio's faith in the Spanish attacking midfielder paid off. After struggling to find minutes at Sevilla, Liverpool, and Malaga CF, he's living up to the hype that surrounded him at the beginning of his professional career, and his key passes are largely why the Biancocelesti are third in Serie A.

10. Ciro Immobile (SS Lazio)

Ciro Immobile is still making a hell of an impression at Lazio. After scoring 23 goals in Serie A last season, the Italian striker is the top scorer in the top flight of Italian football with 14 goals - and six assists for good measure. He tallied six goals and three assists in October alone, and Italy's supporters will be keeping their fingers crossed, hoping he can replicate his numbers for the Biancocelesti at the international level.

9. Paulo Dybala (Juventus)

Juventus possesses a jewel in Paulo Dybala, and, while the Old Lady might be more fragile this season, the Argentinian forward is still skinning defenders with PlayStation-esque moves. The product of Instituto ACC played a part in a goal in the Italian club's last three games in October, and, with 11 goals to his name in Serie A, he already boasts as many league goals this season as he tallied in 2016-17.

8. Nabil Fekir (Olympique Lyonnais)

It's early days in Ligue 1, but Nabil Fekir is living up to his potential, replicating his form from the 2014-15 season that resulted in Didier Deschamps changing France's tactics to accommodate the playmaker. He was, simply put, merciless in October, bagging five goals and two assists in four games, including a brace in Olympique Lyonnais' victory against Monaco. Weight, disinterest, poor form, and bad attitude are a thing of the past it would seem.

7. Edin Dzeko (AS Roma)

If you think that Edin Dzeko doesn't run or give his best, you clearly didn't tune into AS Roma's draw at Chelsea in the Champions League's group stage. The Bosnian striker was, without a shred of doubt, the Giallorrosi's best footballer at Stamford Bridge, and left the stadium with two goals. He only scored one Serie A goal in October, but he continues to be a force to be reckoned with.

6. Harry Kane (Tottenham Hotspur)

Harry Kane is a problem for the clubs that don't want Tottenham in the Premier League's title race, but the English striker's red-hot form is gaining international acclaim. He scored a last-minute winner as England beat Slovenia and booked its flight to the 2018 World Cup, and helped Spurs earn a point at Real Madrid in the Champions League. He's on his way to becoming a one-club legend and rightfully deserves to be in the spotlight.

5. Radamel Falcao (AS Monaco)

Radamel Falcao is looking more glorious than ever, and it's not because of El Tigre's hair. The Colombian striker is Ligue 1's top scorer with 13 goals, which have come in just nine appearances. A creature of the penalty area, he's enjoying a Second Coming at Monaco, and he'll be instrumental as the club looks to keep pace with PSG.

4. Kevin De Bruyne (Manchester City)

City is clicking like never before, and Kevin De Bruyne is the one with his hand on the mouse. The Belgian midfielder adds a creative layer to the Citizens and is their pivotal figure, which speaks volumes given the footballers that comprise the club's squad. He tallied four assists in all competitions in October and is the man of the hour at the strongest club in the United Kindgom.

3. Edinson Cavani (Paris Saint-Germain)

It was in September that there were reports of Edinson Cavani being cut loose by PSG amid the Uruguayan forward's clashing of antlers with Neymar. All that noise appears to be a thing of the past and the product of Danubio Futbol Club is shining alongside the Brazilian phenom. He scored in all three appearances in October and will enter November having scored in his last five appearances in all competitions.

2. Neymar (Paris Saint-Germain)

He's selfish. He's arrogant. He's PSG's best player. Although Neymar failed to score for Brazil in October and was sent off in the second half of Les Parisiens' draw at Olympique de Marseille, the planet's most expensive footballer was as good as ever during the month and continued to carry his club over the horizon of French football.

1. Lionel Messi (Barcelona)

You'd be a fool to bet against Lionel Messi topping a list. The Argentinian crack couldn't dethrone Cristiano Ronaldo as The Best FIFA Men's Player, but he did his talking on the pitch, tallying four goals and three assists in all competitions while raising his tally in La Liga to a league-best 12 goals. He's still in a class of his own, the Sun around which other players orbit.