Shaka Hislop’s final Power Rankings of 2016 feature a new leader after Real Madrid ended 2016 by winning another trophy.
1. Real Madrid (+1)
It wasn’t as easy as they perhaps expected but Madrid nonetheless won the Club World Cup to complete a superb 2016. Fittingly, Ballon d’Or winner Cristiano Ronaldo was the star of the show, scoring a hat trick in the final vs. Kashima Antlers.
2. Chelsea (-1)
Victory at Crystal Palace was their 11th straight in the Premier League, which they lead by six points. Chelsea’s last three wins have all been by 1-0 scorelines; Antonio Conte’s side have conceded just twice in their impressive run.
3. Juventus (no change)
Gonzalo Higuian’s fine goal beat Roma and ensures that Juve will spend Christmas atop Serie A, boasting a four-point lead with a game in hand. Defeat on penalties to Milan in the Italian Super Cup will likely be little more than a minor disappointment.
4. Barcelona (no change)
Has the mid-season interval come at the wrong time for Barca? They have won four straight in all competitions, scoring 18 goals in the process. Their highlight last week was a derby win vs. Espanyol, featuring more Lionel Messi magic.
5. Bayern Munich (+1)
A laboured 1-0 at Darmstadt was illuminated by Douglas Costa’s fine winner but, three days later, Bayern reminded everyone who the bosses are in Germany. In the last game before the winter break, second-placed Leipzig were swept aside 3-0.
6. Benfica (+2)
Two wins in four days saw Benfica consolidate their lead in Portugal, where they have a four-point lead over Porto. But could manager Rui Vitoria be about to lose a key defender? Victor Lindelof has been strongly linked with Man United.
7. Sevilla (+3)
An impressive 4-1 win over Malaga means that Sevilla hit the winter break in third, just one point behind Barcelona. Jorge Sampaoli’s side are also still in the Copa del Rey and have been drawn against Real Madrid in the Round of 16.
8. Roma (-3)
Having lost the top-of-the-table clash with Juventus, Roma then looked set for more disappointment when they fell behind to Chievo. Luciano Spalletti’s men hit back to win 3-1, though, and go into the winter break second in the standings.
9. RB Leipzig (no change)
While Wednesday’s defeat at Bayern will have stung, it won’t take the gloss off Leipzig’s first half of the season. After 16 games, they are second and have a six-point lead over Hertha Berlin, who they beat 2-0 last weekend.
10. Milan (new)
The Super Cup shootout win against Juventus brings to an end an encouraging first half of the season for Milan. Under Vincenzo Montella, the Rossoneri are fifth in Serie A, just two points outside the Champions League places.
Dropping out: Nice.