Nicolas Otamendi Is The Best Passer In Europe This Season
Manchester City defender Nicolas Otamendi has been the best passer in Europe by some distance - highlighting just how good he has been this term.
As noted by Sam Lee from Goal, the former Valencia and Porto man has made a total of 1734 passes this season, with no player in the top divisions in England, France, Italy, Spain, Germany, the Netherlands, Turkey and Portugal able to match his impressive tally.
His City teammate, Fernandinho, is closest, having completed just 34 less, but the closest challenger after that, Napoli's maestro Jorginho, is 315 behind Otamendi.
Otamendi has played more passes (1734) than ANY player in the top flights of England, France, Germany, Spain, Italy, Portugal, Turkey and the Netherlands. He's got 34 more than Fernandinho in second. Across the continent, he has 315 more than his closest challenger (Jorginho). pic.twitter.com/FmFwKlpmiV- Sam Lee (@Sammy_Goal) December 29, 2017
In the modern game, central defenders completing a lot of passes might not come as a big surprise given that they often see a lot of the ball and pass backwards and sideways to keep the ball moving.
However, most impressive about Otamendi's 1734 passes is that 70 per cent have been played forwards, which shows his value to this City side - as his passes through the lines to find the likes of Kevin De Bruyne and David Silva have proved essential.
Is Nicolas Otamendi the most improved player at Manchester City this season?- City Watch (@City_Watch) December 28, 2017
Only Ederson and KDB have made more Premier League starts than 'El General' for City. pic.twitter.com/xjqBanpLnZ
Otamendi's overall game on the whole has come on leaps and bounds and he has grown to become the team's most reliable and consistent centre-back this term, as well as chipping in with crucial goals.
And in his pre-Crystal Palace presser, Pep Guardiola reserved some special praise for the man known as 'the General'.
"John's return is huge news for us because we have a Superman in the team," he said.
"Nico Otamendi helped us absolutely... without Nico it would not be possible to do what we have done.
"Everybody speaks about a lot of players, like Raheem, like Kevin, like David, like Sergio, and they deserve it, but if I would like to point to some player who deserves all the respect for what we have done until now it's Nico.
"Nico has been amazing, because he's a guy who even with pain, even with problems in the ankle, in the knee, in the back, he always fights.
"He's one of the hugest competitors I ever seen in my life. He was so important. I cannot imagine the situation we would be in, in terms of the table, in terms of the way we play, without him. It would have been impossible."
Featured Image Credit: PA