We’d want to take this time to thank all of the coaches, players, and media representatives who have contributed to the Total Player Award over the last five years. Because of them, this prize is without a doubt one of the most transparent individual awards in sports. We’d also like to express our gratitude to all of our readers for their support, and we guarantee that we’ll do everything we can to make this project even better.
Here is our TOP 5 pick for both categories
1. Maddie Musselman (USA)
US National Player | Clubs: UCLA | Position: Left DriverThe level of quality in the team USA is so high, that is really hard to pick who is the best. But this year we think that Maddie deserves the spotlight. She played constantly on the highest level throughout the World League and Olympic Games.
2. Ashleigh Jonhson (USA)
USA National Player | Clubs: Ethnikos | Position: GoalkeeperShe was our MVP of the Olympic tournament and was especially inspired at the crucial moments. The ease with which she handled the world's greatest shooters is incredible.
3. Simone van de Kraats (NED)
Dutch National Player | Clubs: Polar Bears / CN Mataro | Position: Right DriverWith only 21 years, she is the deadliest left hander in the world. Simone was the best scorer in Tokyo and she is definitely number one contender to chase Maggie Steffens historical record.
4. Maggie Steffens (USA)
US National Player | Club: CN Sabadell | Position: Left DriverLast year Maggie was named the Total Player (for the 21st century) and, looking at her performance this year, we wouldn't be surprised if she wins it again this year. She is a true leader who continually enhances her teammates.
5. Anni Espar (ESP)
Spanish National Player | Clubs: CN Mataro | Position: Right DriverAnni is always the leading figure is Spanish team. She proved that once again in Tokyo.
1. Dusan Mandic (SRB)
Serbian National Player | Clubs: Pro Recco / Novi Beograd | Position: Right DriverThe only player who won the biggest club and national team competition in the last season. Every team in the world is aware they need to close him down. Despite that he scored 4 goals against Brescia in the CHL semifinal and 3 goals in the final against FTC. In Tokyo, Serbia played fantastic water polo in the knockout phase. Again Mandic made a meaningful contribution scoring on three occasions in the semis and in the final. He finished the Olympic tournament with 17 goals (47% SP, only 2 from penalty), 6 assists and 8 personal fouls draws.
2. Angelos Vlachopoulos (GRE)
Greek National Player | Clubs: Brescia / Novi Beograd | Position: Left DriverBrescia had a great team last season and Vlachopoulos was definitely one of the crucial elements in dethroning Pro Recco as an Italian champion. He was also their best player in the CHL Final 8 where they finished 3rd. He continued his great performance in Tokyo where he was the best assistant (15) of the tournament and added 9 goals, 8 steals, 6 blocks and most importantly, a silver medal for Greece.
3. Filip Filipovic (SRB)
Serbian National Player | Clubs: Szolnok / Olympiacos | Position: Right DriverHis last-moment goal against Spain in Tokyo is inmortal. But Filipovic did more than that. He led Szolnok to a surprising title in Hungary against FTC and added another European title to his trophy room - LEN Euro Cup. Amazing season with the brightest shine for Filipovic. We will definitely miss his brilliance in the upcoming international tournaments.
4. Nikola Jaksic (SRB)
Serbian National Player | Clubs: FTC / Novi Beograd | Position: Center BackA role model of modern water polo. It is amazing how year by year he manages to improve his game in both ways. One of the rear players, who is able to cleanly defend against strongest CF in the world and then have enough energy to be a dangerous attacker, from perimeter, or to swim in as a second center forward. The Olympic tournament was definitely his best water polo in his career so far and absolutely deserved our MVP title (12 goals ,13 PF drawn, 7 assists, 7 blocks, 7 steals). We strongly believe that Jaksic won’t finish his career without at least one Total Player trophy.
5. Aleksandar Ivovic (MNE)
Montenegrian National Player | Clubs: Pro Recco | Position: DriverProbably the most dominant water polo player for several years now. It is hard to find superlatives for the ease with which he plays our sport. He lifted the CHL trophy as Recco’s captain and was named the best scorer (23 goals) of the Olympic tournament. If Montenegro had their strongest roster in Tokyo, he would probably be on the top of our list.
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