How the 2020 Ballon d'Or top 20 should have looked after this year's edition is cancelled


There will be no winner of the 2020 Ballon d’Or.

The award’s organisers, France Football, took the decision on Monday meaning they won’t be dishing out the accolade for the first time since 1956 due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Editor Pascal Ferre said: "For the first time since 1956, the Ballon d'Or will take a break. There will be no edition in 2020, because it turns out, after thoughtful consideration, that all the conditions are not met.

"We believe that such a singular year cannot - and should not - be treated as an ordinary one.

"From a sports perspective, two months (January and February), out of the eleven generally required to form an opinion and decide who should lift the trophies, represent far too little to gauge and judge; without forgetting that the other games were played - or will be played - in unordinary conditions (behind closed doors, with five replacements, Champions League's Final 8 played in a single game)."


But let’s imagine the Ballon d’Or was going ahead as usual. How would the final rankings have looked?

Well, we’ve decided to speculate how the top 20 would have looked if the award was dished out here and now.

Remember, the Ballon d’Or ranks players in a single calendar year rather than an entire season. Therefore, only performances from January onwards are taken into account.

Here is our top 20:

20 | Timo Werner | RB Leipzig

Werner managed 11 goals in 2020 as he helped RB Leipzig finish third in Bundesliga. He’ll be hoping he’s playing Champions League football with Chelsea next season after signing for the Blues.

19 | Jordan Henderson | Liverpool

Henderson will lift the Premier League trophy this week and, for that alone, he deserves to be in this list. His season is over after sustaining a knee injury for Liverpool’s performances in his absence show just how important he is.

18 | Raheem Sterling | Manchester City

Sterling has been magnificent since the Premier League returned and has already got his hands on the Carabao Cup. The league title and the FA Cup have escaped him and his City side, though.

17 | Kai Havertz | Bayer Leverkusen

Havertz notched 14 goals and registered eight assists since the turn of the year but he couldn’t secure Champions League football for Bayer Leverkusen, while they lost in the cup final. He could be set for a move to Chelsea this summer.


16 | Alphonso Davies | Bayern Munich

The highlight of Davies’ 2020 was probably his performance in Bayern’s 3-0 Champions League win at Chelsea in the first leg of their last-16 clash. He was sensational and has produced similar performances in the league as his side cruised to another title and the DFB-Pokal.

15 | Jadon Sancho | Borussia Dortmund

Sancho managed eight goals and seven assists in 2020 as the 20-year-old nudged up his ever-increasing price-tag ahead of this summer.

14 | Erling Haaland | Borussia Dortmund

Just the 16 goals from Haaland in 2020. He doesn’t have any trophies to show for it though.

13 | Bruno Fernandes | Manchester United

There’s no denying it, Fernandes has been sensational for United since he signed for Sporting Lisbon. Sunday’s FA Cup semi-final loss represented his first defeat since he arrived at Old Trafford and he’s contributed nine goals and eight assists.


12 | Serge Gnabry | Bayern Munich

The former Arsenal winger helped Bayern to a double and bagged nine goals in 2020 - including a brace in that 3-0 win against Chelsea.

11 | Paulo Dybala | Juventus

Dybala has been brilliant in recent weeks as Juventus stumble their way to the Serie A title. In 2020, he’s managed eight goals and eight assists.

10 | Sadio Mane | Liverpool

Mane has scored seven this calendar year as Liverpool cruised to a Premier League title. Last year, he was angered at missing out on a podium position as he came fourth.

9 | Sergio Ramos | Real Madrid

EIGHT (!) goals, nine clean sheets, La Liga and Supercopa de Espana for Ramos since 2020. It’s not been a bad year so far for the Real Madrid captain.


8 | Neymar | Paris Saint-Germain

If Neymar leads his side to the Champions League, he would’ve fancied his chances of winning his first ever Ballon d’Or. In 2020, he scored nine goals as Paris Saint-Germain won Ligue 1 by default.

7 | Thomas Muller | Bayern Munich

Muller, now 30, is showing no signs of slowing down as he broke the Bundesliga record with 21 assists. He also scored seven goals in 2020 and helped the Bavarians to the double.

6 | Kylian Mbappe | Paris Saint-Germain

Mbappe is surely a future winner of the award and he was set to go close in 2020 after 12 goals, eight assists and the Ligue 1 title.

5 | Kevin de Bruyne | Manchester City

Probably the best player in the Premier League this season - despite City finishing well below Liverpool in the league. But if City were to win the Champions League, De Bruyne would have fancied his chances of a podium finish.


4 | Cristiano Ronaldo | Juventus

Ronaldo misses out on a podium place despite his 20 goals in 2020. He’s set to help Juve win Serie A but the Old Lady lost out to Napoli in Copa Italia. Meanwhile, they training Lyon after the first leg of their last-16 tie. He'll have to wait until 2021 if he wants to draw level with Messi's tally.

3 | Karim Benzema | Real Madrid

Benzema’s goals helped Real Madrid overcome Barcelona in La Liga title race. He’s bagged 10 goals and registered four assists as Real won their first league title for three years.

2 | Lionel Messi | Barcelona

La Liga’s top goalscorer, the most assists the league has ever seen in a single season and more goal contributions that any other player in 2020. But his 15 goals and 17 assists went to waste in La Liga. His Ballon d’Or hopes would have rested in their Champions League success. He won't get a chance to make it seven award wins.

1 | Robert Lewandowski | Bayern Munich

It’s hard to deny the fact Lewandowski deserved the 2020 Ballon d'Or. The 31-year-old scored 21 goals since the turn of the year as Bayern won the domestic double. You’ve got to feel sorry for him.

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