Football fans around the world were gutted when it was announced that the 2020 Ballon d'Or would not be going ahead.
France Football's prestigious accolade has, in effect, become the machination through which the world's best footballer of each year is acknowledged and it's impact in wider culture is undoubted.
'The Best' awards to go ahead
However, it seems as though 2020 won't pass us by with a complete dearth of individual prizes because it's recently been claimed that FIFA's 'The Best' awards will indeed be going ahead.
Bayern chief Karl-Heinz Rummenigge claimed this week in an interview with Kicker, via The Sun, that football's governing body will proceed with their own four-year-old version of the Ballon d'Or.
"According to a statement by the President of Fifa, this award should take place," Rummenigge said. "Gianni Infantino told me that the award should be given to the best player, the best goalkeeper and the best coach. That is very welcome."
Who will take the prize?
You love to hear it, you really do, because it would be shame to go an entire year without that level of individual competition, especially when most leagues and cups have been able to resume in 2020.
However, staging the awards ceremony is one thing, but predicting who will take home the prize is another quandary entirely and one we've not shied away from here at GIVEMESPORT.
In fact, we've gone as far as selecting the 20 leading contenders for the prize and ranked them by how likely we think they are to be named 'The Best' by FIFA themselves.
Ranking 20 of the top contenders
And if you were as angry as we are when the Ballon d'Or was cancelled, you can probably guess who we've chosen in first, but you can check out the full rankings down below nonetheless:
20. Timo Werner (RB Leipzig)
Pat yourselves on the back, Chelsea fans, because you've signed one of the world's best players this season with the German having challenged for the European Golden Shoe with 34 goals and 10 assists in 45 games.
19. Bruno Fernandes (Manchester United)
Fernandes has been an inspired signing for United, collecting back-to-back Premier League Player of the Month awards, but take his goal tally of 12 with a pinch of salt because eight came from the penalty spot.
18. Alphonso Davies (Bayern Munich)
Bayern's Canadian full-back has been an absolute revelation this season, as well as the owner of Nelson Semedo's soul, but there's still a long way to go before the 19-year-old is challenging to become the world's best player.
17. Jordan Henderson (Liverpool)
Captaining Liverpool to their first ever Premier League title is reason enough to include Henderson on our list, though stats only clocked him as the competition's 32nd best player this season and that simply isn't 'The Best' material.
16. Thibaut Courtois (Real Madrid)
We had to include at least one goalkeeper on the list and nobody has kept more clean sheets in Europe's top leagues than Courtois (15 in 19 games) and he also has a La Liga trophy to show for his efforts.
15. Josip Ilicic (Atalanta)
Ilicic might have been missing for Atalanta's late-season games, but his record of 21 goals in 34 this term, including four against Valencia, makes him Europe's fifth best player statistically and a worthy 'The Best' contender.
14. Sadio Mane (Liverpool)
For our money, Mane has been Liverpool's best player this season, amassing 20 goals and eight assists, which is enough for us to give him the nod when the Reds just happen to be world and Premier League champions.
13. Erling Braut Haaland (Borussia Dortmund)
Haaland is deserving of a place on this list for one reason and one reason alone: goals, and lots of them. It's astonishing how quickly the Norwegian has hit the ground running at BVB, already boasting 16 strikes in 18 games.
12. Serge Gnabry (Bayern Munich)
The ex-Arsenal man has chipped in with huge goals for Bayern this season against Tottenham, Chelsea and Barcelona, notching 21 strikes in total, so could be an outside chance if the Bavarians become European champions.
11. Jadon Sancho (Borussia Dortmund)
It's no surprise United are doing everything in their power to sign Sancho because surpassing 15 goals and assists is the form of a future Ballon d'Or winner, even though we doubt his chances this season with just a DFL-Supercup to his name.
10. Karim Benzema (Real Madrid)
Campaigns for Benzema to be crowned the world's best player this season are pretty ham-fisted, although there can be no denying his role in Real's charge to the La Liga crown and 27 goals in all competitions is pretty good going.
9. Ciro Immobile (Lazio)
It's scandalous that Immobile hasn't been getting more credit for beating Ronaldo and our number one - you guessed it yet? - to the European Golden Shoe with a breath-taking 36 goals in 37 league outings.
The only reason he's not higher than ninth is because a trophy cabinet consisting of merely the Supercoppa Italiana won't be enough to get the FIFA voters weak at the knees.
8. Thomas Muller (Bayern Munich)
You only need to look at Muller's Man of the Match performance against Barcelona to see why he's a top 10 contender for 'The Best' award, but his campaign becomes even stronger when you mention his 21(!?) Bundesliga assists.
7. Sergio Ramos (Real Madrid)
'Just' the La Liga title might read a little disappointing for the Real captain this season, but Ramos is the world's best defender on current form and scoring 13 goals from his position, including a free-kick, is simply wild.
6. Kylian Mbappe (Paris Saint-Germain)
Winning the Champions League would be a must if Mbappe was to be crowned best in the world because scoring 30 goals and hoovering up the trophies in France has become par for the course for the 21-year-old.
Lift 'Big Ears' on Sunday, however, and his chances will shoot through the roof, even if we think it would stand one of his teammates in even better stead...
5. Lionel Messi (Barcelona)
We'll be talking a lot about the fact trophies play an uncomfortably large role in these sort of awards, but it's the truth and Messi has absolutely nothing to show from a 2019/20 season that was individually pretty solid.
Surpassing 20 goals and assists is an impressive feat that means he can't miss out on the top five, but capitulating in La Liga, the Copa del Rey and Champions League isn't good enough to take home the top prize.
4. Kevin De Bruyne (Manchester City)
If you're unquestionably the best player in a Premier League season, you're always going to be in the conversation for the world's best.
De Bruyne matched the competition best of 20 assists, while also chipping in with 13 goals, and although there was heartbreak in Europe, he was the best player on the pitch by miles during the Lyon defeat.
3. Cristiano Ronaldo (Juventus)
Ronaldo has been absolutely fantastic in Italy this season, boasting a stunning tally of 31 strikes from 33 Serie A games and equalling the competition's record of 11 consecutive games with a goal.
But individual awards are more about teams than we'd all care to admit and Juventus' premature Champions League exit as well as losing two cup finals and only winning the league by a single point will certainly hold him back.
2. Neymar (Paris Saint-Germain)
Neymar above Ronaldo and Messi??? Have I lost my mind???
Look, we've seen time and time again that Champions League winners have a major advantage in individual awards, so I've got to pick Neymar above the golden duo on the basis he can still win it.
If Neymar can indeed secure victory for PSG on Sunday night, while Ronaldo checked out in the round of 16 and Messi was thrashed 8-2, there's no denying he'd be above them in the standings.
Even leading PSG further than his two rivals might be good enough, not to mention winning more domestic trophies and boasting a record of 19 goals from 26 games despite various injuries.
1. Robert Lewandowski (Bayern Munich)
But forget everything I've said about the 19 candidates before, because Lewandowski has been miles ahead of the competition in 2020 and is surely nailed on to be crowned 'The Best' this year.
The Pole has scored a staggering 54 goals in just 45 appearances, establishing himself as the top scorer in the Bundesliga, DFB-Pokal and Champions League in the process.
Oh, and did we neglect to mention that he's already won two of those competitions and is the clear favourite to win the third? Frankly, the world is his oyster this year.
GIVEMESPORT's Kobe Tong says
It has to be Lewandowski. It just has to be.
Even if Bayern Munich are absolutely trashed 20-0 by Lyon tonight, there's no debate in my eyes that Lewandowski has been the world's best player in 2020 and should therefore be nailed on for the prize.
The fact he could overtake Ronaldo's record for the most goals in a Champions League campaign in fewer games as well as having surpassed 50 strikes in all competitions is simply beggar belief.
Even in an era where Ronaldo and Messi's numbers have seemingly been intergalactic, Lewandowski has thrown a cat amongst the pigeons by positing genuinely comparable stats.
Combine that with the fact he could indeed add the Champions League trophy to his already burgeoning cabinet this season and surely we're on course for a landslide result in the votes.
If not, I'll be even more outraged than when the Ballon d'Or was cancelled.
I'd hop on the first flight to wherever the ceremony is held, kindly self-isolate for 14 days, respectfully mouth off at FIFA from two metres away in a face-mask and fly back with an extra 14 days quarantined.
Actually, maybe not, just pick Lewandowski please, FIFA...
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