The year of 2020 is coming to a close and it’s good news for a whole multitude of reasons.
But as far as football is concerned, the close of every calendar year gives us an opportunity to look back on the last 12 months and decide on everything from the best goal, coach, player and more.
Sadly, the creme de la creme of footballing award ceremonies will not be taking place this year, but FIFA are on the scene to ensure that the absence of the Ballon d’Or won’t be too sorely missed.
2020 in football
That’s because football’s governing body have confirmed that their annual ‘The Best’ awards will be going ahead in 2020 despite all the disruptions and reorganisations forced upon the sport.
Truth be told, the winner of the men’s prize seems to be pretty clear in the form of a Polish striker from Bayern Munich, but some of the other accolades are much harder to predict.
World’s best players
And by far the most difficult to call each year comes in the form of the FIFA FIFPro World XI because, well, there are 11 players to mush within a formation as opposed to just one victor.
Sure, there are some shoo-ins we could predict from a mile off, but if you were to ask 100 football fans who they thought were the best XI in 2020, you’d probably get well over 50 different answers.
And alas, ladies and gentlemen, we couldn’t help unveiling our own prediction to the world by naming the starting XI of players that have stood out for us the most across the calendar year.
Predicted 2020 World XI
Check out our final line-up down below in a selection so tough that even Barcelona‘s Lionel Messi had to be reluctantly excluded from the teamsheet.
GK: Manuel Neuer (Bayern Munich)
The world’s best shot-stopper once again. Neuer dropped a masterclass in the Champions League final that rounded off an incredible season in which he was crowned UEFA Goalkeeper of the Year.
RB: Trent Alexander-Arnold (Liverpool)
CB: Sergio Ramos (Real Madrid)
Captaining Los Blancos to the La Liga title was just the beginning for Ramos’ glorious 2020 as he bagged no less than 13 goals from centre-back last season and reached 100 strikes for Real.
CB: Virgil van Dijk (Liverpool)
The fact Van Dijk played every minute in Liverpool Premier League-winning season, which yielded an insane 99 points, tells you everything about his importance to Jurgen Klopp’s XI and this one.
LB: Alphonso Davies (Bayern Munich)
Davies’ achievements in 2020 are astonishing when you consider he’s only 20 years old and his outrageous assist during Bayern’s 8-2 win over Barcelona will be replayed for decades to come.
CM: Joshua Kimmich (Bayern Munich)
To be honest, Kimmich could have played anywhere in this XI, but it was deep in the midfield from which the German provided seven goals and 15 assists for Bayern’s treble-winners in 2019/20.
CM: Thiago Alcantara (Liverpool)
Thiago hasn’t had a chance to get his Liverpool career going yet, but his swansong in Bavaria was simply staggering with the ex-Barcelona man proving metronomic in their all-conquering midfield.
CAM: Kevin De Bruyne (Manchester City)
De Bruyne was the MVP of the Premier League season with a record-equalling 20 assists that saw him bag the PFA Player of the Year award – and proved City’s star man in the Champions League.
RW – Neymar (Paris Saint-Germain)
Restored to one of the world’s best players after a series of dazzling displays in the Champions League as well as scoring 13 Ligue 1 goals despite being reduced to just 15 games through injury.
ST – Robert Lewandowski (Bayern Munich)
The world’s best player right now. Lewandowski was Bayern’s star man on the way to the treble with 55 goals in just 47 appearances last season, scoring in all but one of their Champions League ties.
LW – Cristiano Ronaldo (Juventus)
Second only to Lewandowski in the goal-scoring charts in Europe’s top five leagues in 2020, Ronaldo has defied his advanced age by competing for the European Golden Shoe last season.
GIVEMESPORT’s Kobe Tong says
Just imagine the damage this front three would cause.
I think it’s pretty clear that Lewandowski, Neuer and De Bruyne are deserving of their places in the team, but there are admittedly a few more controversial picks such as Neymar and Kimmich.
It wouldn’t be a total shock if Messi was given the nod over Neymar, for example, but I think the PSG star warrants a nod much more by way of his glorious run in the Champions League.
And although Bayern dominance should remain the key theme, credit to Liverpool for contributing £214 million worth of talent to the XI with Thiago (£43.2m), Alexander-Arnold (£99m) and Van Dijk (£72m).
Though, above all the other selections, you have to tip your hat to the absolute nailed-on presence of a 35-year-old Ronaldo who has proven over the course of 2020 that age really is just a number.