Messi, Maguire, Lukaku: Which footballers have played the most minutes in 2020?

Harry Maguire

The circumstances of 2020 have pushed footballers to find unprecedented physical limits and in turn stimulated fierce debate about whether clubs should be afforded five rather than three substitutes per game.

Due to the disruption caused by the coronavirus pandemic, clubs are tackling relentlessly demanding fixture lists as governing bodies such as FIFA and UEFA attempt to recalibrate the footballing calendar ahead of the delayed Euro 2020 competition, which is now due to take place next summer.

Players have been asked to dig deep into their physical reserves to weather the storm and make up for lost time in 2020, but who exactly has had to work the hardest in this tumultuous year?

Well, courtesy of data provided by CIES Football Observatory, we can see which outfield players in world football have completed the most number of minutes in 2020.

Here, GIVEMESPORT round up the top 20 in descending order.

Hats off to these 20 indomitable athletes...

20. Michael Morrison (3976 minutes)

Michael Morrison

Centre back Michael Morrison, 32, has showcased a level of physicality of a player five years his junior during a demanding year at Reading.

19. Felipe Jonatan (3976 minutes)

Plying his trade for Santos in Brazil, Felipe Jonatan has played as many minutes as Morrison this season, though he is expected to cover more ground in a flying left back role.

18. Victor Cuesta (3990 minutes)

Like Morrison, the 32 year old central defender Victor Cuesta has proven that age is just a number by completing 3990 minutes this season.

17. Sverrir Ingi Ingason (3991 minutes)

The Iceland international has been an ever-present for PAOK Salonika in 2020, completing just shy of 4000 minutes across all competitions.

16. Mikel Merino (3991 minutes)

Mikel Merino

Mikel Merino has blossomed since leaving Newcastle United and his importance to Real Sociedad can be seen in the number of minutes he has completed this year.

15. Reinaldo Da Silva (4013 minutes)

The first player on the list to break the 4000 mark, Reinaldo Da Silva's attacking dynamism has been a constant presence at left back for Sao Paolo.

14. Gil Nascimento (4015 minutes)

Another from the Brazilian top flight, Gil Nascimento, who plays his trade with Corinthians, has completed more minutes than fellow centre backs Cuesta and Morrison despite being a year older at 33.

13. Andrew Robertson (4049 minutes)

Andrew Robertson

Andrew Robertson has managed to avoid the seemingly endemic injury problem at Liverpool and play more minutes than any other outfield player at the club in 2020.
The level of ground he covers in each and every game makes his place on this list that extra bit impressive.

12. David Alaba (4075 minutes)

David Alaba

Doubts over David Alaba's future at Bayern Munich loom large but that is by no means a reflection on his importance to the German behemoth.
That he has played more minutes than any other Bundesliga player speaks volumes about his standing under Hansi Flick.

11. Gustavo Gomez (4082 minutes)

The latest inclusion from Brazil's top flight is another central defender.
Now a regular for Palmeiras, the Paraguay international was once contracted to AC Milan.

10. Callum McGregor (4106 minutes)

One of Celtic's stalwarts has played a pivotal role in the club's dominance of Scottish football in recent years.
The all-action midfielder's incredible athleticism underpins his style of play, and his place in 10th here attests to his excellent level of stamina.

9. Jesus Navas (4110 minutes)

Jesus Navas

At 35 years of age Jesus Navas is the oldest veteran on the list.

Reinvigorated at right back since returning to Sevilla, Navas is showing little sign of slowing down in his older years.

8. Raphael Varane (4123 minutes)

Edging just above Navas is Raphael Varane.

Real Madrid's defensive lynchpin has played more minutes than every La Liga player bar one, somewhat by virtue of his side's involvement in European competition.

7. Victor Lindelof (4142 minutes)

Victor Lindelof is quietly impressing at Manchester United and the scale of his involvement suggests he's earned the trust of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

6. Romelu Lukaku (4144 minutes)

Romelu Lukaku

Perhaps Romelu Lukaku doesn't get the respect he deserves from the wider footballing audience but Antonio Conte clearly values his breadth of centre forward qualities.

No central striker has played more minutes than the Belgium international this year.

5. Bruno Pacheco (4162 minutes)

The final entry from Brazil is a left back who plays for Ceara SC.

Bruno Pacheco is 29 and has enjoyed spells with a handful of Brazilian clubs during his career.

4. Bruno Fernandes (4164 minutes)

Bruno Fernandes

Leaving Bruno Fernandes off the Man United teamsheet is akin to waving the white flag of surrender, such is his indispensable importance to the club.

Providing he is fit and free from injury, Fernandes is more than likely to feature on this list once again in 2021.

3. Lionel Messi (4293 minutes)

Lionel Messi

Even amid a perceived dip in form and a public attempt to force a transfer away from Barcelona, Lionel Messi still finds himself as the La Liga player with the most minutes in 2020.

The epitome of undroppable, it's hardly surprising to see Messi in third place.

2. Ruben Dias (4344 minutes)

Ruben Dias

Benfica's £65m valuation of Ruben Dias proved just how important he was to the Portuguese giants, and his completion of 4344 minutes in 2020 only compounds that feeling.

Now contracted to Manchester City, the Portugal international looks set to be a regular at the heart of Pep Guardiola's back four following an auspicious opening to life in the Premier League.

1. Harry Maguire (4745 minutes)

Harry Maguire

Say what you want about Harry Maguire, but there's no doubt he's put a shift in on the pitch this year.

Topping the pile with 4745 minutes, which is the most by 401 minutes, or the equivalent of four full matches and a cameo on top, Maguire - valued at £36m by Transfermarkt - has played more minutes than any other outfield player in world football.

Get that man a holiday ASAP - anywhere but Mykonos.

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