Lionel Messi benched in 2020 World XI featuring Cristiano Ronaldo and Virgil van Dijk

  • Kobe Tong
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Bayern Munich's Robert Lewandowski has been the world's best male player in 2020.

With the New Year now upon us, countless publications and awards galas are acknowledging the Polish striker as the undisputed number one after an astonishing 12 months of goalscoring.

As the Bavarians romped their way to the treble last season, Lewandowski's lethal finishing played a massive role, finishing as the top scorer in every competition that Bayern conquered.

Best players of 2020

As a result, there were few complaints when Lewandowski was crowned the UEFA Player of the Year and later secured FIFA's 'The Best' award by making a strong start to the 2020/21 campaign.

So, as far as picking the best male player in the sport, 2020 was pretty straightforward, but the same cannot be said of the best XI, which is often a topic of great debate at the end of every year.

The world-famous FIFA FIFPro World XI has already thrown its hat into the ring, but we wanted to have our say on the best 11 players of the year before 2020 was fully consigned to the past.

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GIVEMESPORT best XI of 2020

Consequently, we're turning to the GIVEMSPORT 100 - our newly-released list of the best male players for 2020 - and working backward through the rankings to streamline it into a starting XI.

In other words, our World XI suggestion isn't necessarily the top 11 on the list - besides, that would make our line-up insanely attacking - but the highest finishers for each respective position.

For argument's sake, we're going for the ever-popular 4-3-3 formation and you can check out our final selection, as well as seven players for the greatest bench of all time, down below:

GK: Manuel Neuer (Bayern Munich)

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RB: Trent Alexander-Arnold (Liverpool)

CB: Sergio Ramos (Real Madrid)

CB: Virgil van Dijk (Liverpool)

LB: Alphonso Davies (Bayern Munich)

CM: Joshua Kimmich (Bayern Munich) 

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CM: Thiago Alcantara (Bayern Munich and Liverpool)

CM: Kevin De Bruyne (Manchester City)

FW: Neymar (Paris Saint-Germain)

ST: Robert Lewandowski (Bayern Munich)

FW: Cristiano Ronaldo (Juventus)

Bench: Jan Oblak (Atletico Madrid), David Alaba (Bayern Munich), Andrew Robertson (Liverpool), Thomas Muller (Bayern Munich), Lionel Messi (Barcelona), Kylian Mbappe (Paris Saint-Germain) and Erling Braut Haaland (Borussia Dortmund)

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Two changes to FIFA

So, how did our XI compare to the one decided upon by the professionals themselves? Well, pretty darn similar with just two differences and identical midfield and defensive selections.

We back Neuer over Alisson Becker, who doesn't even make the bench, with full confidence, while it's admittedly a tough call when it comes to our pick of Neymar compared to FIFA selecting Messi.

If you look at the data handbook, all signs will point towards Messi deserving a start, but Neymar gets the edge in 2020 for our money after his inspiring Champions League displays for PSG.

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