2020 has officially come to a close and to say it was a wild year would be an understatement.
The pandemic meant that football across the world came to a halt at the start of the year.
Fortunately, after a few months had passed, football slowly came back.
Bayern Munich dominated upon the resumption, winning the Bundesliga and the Champions League.
Elsewhere, Liverpool ended their 28-year wait for a Premier League title, while Real Madrid and Juventus were crowned champions of Spain and Italy respectively.
But who were the best players in Europe’s top five leagues in 2020?
WhoScored.com have used stats they collected from every game last year to name the four best players in every position in Europe’s top five leagues.
You can view their findings below…
4) Walter Benitez (Nice) – 6.92
3) Nick Pope (Burnley) – 6.94
2) Emiliano Martinez (Arsenal/Aston Villa) – 6.98
1) Alexandre Oukidja (Metz) – 7.11
Think Manuel Neuer, Jan Oblak and Alisson Becker are the best goalkeepers in the world? They may well be, but that’s not what the stats say.
Two Premier League goalkeepers make the top four: the outstanding Pope and Martinez, who is rated at £16.2m by Transfermarkt.
Metz’ stopper, Oukidja, was easily ranked the best goalkeeper in Europe in 2020. He averaged 3.6 saves per-game and didn’t make a single error leading to a goal. Impressive stuff.
4) Achraf Hakimi (Borussia Dortmund/Inter) – 7.13
3) Juan Cuadrado (Juventus) – 7.19
2) Joao Cancelo (Manchester City) – 7.30
1) Fabien Centonze (Metz) – 7.36
Another Metz player finishing top?! You have got to be kidding me.
Centonze averaged the most tackles and interceptions combined per game (6.2) out of any player in Europe’s top five leagues.
Cancelo also makes the top four after an impressive second year at Man City.
There is no room for Trent Alexander-Arnold, who has struggled at Liverpool in recent times.
4) Alphonso Davies (Bayern Munich) – 7.31
3) Robin Gosens (Atalanta) – 7.31
2) Theo Hernandez (AC Milan) – 7.36
1) Raphael Guerreiro (Borussia Dortmund) – 7.48
How has Alphonso Davies not been rated the best left-back in Europe’s top five leagues in 2020?!
He was given a 7.31 rating across the year, but that’s way behind the mark set by Guerreiro.
The Dortmund star scored eight goals and registered a further six assists in 27 Bundesliga games in 2020.
Andy Robertson, despite an impressive 2020, doesn’t make the top four.
4) Jannik Vestergaard (Southampton) – 7.13
3) Sergio Ramos (Real Madrid) – 7.13
2) James Tarkowski (Burnley) – 7.14
1) Mats Hummels (Borussia Dortmund) – 7.32
Virgil van Dijk, who suffered a serious knee injury late on in the year, doesn’t make the top four.
The stats really aren’t very kind to Liverpool players, are they?!
Hummels was comfortably the best centre-back in Europe’s top five leagues in 2020.
Perhaps surprisingly, he’s followed by Burnley’s Tarkowski.
Ramos makes the top three. He is still one of the very best defenders in the world at the age of 34.
4) Leon Goretzka (Bayern Munich) – 7.43
3) Joshua Kimmich (Bayern Munich) – 7.50
2) Rodrigo de Paul (Udinese) – 7.56
1) Kevin De Bruyne (Manchester City) – 7.72
Bayern Munich’s brilliant midfield duo – Goretzka and Kimmich – were integral to the club’s dominance in 2020.
But, according to stats, they were no where near as good as Man City’s De Bruyne.
The Belgian scored eight times and recorded 15 assists in the Premier League in 2020.
4) Hakan Calhanoglu (AC Milan) – 7.46
3) Papu Gomez (Atalanta) 7.49
2) Thomas Muller (Bayern Munich) – 7.56
1) Bruno Fernandes (Manchester United) – 7.68
Calhanoglu, Gomez and Muller were all good in 2020.
But Fernandes, who has been exquisite since joining Man United in 2020, takes top spot.
The 26-year-old contributed directly to 32 goals in 29 appearances for United in 2020. Those are outrageous numbers for a midfielder.
4) Domenico Berardi (Sassuolo) – 7.39
3) Mohamed Salah (Liverpool) – 7.49
2) Angel Di Maria (PSG) – 7.50
1) Lionel Messi (Barcelona) – 8.54
Many thought that Messi wasn’t at his best in 2020. The stats prove that there is simply no basis to that argument.
With an 8.54 rating, Messi was comfortably the best player in Europe’s top five leagues last year.
He scored 19 times and recorded 16 assists in La Liga in 2020. He was given a perfect 10/10 rating in six games.
The Argentine legend is still incredible at 33 years old.
4) Jack Grealish (Aston Villa) – 7.45
3) Matheus Cunha (Hertha Berlin) – 7.57
2) Cristiano Ronaldo (Juventus) – 7.86
1) Kylian Mbappe (Paris Saint-Germain) – 8.01
Grealish has statistically been the best left-winger in the Premier League in 2020. His rating was higher than Sadio Mane’s.
Ronaldo is now in his late 30s but he continues to shine at Juventus. He scored 33 goals in 29 league matches last year.
But his numbers weren’t quite as good as Mbappe’s.
The French star scored 19 times and recorded five assists in 21 Ligue 1 games in 2020.
4) Erling Haaland (Borussia Dortmund) – 7.58
3) Harry Kane (Tottenham) – 7.64
2) Zlatan Ibrahimovic (AC Milan) – 7.74
1) Robert Lewandowski (Bayern Munich) – 8.17
Lewandowski can consider himself extremely unlucky not to win the Ballon d’Or last year, which was cancelled due to the pandemic.
The Polish striker was statistically the second best player in Europe’s top five leagues in 2020, having scored 32 times in the Bundesliga.
His goals were crucial as Bayern won everything there was to win last year.
Ibrahimovic continues to defy his age. Now 38, Zlatan scored 20 goals for AC Milan in Serie A last year.
Kane and Haaland also make the top four after having stunning years.