Messi, Kante, Fernandes: The best XI in world football this season - no Cristiano Ronaldo

  • Kobe Tong

The 2020/21 season is officially done and dusted.

With Chelsea lifting the Champions League trophy after a 1-0 win over Manchester City, the curtain was drawn one of the most unique and crazy campaigns that the beautiful game has ever seen.

It’s been a bizarre and undulating eight months that ultimately saw City, Atletico Madrid, Inter Milan, Bayern Munich and Lille take the biggest prizes across Europe’s top five leagues.

2020/21 season

But before we wave goodbye to the 2020/21 campaign forever, turning our attention to Euro 2020 and the Copa America, we wanted to wrap things up in the most emphatic way possible.

In fact, here at GIVEMESPORT, we’re diving directly into the deep ocean of debating and inevitable controversy by deciding to select the best XI in world football across the latest season.

With so many world-class players lighting up the sport over the last few months, cramming just 11 into a starting line-up was easier said than done and some top performers were forced to miss out.

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Best XI in world football

However, we’re satisfied that our end product, albeit incredibly attacking, is true to our outlook on the campaign as a whole. Though, of course, bear in mind that it is just our opinion.

So, without further ado, be sure to check out the XI that we think has been the best of the best across the 2020/21 campaign down below:

GK: Jan Oblak (Atletico Madrid)

Shoutout to Emiliano Martinez and Mike Maignan, but it’s been another superhuman year from Oblak who bagged a fifth Ricardo Zamora Trophy with 18 clean sheets and only 25 goals conceded.


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RB: Joao Cancelo (Manchester City)

Cancelo has been here, there and everywhere in his sophomore season for City, marrying defensive solidity and offensive flair on the way to winning the Carabao Cup and Premier League crown.

CB: Jose Fonte (Lille)

What an inspiring journey it’s been for Fonte, 37, who has endured as the rock in Lille’s title-winning defence this season, marshalling them to no less than 20 league clean sheets with him on the pitch.


CB: Ruben Dias (Manchester City)

No debate here, is there? Dias has been an absolute colossus in City’s Golden Glove-winning defence and dropped a series of Herculean displays on the way to the Champions League final.

LB: Theo Hernandez (AC Milan)

With seven goals and five assists from the defensive flank, Hernandez has been a Swiss army knife of a player in Serie A this season and does just enough to pip Manchester United‘s Luke Shaw.


CM: N’Golo Kante (Chelsea)

With four Man of the Match displays in the Champions League knockout rounds, including the final, Kante was a one-man wrecking ball without whom Chelsea may never have reconquered Europe.

CM: Joshua Kimmich (Bayern Munich)

Arguably the world’s most complete midfielder, Kimmich has been the beating heart of Bayern’s Bundesliga champions with five goals, 14 assists and three Champions League MOTM plaques.


CAM: Bruno Fernandes (Manchester United)

Call him a ‘penalty merchant’ until you’re blue in the face, but there’s no getting away from the fact that 28 goals and 17 assists in 58 appearances is nothing short of mind-boggling for a midfielder.

CAM: Lionel Messi (Barcelona)

Has there been a better player in world football this calendar? It’s tough to argue otherwise with Messi skyrocketing his way to 38 goals in all competitions and a fifth Pichichi Trophy on the bounce.


ST: Robert Lewandowski (Bayern Munich)

It’s just a given that the European Golden Shoe winner gets the nod and Lewandowski was so lethal throughout 2020/21 that he equalled Gerd Muller’s Bundesliga record of 40 goals in a season.

ST: Erling Braut Haaland (Borussia Dortmund)

It feels so, so brutal leaving out everybody from Cristiano Ronaldo to Romelu Lukaku and Kylian Mbappe to Gerard Moreno, but none of them can top Haaland’s goalscoring tally this season. 

It only feels right that goals dictated our decision and with 41 goals in only 41 games, as well as topping the goalscoring charts in the Champions League, Haaland gets the not at just 20 years old.


Who would make your XI?

Trust me, we take no satisfaction in having to omit the likes of Ronaldo, Kevin De Bruyne, Harry Kane, Thomas Muller and so many more when they’ve also enjoyed stunning seasons.

But there are only 11 positions on the pitch, so we had to make some tough decisions and we’d be very curious as to how you’d wield the axe when it comes to 2020/21’s top performers.


As such, be sure to let us know your selections across our various social channels – and bring on a superb summer of football. We can’t wait to find out what the rest of 2021 has in store.

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