2020 was a unique year. The damn corona disrupted our lives and cut off two whole months of football. France Football has decided, in an unusual and controversial way, not to award the Golden Ball Award, the most important personal title in a calendar year. FIFA on the other hand will celebrate the great footballers and tonight (Thursday) will reveal the big winner of the award “THE BEST”, when Robert Lewandowski, Leo Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo reached the last line. In honor of the event, we selected the 10 best players for the Corona year.
It should be clarified, common to all the players on the list is that they met at least one of the following conditions. In my opinion, the most important thing in the selection is the contribution of that player to team achievement, and in the absence of a World Cup or Euro, in such a year most of the weight fell on the Champions League (and less on local leagues), so five of the selected are Lisbon finalists. The second important element is the ability of the players to produce prominent numbers, and here the emphasis is on attacking players. As for defensive players, we chose three, in analyzing their importance to teams and their impact that is often felt when not playing.
There are a lot of players missing from the selection that you would easily put on the list of the 10 best players in the world. But the idea was to stick to 2020, to individual and team achievements, to the ability of those players to maintain stability over time. Therefore, there were those who, with great sorrow, fell between the chairs. Their names will surely be revealed in talkbacks. With them sorry.
10. Cristiano Ronaldo (Juventus) – In any other season, the Portuguese was probably ranked higher, and although he is one of the three finalists for the FIFA award, there were better players than him in 2020. Still, the CR7 numbers give him a place of honor in the opening ten. Cristiano led the Yuba for the ninth consecutive championship – perhaps its least impressive in this glorious run. 31 goals scored in Serie A in 2019/20 and finished as the top scorer only for Chiro Immobilia. If you only refer to 2020, then the Portuguese has 31 goals in 29 League games.Of course if the old lady had been more successful in Europe, Cristiano would have gotten more likes.
9. Leo Messi (Barcelona) – For the first time since 2014, Barcelona and Messi finished a season without a championship, trophy or Champions League. The professional failure that culminated in an 8-2 draw with Bayern Munich in August, lowers the flea, the winner of the last Golden Ball, a few notches down the exclusive list. Nor does the fact that Barça have continued to falter since the start of the season add points to it. So why did the genius of the generation enter the top 10? In the shadow of the Blaugrana crisis, it is hard to ignore a season in which he finished as the king of cooking (21) and goals (25) of the Spanish league with an exceptional double-double, even by his high standards. Messi is not at his peak, but, managed to give some magic moments in 2020 to convince us.
8. Marcinius (PSG) Following the departure of Thiago Silva, the 26-year-old brake officially became PSG captain at the start of the season. In practice, this responsibility has been placed on his shoulders already in the Final 8 in Lisbon. To me, Marcinius was one of the two most significant players in Paris’ run to the first Champions League final in its history. In his sixth season at the club, the Brazilian took command in midfield, with the injury of Marco Verratti, and even scored the dramatic equalizer against Atlanta in the quarter-finals and a few days later scored the first in a 3-0 win over Leipzig in the semi-finals. Brake, contact, soul player, leader, captain and true winner.
7. Manuel Neuer (Bayern Munich) – At the FIFA awards ceremony of the year, for some reason separates the goalkeepers from the field players. This season there were a number of goalkeepers who stood out, such as Thibaut Courtois from Real Madrid and Allison from Liverpool. Neuer gets the top spot on our list because his contribution 2020, was there for Bayern in the historic run to win the Champions League, when in the final game he provided a number of incredible saves and kept a clean sheet six times in the 11 games in the factory. “Mano was amazing throughout the season. Unbelievable. A league of its own, “German coach Joachim Lev told him after winning the UEFA goalkeeper of the season title.
Sergio Ramos (Real Madrid) In just the past year, the veteran stopper has recorded three incredible milestones: he crossed the 100-goal mark in a Real Madrid uniform, became the European record holder in national team games and became the most prolific defensive player in the history of the Spanish league. Ramos, who has seen and won every possible team title during his career, has issued a great personal season and has been one of the significant factors in the Blancos winning the Corona Championship, with 6 goals in the last 11 games in June. The Spaniard’s greatness, is measured even when he is not playing, and without him Real looks completely different, even a little bewildered and that is reason enough to prefer him over Kerim Benzema or Thibaut Courtois.
5. Virgil Van Dyke (Liverpool) – Since a player is selected based on a calendar season, Liverpool’s incredible achievement is dim. Everyone will agree that Jürgen Klopp’s team secured the championship between August 2019 and February 2020. Then came an understandable decline, the corona plague, securing the championship title for the first time in 30 years and instability in the 20/21 opener. But since the achievement cannot be ignored, it is worth placing one Liverpool on the list and the choice was difficult. Van Dyke, who many thought deserved to win the Golden Ball in 2019, is the best of the candidates, mainly because of his diversity in the game, his stability, lack of mistakes, the quiet he radiated and the fact that he changed the DNA of the Reds.
4. Kevin de Bruyne (Manchester City) The redhead was selected as the player of the season in the Premier League on behalf of the players after setting a personal record in scoring goals (13) and equaling the mythical record of Thierry Henry in the number of assists (20). In my opinion, the best player in the Premier League, could have screwed up higher if he had also translated his numbers into winning the championship or at least qualifying for the Champions League final. His Manchester City finished as runners-up and were surprisingly eliminated in the Champions League quarter-finals. However, one should not ignore the phenomenal ability it has displayed over many months, even if it is currently slightly declining. The best connection in Europe.
3. Neymar (PSG) – 2020 is the year in which Neymar became the most valuable player in the world on paper, the most valuable player in the world on the grass. The Brazilian, admittedly missed two precious months following the cancellation of the French league, but led Paris Saint-Germain to the place he aspired to since being acquired by the Qataris – the Champions League final. Neymar was its undisputed star in reaching the peak moment in Lisbon with refreshing performances against Atlanta and Leipzig and to put it in numbers, then the Brazilian scored 8 goals and cooked 2 in his last 10 games in the most glittering factory of them all. With all due respect to Killian Ambape, Neymar was the central man of Paris in her successful campaign in Europe.
2. Joshua Kimich (Bayern Munich) – What a great blessing for a coach who can use a player in several roles. The Bayern Munich full-back was moved to the right-back position in the Final 8 following the injury of Benjamin Favre and did the job phenomenally. A goal and a brace against Barcelona in the quarter-finals, two braces against Lyon in the semi-finals and an assist for dessert to the winning goal of Kingsley Coman in the Champions League final. Enzy Flick’s dogboy is the real brain that drives the wheels of the Bavarian machine that will end the corona year with similar success rates to Pfizer and Moderna.
1. Robert Lewandowski (Bayern Munich) – Let the titles speak for themselves: the top scorer in Germany 19/20, the top scorer in the German Cup 19/20, the top scorer in the Champions League 19/20, the top scorer in the five senior leagues 20/21, the player who scored the most goals in all competitions in 2020 And the one who scored at every stage in the champions, except for the final. German champion, German Cup holder, European champion, German Super Cup holder and European Super Cup. UEFA Player of the Year, FIFA Player of the Year (apparently). The best striker in the world, the best player in the world in 2020, coming from the best team in the world. Is there any doubt at all?