European Team of the Year: Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi make cut but only one Liverpool player features


A tumultuous 2020 still managed to produce plenty of football despite the COVID-19 pandemic. It also featured some unpredictable results and surprising individual displays.

We’ve picked 22 of the best performing players in Europe’s top five leagues over the course of the year and, with your help, narrow it down to the best XI.

Using polls on our Instagram stories, we pit players in each position against each other and let you decide who deserves to make the cut.

Follow our Instagram page to get involved.

Here’s what our European Team of the Year looks like:

GK: Manuel Neuer (Bayern Munich)

He seemed to be in decline during the previous couple of years and had his Germany spot come under threat from Marc-Andre ter Stegen but he’s now back to his best. His superb Champions League final heroics secured Bayern’s treble.

RB: Trent Alexander-Arnold (Liverpool)

He has revolutionised the way we think about a full-back’s role in the team. With excellent technique and vision he stands out. A genuine goal threat and playmaker even from right-back, he was key to Liverpool’s long-awaited league triumph.

CB: Sergio Ramos (Real Madrid)

Everyone looked at the attackers and wondered who would step into Cristiano Ronaldo’s shoes but it’s Sergio Ramos who’s emerged as Real Madrid’s talisman. He leads by example with his uncompromising defending and eye for goal.

CB: David Alaba (Bayern Munich)

Adapted seamlessly to reinvent himself as a centre-back after being renowned as one of the best left-backs in the game. His pace, elegance and composure on the ball facilitates Bayern’s build-up play and has helped them dominate in 2020.

LB: Alphonso Davies (Bayern Munich)

One of the breakout stars of the year. He supplements an already stacked Bayern attack with his supreme attacking play. His exhilarating forward runs with pace and power are a sight to behold.

CM: Kevin De Bruyne (Manchester City)

No one creates more chances or provides more assists than Kevin De Bruyne. His overall play including his energy, eye for goal and defensive contributions make him the best midfielder in the world.

CAM: Bruno Fernandes (Manchester United)

Breathing down the Belgian’s neck though is Bruno Fernandes who has all the traits to be the ultimate playmaker. He’s had a massive impact at Manchester United with 33 goal involvements in 30 games, taking them from being a top six team to potential title challengers.

CM: Joshua Kimmich (Bayern Munich)

Flawless in every role he adopts. Joshua Kimmich is exemplary whether played in midfield or at right-back. He pulls the strings for Bayern and sets the tempo but he’s more directly involved in creating chances as well. He created the most chances in 19/20 Champions League campaign.

FW: Lionel Messi (Barcelona)

This has not been his year but without him, things could be so much worse for Barcelona. His genius and sheer numbers are undeniable even in a tumultuous year. An outstanding playmaker and game-changer.

FW: Robert Lewandowski (Bayern Munich)

He won everything in 2020 and really should have a Ballon d’Or to go alongside his FIFA Best award. His 47 goals in 44 games this year for club and country speaks volumes. Simply the best player of 2020.

FW: Cristiano Ronaldo (Juventus)

Defying his age with remarkable efficiency, Cristiano Ronaldo continues to stagger having scored 33 Serie A goals this year. He’s a renowned goal-scoring machine but at Juventus, he’s become more, getting involved in the build-up play as well.

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