10 of the Most Glaring Omissions From the Best FIFA Shortlists

Nov 25, 2020, 9:15 PM GMT
Thomas Müller
How this man didn't make the cut we'll never know | Alexander Hassenstein/Getty Images
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Having individual awards in a team sport in a strange concept.

Judging a singular players performance when they are part of a whole is challenging and it is unsurprising that nominee lists are often wrong.

Sometimes, omissions are so glaring that you just can't help but go, 'huh?'. We had a few of these moments when gazing upon the Best FIFA shortlists so we've decided to vent in the form of this article. Enjoy.

Coach

1. Chris Wilder (Sheffield United)

Chris Wilder
Wilder worked miracles at Bramall lane | Pool/Getty Images

At the beginning of the 2019/2020 season, Sheffield United were universally tipped for Premier League relegation.

The Blades' squad lacked star power and their manager, Chris Wilder, was a lower league journeyman not deemed worthy of being in the top flight.

Despite this gloomy forecast, Wilder's men were a revelation. They left any fears of the drop behind early on and even briefly flirted with the idea of European qualification.

As well as this, Wilder also popularised the use of overlapping centre-backs - a tactical traits that has been replicated by many sides this season. What a visionary.

2. Kjetil Knutsen (Bodo/Glimt)

Kjetil Knutsen
Knutsen took on Milan in the Europa League recently | Jonathan Moscrop/Getty Images

Based in a city of just 50,000 based just north of the Arctic circle, Bodo/Glimt manager Kjetil Knutsen completed an incredible turnaround in 2020.

During the 2019 Eliteserien campaign, they finished 14 points shy of giants Molde in second. They did not make many signings in the transfer window but that did not stop Knutsen masterminding their romp to the title this season.

At the time of writing, Glimt have played 25, won 22, drawn two and lost just once, securing their maiden Norwegian championship with a win over Stromsgodset recently.

That's what proper management looks like.

3. Gareth Ainsworth (Wycombe Wanderers)

Gareth Ainsworth
He doesn't look like a football manager does he? | Catherine Ivill/Getty Images

These days, you get arrested and thrown in jail just for playing old-fashion, English, long ball football.

That's why it's was such a pleasure when Gareth Ainsworth managed to guide lowly Wycombe Wanderers to the Championship while registering a pass completion rate of just 55.5% - the lowest in League One by some margin.

It may not have been pretty, but Ainsworth's ability to guide his cheaply assembled squad to within one promotion of the Premier League should have been recognised.

4. Gian Piero Gasperini (Atalanta)

Gian Piero Gasperini
Gasperini has revolutionised Atalanta and got results | Alessandro Sabattini/Getty Images

Before Gian Piero Gasperini came along, Atalanta were a mere footnote in calcio's recent history.

Since taking over in 2016, the 62-year-old football purist has transformed La Dea into the most watchable team on the planet. Gasperini's side bagged no less than 98 goals during the 2019/2020 season, even briefly positioning themselves as outsiders for the Scudetto.

In Europe they were similarly electric, going within seconds of reaching the semi finals only to suffer heartbreak against Paris Saint-Germain.

5. Jorge Jesus (Flamengo/Benfica)

Jorge Jesus
Jorge Jesus carved out legendary status at Flamengo | Quality Sport Images/Getty Images

Jorge Jesus may have only spent 13 months in the Flamengo hot seat, but he departed the club in July a living legend.

After capturing the Copa Libertadores in November 2019, he went on to have an even better 2020, winning no less than three more trophies. He led Flamengo to the Supercopa do Brasil, Recopa Sudamericana and the Campeonato Carioca before returning to Benfica in the summer.

He departed Brazil with a 81.3% win ratio. He's also one of the only managers to win more trophies than they experienced defeats at a club.

Players

6. Joshua Kimmich (Bayern Munich)

Joshua Kimmich
Kimmich is one of the best players on the planet | Alexander Hassenstein/Getty Images

There is not a more complete footballer on the planet than Joshua Kimmich.

His move into midfield has paralleled a similar shift that Germany legend Phillippe Lahm made and early signs suggest Lahm 2.0 could go on to have an even better career.

The German is the beating heart of Hansi Flick's all conquering Bayern Munich - the same team that won a treble this year don't forget - and yet he's somehow been overlooked by FIFA.

A truly despicable decision.

7. Thomas Muller (Bayern Munich)

Thomas Mueller
Comedian first, footballer second | Alexander Hassenstein/Getty Images

Thomas Muller's 2020 redemption arc has been something straight out of an Oscar nominated best picture.

The raumdeuter came into the year still emotionally damaged from Niko Kovac's harsh treatment but he soon became a vital part of Flick's system.

Muller managed nine assists in the second half of the 2019/2020 Bundesliga season, playing virtually every minute as Die Roten stormed towards the title. He also netted in the DFB-Pokal semi final and in his side's 8-2 humiliation of Barcelona, putting to bed any lingering doubts that Kovac may have been right to phase him out of the first team.

8. Erling Haaland (Borussia Dortmund)

Erling Haaland
A future award winner for sure | DeFodi Images/Getty Images

Erling Haaland will appear on plenty of Player of the Year lists before his career ends. Even still, it's remains pretty unfair he's been overlooked for this one.

The 2020 Golden Boy has been in scintillating form for what seems like forever, toppling goalscoring records like they're dominoes.

Some highlights from his year so far include grabbing a hat trick on his Borussia Dortmund debut, netting a Champions League brace against Paris Saint-Germain and scoring four times against Hertha Berlin.

9. Karim Benzema (Real Madrid)

Karim Benzema
Benzema has enjoyed a renaissance of late | Angel Martinez/Getty Images

After being written off by many, Karim Benzema became Real Madrid's most important attacking player in 2020.

Despite winning La Liga, Los Blancos were far from vintage at times, often relying on Benzema to pull them through games. His winner in February's Madrid derby was the most obvious example of this but it was far from only time he came through for his team.

Benzema has continued to impress this season. Perhaps he's experiencing a second career peak?

10. Serge Gnabry (Bayern Munich)

Serge Gnabry
Gnabry has been incredible in Europe in 2020 | Julian Finney/Getty Images

DON'T SAY IT. DON'T SAY IT. DON'T SAY IT.

You know, Serge Gnabry couldn't even get in the West Brom team a few years ago?!

DAMN. We were so close.

Gnabry was left the memory of a disastrous spell at The Hawthorns behind him this year, continuing his transformation into one of the most clinical forwards in world football.

The former Arsenal man was particularly key in Bayern's Champions League triumph, netting in each knockout round except the final.

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