The Best FIFA Men's Player Nominees - Ranked

Nov 25, 2020, 1:46 PM GMT
Robert Lewandowski
SPOILER ALERT - This man ranks pretty highly | Pool/Getty Images

With the Ballon d'Or cancelled, 2020 could be the year that The Best FIFA Awards cement their position as the most prestigious gongs in football.

There are several accolades on offer at next month's virtual ceremony, including the Men's Player award. There are 11 contenders in all with some of the nominees - and the absence of Thomas Muller - raising a few eyebrows.

Here are all 11 recognised players ranked by how likely they are to take home the trophy.

11. Virgil van Dijk

Van Dijk celebrating the Reds title win | PHIL NOBLE/Getty Images

Until recently, 2020 was looking like a pretty good year for the Dutchman. He finally scooped a Premier League winner's medal with Liverpool - not missing a single minute of action along the way - and was set to be ever present this season as well.

Then, Jordan Pickford happened, bringing the Dutchman's year to an abrupt end.

Van Dijk will not play again in 2020, meaning he'll have to make do with 11th on our list.

10. Sadio Mane

Mane played a key role in Liverpool's title charge | BULENT KILIC/Getty Images

Sadio Mane has continued to cement his position as one of the best left wingers in the world this year.

Another member of Liverpool's title-winning side, it may feel that Mane should be higher on the list.

However, the Senegal international only managed seven goals and one assist during the second half of the 2019/2020 campaign. These are impressive numbers, but not quite enough to move him higher than 10 in a very tough field.

9. Thiago Alcantara

One of the many trophies that Thiago Alcantara got his hands on in 2020 | MANU FERNANDEZ/Getty Images

Thiago Alcantara's 2020 has been a rollercoaster.

From sealing a treble with Bayern Munich, to being the subject of one of the most tireless transfer sagas of the summer, the Spaniard has attracted a lot of column inches.

Thiago played his role in Die Roten's near flawless year but he was far from the team's driving force. That, combined with his injury hit start to life in Merseyside, means only just scrapes into our top 10.

8. Mohamed Salah

Dejan Lovren, Mohamed Salah
One of the best players in the world and Mohamed Salah | Pool/Getty Images

Mohamed Salah has been so consistently productive since moving to Liverpool, we all run the risk of becoming desensitised to his brilliance.

In the second half of the 2019/2020 season alone, the Egyptian King registered 16 goal involvements as the Reds romped to their first Premier League title in 30 years.

Salah has started off this season strongly as well and we expect to see him making the shortlist for the Best FIFA awards for many years to come.

7. Kevin De Bruyne

Kevin De Bruyne is probably the best midfielder in the world
Kevin De Bruyne is probably the best midfielder in the world | Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

The PFA Player of the Year was a rare bright spot in a pretty underwhelming season for Manchester City.

It's not just his superb assist numbers that stand out, it's the fact that every promising City attack in 2020 seemed to originate from a bit of De Bruyne magic.

His start to the new season has been slightly tame by his own high standards but few could argue that the Belgian is the best midfielder on the planet.

6. Sergio Ramos

Sergio Ramos, Antonio Gomez-Reino
Sergio Ramos continues to impress as he reaches the tail end of his career | Quality Sport Images/Getty Images

It would not be an overstatement to say that Sergio Ramos almost single handedly dragged Real Madrid over the line to claim the 2019/2020 La Liga title.

The centre-back's scoring record towards the business end of the season was sensational with the Spaniard netting six goals after the coronavirus shutdown.

Despite being 34 years old, Ramos has continued to inspire his troops this season, netting in El Clasico back in October and also grabbing the winner against Real Betis.

5. Kylian Mbappe

Kylian Mbappe
Kylian Mbappe has had an excellent year | Catherine Steenkeste/Getty Images

Judging Kylian Mbappe's performance in 2020 comes with the caveat that the Ligue 1 season was curtailed with a sizeable chunk of fixtures still to go.

Also, there's the whole 'Farmer's League' argument, which we'd rather not get into right now...

Even with these footnotes, Mbappe makes our top five. The speedster had decisive impact in winning PSG some silverware, netting a hat trick in the Coupe de France semi finals and changing the game against Atalanta in the Champions League quarters.

4. Neymar

Neymar's finest hour was a brace against Borussia Dortmund | UEFA - Handout/Getty Images

Narrowly beating his clubmate to number four spot is Neymar. The Brazilian kicked off 2020 is scintillating form, racking up 18 goal involvements in the second half of last season.

Some of these came at big moments as well. He scored a brace against Borussia Dortmund to secure his side's passage to the Champions League quarter. He then provided assists in each of the subsequent rounds to help the Parisians reach their first European final.

Although they fell just short, losing to Bayern Munich, Neymar will be able to take some solace from his winning goal in the Coup de France final.

3. Lionel Messi

Lionel Messi
Lionel Messi endured a rare trophyless year | Alex Caparros/Getty Images

Barcelona's 2020 has been horrific but it would have been a hell of a lot worse if it wasn't for Lionel Messi.

La Pulga remains the best playmaker in the world by some distance, registering 16 assists in the second half of the 2019/2020 season, on top of scoring 13 goals.

His season may have been trophyless, but at least he'll be getting a nice bronze trophy to put on his mantlepiece next month.

2. Cristiano Ronaldo

Cristiano Ronaldo - Soccer Player
How does he get his hair to stay like that? | Stefano Guidi/Getty Images

Some say that Juventus are wrong to build their entire attack around Cristiano Ronaldo - but this method got results when it mattered last season.

After the restart in June, Ronaldo failed to score in just four of Juventus' Serie A games with his goals proving crucial in securing the Scudetto.

The legendary forward can also hardly be blamed for the Old Lady's poor performances in Europe. With their backs to the wall in a their round of 16 second leg against Lyon, Ronaldo scored a brace - only to be let down by some poor defending.

1. Robert Lewandowski

Robert Lewan-GOAL-ski am I right? | MATTHEW CHILDS/Getty Images

If Robert Lewandowski does not win this award, we riot.

The 32-year-old's 2020 has been a tale of smashing records, embarrassing defences and winning trophies than most players can only dream of.

Lewandowski has proved himself capable of scoring any type of goal, failing to find the net in just nine of his 47 appearances during the 2019/2020 campaign. What's scary is that he's somehow managed to ramp up his scoring exploits this season as well.

After year upon year of Ronaldo and Messi dominance, this is finally Lewandowski's time to shine.