World XI: Welcome to World Class 2021


Ok, let's get this out of the way immediately:

You probably won't agree with the team we've selected for the 2021 World XI, and that's fine -everyone is entitled to their opinion.

All you need to remember before you angrily tweet at myself or the 90min Twitter account is that there was a carefully worked out method to building the team (or 'madness', in your opinion).

Armed with our famed #W2WC metric, the 90min team across seven languages deliberated and came up with it - so keep that in mind while reading the following...

1. Goalkeeper and defenders

Manuel Neuer (GK) - It's hard to argue with having one of the top five goalkeepers to ever live in between the sticks, is it?
#W2WC metric score: 479.

Trent Alexander Arnold (RB) - Retaining his place in the World XI, TAA has continued to perform at an exceptionally high level in 2020; even if Gareth Southgate doesn't want to admit it.
#W2WC metric score: 460.

Virgil van Dijk (CB) - He had his injury issues, sure, but you can't deny that (when fit) there's no better centre-back in the world than Van Dijk. Liverpool were barely a top four team while he was out, and since he's come back they're back to being title contenders. That says it all really.
#W2WC metric score: 461.

Giorgio Chiellini (CB) - If you watched any of Italy's Euro 2020 games you'll know why Chiellini has made this team. And if you didn't, read Chloe Beresford's article on why he's made the cut here.
#W2WC metric score: 456.

Andy Robertson (LB) - Is there a better two-way full-back in world football? No, there is not.
#W2WC metric: 457.

2. Midfielders

N'Golo Kante (DM) - The Chelsea man is a winner. He makes every team he ever plays for winners. And he's got the Premier League titles, the 2018 World Cup, and the UEFA Champions League winners' medal to prove it.
#W2WC metric score: 467

Marco Verratti (CM) - A truly wonderful little footballer. Both brilliant in the tackle and on the ball, Verratti is the premier midfielder in today's game. When he can stay fit, Paris Saint-Germain and Italy are very lucky to have him.
#W2WC metric score: 453.

Kevin De Bruyne (AM) - The Man City midfielder fended off some serious competition from the likes of Bruno Fernandes and Thomas Muller to secure his place in this team for a second consecutive year.
#W2WC matric score: 479.

3. Forwards

Mohamed Salah (RF) - Yep, ahead of Lionel Messi. And for good reason. Salah has been astonishingly good in 2021. Leanne Prescott has explained just how astonishingly good here.
#W2WC metric score: 502.

Robert Lewandowski (ST) - Yep, ahead of Cristiano Ronaldo. Of course ahead of Cristiano Ronaldo. Lewa is the best striker in the world right now and it's not even remotely close. He's scored 53 goals in 42 appearances in 2021, converting 28.7% of his shots on goal. Ludicrous stats for a ludicrous footballer who has managed to top the #W2WC 50 for a second year in a row.
#W2WC metric score: 508.

Kylian Mbappe (LF) - 2021 has been a year of growth for the most prodigious talent we've seen since Lionel Messi popped up in 2006. Julien Laurens has explained why for you here.
#W2WC metric score: 484.