The New Year is always a time for reflection in the world of football.
More than any other year, 2020 made a lasting impact on the beautiful game and not for the better with competitions such as the Premier League and Champions League shook up more than ever.
It's been thoroughly bizarre to see legendary arenas like Camp Nou and Old Trafford host games without a single fan in attendance, not to mention the huge three-month delay to proceedings.
Top 100 players of 2020
However, in the spirit of keeping things glass-half-full, let's focus on the anomalous positives of 2020 and hope that more of them burrow their way into our beloved sport across 2021.
Here at GIVEMESPORT, we've celebrated some of the best male footballers of the last 12 months by drafting up a top 100, which you can check out here to see our full selections.
But we decided that it only made sense to breakdown some of the key areas from the century of world-class performers depending on their positions.
Key positions' top performers
Besides, at the end of the day, it's nigh on impossible to compare the performances of a goalkeeper at the top of his game to a striker scoring 50 goals a season or a midfielder rolling in 30 assists.
So, we've gone through our rankings with a fine-tooth comb and compiled the top five for each of the key positions: goalkeeper, full-back, centre-back, central midfield, forward and striker.
Sadly, the competition was so tough that there weren't enough players for the minutia of left midfielders, right-backs and so on, while, yes, certain players - we're looking at you, Joshua Kimmich - could go in multiple categories.
Top 5 players in each position
But without further ado, you can check out our rankings for the five best players in each key position based on our top 100 male footballers of 2020 down below:
5. Keylor Navas (Paris Saint-Germain)
4. Ederson (Manchester City)
3. Alisson Becker (Liverpool)
2. Jan Oblak (Atletico Madrid)
1. Manuel Neuer (Bayern Munich)
The quality of goalkeeping this year has been nothing short of staggering, but you only have to look at Neuer's faultless display in the Champions League final to see why he's the world's best shot-stopper once again.
5. Kyle Walker (Manchester City)
4. Achraf Hakimi (Borussia Dortmund and Inter Milan)
3. Andrew Robertson (Liverpool)
2. Trent Alexander-Arnold (Liverpool)
1. Alphonso Davies (Bayern Munich)
There's been a few chinks in Alexander-Arnold's armour this season, but make no mistake, he runs Davies - complete with THAT assist against Barcelona - very close and Reds teammate Robertson isn't far behind either.
5. Marquinhos (Paris Saint-Germain)
4. Thiago Silva (Paris Saint-Germain and Chelsea)
3. David Alaba (Bayern Munich)
2. Virgil van Dijk (Liverpool)
1. Sergio Ramos (Real Madrid)
One of the toughest positions to call, there's no doubt about it, but Van Dijk's injury misfortune and Ramos' astonishing scoring record that saw him reach 100 Real goals means the plaque goes to Spain.
5. Jordan Henderson (Liverpool)
4. Bruno Fernandes (Manchester United)
3. Joshua Kimmich (Bayern Munich)
2. Thiago Alcantara (Bayern Munich and Liverpool)
1. Kevin De Bruyne (Manchester City)
It took the Premier League's best player, complete with a record-equalling 20 assists, to deny Bayern the win here and credit to Liverpool's inspiring captain for breathing down Fernandes' neck in fifth place.
5. Sadio Mane (Liverpool)
4. Thomas Muller (Bayern Munich)
3. Mohamed Salah (Liverpool)
2. Lionel Messi (Barcelona)
1. Neymar (Paris Saint-Germain)
Sure, the stats would tell you that Messi trumps Neymar, but it was the PSG superstar who almost single-handedly inspired his team to a Champions League final with some of 2020's most breath-taking displays.
5. Harry Kane (Tottenham Hotspur)
4. Kylian Mbappe (Paris Saint-Germain)
3. Erling Braut Haaland (Borussia Dortmund)
2. Cristiano Ronaldo (Juventus)
1. Robert Lewandowski (Bayern Munich)
Come on, who else could it be? Lewandowski has been the world's best player this year, never mind centre-forward, but credit to Ronaldo and Haaland for breaking records for their age at either end of the spectrum.
Do you agree or have we got things wildly wrong? Well, either way, half the joy of football is the innumerable ways you can interpret and enjoy it, so everyone to themselves.
But for all the uncertainty and chaos of 2020, I think we can all agree that Lewandowski has shone the brightest of all. Only time will tell whether he can repeat that feat in 2021...News Now - Sport News