Salah, Mane, Ziyech: Best African XI of 2020 includes Liverpool, Chelsea and Man City stars

  • Kobe Tong

The best footballers of 2020 have all been acknowledged as the New Year confetti slowly settles.

Bayern Munich's Robert Lewandowski hoovered up the majority of the big awards as he entered 2021 with the UEFA Player of the Year and FIFA's 'The Best' awards on his mantelpiece. 

We've also looked at about ten million different types of starting XIs from the Premier League Team of the Year to every other major European competition and back again.

2020 in review

However, there's been one beacon of footballing awards that has been quieter than ever over the last 12 months and that's France Football, who are best known as the owners of the Ballon d'Or.

Due to the tumultuous global situation that came to define 2020, they decided against proceeding with their flagship award despite most footballing competitions eventually being able to continue.

Nevertheless, we are talking about one of the sport's most revered publications and just because the Ballon d'Or hasn't gone ahead, that doesn't mean they haven't been reviewing the year gone by.


Best African XI of 2020

In that, they've drawn up a fascinating XI of 2020's best players hailing from the continent of Africa, which is home to some of the most talented footballers on the planet.

And with almost half of the line-up playing their football in the Premier League, there are plenty of familiar faces for those who follow the English game.

The same can be said of Italy with three players plying their trade in the city of Milan alone, while the team is rounded off by a La Liga and Bundesliga representative to boot. Check out the XI below:

GK - Edouard Mendy (Chelsea)


RB - Achraf Hakimi (Inter Milan)

CB - Kalidou Koulibaly (Napoli)

CB - Djene Dakonam (Getafe)

LB - Ramy Bensebaini (Borussia Monchengladbach)


CM - Ismaël Bennacer (AC Milan)

CM - Franck Kessié (AC Milan)

RM - Riyad Mahrez (Manchester City)


CAM - Hakim Ziyech (Chelsea)

LM - Sadio Mane (Liverpool)

ST - Mohamed Salah (Liverpool)


Incredible XI

Holy moly. This team would take some serious beating.

The starting XI doesn't necessarily have as many 'big names' as last year, but make no mistake that the likes of Dakonam and Bensebaini have made a lasting impact over the last 12 months.

And if nothing else, it's brilliant to see the midfield duo of Kessié and Bennacer kept together because their role in AC Milan's thrilling start to the Serie A season shouldn't be underestimated.

Then, of course, there are the heavy-hitters of Mane and Salah, who got their hands on the Premier League trophy in 2020, scoring a combined 37 goals along the way to a remarkable 99 points.


So, yeh, it would be fair to say that one of the world's most beautiful, culturally-rich and historic continents also happens to be rather remarkable when it comes to producing incredible footballers.

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