As the year is coming to an end, we normally move ahead with lots of positives and high hopes. 2020 on the other hand has been a pretty odd year in football as well, giving us pain, suffering, sadness, and boredom at its peak.
There was an event each month to pile up on our misery. Many legends passed away, leaving us all in tears. Diego Maradona’s death was a saddening one for the football universe. But this year had made us so potent, that we were all prepared for the worst possible outcome.
The Pandemic had spread to such an extent that all the football tournaments had to be suspended for a long period of time. Thanks to the tough grinding by our front-line workers, the fans had a glimmer of hope that the beautiful game would soon resume.
Since the resumption, we had plenty of intriguing matches as well as results, bringing back the long-awaited feeling that we were all hanging on for. Barcelona received a hammering from Bayern Munich as they 8-2 many goals, a classic joke Thomas Muller would be proud of.
Bayern won the Champions League defeating PSG. The Premier League holders, Liverpool were handed their worst defeat, 7-2 by Aston Villa. And just like these, many more treats were there that bought back the rightful football feeling.
So as we bid adieu to this baffling year, let us hope that 2021 will not be equally bad. Keeping our fingers crossed, let us look back at this year’s best players that have made an impact.
Football Express will be ranking the Top-10 central and defensive midfielders who have made a solid impact this year.
TOP-10 MIDFIELDERS OF 2020:
10. FABINHO – LIVERPOOL, BRAZIL
The Defensive midfielder joined Liverpool in 2018. In his first season with the club, he won the Champions League trophy. A year later, he won the first Premier League trophy with the club.
He has been a solid addition to the team and his presence is always felt. He made his 100th appearance for the club last week and will remain an important part of the team. His adaptability to the given situation is what makes him a Brazilian masterpiece. He has also shown that he is equally good as a defender after Liverpool lost Virgil Van Dijk to a horror injury.
He was a full-back at his previous clubs, AS Monaco and Real Madrid.
9. MARCO VERRATTI – PARIS SAINT-GERMAIN, ITALY
This year has been tough for many players, but for Verratti, it was tougher. After the resumption, he got injured and was sidelined for a certain period. He later appeared as a substitute in the semifinal and final of the Champions League. His fitness was a real problem after the new season started, and his absence was deeply felt in the team.
But at his peak, he is a passing master, and the offense benefits a lot with his presence. He was a part of the team that won the domestic treble. He also is an important part of his reborn national team.
8. FRENKIE DE JONG – BARCELONA, NETHERLAND
Frenkie de Jong may not have got the ideal start to his Barcelona career, but his performance shows that the club has a gem in their hand.
The Dutch can play any position in the midfield. He has been praised by many for his ability to keep a balance in performance as an attacking as well as a defensive position. He has often played as a defender back in his Ajax days. As a result of which, his role as a Defensive midfielder has been prioritised. He has one of the best pass accuracies of all midfielders.
This season he has featured in all of the matches for Barcelona under the guidance of the Dutch coach, Ronald Koeman.
7. FRANCK YANNICK KESSIE – AC MILAN, IVORY COAST
The talented youngster initially joined AC Milan from Atlanta on a two-year loan deal, before making it permanent in 2019.
AC Milan is the only club left in Europe who are yet to lose a match in the League. And Franck has played an essential part in keeping that record intact. The Ivorian is one of the best midfielders in Serie A right now. He has shown match-winning performances and has been a driving force for the club who are challenging for the title this season.
In 12 appearances so far, he has notched up 4 goals and 2 assists.
6. CASEMIRO – REAL MADRID, BRAZIL
The backbone of the club. Casemiro’s contribution is so immense that the team struggle’s to strive in his absence. He has been really solid for the club and has appeared right when they needed a saviour.
The Brazilian has been an intrinsic part of Zidane’s Real Madrid. His defensive presence makes other players play hassle-free. His contribution at the end of last season helped them win the La Liga title.
He has already scored 3 goals this season, 1 shy of last season as a defensive-midfielder.
5. YOURI TIELEMANS – LEICESTER CITY, BELGIUM
The Belgian has been improving every season after joining the Foxes initially on loan in 2018. He is the youngest Belgian player to feature in the Champions League.
Tielemans has been the pillar for Leicester and has played an immense role in making Leicester City a top-6 team. Since his arrival, he has claimed 11 goals so far and his performances have grabbed attention from European giants.
He was part of the international team that finished 3rd in the FIFA World Cup 2018.
4. JORDAN HENDERSON – LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND
The English midfielder’s contribution to the club is unfathomable. The patience and loyalty he has for the club proved why he deserves to lead them to more glory other than what they achieved.
Henderson has been a part of Liverpool since 2011. During his initial days, he has notched up a few goals and has played a lot of games. Since Jurgen Klopp’s arrival, he has humbled himself as a complete squad player. He covers literally every grass and brings that energy to the team which drives them to win games.
His best contribution has been leading the club to Champions League and Premier League glory.
3. TONI KROOS – REAL MADRID, GERMANY
If consistency was a person, Toni Kroos would be the man to define it. He is the supreme version of passing. He is so good at his job, that he is the only player to have his average pass percentage above 92%.
Kroos joined Los Blancos in 2014 from the German giants, Bayern Munich. He made himself comfortable at Madrid right after joining. He does not have many goals to his name, but the way he plays the ball is exquisite.
His vision is like no other players. His technique, reading of the game, and the ability to think of possibilities to play the ball make us think that he has been doing this since birth.
He has won 3 Champions League in a row and also won 2 La Liga titles.
2. THIAGO ALCANTARA – LIVERPOOL, SPAIN
Thiago is one of those midfielders, who belongs to the elite category. He recently made his move to Premier League when he joined Liverpool in the summer.
Thiago formerly played for Barcelona from 2009-2013. He then had a fallout with the club and later joined the German Champions. The Spaniard was a part of the team that thrashed the Catalans 8-2 this year. He is a naturally talented player with immense dribbling skills and has got praises from legends like Xavi. His skills make him the perfect central midfielder, although he prefers to play an attacking role.
Since his move to Liverpool, he has not been able to make an impact. He made 2 appearances for the club after which an injury has kept him sidelined.
1. JOSHUA KIMMICH – BAYERN MUNICH, GERMANY
The confusing thing is, we don’t know which position we should feature this piece of a gem in. He has completely sparkled in the positions he has been given with. He might even take Manuel Neuer’s spot if he is asked to play there.
Last season he played as a central defender, right-back, and midfielder. The interesting part is, he was pure in all the roles. The German has been instrumental in every match he has played in. He was crucial last season as his club went on to win their first treble since 2012-13 season.
He would top the list of full-backs as well and indeed the future of Bayern Munich who tops our list of Top-10 Midfielders of 2020.