The Best FIFA Men’s Player nominees were announced on Wednesday, with 11 players up for the award: Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo, Robert Lewandowski, Kevin De Bruyne, Sergio Ramos, Neymar, Kylian Mbappe, Mohamed Salah, Virgil van Dijk, Sadio Mane, and Thiago Alcantara.
And, rather unsurprisingly, an angry mob of football’s finest keyboard warriors followed, tweeting “Where’s this/that/whoever?!?!?!” (with slightly less tidy language, admittedly).
While the angry mob tends to be uncivilised, maybe they’ve got a point. Maybe there are some who should have been given their place on the shortlist.
Here is one player from each position who could, and probably should, have been nominated.
Goalkeeper – Manuel Neuer (Bayern Munich)
In recent seasons, there have been some doubts over the big German, with many believing that his best days were behind him. However, Manuel Neuer responded to these critics in fine fashion, producing a number of impressive displays that showed he was very much still the top dog.
But it wasn’t just about proving that he was the best in the world – it went to a level above that. During the 2019/20 campaign, people started to view Neuer as arguably the best goalkeeper of all time.
And who can argue? Three trophies, a man-of-the-match display in the Champions League final – the 34-year-old can consider himself unlucky to be ignored.
Honourable mentions: Alisson, Thibaut Courtois
Defender – Trent Alexander-Arnold (Liverpool)
Trent Alexander-Arnold achieved a lot in his first few years at Liverpool, but it was last term when his performances reached new heights.
Playing as a right-back all season, the young Englishman recorded 13 assists – a figure beaten only by Man City superstar Kevin De Bruyne. This was the highest number of assists ever reached by a defender, breaking the record of….well, Trent Alexander-Arnold from the season before.
However, this still wasn’t enough for him to get a nomination ahead of Sergio Ramos or teammate Virgil van Dijk. Maybe next year.
Honourable mentions: David Alaba, Andy Robertson, Alphonso Davies
Midfielder – Joshua Kimmich (Bayern Munich)
After already proving himself as arguably the world’s best full-back, Joshua Kimmich got a bit bored and conquered the midfield position as well.
Often going under the radar, Kimmich has quietly emerged as one of the best all-round players in the world, racking up incredible numbers at both ends of the pitch.
While Bayern Munich may be an astonishing side in all areas of the pitch, there’s a feeling that Kimmich is irreplaceable.
Honourable mentions: Thomas Muller, Jordan Henderson
Forward – Erling Braut Haaland (Borussia Dortmund)
This time last year, not many people knew who Erling Braut Haaland was. Fast forward a few games, and he’s now one of the most deadly goalscorers on the planet.
After an explosive start to the 2019/20 season at RB Salzburg, Haaland made the transfer to Borussia Dortmund, where he wasted no time in making an impression. Over the course of the season, he found the net 44 times in just 40 appearances.
And he’s picked up where he left off in the new campaign, bagging 17 in his first 13 games in all competitions as well as becoming the fastest ever player to 15 Champions League goals. At just 20 years old, it’s frightening to think what he could become.
Honourable Mentions: Karim Benzema, Angel Di Maria, Serge Gnabry