The European team of the 2020-21 season, according to WhoScored
There are also some surprising names from some of Europe’s less glamorous clubs, with the XI comprised from the best player in each position as determined by the highest average matching ratings the renowned football analytics website, which is determined by an algorithm of their statistical performance data.
Here’s the full XI, which is arranged in a 4-4-2 formation.
Emiliano Martinez – 7.0
Martinez found momentum by featuring between the sticks at Wembley as Arsenal won both the FA Cup and Community Shield and took that to Villa, making a vital penalty save on his debut and never looking back.
Only two goalkeepers in Europe’s top five leagues made more saves than the Argentinian, and they suffered relegation – Sheffield United’s Aaron Ramsdale and West Brom’s Sam Johnstone.
— DailyAFC (@DailyAFC) September 21, 2020
Joao Cancelo – 7.3
Fernandinho and Rodri being left out of Pep Guardiola’s XI for the Champions League final dominated all the chatter around the game, but Cancelo can also feel aggrieved to have been omitted off the back of the season he’s had.
Right-back for the purposes of this team, he could just as seamlessly slot in on the left, and was an integral part of Guardiola’s fluid, attack-minded City side that cruised to another Premier League title. Surprisingly, he only registered two goals and three assists in the league, but he was constantly involved going forward.
Mats Hummels – 7.3
Winning the DFB Pokal helped, but Borussia Dortmund had a Bundesliga campaign to forget, having failed to fulfill their potential as challengers to Bayern Munich’s crown, and left scrambling for Champions League qualification.
Their defensive record was far from great, shipping 46 goals in 34 games, but veteran defender Hummels nevertheless stood out.
Only two players in the division registered more interceptions, while at the other end he proved a handful, scoring five goals – no central defender in Europe’s top five leagues scored more – while registering 0.9 shots per game and 0.4 chances created.
Deservedly recalled by Joachim Loew for Germany’s Euro 2020 squad.
Willi Orban – 7.2
France Under-21 international defenders Dayot Upamecano and Ibrahima Konate earned big-money moves to Bayern Munich and Liverpool respectively, but it was their RB Leipzig team-mate Orban that made it into this side.
The Hungary international was a reliable presence in the Bundesliga’s best defence, while he also cropped up with four goals.
Theo Hernandez – 7.3
Thought of as a hothead and inferior to older brother Lucas Hernandez, Theo’s reputation has skyrocketed since he left the fringes at Real Madrid for San Siro.
He was named AC Milan’s Player Of The Season and got into the Serie A Team of the Year is his debut 2019-20 and has improved even further this season, notching seven goals and five assists from left-back.
A key player for the Rossoneri as they finally returned to the Champions League, and the only Serie A representative in this XI. But still, apparently not good enough for France’s Euro squad.
Gerard Moreno – 7.6
The 29-year-old Villarreal striker capped off the best season of his career to date with his 30th goal in all competitions in the Europa League final victory over Manchester United.
He played most of the campaign at centre-forward, but can also feature in a supporting role on the left or right, which explains his Garth Crooks-esque inclusion on the right wing here.
23 of his goals came in the league; only Lionel Messi scored more in La Liga. Well worth keeping an eye out to see if he can continue that fine form for Spain at the Euros.
Joshua Kimmich – 7.6
In spite of featuring at the base of Bayern Munich’s midfield, Kimmich scored four goals and hit double figures for assists – 10 – for the Bundesliga champions.
His knack for scoring absolute rockets was an added bonus.
JOSHUA KIMMICH THAT'S STUNNING 😵🤩 pic.twitter.com/ut41SFIW6K
— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) May 22, 2021
Kevin De Bruyne – 7.7
The Belgian’s 2020-21 campaign ended in tears, and he missed portions due to injury, but when he was fit and available he invariably tended to show how special he is.
He scored six goals and registered a further 12 assists for City, and registered 3.2 chances created per game – the highest average of any player in Europe’s top five leagues.
Kylian Mbappe – 7.7
Like Moreno on the other flank, Mbappe has been shunted out wide as an out-and-out winger for the purposes of this team.
PSG might have missed out on the Ligue 1 title, but it was another frighteningly good campaign from the 22-year-old. He scored 27 goals, seven more than anyone else in the French top flight, and registered a further seven assists.
Robert Lewandowski – 8.1
We doubt we could find anyone who is willing to argue with this selection.
Lewandowski continues to hit new heights, netting 41 goals in 29 Bundesliga appearances for Bayern Munich in 2020-21. Not only did he break Gerd Muller’s record that stood for 49 years, but he was awarded the European Golden Shoe for the most goals in the European leagues.
He’s so f*cking good.
Lionel Messi – 8.5
For a second consecutive season, Messi has the highest average rating on WhoScored and it’s not hard to see why.
He registered 30 goals and nine assists in 35 La Liga appearances, averaging a direct goal contribution every 77.5 minutes.
The fact that Barcelona only finished third despite having Messi in the side speaks volumes about the rest of their team.