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20 most memorable moments from Euro 2020

Following a thrilling month of football, Euro 2020 came to an end with Italy’s victory over England on Sunday at Wembley. Here’s a look at the 20 most memorable moments from a tournament with no shortage of highlights.

Bocelli kicks off proceedings in style

Italian tenor Andrea Bocelli kicked off the tournament opener between Italy and Turkey at the Stadio Olimpico with a stirring rendition of “Nessun Dorma” from Giacomo Puccini’s opera “Turandot.” Bocelli’s crooning proved to be a good omen for the eventual tournament winner. Goosebumps.

It’s not delivery, it’s Insigne’s

After Bocelli’s rousing performance, the match ball for the tournament opener in Rome was delivered by a slick remote control car. Jokes that pint-sized Italy attacker Lorenzo Insigne’s car had been stolen ensued, claims that have not yet been corroborated – or denied – by the diminutive Italy star.

Schick leaves Scotland in tangled mess

It didn’t take long for the leading candidate for goal of the tournament to emerge. Three days into Euro 2020, Patrik Schick virtually ended the debate – and also entered the conversation for the Puskas Award – with an audacious strike of sheer quality in the Czech Republic’s win against Scotland.

In the blink of an eye, Schick silenced Hampden Park and turned David Marshall into an instant meme with a 49-yard strike. Schick later cut off speculation that it was lucky, saying he’d planned on having a go from distance after noticing Marshall stray off his line earlier in the game.

Paraglider crashes Group F clash in Munich

Confusion quickly turned to concern when a paraglider descended into the Allianz Arena before Germany’s crucial Group F clash with France.

FRANCK FIFE / AFP / Getty

The Greenpeace activist’s attempts to protest a Euro 2020 sponsor almost led to disaster when he struck the overhead camera cabling inside the stadium, causing debris to fall on the pitch and stands. Greenpeace apologized for the failed stunt, which left several people injured.

Lukaku pays tribute to Eriksen

Christian Eriksen’s terrifying collapse in Denmark’s opening match against Finland was, by far, the biggest story at Euro 2020. The football world unanimously shared its well-wishes for Eriksen in the aftermath of his cardiac arrest, and Belgium’s Romelu Lukaku paid tribute to his Inter Milan teammate hours later during a win over Russia.

Among several touching tributes to Eriksen from players and fans alike during the tournament, Lukaku’s stood out.

No Coca-Cola for Ronaldo

A frustrated Cristiano Ronaldo made headlines for all the wrong reasons five years ago when he tossed a reporter’s microphone into a pond after Portugal’s early struggles at Euro 2016. The incident was quickly forgotten after Portugal won the tournament.

It wasn’t quite as scandalous, but Ronaldo shared his contempt for Coca-Cola during a presser at Euro 2020. He likes water. Good for him. It was enough to inspire countless memes, and the incident was blamed, perhaps questionably, for Coca-Cola’s market value plunging by about $4 billion in the aftermath.

Budapest rejoices as Hungary soars

Supporters inside stadiums were a welcome component of Euro 2020, one that had been sorely missed in more than a year of games played behind closed doors or at reduced capacity due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The familiar sound of an entire stadium erupting with joy returned in Budapest when Hungary – the only nation that didn’t implement attendance restraints – grabbed an unlikely lead against World Cup holder France courtesy of Attila Fiola’s first-half goal. The wild celebrations continued long into the night despite France’s eventual equalizer.

Emotional Denmark erupts for 4 goals

Denmark looked like a team destined to go home early following defeats to Finland and Belgium. The odds of progressing out of the group stage were predictably grim heading into the final matchday – nine days after Eriksen’s traumatic incident in Denmark’s opening game of the tournament.

But Kasper Hjulmand’s men put on a show that the supporters in Copenhagen and around the world won’t soon forget. Despite leading Russia 2-1, elimination remained a threat until Andreas Christensen and Joakim Maehle broke the game wide open with late goals to seal Denmark’s unlikely place in the round of 16. The ensuing emotions on display, from players and fans, were truly moving. What a run for the Danes.

Red card turns Dutch dreams into nightmare

Despite Frank de Boer’s best efforts, the Netherlands ransacked Group C before facing a brawny Czech Republic team in the last 16. The contest hung in the balance until the 55th minute when Matthijs de Ligt slipped and went down under pressure from Schick, handling the ball in the process.

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De Ligt was sent off following a VAR check, the Czechs scored twice in the ensuing 25-minute spell, and Dutch tournament hopes – like De Boer’s tenure as national team boss – were toast. The Oranje’s ouster was the first major shock in a tournament littered with surprises.

Manic Monday

June 28, 2021, may go down as the greatest single day in the history of tournament football: two matches; 14 goals – both stunning and bizarre; incredible late comebacks by unfancied underdogs; extra time; penalties; and the biggest upset of the competition.

None of Spain, Croatia, France, or Switzerland ended up winning Euro 2020, but they each contributed to a breathless several hours of action that we won’t soon forget.

Unai Simon’s redemption arc

That epic day of action began in truly outlandish fashion, with Spanish goalkeeper Unai Simon making an unbelievable error against Croatia that resulted in one of the most astounding own goals in recent memory. Own goals had a moment at the Euros, and this was the pick of the bunch.

But Simon bounced back. He could have withered after his incredible, meme-worthy blunder, but he redeemed himself by playing hero against Croatia in extra time and then again in the penalty shootout versus Switzerland in the following round. Perseverance in sports can be magical.

Switzerland beats France on penalties

While Spain-Croatia was finishing up in Copenhagen, Switzerland-France got underway in Bucharest, and right from the early stages, hilarity was afoot – Haris Seferovic, of all people, scoring early against the reigning World Cup champion was a signal that this would not be your typical match.

The back-and-forth affair saw Switzerland overturn a two-goal deficit, scoring twice in the final 10 minutes of normal time before Yann Sommer turned hero in the penalty shootout. The goalkeeper swatted aside Kylian Mbappe’s decisive penalty in acrobatic fashion to give Switzerland its most famous win.

Swiss fan steals the show

Switzerland supporter Luca Loutenbach probably didn’t expect to become the viral sensation of Euro 2020 when he woke up on June 28, but the roller coaster of emotions he experienced during the remarkable Swiss triumph over France was among the defining images of the tournament.

The beautiful game, indeed.

Veronique Rabiot beefs with Mbappe, Pogba families

French international Adrien Rabiot’s mother – and former agent – Veronique has earned a reputation in certain circles as an unsympathetic intermediary, to put it kindly. Notable items on her CV include hostile negotiations with Barcelona and a reported tiff with Manchester City that resulted in her son’s removal from the club’s academy.

During France’s last-16 defeat to Switzerland, Rabiot’s mom “allegedly” (there’s video) picked a fight with Kylian Mbappe’s father, Wilfried, when she claimed the PSG star was arrogant, and she feuded with members of Paul Pogba’s family after he was dispossessed in the lead up to Switzerland’s dramatic late equalizer. The French camp always brings the drama.

Ukraine beats Sweden at the death

Artem Dovbyk and Ukraine manager Andriy Shevchenko danced in joy on the touchline after the former’s late goal secured a dramatic victory over Sweden in the round of 16 and an unlikely quarterfinal spot.

With the match seconds away from going to a penalty shootout, Oleksandr Zinchenko delivered a beautiful cross that eluded Swedish defenders to find Dovbyk for the close-range header deep into extra time. The mood would change when Ukraine was played off the park against England, but the tournament’s only true last-gasp winner was still invigorating.

England slays German demons

Mercifully, the curse has been lifted.

Eddie Keogh – The FA / The FA Collection / Getty

England beat Germany in a knockout match for the first time since the 1966 World Cup final, erasing years of sporting heartache and adding another accomplishment to a growing list for this young, extremely likable generation of English players. A dreaded shootout in the final ended the Three Lions’ dreams of hoisting the trophy – breaking two curses in the same tournament was probably asking a bit much – but, difficult as it may be for fans to stay positive right now, the jubilation on display after ousting Germany is the energy that the country needs to take into future competitions.

Chiellini and Alba coin toss

Few players have such contrasting on- and off-pitch personalities as Giorgio Chiellini. The Italy captain is a gruff, uncompromising center-back who enjoys the art of defending more than maybe any human on the planet, but outside the confines of the field, he’s as playful a character as you’ll find. The transformation is quite spectacular.

Chiellini’s zest for life, and football, was on full display ahead of the semifinal shootout against Spain. He seemed totally unfazed by the occasion, basking in the moment at the expense of a nonreciprocal Jordi Alba.

Jorginho’s penalty vs. Spain

Coolness personified.

Jorginho’s trademark hopping penalty technique doesn’t always work – see the final against England – but when it does, it’s absolutely glorious, particularly in high-pressure situations. Unai Simon, who apparently didn’t read the scouting report, was faked out so badly in the semifinal shootout that Jorginho was celebrating his winning spot-kick the moment it came off his foot. What a way to send your team to the final.

Luke Shaw makes history

Jose Mourinho is pulling his hair out somewhere. Luke Shaw’s development into one of the world’s standout left-backs continued apace at Euro 2020; the Englishman was a tireless creative force for Gareth Southgate and punctuated an outstanding competition with the fastest goal ever scored in a Euro final when he smashed home a volley in the second minute against Italy.

It ultimately wasn’t enough to bring football home, but few players did more to enhance their personal reputation than Shaw over the last month, and that enrapturing strike was a fine way to punctuate his tournament.

‘It’s coming … to Rome’

After weeks of hearing England supporters claim the European Championship was “coming home,” Italy defender Leonardo Bonucci can be forgiven for correcting the infamous adage with an Eternal City spin following Italy’s victory over the Three Lions at Wembley.

No great tournament is complete without some shithousery. Bonucci saved it for the very last moment.

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Who's in, who's out? World Cup field taking shape after European qualifying

The European contingent for next year’s World Cup is nearly finalized.

Tuesday brought an end to the group stage of UEFA’s qualifying format, with the Netherlands securing the last of 10 automatic berths allocated to Europe for the showpiece tournament in Qatar; 13 European teams in total will partake in the event.

Below is a breakdown of the nations that already qualified, along with a complete explanation of the new playoff system, which will decide the final three European countries that will head to Qatar in November 2022.

Qualified for World Cup

The 10 group winners from qualifying can officially start booking their flights.

  • Serbia
  • Spain
  • Switzerland
  • France
  • Belgium
  • Denmark
  • Netherlands
  • Croatia
  • England
  • Germany

Going into qualification playoffs

PATRICIA DE MELO MOREIRA / AFP / Getty

With 10 nations earning a ticket to Qatar, that leaves three outstanding World Cup places for UEFA. Those berths will be determined by a new 12-team playoff format. The nations will be drawn into three groups of four – called “Paths” – and play one-off semifinals and a final to decide which teams get the last three spots.

The draw for the playoffs takes place on Nov. 26 at 11:00 a.m. ET.

  • Seeded: Portugal, Scotland, Italy, Russia, Sweden, Wales
  • Unseeded: Turkey, Poland, North Macedonia, Ukraine, Austria, Czech Republic

The six seeded nations will be drawn against the six unseeded teams to create the semifinal matchups; the seeded sides will play those respective games at home. The semifinal matches are scheduled for March 24.

The draw will also determine the potential finals for each of the three “Paths,” meaning each team will know its prospective opponent before a ball is kicked in March.

  • Path A: winner of Semifinal 1 vs. winner of Semifinal 2
  • Path B: winner of Semifinal 3 vs. winner of Semifinal 4
  • Path C: winner of Semifinal 5 vs. winner of Semifinal 6

The three finals are slated for March 29.

Aside from Russia and Ukraine being kept apart for political reasons, there are no restrictions on the draw. That means the two most recent European champions – Italy and Portugal – could potentially meet in a one-off final to determine which continental heavyweight goes to the World Cup and which one misses out.

Italy, which famously failed to qualify for the 2018 tournament by losing in a two-legged playoff to Sweden, could very well meet the Swedes again, too.

Notable absentees

Fran Santiago / Getty Images Sport / Getty

Erling Haaland won’t get the opportunity to play in his first World Cup, as Norway finished third in Group G by virtue of Tuesday’s defeat to the Netherlands, thus failing to earn either automatic qualification or a playoff spot. The Borussia Dortmund superstar missed the 2-0 loss due to injury.

Norway will be joined on the sidelines by the likes of Ireland, Hungary, Greece, Finland, and Iceland.

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10 thoughts from this week's Champions League action

The Champions League rumbled on this week with an entertaining slate of action. Below, we dissect the biggest talking points from Matchday 3 in Europe’s premier club competition.

What happens if goals dry up for Liverpool?

Liverpool’s exhilarating 3-2 win over Atletico Madrid at the Wanda Metropolitano on Tuesday was arguably the best match of the competition this season. It had a little bit of everything: an electric atmosphere, great goals, a red card, a penalty, and wild swings in momentum.

And though Jurgen Klopp should be enthused by Mohamed Salah’s sizzling form and his team’s continued ability to fill the net (Liverpool have now scored 18 goals in their last five matches across all competitions), it wasn’t all positive for the German tactician.

After a ferocious start in which the Reds rocked Atletico during the first 15 minutes, Diego Simeone’s side steadied the ship and was the better team over the remainder of the contest. Looking beyond all the noise – the excellent finishing, Antoine Griezmann’s red card, and the late penalty incidents – Atleti probably should have come away with three points; Alisson was forced into some stellar saves on both sides of the halftime interval as Liverpool afforded an uncharacteristic amount of space, especially out wide, to the hosts.

Klopp, who correctly pointed out that winning “dirty” is an important attribute of successful teams, isn’t blind to the issues facing his squad at the moment.

“We are not that confident, to be honest,” he said after the match. “We know our struggles, we know our problems but we try to ignore them very often.”

In their last eight games in all competitions, Liverpool have conceded two or more goals in four of them, looking wobbly at the back against AC Milan, Brentford, Manchester City, and now Atletico. With Salah absolutely destroying his opponents right now, Liverpool can outscore their defensive issues, but at some point, they’ll have a spell when the goals don’t flow quite so freely. Hopefully, Klopp will have sorted out a suddenly susceptible backline by then.

PSG still lack a clear plan

With seven points from their opening three matches, Paris Saint-Germain are well-positioned to emerge from Group A and reach the knockout stages of the competition. But, not for the first time this season, the star-studded French side lacked cohesion and coherence, relying instead on individual quality from Lionel Messi and Kylian Mbappe to claim a 3-2 comeback win over RB Leipzig on Tuesday.

Mauricio Pochettino obviously has a plan for his team, but outside of scoring early and then using their elite attackers to wreak havoc on the counter, it’s been difficult to discern what, exactly, PSG want to do this season. Case in point: PSG had an open-net tap-in on the goal line – Messi’s first goal of the match – and still lost the overall expected goals (xG) battle when you exclude penalties from the equation.

Give the ball to Messi and Mbappe, and get the hell out of the way is, in fairness, an approach that will work more often than not. It was enough on Tuesday, after all. Conventional wisdom suggests that plan should be even more fruitful when Neymar is fit and involved, but something is still missing.

Great attacking tridents can carry a team very, very far – we’ve seen it happen in the past – but more than most sports, football truly is a team game. There needs to be balance all across the pitch, or the system crumbles. Barcelona’s famed “MSN” triumvirate, for example, was aided by an elite supporting cast, including a brilliant midfield.

Messi, Mbappe, and Neymar will deliver goals, but what Pochettino does with the rest of his squad will likely determine how successful PSG are this season.

Foden makes Manchester City tick

Amid doubts this season over Manchester City’s ability to get results without a traditional No. 9, victory in Belgium was proof that the Premier League club is doing just fine without a center forward in the fold.

In what was another example of Pep Guardiola’s tactical prowess, Manchester City produced one of their best attacking performances of the season in Tuesday night’s lopsided away win over Club Brugge.

VIRGINIE LEFOUR / AFP / Getty

With Phil Foden deployed as a false nine, City dominated en route to a 5-1 victory. The versatile 21-year-old was on another level, as his vision, passing, and movement off the ball caused problems for defenders all night long. This is a quality Brugge side that beat RB Leipzig and held PSG to a draw in its previous Group A matches, so such a thorough hammering is nothing to scoff at.

Foden’s confident display was one that City fans have come to expect from the exciting English international – and one that would be nearly impossible for just about any “traditional” striker in the world to replicate. With Ferran Torres out injured and Gabriel Jesus’ continued struggles with consistency in front of goal, Foden could be the target man of the future for Guardiola.

Toothless Milan on brink of humbling exit

AC Milan’s return to the Champions League has been nothing short of a disaster. Despite their impressive start in Serie A, the Rossoneri have struggled to get their Champions League campaign off the ground and now face the threat of an embarrassing exit after another frustrating night.

Stefano Pioli’s men arrived in Portugal with their best opportunity yet to secure their first Champions League point since 2014. Instead, a controversial goal from Luis Diaz lifted FC Porto to victory over the seven-time European champions, who were also the victims of very dubious officiating decisions that factored into their loss to Atletico Madrid on Matchday 2.

Regardless of their poor luck with the officials, Milan now have a mountain to climb just to avoid finishing last in Group B after losing their opening three matches; they sit four points back of Porto and Atletico, and nine behind leaders Liverpool.

The assignment was always going to be difficult given the strength of the quartet. But toothless displays such as the one on Tuesday night – when Milan managed only one shot on target – are likely to result in a humiliating departure from the tournament that fans were so desperate to see the club compete in again.

Just how far can Ajax go this season?

After years of consistently developing prodigious talents and selling them at huge profits, Ajax have often been relegated to underdog status during their recent Champions League endeavors. Based on some of their upsets, it’s a role the young Ajax teams of late have cherished.

But Tuesday felt like a turning point.

picture alliance / picture alliance / Getty

Ajax thwacked Borussia Dortmund, claiming a resounding 4-0 win befitting of a juggernaut, not an underdog. That’s exactly what the Dutch side has looked like this season; between the Eredivisie and Champions League, Ajax have racked up 43 goals in 12 games, conceding only three times.

Erik ten Hag’s team is supremely skilled in virtually every area on the pitch, and the imposing Sebastien Haller offers a change of pace up front that is, somewhat surprisingly, jiving perfectly with his more technical teammates.

FiveThirtyEight’s Soccer Power Index (SPI) has the usual suspects rated as the best teams in this season’s Champions League: Manchester City, Bayern Munich, and Liverpool occupy the top three spots at the moment. However, Ajax are fourth.

Until we see evidence to the contrary, the storied club should be viewed as a legitimate candidate to make serious noise in the tournament.

Barca’s unspectacular win papers over cracks

It took them until Matchday 3, but Barcelona got their Champions League campaign up and running with a 1-0 win over Dynamo Kyiv on Wednesday.

But the path to victory was rougher than it should have been against a team Barcelona would have historically been heavy favorites to beat. Less than a year after winning 4-0 on a trip to Ukraine, Barca had to grind their way to victory at the Camp Nou.

On an evening when the hosts struggled to generate scoring opportunities, it took the heroics of a defender to decide the match. Gerard Pique scored the winner and became the first player to register a Champions League goal for the club since Lionel Messi’s departure.

Despite getting the three points, it was a brutal performance that won’t fill fans with confidence ahead of the season’s first edition of El Clasico this weekend. If Koeman can’t inspire his men ahead of the showdown with Real Madrid, it could spell the end to the Dutchman’s time in charge.

Ronaldo rescues Solskjaer … again

Of course.

For the second consecutive Champions League match, Cristiano Ronaldo saved the blushes of Manchester United and manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, delivering a late header to cap a stirring 3-2 comeback win over Atalanta.

Villarreal know the feeling, too.

Martin Rickett – PA Images / PA Images / Getty

Solskjaer, who has come under increasing pressure amid the club’s poor run of form, was surely the most relieved person inside Old Trafford as he watched Ronaldo’s header hit the back of the net in the 81st minute. Though United created some chances in the first half, they again looked disorganized in defense and cumbersome overall, and the team, down 2-0 at halftime, was jeered off the pitch. The home crowd was growing restless.

Such a thrilling comeback will surely placate some – being able to turn that game around was no small feat, and praise is warranted – but getting into that situation in the first place should keep the alarm bells ringing. All is not solved, and the same pressing questions remain.

Does Solskjaer have the tactical nous to fix what’s ailing the team? Or, as has long been suggested by his detractors, is he more of a cheerleader who needs to make way for a more celebrated tactician who can get the best out of a very talented squad?

Welcome to the De Sciglio renaissance?

Mattia De Sciglio was an afterthought for many Juventus supporters following his return from a loan spell with Lyon, but the versatile Italian has shown in recent matches why Massimiliano Allegri continues to have faith in him.

The 29-year-old, never the most buccaneering full-back, has directly contributed to Juventus’ last two goals, whipping in delicious crosses against Roma this past weekend and Zenit St. Petersburg on Wednesday. Juve claimed 1-0 victories in both contests.

De Sciglio is often afforded plenty of space by the opposition, who have clearly identified him as the Bianconeri’s least threatening outlet, regardless of which flank he takes up. It’s not an unwarranted approach, to be fair, but if he continues to make worthwhile attacking contributions, opposing teams will eventually need to account for a player who some didn’t expect to see wearing a black and white shirt at all this season.

Time for Tuchel to get creative

Chelsea cruised to a 4-0 win over Malmo on Wednesday, but any delight was tempered after watching strikers Romelu Lukaku and Timo Werner both leave the contest in the first half with worrying injuries.

Thomas Tuchel said after the victory that the Belgian star twisted his ankle, adding that the German speedster sustained a hamstring issue. He suspects the duo will miss “some games,” according to James Olley of ESPN. The extent of their ailments will be learned later this week.

Darren Walsh / Chelsea FC / Getty

Barring a rapid recovery, Tuchel will need to get crafty with his lineup selections in the coming weeks. Kai Havertz, who found the net in Wednesday’s rout, figures to see some time as a false nine.

There’s never a good time for injuries, but the Blues will take solace in the fact that Lukaku and Werner’s setbacks come during the most favorable portion – at least on paper – of Chelsea’s schedule.

Adeyemi ready for big move

Karim Adeyemi will very likely be the subject of a bidding war in January.

The Red Bull Salzburg forward, 19, brought his tally to three goals in as many matches in this season’s Champions League, scoring an early marker in his side’s 3-1 triumph against Wolfsburg. The Austrian club is now sitting pretty atop Group G and will fancy its chances of reaching the knockout stage.

The German international’s explosiveness has been central to Salzburg’s success. In addition to his scoring prowess, the teenager has won four penalties in three games. Defenders can’t handle him.

Manager Matthias Jaissle should probably enjoy the next couple months while he’s able to call upon Adeyemi; a handful of Europe’s top clubs are apparently eyeing an opulent transfer for the youngster, who looks destined to be the next big star to come through the vaunted Red Bull pipeline.

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Chiesa, Son among 5 Ballon d'Or snubs

The finalists for the 2021 Ballon d’Or award were unveiled Friday, with many of football’s biggest stars occupying a spot on the prestigious list.

As is the case every year after France Football releases its 30-man shortlist, there are a handful of controversial omissions.

Here are five of the biggest snubs for the 2021 Ballon d’Or award:

Heung-min Son (Tottenham/South Korea)

Adam Davy – PA Images / PA Images / Getty

On the heels of another sensational season at Tottenham Hotspur, Heung-min Son somehow failed to make the cut for the revered honor.

Son was brilliant for Spurs last term, forming a dynamic partnership with Harry Kane on his way to finishing the 2020-21 Premier League campaign with 17 goals and 10 assists. But even though his statistics eclipsed the figures that earned him a place in the top 30 two years ago, the South Korean’s best season in north London went unrewarded by the French outlet.

Federico Chiesa (Juventus/Italy)

There’s not much more Federico Chiesa could’ve done to earn his place among football’s elite.

The 23-year-old winger developed into an integral component for both club and country last season. But even after playing an influential role in spearheading Italy’s journey toward capturing the Euro 2020 title and emerging as a star for Juventus, his heroic efforts weren’t enough for some, apparently.

Joshua Kimmich (Bayern Munich/Germany)

Alexander Hassenstein / Getty Images Sport / Getty

Joshua Kimmich is perhaps the most puzzling omission of the lot. The versatile German is one of Bayern Munich and Germany’s most consistent players, yet he’s been overlooked by France Football for the second time running.

There’s no doubting the 26-year-old will eventually get recognized in the near future. But there’s also no doubt that, right now, Kimmich is arguably one of the most important and talented players for a Bayern Munich side that habitually competes for – and wins – titles.

Jan Oblak (Atletico Madrid/Slovenia)

There wasn’t any room for Jan Oblak in this year’s list of Ballon d’Or contenders, with Italian Gianluigi Donnarumma singled out as the lone representative of the goalkeeping brotherhood.

While there are cases to be made for other goalkeeper snubs – such as Manchester City’s Ederson, Liverpool’s Alisson, Bayern Munich’s Manuel Neuer, and Chelsea’s Edouard Mendy – Oblak’s exclusion may be the most egregious considering his commanding performances in helping Atletico Madrid end their seven-year wait for a La Liga title.

Marquinhos (Paris Saint-Germain/Brazil)

Simon Stacpoole/Offside / Offside / Getty

A trophy-less season at Paris Saint-Germain could be one of the explanations for overlooking Marquinhos. But that doesn’t mean it’s a good reason to omit one of the world’s top defenders.

While it was a disappointing season overall for PSG, Marquinhos was a force throughout the campaign before going on to play a vital role during Brazil’s journey to the Copa America final last summer.

Honorable mentions: Marcos Llorente (Atletico Madrid/Spain), Thomas Muller (Bayern Munich/Germany), Edouard Mendy (Chelsea/Senegal), Manuel Neuer (Bayern Munich/Germany), Kyle Walker (Manchester City/England)

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