With no Ballon d’Or to determine the world’s best footballer for the first time in 65 years, we are stepping up to fill the void by unveiling our men’s and women’s Star of the Year in our inaugural football awards countdown.
We polled our journalists across our network of European offices to find their top five players for 2020 in both the men's and women's game, and on Friday afternoon we began to reveal our results.
Numbers 5-1 will be revealed on Monday at 7pm as our Stars of the Year are crowned, and look out for some exclusive content as we profile the two winners.
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6th - Dzsenifer Marozsan
Named the best player in D1 for the third year in a row in 2019, Dzsenifer Marozsan has continued to pick up momentum in 2020. Her four-year journey at Olympique Lyonnais could have come to an end in the summer, with a move to the United States mooted, but club president Jean-Michel Aulas convinced her to stay put and extend her contract until 2023.
Marozsan's 2020 has been all about trophies yet again as she bagged her fourth straight Champions League and was hugely influential, topping the competition's passing statistics. Another milestone was her 100th Germany cap.
Her teams' success was matched on an individual level as she won many accolades - UEFA's Midfielder of the Season and the IFFHS World Best Women's Playmaker, which she claimed for the second time. And at 28, she surely has many fine years ahead of her. Profile by Fabien Esvan
Joint 7th - Eugenie Le Sommer
After another fantastic year for France and Olympique Lyonnais, 2020 will go down as a classic for Eugenie Le Sommer.
Lyon won almost everything on the domestic and continental fronts and not even the Covid-19 pandemic could stop them from winning another national cup by beating Paris. It was the 30th time the club had claimed the trophy. And a fifth straight Champions League followed, with Le Sommer opening the scoring in the final against Wolfsburg.
2020 was also a historic year for Le Sommer with the France team. After scoring two goals against North Macedonia, she outstripped Marinette Pinchon's record tally of 81 goals. Her versatility and timing make her irreplaceable, and she showed why she is one of the best players in the history of women's football. Profile by Fabien Esvan
Joint 7th - Delphine Cascarino
She may only be 23, but Delphine Cascarino already has an enviable trophy collection. 2020 was yet another successful year for the Lyon academy graduate as she became more and more influential for her childhood team.
Cascarino has become a nightmare for defenders across France, even if her return of three goals last term looked modest. Quick, explosive and technically blessed, the France international was one of Lyon's main figures in 2020.
The Champions League final in San Sebastian was a fine example of her prowess as she clocked up a top speed of the tournament with a 31.45km/h sprint and was named Player of the Match. Even if she did not find the target, she was a constant thorn in Wolfsburg's side and, if she adds goals to her game, she could be unstoppable. Profile by Fabien Esvan
9th - Megan Rapinoe
A somewhat quieter year for the outspoken American when it comes to action on the pitch, with the pandemic putting paid to the NWSL season. She did score twice for the national side at the start of the year, coming on as a substitute against Canada to score the third goal in a 3-0 win to secure their place at the Olympics, and then scoring the first in a 3-1 victory over Japan in the SheBelieves Cup Final.
However, off the pitch it's been another busy time, as she continued to speak in support of Black Lives Matter, the US Women's National Team's lawsuit for equal pay finally looking like it's about to be resolved, and her book 'One Life' released in November. She welcomed the presidential election results, retweeting the notorious video of her refusing to meet President Donald Trump with the comment: "I can’t get to the f**king White House fast enough now!!!" On a personal level, Rapinoe and girlfriend Sue Bird announced their engagement this year. Profile by Carrie Dunn
10th - Amandine Henry
It has been a curious year for Amandine Henry. Her club Lyon won everything again in 2020, but she made some headlines off the pitch following some stinging criticism of Corinne Diacre, the French national coach. Her delicate relationship with Diacre put aside, Henry still had a successful season with OL. Jean-Luc Vasseur's side won the quadruple and the midfielder was a key influence once again. Distanced by PSG in the league at the start of the 2020-2021 season, OL will need Henry at her inspirational best to retain their title. But that's no problem for her. Profile by Fabien Esvan
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