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 here are our results.
We revealed numbers 10-6 on Friday, which looked like this
Sterling may be denied Real Madrid move as he prepares for exit - Paper Round

1st - Pernille Harder

The first woman to have won the UEFA Player of the Year award twice, Pernille Harder broke another record this summer when she moved to FA WSL champions Chelsea for a new record transfer fee for women’s football. A deadly goalscorer, she wrapped up her time at Wolfsburg by helping them to another German league and cup double - their fourth in a row - and to the Champions League final. Emma Hayes’s side are surely a serious threat to any side - domestically and in European competition - now that Harder has joined the ranks. She could well be the missing piece of the Blues jigsaw as they seek their first Champions League crown this season, bringing her experience as well as her incisive vision and powerful shot to the squad.

'Chelsea's ambitions very good' - Harder on why she decided to move to Chelsea

2nd - Vivianne Miedema

The Arsenal striker Vivianne Miedema can’t stop breaking records. The most recent milestone she smashed was Nikita Parris's record to become the Women's Super League's all-time top scorer - and she made it look easy.
The former Everton and Manchester City striker managed 49 goals in 110 games - the Dutch forward demolished that tally and she did it in style, with a first-half hat-trick in a 6-1 hammering of north London rivals Tottenham Hotspur. By the end of that match, her tally stood at a stunning total of 52 goals in 50 WSL games.
Not only that, but her refusal to celebrate scoring (because she sees it as simply doing her job) has meant she has become a veritable internet sensation, with hundreds of memes all over social media. Profile written by Carrie Dunn

3rd - Lucy Bronze

The England full back Lucy Bronze helped Lyon to a fifth consecutive Champions League title in a year in which they also did the domestic league and cup double. She moved back to Manchester City in the summer and as soon as the season resumed went with them to Wembley where they won the FA Cup, beating Everton 3-1.
Bronze’s skill-set means she is useful in midfield if required, where her great timing of tackles as well as her taste for pushing forward and getting in pinpoint crosses mean she is dangerous there too. All that plus she takes an excellent free kick. Profile written by Carrie Dunn

Alex Greenwood and Lucy Bronze of Manchester City celebrate

Image credit: Getty Images

4th - Wendie Renard

She is still the most important factor in the best team in Europe. Always dependable and a crucial presence in Lyon, Wendie Renard has wrapped up another year in a perfect way. Her record, which was already very special, was further bolstered with a 14th domestic title, a ninth Coupe de France and a seventh Champions League. Remarkable.
A key player at her position, her personality "goes beyond football," as her president Jean-Michel Aulas rightly said. Renard also continues to extend her influence beyond the pitch and as a voice for positive change. For now, it is still impossible to know when one of the greatest players in history will end her career, but in 2020 she hasn't shown any limitations. Profile by Julien Pereira

5th - Kosovare Asllani

English fans might remember Asllani as a strong, unselfish forward from her short spell at Manchester City. The Swede signed for CD Tacon in 2019 as their banner signing in pre-season. She proved her worth by notching five goals in the league, but as with many other competitions across Europe, it was terminated early. Then Real Madrid acquired the side to become their women's team, and somehow it gave Asllani an entirely new lease of life.
She blazed out of the blocks - scoring eight in eight at the start of the new season as she enjoyed playing in a new role as sole striker. Real Madrid are now a force to be reckoned with at the top of the Primera Division, jostling for position at the top of the league with Atletico Madrid, Granadilla Tenerife and Barcelona - and Asllani is the one who’s put them there. Profile by Carrie Dunn

'A good step for women's football' - Chelsea's Harder on her transfer fee

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