Welcome to the first edition of the Behind Closed d’Ors—a ranking of the best players during lockdown football season.
It’s here that we select the very best in the business at strutting their stuff inside empty stadiums, shining a light on those who have entertained us during a difficult spell for the sport.
The selection process follows that of the actual Ballon d’Or quite closely: To qualify, you’re going to need to play in a major league for a major club, have recognisable star power and, of course, be playing lights-out football over the course of May, June and July.
Honourable Mention: Santi Cazorla (Villarreal)
15. Marcos Llorente, Atletico Madrid
Atletico have looked a completely different team post-lockdown. They’ve scored the joint-most goals of any La Liga side (15) while remaining defensively solid, with Llorente the new X-factor in attack.
Known as a defensive midfielder for most of his career, he’s now been unleashed as a support striker who presses and runs the channels, and he’s been crucial to three wins (Osasuna, Real Valladolid and Levante) and counting.
14. Alphonso Davies, Bayern Munich
It’s almost impossible to attack Bayern Munich down their left side, as the road-runner presence of Alphonso Davies is so difficult to beat. Even when you think you’re in the clear, he speeds back and takes it off you.
The Canadian was active in the attacking game, too, striding forward to affect play, cross and even shoot—he managed two goals behind closed doors, as well as one assist.
13. Joshua Kimmich, Bayern Munich
We’re just three players in and already we’ve reached our second Bayern Munich nominee. Fair warning: There’s more to come.
They dominate this list, as they do opponents on the pitch, and one of the sources of their strength has been the methodical way in which Kimmich manages and controls the midfield. He never seems to have a bad game. Continue reading