Squawka’s ‘Most’ awards 2020: Who dominated Europe’s top five leagues last year?
Just like 2020 itself, the beautiful game witnessed its fair share of drama.
We watched Bayern Munich win the treble, Liverpool end their 30-year title drought, and Arsenal win an FA Cup before slipping into a relegation battle within the space of a few months.
Meanwhile, more recently, the likes of Juventus, PSG, Barcelona and Real Madrid have seen their domestic strangleholds seriously challenged.
Legends bowed out of the game, while new starlets like Erling Haaland, Alphonso Davies and Curtis Jones exploded onto the scene. And then, of course, there was the Lionel Messi transfer saga, which promises to rage on into 2021.
But now that 2020 is over, we can look back across the past 12 months and definitively say who was most prolific across various individual metrics in Europe’s top five leagues, from goals scored to saves made.
That’s the set-up. Read on to satisfy your curiosity, as we present Squawka’s ‘The Most Awards’ 2020.
Who scored the most goals in 2020?
- Cristiano Ronaldo: 33
- Robert Lewandowski: 32
- Ciro Immobile: 28
At 35 years old, Cristiano Ronaldo does not look like slowing down. Robert Lewandowski would be streets ahead if you included his Champions League run but for league competition alone, Juventus’ No.7 takes the crown. Ciro Immobile comes third, having equalled the Serie A record for most goals in a single season by scoring his 36th of the 2019/20 season in August.
Who provided the most assists in 2020?
- Thomas Muller: 17
- Lionel Messi: 16
- Kevin De Bruyne: 15
The resurgence of Thomas Muller has been a joy to watch in 2020. The Germany international used his partnership with LewanGOALski (y’know?) to great effect, notching 17 assists, keeping him ahead of the likes of Lionel Messi and Kevin De Bruyne as last year’s assist king. There was also the small matter of the Bundesliga record he broke by setting up his 21st goal for the 2019/20 Bundesliga season.
Who had the most shots on target in 2020?
- Lionel Messi: 88
- Cristiano Ronaldo: 69
- Mohamed Salah: 58
Messi may be struggling to score of late but his shot output has been unrivalled. He leads Ronaldo by 19 shots on target at the top of this particular table. Third is Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah, who ended the year as the Premier League 2020/21 season’s top scorer.
Who created the most chances in 2020?
- Kevin De Bruyne: 107
- Hakan Calhanoglu: 99
- Jack Grealish: 93
Manchester City playmaker Kevin De Bruyne is 2020’s leading chance creator by overall totals. Set-piece specialist Hakan Calhanoglu, of current Serie A leaders AC Milan, comes second and Aston Villa’s captain Jack Grealish places third.
Who played the most through-balls in 2020?
- Lionel Messi: 26
- Kevin De Bruyne: 24
- Luis Alberto: 20
Threading the ball through opposing defences with the greatest regularity in 2020 was Messi, followed by De Bruyne. Forgotten former Liverpool midfielder Luis Alberto has maintained a high output for assists season after season since moving to Lazio in 2016, which is reflected in his high billing here for through-balls.
Who completed the most take-ons in 2020?
- Lionel Messi: 171
- Adama Traore: 142
- Jeremie Boga: 101
Messi makes yet another appearance here. This time, Barcelona’s No.10 picks up his customary award for the most dribbles completed. Wolves’ Adama Traore comes second while former Chelsea youth player Jeremie Boga, now of Sassuolo, is the only other player to break 100 in 2020.
Who won the most fouls in 2020?
- Jack Grealish: 148
- Andrea Belotti: 115
- Rafinha: 97
Many will have seen this coming. No one wins fouls like Grealish, who’s 33 ahead of the runner-up here (Torino centre-forward Andrea Belotti). Third is Rafinha, who spent the first half of 2020 on loan to Celta Vigo before leaving Barcelona permanently to join Paris Saint-Germain. Having played the fewest minutes, he ranks above Nabil Fekir and Wilfried Zaha, who both also came in at 97 fouls won.
Who made the most tackles in 2020?
- Aaron Wan-Bissaka: 96
- Yves Bissouma: 86
- Manuel Locatelli: 86
A cluster of players including Brighton midfielder Yves Bissouma and Manuel Locatelli, another young Sassuolo player, trail Manchester United right-back Aaron Wan-Bissaka for tackles made in 2020. Declan Rice also racked up 86 tackles, but having been ever-present throughout 2020 (yes, the England international did not miss a single minute of action for West Ham) he came in behind Bissouma and Locatelli.
Who made the most saves in 2020?
- Alessio Cragno: 131
- Aaron Ramsdale: 120
- Aitor Fernandez: 117
Cagliari ‘keeper Alessio Cragno saved more shots than anyone in 2020. His team did most of their work to avoid relegation before the 2019/20 season’s winter break (they won just three league games in 2020 last season). Accordingly, no goalkeeper faced more shots on target in the calendar year across the continent’s top five leagues than Cragno (178), who saved 73.03% of them.
Aaron Ramsdale, shared by relegated Bournemouth and relegation-facing Sheffield United in 2020, also faced 178 shots on target and is next up for saves made. Levante’s Aitor Fernandez completes the top three.
Who kept the most clean sheets in 2020?
- Jan Oblak: 18
- Ederson: 17
- Thibaut Courtois: 16
Jan Oblak is the keystone to Atletico Madrid’s near-invincible backline. The Slovenian kept an eye-watering 18 clean sheets in 2020, 10 of which have come this season in just 14 games. No wonder Atleti are leading the charge in La Liga with two games in hand on reigning champions Real. Respectably, Ederson and Thibaut Courtois were not far behind Atleti’s imperious No. 1.