The Champions League in 2021 submitted to London Chelsea, and many championships have grown significantly in level. In addition, 2021 opened up a lot of footballers for us.

Forward News made up its symbolic team of the outgoing year.

Goalkeeper: Thibaut Courtois

Many may disagree that Thibault Courtois was the best goalkeeper of the outgoing year and ask the question: "Why not Gianluigi Donnarumma?". For the most part, you'd be right as Donnarumma had a good season winning the European Championship and helping Milan advance to the Champions League. But the point is not in trophies, but in the reliability of the gatekeeper, in personal growth.

For Real, Courtois has become indispensable, a natural wall that can save the team from various goals. For the Belgian national team, Thibault is a real leader. Until the last round, Real Madrid fought for the Championship last season thanks to the excellent performance of the Belgian. In the current Championship, the "creamy" take first place and deserve to win at the end of the season. On account of Courtois 11 clean sheets in 25 in all tournaments this season. It is almost impossible to win the competition from such a monster.

Fallbacks: Gianluigi Donnarumma and Jan Oblak
Left Back Alfonso Davis

2021 has been an excellent year for Alfonso Davis, a young left-back in Bayern Munich. This year, Alfonso won the third consecutive Bundesliga league title and became the first Canadian to win the club's World Cup. Of course, it is he who, at 21, is the best Canadian player both at the moment and, possibly, in history.

His tremendous speed, field vision, and ability to deliver a well-timed pass make him the best left-back in the world right now. And this is just the beginning of his career. And what lies ahead for him! Perhaps very soon we will see Alfonso with the Golden Ball in his hands?

Fallbacks: Andy Robertson and Theo Hernandez.
Center-back Ruben Dias

The transfer from Benfica to Manchester City for Ruben Dias was a significant impetus for progress. And the footballer took full advantage of this. In his first season, Dias was named the best player in the Premier League.

But it is not universal recognition that makes him a top defender. He made a considerable contribution to the next Championship of Manchester City at the end of the 2020/21 season. He is a vital link in Pep Guardiola's team in the new Premier League season. Here is what Pep himself says about the Portuguese: "Ruben is not only a player who plays well himself but also a player who makes others play well. For 90 minutes, he speaks, interacts, indicates what to do in each episode. Center-back Simon Kjer

To the surprise of many, Simon Kjaer is included in our selection. There was a choice between Leonardo Bonucci, Antonio Rüdiger, but, in our opinion, it was Kier who deserved to be here. In terms of its playing qualities, it does not lose to potential rivals, and in some individual components, it looks more muscular than them.

An excellent season with Milan, in which the aged footballer became one of the leaders of the defense, the top game with the Danish national team at Euro 2020 (Kjer was recognized as the best player in the 1/8 final stage of the tournament), getting into the top 20 nominees for the Ballon d'Or 2020. Of course, Kier's humanity also played a role in including him in the selection. The way he reacted to the fall of Christian Eriksen and saved his life deserves immense respect. But this was not a critical factor in choosing Kier. First of all, he ended up here for his football skills.

Fallbacks: Leonardo Bonucci and Antonio Rudiger
Right Back Rhys James

Yesterday you played for Wigan in the Championship and were relegated with the Latix to Ligue 1. Today you play for Chelsea, win the Champions League and defend England in international tournaments. It is possible to make a film about Rhys James, which will hit the top of the charts in English cinema. The right-back has always had the makings of a good footballer, but in 2021 he became an integral part of London's Chelsea, a man without whom it is difficult to imagine the defense of the "retirees."

James wins over with his hard work. He is a machine. His playing on the field for his home club makes him a top defender. And he confirms this with his skills - Rhys has speed, a kick, the ability to take free kicks, a good pass, and an excellent trait that is not given to everyone - the ability to listen and listen to the tips of the head coach.

Fallbacks: Trent Alexander-Arnold and João Canelo.
Central midfielder - Nicolo Barella

A solid year from a football player whom no one knew about a few years ago: with the transfer to Inter Milan, Barella progressed with long strides and became one of the key players for Antonio Conte in the winning season. His best qualities are quick decision-making, mobility, versatility, leadership, and the best passes in Serie A. Since joining Inter's head coach Simone Inzaghi, Nicolo continues to develop as one of the best footballers in Italy right now.
Central midfielder - Jorginho

In just a few years, Jorginho has grown from a good-quality football player in the center of the field to the hope of Chelsea and the Italian national team in big tournaments. The Brazilian-born Italian has long gone to become a world-class player. To do this, he needed to pump a lot of skills: to work on the accuracy of passes, the ability to cope with pressure from the opponent's side, and pulling them onto himself in the right situations. According to these indicators, he is one of the best footballers in the whole world. Probably only one person could compete with Jorginho - Andrea Pirlo, but his football career is over. The Italian deservedly got into the top 3 contenders for the Golden Ball-2021, and we are sure that in 2022 he will prove himself no worse.

Subs: Ngolo Kante, Leon Goretzka
Right Winger - Mohamed Salah

The Egyptian has been playing at the highest level for several seasons. The stability of his performances is the key to success for Liverpool. Over the years, Salah has not lost speed. He still terrifies Premier League defenders with his dexterous attacking flanks. Well, one cannot fail to note its effectiveness. Despite not being a center, Salah had 31 goals and six assists in 50 appearances last season. And in the current campaign, the footballer managed to score 22 goals and nine assists in 24 games. Excellent result!

Subsides: Cristiano Ronaldo, Son Heung Min, Vinicius Junior.
Left Winger - Kylian Mbappe

Kilian Mbappé is one of the most technical footballers in world football, for which he often flies from rivals. The Frenchman has been repeatedly recognized as the best young player globally. And he confirms this almost constantly. According to statistics, Kilian is inferior to the best players in the world in recent years. He scores on a par with Messi and Ronaldo in assists - the best among the top players (0.39 on average), and in terms of expected goals, he is surpassed only by Robert Lewandowski (0.8 - 0.99). It's not worth talking about his game because everyone already knows his best qualities. Thanks to the speed, goal orientation, and precision, Mbappe scored 126 in 177 games.

Fallbacks: Raheem Sterling, Serge Gnabry.
Forward - Robert Lewandowski

Robert Lewandowski is perhaps the only footballer that no selection of the best in 2021 could do without. The best forward is he; in all fairness, the best player is also him. Well, he could not help but get into our selection. The skill of Robert Lewandovsi makes Bayern Munich one of the strongest teams in the world, if not the strongest. The Pole is already 33 years old, but it doesn't look like he will give up. His physical form is excellent, and hardly any player in the world can boast of such an aiming instinct. Well, we also cannot ignore the broken record of Gerd Müller at the end of last season. 41 goals in 29 games in the German Bundesliga is a considerable achievement.

Forward - Karim Benzema

It's amazing how a 34-year-old French striker can play like he's only 25. Benzema has torn La Liga, is tearing it apart now, and feels like he will continue to do the same for the next few years. It's hard to imagine Real Madrid without Karim. With the departure of Cristiano Ronaldo, he tried on the role of leader on the field, leader in the locker room, and favorite of the "creamy" part of Madrid. He scored 30 goals in 44 games last year and has already scored 18 goals in 22 games this season. And returning to the French national team, Karim decided in many fights, including the final of the League of Nations against Spain.

Subs: Lionel Messi, Harry Kane, Ciro Immobile, Erling Holland