Top 10 players at the 2022 World Cup
As we anxiously await the start of the 2022 World Cup in Qatar and watch as the rest of the squads are announced, let’s take a look at the top players.
The FIFA World Cup is finally here. That time, every four years, when we get to watch the best players from every country across the world compete to be number one, is finally here. In 2022, we’ve got a nice mix of players who could be making their last ever international appearance and budding young talent.
As we await the announcement of the rest of the official squads and the start of the first game between Qatar and Ecuador on November 20, let’s take a look at the top 10 best available players in the 2022 World Cup.
1. Lionel Messi, Argentina
Of course Lionel Messi is number one on the list. He’s the best player in the world and this is likely to be his last chance at winning the World Cup. At 35 years old, Messi is on his second season with PSG and so far has 12 goals and 14 assists in just 18 games. He’s finally got his Copa America - now he just needs that final trophy with Argentina to complete his collection. Messi’s club fate is TBD after the World Cup, but for now, all his focus and energy and heart will be in Qatar.
2. Kylian Mbappé, France
At just 23 years old, Kylian Mbappé is considered one of the best players in the world right now. After becoming the first teenager to score twice in a World Cup in France’s victory over Croatia in the 2018 World Cup in Russia (four goals and one assist in total), Mbappé has gone from rising star to superstar. For PSG already this season, he’s contributed 18 goals and five assists in just 19 games. He will be a key player in the attack for France in Qatar.
3. Kevin De Bruyne, Belgium
As excellent a passer as he is a shooter, Kevin De Bruyne is an asset to any team he plays with. On the Belgian team and on the Manchester City team, everything goes through De Bruyne first. One of the best midfielders in soccer, he’ll be the key to getting the ball in the net one way or another and should help Belgium soar to the top of Group F.
4. Neymar, Brazil
Not only is Neymar one of the top players in the World Cup, but Brazil is one of the top teams. And that is largely due to Neymar himself. Neymar is going on his third World Cup and for PSG, he has 15 goals and 12 assists in 19 games. Even without Messi and Mbappé surrounding him though, Neymar is a threat. With Brazil, he’ll be playing alongside other greats like Vinicius Junior, Richarlison, and Raphinha. But Neymar will be the focus of the attack.
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5. Karim Benzema, France
Despite France’s Euro 2020 exit, Benzema is still one of the best goalscorers in the game. The two-time Ballon d’Or winner knows how to perform in the clutch moments and will have a spectacular cast around him on the France team, including Mbappe. Benzema is fresh off of winning the Champions League with Real Madrid and now will be looking for his second World Cup title, having won with France in Russia in 2018.
6. Robert Lewandowski, Poland
It’s just mid-season, but Lewandowski has not slowed down, scoring 18 goals in 19 games with Barcelona after leaving Bayern Munich. Apparently it doesn’t matter who is around him, Lewandowski will find the net. Going into the World Cup on that high combined with Lewy’s penchant for finishing, and Poland has themselves a huge asset.
7. Cristiano Ronaldo, Portugal
Portugal’s superstar Cristiano Ronaldo is further down on a list of top players as anyone’s ever seen him, I would guess. He’s had a rough time with Manchester United, bouncing on and off Erik Ten Hag’s starting lineup. Despite this season’s troubles, in the end, he’s still Cristiano Ronaldo and he’s still got it. Heading into his fifth World Cup was not an easy journey, as Portugal qualified in the playoffs by beating North Macedonia. All eyes will be on Ronaldo to help lead them even further in the tournament. Ronaldo has 117 goals in 191 games with Portugal and is their all-time leading goalscorer. Forget what you’ve seen in the Premier League. Ronaldo will take back control for Portugal in Qatar. And it’s likely the last time we’ll see it.
8. Luka Modric, Croatia
Like Messi and Ronaldo, this could be Modric’s last go at a World Cup. Heading into his 4th at age 37 (though you wouldn’t know it watching him play), he’ll have that extra spunk in him to help lead Croatia deep into the tournament. For Real Madrid, he’s put up five goals and two assists and has played over 1,000 minutes and shows no signs of slowing down. Croatia may not have the same group of superstars that Madrid has, but Modric will see to it that he takes them as far as possible.
9. Vinicius Junior, Brazil
Vinicius Junior is heading into his first World Cup at 22 years old. After a slow start with Real Madrid, Vinicius has blossomed into a rising star. Playing alongside Benzema, the two have become a dual threat. His improvement from the 2019-20 season to the 2020-21 season is impressive - he went from six goals and seven assists in 2019 to 22 goals and 20 assists in the next. Someone has been eating their Wheaties! With Brazil, he’ll have the support of Neymar to get down the field and cause trouble for opposing defenses.
10. Harry Kane, England
England captain Harry Kane is going to be a huge key to England’s survival in this tournament as the Three Lions look for success in the World Cup. For Tottenham, Kane has scored 12 goals and has three assists in 20 games, making it look easy as ever. On the national side of things, England has a list of key players struggling with injury, which means the pressure is on even more for Kane, who shouldn’t have any trouble shouldering it on the big stage.