FIFA has revealed the 11 players who made their FIFPro men’s World XI for 2022 and there is plenty of debate regarding the selections.
A reminder: the 11 players selected are voted for by FIFPro members, who are professional players across the globe. Players from over 68 leagues voted and 18,640 votes were collected.
The 3-3-4 formation is unique in itself and some of the players included in this list have definitely had a rougher start to 2023.
A very important reminder: these selections are based on forms for club and country from August 8 2021 to 18 December 2022. So, the entire 2021-22 campaign and then the first half of the 2022-23 season up until the end of the World Cup.
Below is the FIFA FIFPro World 11 for 2022, with some analysis of the players who made it and some who should have been very close to making it.
FIFA World 11 team for 2022
Thibaut Courtois (Real Madrid, Belgium)
Joao Cancelo (Manchester City/Bayern Munich, Portugal)
Virgil van Dijk (Liverpool, Netherlands)
Achraf Hakimi (Paris Saint-Germain, Morocco)
Casemiro (Real Madrid/Manchester United, Brazil)
Kevin De Bruyne (Manchester City, Belgium)
Luka Modric (Real Madrid, Croatia)
Karim Benzema (Real Madrid, France)
Erling Haaland (Borussia Dortmund/Manchester City, Norway)
Kylian Mbappe (Paris Saint-Germain, France)
Lionel Messi (Paris Saint-Germain, Argentina)
Analysis on selections
Given his heroics in the UEFA Champions League final it is tough to argue that Thibaut Courtois didn’t deserve to be named as the goalkeeper but Emiliano Martinez and Alisson also had a fine last 16-month period. Manuel Neuer, Marc-Andre Ter Stegen and Ederson are always going to be in this conversation too.
Defensively, both Joao Cancelo and Virgil van Dijk have struggled in recent months so it’s strange to see them in there. That said, think about how good Cancelo was for Manchester City as they surged back to win the Premier League title last season. And also, how dominant was Virgil van Dijk as Liverpool almost won the quadruple?
Other defenders who could have made this list include Real Madrid and Brazil defender Eder Militao, plus his teammates David Alaba and Antonio Rudiger. Chelsea’s Reece James has also been sensational, as was Liverpool’s Joel Matip until the final few months of 2022, Ruben Dias of Manchester City and Portugal and Croatia and RB Leipzig star Josko Gvardiol have also been consistently excellent.
In midfield, you can’t really argue with that trio. Casemiro has been immense since joining Manchester United and was crucial in Real Madrid’s UEFA Champions League and La Liga title success to round off the 2021-22 campaign. So too was Luka Modric and he led Croatia to third place in the World Cup as he continues to roll back the years and defy logic with his incredible engine. Kevin de Bruyne boggles the mind on a weekly basis with his brilliance for Manchester United.
A few players who would be worth a shout in midfield: Pedri and Gavi from Barcelona/Spain, Rodrigo Bentancur from Tottenham/Uruguay, Bruno Fernandes from Manchester United/Portugal, Aurelien Tchouameni from Real Madrid/France, Bernado Silva from Manchester City/Portugal and Rodri from Manchester City/Spain.
Up front, the four forwards are hard to look past. Benzema had an incredible year and Haaland and Mbappe continue to show they are the future of the game. Then there’s Lionel Messi. For his heroics, at the 2022 World Cup, as he led Argentina to glory, he was always going to be on this team.
Perhaps Harry Kane, Robert Lewandowski and Vinicius Jr were the next three up when it comes to forward selections and all three were very unlucky to miss out. So too was Sadio Mane as he had an incredible season with Liverpool and then was on fire when he joined Bayern Munich before his untimely injury saw him miss the World Cup. A special mention for Heung-min Son too. He was superb for Spurs in the 2021-22 campaign and pivotal for South Korea at the World Cup even with an injury and a dip in form to contend with.