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Ranking the 10 best football players this year (2022)

Lionel Messi (left), Karim Benzema and Kylian Mbappe (right)
Lionel Messi (left), Karim Benzema and Kylian Mbappe (right)

2022 has been a great year for football fans. Footballing action has been nearly non-stop throughout the year and we also had the 2022 FIFA World Cup to cap off a great year for the beautiful game.

As we look back upon 2022, we see a number of top players who've managed to leave a lasting impression. While some of the biggest stars in the game have had a great outing in 2022, a few others have not had such a memorable year.

Without further ado, let's take a look at the 10 best footballers of 2022.


#10 Sadio Mane (Senegal/Bayern Munich)

FC Bayern München v FC Internazionale: Group C - UEFA Champions League
FC Bayern MΓΌnchen v FC Internazionale: Group C - UEFA Champions League

Sadio Mane was in sensational form for both club and country in the first half of 2022. He transitioned into a centre-forward at Liverpool in the second half of the 2021-22 season and burgeoned into a reliable goalscoring outlet for them.

Mane fired Senegal to the 2021 AFCON title and also helped them secure a berth at the 2022 FIFA World Cup. The 30-year-old was named the 'CAF Men's Player of the Year' as well.

The Senegal international secured a move to Bayern Munich in the summer and has done a pretty decent job for the Bavarians so far this term, scoring 11 goals and providing four assists in 23 appearances in all competitions. Unfortunately, the versatile forward was sidelined for the 2022 FIFA World Cup due to a leg injury.

#9 Thibaut Courtois (Belgium/Real Madrid)

Belgium v Morocco: Group F - FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022
Belgium v Morocco: Group F - FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022

Thibaut Courtois has done a tremendous job for Real Madrid between the sticks this year. His heroics were crucial to Los Blancos' triumphant run in the UEFA Champions League last term. Courtois produced a man-of-the-match performance in the final of Europe's elite tournament.

Courtois has done well for Real Madrid so far this season as well. He is one of the best goalkeepers of his generation. The big Belgian's form will be vital for Real Madrid as they look to defend their La Liga and Champions League titles this season.

#8 Luka Modric (Croatia/Real Madrid)

Croatia v Morocco: 3rd Place - FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022
Croatia v Morocco: 3rd Place - FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022

Despite being on the wrong side of his 30s, Luka Modric continues to be one of the best midfielders in the world. The timeless Croat manipulates space and time so effortlessly that he makes playmaking look as easy as falling off a log.

Modric fired Croatia into the semi-finals of the 2022 FIFA World Cup. He was also immense for Real Madrid in their Champions League and La Liga triumphs last season. Modric is easily one of the top footballers of 2022.

#7 Kevin De Bruyne (Belgium/Manchester City)

Manchester City v Girona - Friendly
Manchester City v Girona - Friendly

Kevin De Bruyne is inarguably the best midfielder in the world right now. He was in incredible goalscoring and playmaking form for Manchester City in the first half of 2022. The Belgium international won the 'Premier League Player of the Season' award last term for his exploits.

In the absence of an out-and-out striker in the 2021-22 season, De Bruyne's generous contribution in the goalscoring department helped City's cause massively. He scored 19 goals and provided 14 assists in 45 appearances in all competitions for Pep Guardiola's side last term.

Manchester City have since signed Erling Haaland, who has proved to be the perfect foil for De Bruyne. De Bruyne already has 15 assists and three goals to his name in 20 appearances in all competitions so far this season for the reigning Premier League champions..

#6 Vinicius Junior (Brazil/Real Madrid)

Croatia v Brazil: Quarter Final - FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022
Croatia v Brazil: Quarter Final - FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022

Vinicius Junior is arguably the most improved player in the 2021-22 season. The Brazilian winger doubled down on his strengths in emphatic fashion last term and wreaked havoc alongside Karim Benzema for Real Madrid.

His 22 goals and 20 assists in 52 appearances in all competitions helped Real Madrid secure the La Liga and Champions League titles. The 22-year-old has continued to tap into his rich vein of form this term as well.

In 21 appearances across all competitions for Real Madrid so far this season, Vinicius has scored 10 goals and provided five assists.

#5 Erling Haaland (Norway/Manchester City)

Manchester City v Liverpool - Carabao Cup Fourth Round
Manchester City v Liverpool - Carabao Cup Fourth Round

Erling Haaland is a phenomenon at the age of 22 and has already established himself as one of the finest strikers in the game. Haaland missed a good chunk of the first half of 2022 due to a muscular injury but returned to the fray with a vengeance.

He secured a high-profile move to Manchester City in the summer and has been in sublime form ever since. Haaland has scored 24 goals and has provided four assists in 19 appearances in all competitions for Manchester City so far this season.

That includes three Premier League hat-tricks in the first half of the season.

#4 Karim Benzema (France/Real Madrid)

Elche CF v Real Madrid CF - LaLiga Santander
Elche CF v Real Madrid CF - LaLiga Santander

Karim Benzema won his first ever Ballon d'Or this year. He was nigh-on unstoppable in the 2021-22 season, turning in multiple match-winning performances especially in the knockout stages of the Champions League.

Benzema's inspired form helped Real Madrid register wins over Paris Saint-Germain, Chelsea and Manchester City in the knockout stages of the Champions League. The Frenchman scored 44 goals and provided 15 assists in 46 appearances in all competitions last term.

However, he has not been able to replicate that form in the ongoing season. In 12 appearances in all competitions so far this season, Benzema has scored just six goals and provided one assist. He also missed out on the 2022 FIFA World Cup due to a hip injury.

#3 Robert Lewandowski (Poland/Barcelona)

France v Poland: Round of 16 - FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022
France v Poland: Round of 16 - FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022

Robert Lewandowski has been the most prolific goalscorer in the world for a few years now. He showcased his elite marksmanship in the 2021-22 season for Bayern Munich, scoring 50 goals in 46 appearances in all competitions. The veteran striker also helped Poland secure a berth at the 2022 FIFA World Cup.

Lewandowski moved to Barcelona in the summer and has done a pretty solid job for his new club in the first half of the 2022-23 season. He has scored 18 goals and provided four assists in 22 appearances across all competitions for the Catalans so far this term.

#2 Lionel Messi (Argentina/Paris Saint-Germain)

Argentina v France: Final - FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022
Argentina v France: Final - FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022

After moving to Paris Saint-Germain in the summer of 2021, Lionel Messi had a rather underwhelming debut campaign in the French capital by his own lofty standards. But Messi did show signs of returning to form in the second half of the season.

He has been truly magnificent in the 2022-23 season. Deployed in a slightly withdrawn role as a playmaker, Messi has been able to stamp his authority on nearly every single game he has played this term.

His incredible return of seven goals and three assists fired Argentina to World Cup glory. Messi has scored 12 goals and has as provided 14 assists in 19 appearances in all competitions for PSG so far this term. The 35-year-old has already put himself in contention for a record-bettering eighth Ballon d'Or next year.

Lionel Messi's trophy cabinet is a joke 🐐 https://t.co/G7G4XAzrI2

#1 Kylian Mbappe (France/Paris Saint-Germain)

Argentina v France: Final - FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022
Argentina v France: Final - FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022

Kylian Mbappe has made scoring goals look like child's play in 2022. He was the top scorer in Ligue 1 in the 2021-22 season and finished the campaign with 39 goals and 26 assists to his name from 45 appearances in all competitions.

He has kicked on in similar fashion in the 2022-23 season and already has 19 goals and five assists in 20 appearances across all competitions for PSG. Mbappe was one of the stars of the 2022 FIFA World Cup with eight goals and two assists in seven appearances. He picked up the Golden Boot in the tournament.

The 24-year-old is an absolute phenomenon and his hat-trick in the World Cup final is reflective of his sheer will to succeed and ability to dominate no matter what the stage is.

Kylian Mbappe is having an unreal season πŸ”₯ https://t.co/XjUAV79Qqd

Paul Merson predicts the result of FA Cup final between Man City and Man Utd! Click here

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Edited by Shambhu Ajith
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