Ranked! The 100 best players in the world, 2022
The best players in the world in 2022, featuring all-time greats, up-and-coming wonderkids and the stars we've been raving about all season
40. Antonio Rudiger
There are few centre-backs in the world players would prefer to come face to face with than Rudiger. A lightning quick stopper who reads the game sublimely, the German always manages to make a tackle that is perfectly timed. However, he is also adept at attacking, as he loves to carry the ball forward with relentless intent and spray cross-field balls to the opposite wing.
39. Bruno Fernandes
Not afraid to take a risk, Bruno's incisive passing and long-range shots can infuriate fans when they don't work, but are glorious when they do.
A returner of plenty of goals and assists each season, Fernandes' work rate and desire to win are unmatched. Indeed, his intense competitive edge can boil over, but when channelled in the right way he is very difficult to stop.
38. Son Heung-min
Son ended the 2021/22 Premier League with the golden boot, his stunning goalscoring record matched only by Mo Salah during the course of the campaign. While the South Korean has struggled to retain those high standards he set himself for the previous few months, his quality is still clearly evident.
37. Khvicha Kvaratskhelia
At the beginning of 2022, Kvaratskhelia was an unknown Georgian player heading back to his home country to play for Dinamo Batumi. Now, though, he is tearing up Serie A and the Champions League for Napoli with his blistering performances.
A rangy winger who loves to attack his opponents directly, Kvaratskhelia is also clever in his play and knows when to change the tempo of the game at the correct moment.
36. Thomas Muller
Arguably one of the most dependable players in the world, there is a reason why Muller’s longevity has kept him at Bayern Munich and Germany’s national team for so long. His positioning is second to none, with the forward constantly finding space in the area of the pitch where the ball will land.
Couple that with his teamwork and work-rate, and it’s no wonder why Bayern players love having him on their side.
35. Jamal Musiala
Still a teenager, Musiala has been outstanding for Bayern Munich this season, cementing his place in both the Bavarian club's starting XI as well as Germany's World Cup squad.
His mazy runs with that effortless dribbling style of his, physicality and awareness are all excellent, and, while he is still only a teenager, he is clearly a player with an assuredness of their brilliant ability. The sky’s the limit for this wunderkind.
34. Phil Foden
A versatile forward who is as capable as popping up with a goal as he is with a defence-splitting pass, Foden seemingly has all the attributes to go right to the top. His first touch is always positive and acted upon with intent, while his movement is sublime for someone still only 22-years-old.
When he steps up consistently on the big stage, the Manchester City star will be scarily good.
33. Declan Rice
Rice's rise to become one of the elite all-round midfielders of European football has correlated perfectly with West Ham's ascension over the past few years. He's everything you want in a footballer, beginning to influence games in the final third, while an excellent ball-winner and good passer.
Still only 23, the England man could be incredibly good when he adds that experience, too.
32. Bruno Guimaraes
Since joining Newcastle from Lyon last January, Guimaraes has helped the club to excel.
The Brazilian has been one of the key men for Eddie Howe’s side so far this season, his displays in central midfield impressing as he controls games and breaks play up with seemingly effortless ease. Being named in Brazil’s World Cup squad alongside a plethora of talent proves his ability.
31. Ilkay Gundogan
Gundogan has always been a classy playmaker and remains so, but in recent years he has added a goalscoring element to his game which has taken him to new heights.
The German dovetails perfectly in Manchester City’s midfield with Kevin De Bruyne, his expert timing of runs into the box and improved composure in the penalty area catapulting his game to another level. Now, he is one of the first names on the team sheet for his national side, too.
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Tom Hancock started freelancing for FourFourTwo in April 2019 and has also written for The Analyst and When Saturday Comes, among others. He supports Wycombe Wanderers and has a soft spot for Wealdstone. A self-confessed statto, he has been known to watch football with a spreadsheet (or several) open...
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