The month-long 2022 FIFA World Cup came to a spectacular end on Sunday evening with Argentinean captain and maestro Lionel Messi lifting the trophy in Lusail. We take a look at the top 5 best players at the tournament.
The global audience witnessed two great individual performances by Messi and France’s hat-trick hero Kylian Mbappe. The Paris Saint-Germain players singlehandedly hauled their teams through the 120 minutes of playing time.
Apart from Messi and Mbappe’s brilliance which saw them winning the Golden Ball and Golden Boot awards respectively, other players laid their mark down in Qatar.
5. Joško Gvardiol (Croatia)
The RB Leipzig centre-back showed exceptional composure in the Croatian backline. It’s hard not to forgive the 20-year-old for coming undone against the mercurial Messi in the semi-final. Wearing a distinctive mask during the tournament, Gvardiol was a standout performer at the World Cup and even nodded home the opening goal in the third-place playoff match victory against Morocco.
4. Enzo Fernández (Argentina)
Another youngster who burst onto the scene in Qatar was Enzo Fernández. The 21-year-old former River Plate academy player scored one goal and provided one assist in the seven matches Lionel Scaloni started the central midfielder in. The Benfica player’s tenacity and passing accuracy were instrumental in Argentina’s dominating midfield battles at crucial moments, and led him to win the FIFA young player of the tournament award.
3. Antoine Griezmann (France)
Les Bleus were missing Paul Pogba and N’Golo Kante in Qatar, and 2018 World Cup winner Griezmann showed why he’s a key player for Didier Deschamps. The 31-year-old Atletico Madrid player showed verve in the midfield, pressing when his side lost possession and dropping deep to collect the ball and distribute. The blonde-haired maestro has not missed a match for France since June 2017 and created 22 scoring opportunities for the beaten finalists.
2. Kylian Mbappé (France)
The world’s highest-paid footballer left his mark on the World Cup just as he did four years ago in Russia. He didn’t end up with the winning trophy but scooped the Golden Boot with a total of eight goals. The 24-year-old striker glided past defenders with scintillating pace and quick feet. The PSG forward was simply a class above everyone else and at times unplayable.
1. Lionel Messi (Argentina)
The former Barcelona legend came into the World Cup in Qatar under immense pressure. Things got off to the worst possible start for Argentina, losing their opening match to Saudi Arabia. From then it became the Messi show as the 35-year-old PSG player cemented his place as the greatest footballer of his generation. He scored two goals and provided one assist in the final to propel the South Americans to their first World Cup win since 1986.