We’re almost at the end of 2022, and what a year it’s been for football. Title races went down to the wire, the Champions League provided us with some incredible drama, and the World Cup final was one of the greatest games we’ve ever seen.
Now, we’re at the time to look back and reflect on the year. Yep, it’s awards season!
We may not have the prestige of France Football, but we’re going to give out a few prizes of our own. Here are Football Today’s official Best of 2022 Awards.
Also Read: 2022 In Review.
Best Player – Kylian Mbappe
He may not have added a second World Cup winners’ medal to his collection, but it’s been a phenomenal 2022 for Kylian Mbappe.
Paris Saint-Germain suffered an early exit from the Champions League at the hands of Real Madrid, but the pacey forward could not be blamed. He found the net in both legs, including a brilliant injury-time solo goal at the Parc des Princes.
The 24-year-old ended the league campaign as one of Europe’s top goalscorers and creators. From Europe’s top five leagues, only Robert Lewandowski found the net on more occasions, while Thomas Muller was the only player to surpass Mbappe’s tally of 17 assists. This form was enough to see him win Ligue 1 Player of the Year for the third time in four seasons.
And he has carried this form into the new season. In 20 appearances for Les Parisiens, he has netted 19 goals and assisted a further five, making him Ligue 1’s current top scorer and the joint-leading marksman in the Champions League.
Unsurprisingly, he continued his dazzling displays at the World Cup. He left Qatar with the Golden Boot and the Silver Ball, scoring eight goals and assisting two in seven games. This includes a hat-trick in the final, becoming the second player to achieve this feat after Geoff Hurst in 1966.
In all competitions, Mbappe has scored a total of 55 goals in 2022, along with 17 assists. Coupled with two Golden Boots and a league title, it’s difficult to select anyone else for our player of the year.
Best Manager – Walid Regragui
Before this year, Walid Regragui was a much unknown name in world football. But following an inspiring World Cup campaign with Morocco, he is now a highly respected manager.
However, it wasn’t just the World Cup which earned him our Best Manager award. Before the tournament, he was in charge of Moroccan side Wydad Athletic Club.
Regragui achieved great success with the Casablanca-based side. He guided them to their 22nd league title, then led them to glory in the CAF Champions League, defeating Al Ahly 2-0 in the final.
After this, he took charge of the Morocco national side, where he made history. The Atlas Lions became the first-ever African side to reach the semi-finals of the World Cup, defeating the likes of Belgium, Canada, Spain, and Portugal along the way.
Best Team – Real Madrid
There’s something extraordinary about Madrid. No matter how poorly they’re playing, no matter how down-and-out they seem, they have an incredible knack for finding a way to win.
This has never been more evident than in their run to the Champions League title this year. First, they found themselves 2-0 down to PSG with just 30 minutes remaining, but a hat-trick by Karim Benzema turned the tie around.
In the quarter-finals, they were also on the verge of an exit when Timo Werner gave Chelsea the lead at the Bernabeu Stadium. But with ten minutes remaining, Luka Modric pulled out an astonishing pass to pick out Rodrygo to equalise. Benzema would later score the winner in extra time.
Los Blancos showed more of this incredible spirit in the semi-finals against Manchester City. With the final whistle just minutes away, they found themselves 5-3 down on aggregate. This was until Rodrygo bagged a brace in injury time to take the game to extra time. Benzema again would hit a winning goal afterwards.
This took them to the final, which they were determined to win. Thibaut Courtois made countless vital saves, and Vinicius Junior scored in the second half to hand Madrid their 14th European title.
Carlo Ancelotti’s men enjoyed further success in La Liga, winning the league title by a landslide 13 points. This was their 35th La Liga trophy and was their widest margin of victory since wins became worth three points.
The new season has started in similar fashion. Madrid have won 16 games from 21, sitting second in La Liga while comfortably winning their Champions League group.
Thibaut Courtois (GK) – He’s always been highly regarded, but Thibaut Courtois reached a new level this year. As mentioned above, he put in a standout display in the Champions League final against Liverpool, making nine saves to preserve his clean sheet.
Additionally, he kept two clean sheets at the World Cup, saving a penalty from Alphonso Davies in his opening game. This, along with several other high-profile performances, has earned him a spot in our Best XI.
Achraf Hakimi (RB) – Achraf Hakimi has been a top-class player for PSG, but it’s his outings on the international stage that have made him 2022’s best right-back.
At the Africa Cup of Nations, he was named in the Team of the Tournament after scoring twice and keeping two clean sheets. And in Qatar, he played a huge part in Morocco’s run to the final four, keeping four clean sheets from seven while assisting once.
Thiago Silva (CB) – On the surface, this hasn’t been the greatest year for Thiago Silva, failing to add to his glittering collection of medals. Nonetheless, he continues to put in consistent world-class performances.
Recently, the Brazilian was voted as Chelsea’s best player of 2022. He carried this form onto the international stage, ranking as one of the World Cup’s best centre-backs.
Cristian Romero (CB) – In truth, the selection of centre-backs wasn’t the greatest. But take nothing away from Cristian Romero – he’s had a fantastic year.
The Argentine was Tottenham Hotspur’s standout defender, and a crucial part of their qualification for the Champions League. Furthermore, he put in a strong World Cup campaign, and ended up with a winners’ medal.
Theo Hernandez (LB) – Completing the back four is AC Milan left-back Theo Hernandez. The Frenchman enjoyed a brilliant season with the Rossoneri, earning himself a Serie A title.
And he proved himself on the biggest stage with an impressive showing at the World Cup. He scored one and assisted two as Les Bleus finished in second place.
Casemiro (CM) – Casemiro’s nine-year spell at Real Madrid ended this year. And he went out with a bang, helping Los Blancos to La Liga-Champions League double.
In his brief spell at Manchester United, he has already become a huge hit with the fans. Meanwhile, he had an impressive World Cup, impressing on several occasions and scoring a late winner against Switzerland.
Luka Modric (CM) – It is no surprise that Luka Modric has once again been exceptional. Even at 37, he continues to be one of the best midfielders in the world.
He was influential in all competitions, dictating things from the middle of the park. The Croatian was included in the Champions League Team of the Season, and was the recipient of the World Cup Bronze Ball.
Kevin De Bruyne (CM) – Despite a relatively disappointing World Cup, Kevin De Bruyne has had another fantastic year. He was Manchester City’s top goalscorer as they won the Premier League title, scoring 15.
His personal achievements also back this up. The midfielder was named as the Premier League’s Player of the Season, while he was also selected for the Champions League Team of the Season.
Lionel Messi (RW) – If we had been writing this in May, there is absolutely no way Lionel Messi would have been included in this team. However, the seven-time Ballon d’Or winner has returned to his astonishing best in the second half of the year.
For PSG, he has scored 12 and assisted 14 in all competitions, making him Europe’s leading playmaker. And, of course, he was phenomenal at the World Cup, netting seven, assisting three, winning the Golden Ball, and taking the trophy back to Argentina.
Karim Benzema (ST) – Of the 11 players in this team, Karim Benzema was the only one to miss the World Cup. You’d think this would harm his chances, but he was simply too good to ignore at club level.
2022 was a career highlight for the Real Madrid man. He scored ten goals in the Champions League knockout stages – a record he now shares with Cristiano Ronaldo. This, as well as the other 34 goals he scored last season, was enough to win him the Ballon d’Or.
Kylian Mbappe (LW) – We’ve already talked about him, but here’s a quick recap in case you’ve forgotten.
In 2022, Kylian Mbappe has: 55 goals, 17 assists, a league title, a Ligue 1 Player of the Year award, a Ligue 1 Golden Boot, a World Cup Golden Boot, a World Cup Silver Ball, and a hat-trick in the World Cup final. Not bad.
Best Moment – Argentina win World Cup
There were so many memorable moments from 2022, but it’s difficult to overlook Argentina’s World Cup glory.
Of course, much of the focus has centred around Lionel Messi, and for good reason. For many years, his international career was called into question, having failed to win anything on the global stage until 2021 while falling short in four finals.
Even after lifting the Copa America, there were still those who insisted he had to win the big one before sitting at the table with Pele and Diego Maradona. Now, Messi has answered every criticism ever directed at him.
But La Albiceleste were so much more than just Messi. We saw how much it meant to Angel Di Maria to score his side’s second goal in the final.
The likes of Enzo Fernandez and Alexis Mac Allister went from relatively small names to national heroes. In his first managerial job, Lionel Scaloni has conquered the international stage, just four years on from taking over a team in disarray.
It wasn’t a straightforward journey for Argentina, but they’ve come out of it as champions.
Best Goal – Pablo Perez
Have you seen this goal before? Probably not. Have you heard of Pablo Perez before? Probably not. Have you heard of Newell’s Old Boys before? Well…yes actually. Would you have heard of them without their ties to Messi and Maradona? Probably not.
You may become a lot more familiar with all of these things once the shortlist for the Puskas Award is revealed. Perez is sure to earn himself a nomination with this absolute stunner.
It’s just beautiful in every single way. The technique, the distance, the placement, in off the bar – even the very best would be proud of this finish.
Read Next: 2022 In Review.
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