Friday, 19 Apr 2024

The FC 100: Haaland and Mbappe Lead the Way in the Best Men’s Soccer Players of 2023

After a brief hiatus due to the winter World Cup in Qatar, ESPN is back with its seventh annual ranking of the best men’s players and coaches in world soccer. Welcome to FC 100, where we take into account all 11 positions on the field, offering a refreshing perspective that goes beyond traditional talent-first countdowns. Our ranking gives each position its due and provides readers with a position-by-position “depth chart” across world soccer.

Main Takeaways

  • We have a fresh, new-look list with seven new No. 1s in the 10 categories. Ruben Dias (CB), Achraf Hakimi (RB), and Kevin De Bruyne (AM) retained their positions from the 2021 ranking. This reflects the shift in generations from the Lionel Messi/Cristiano Ronaldo era to that of new stars.
  • Cristiano Ronaldo did not make the list for the first time since we began these annual rankings back in 2016. Our global panel considered his acrimonious Man United exit, poor World Cup with Portugal, and move to the Saudi Pro League as disqualifying factors.
  • There are no Americans nor Mexico internationals in the list, indicating that there is still some way to go before those players are considered part of the elite tier.
  • The Premier League reigns supreme, providing 45 of the 100 players, heavily weighted toward the top clubs and the top four.
  • Manchester City provided the most names for the FC 100, followed closely by Barcelona and Real Madrid.
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How the Lists Were Made

This year’s ballot had 50 entries from all over the globe, including writers, reporters, editors, producers, and on-air talent. Voters were asked to consider the best players right now, weighted toward their 2022-23 seasons. The current season weighed heavily in the assessment, but performances in individual competitions were also considered. Voters were encouraged to assess players on their overall contribution and not just short-term excellence.

What Each Top 10 of the FC 100 Is About

Goalkeeper

The FC 100 for 2023: Haaland, Mbappe lead our list of best men's soccer players

The modern goalkeeper is not just good with their gloves; they are expected to start attacking moves as well as shut them down. Agility, reflexes, confidence, and daring make the best goalkeepers seem larger than life.

Right-back

The FC 100 for 2023: Haaland, Mbappe lead our list of best men's soccer players

Once an unglamorous position, right-back has become thrilling and unpredictable. The best right-backs marry positional awareness with blinding speed and have the courage to support their teams in attack.

Center-back

The FC 100 for 2023: Haaland, Mbappe lead our list of best men's soccer players

A great team needs a great center-back. The best center-backs are formidable in size and strength, with the elegance to time tackles and anticipate a striker’s movements. Elegance on and off the ball is essential.

Left-back

The FC 100 for 2023: Haaland, Mbappe lead our list of best men's soccer players

The best left-backs combine pace and intelligence to be a threat in attack and defense. Precise crossing with the left foot is rare, but the top players excel in overlapping runs and delivering the perfect ball.

Central midfield

The FC 100 for 2023: Haaland, Mbappe lead our list of best men's soccer players

Central midfield is the nerve center of any successful team. High class can come in various forms, from tough-tackling marauders to maestros adept at dribbling and setting the tone through distribution.

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Attacking midfielder

The FC 100 for 2023: Haaland, Mbappe lead our list of best men's soccer players

Attacking midfielders are mischief-makers with creativity, pace, and confidence. They are comfortable scoring goals and setting them up, with the ability to conjure something from nothing.

Winger

The FC 100 for 2023: Haaland, Mbappe lead our list of best men's soccer players

Fast and attack-minded, wingers can still be truly dangerous in wide positions. They beat markers with pace and persistence, providing cut-back crosses and stretching opposing defenses.

Forward

The FC 100 for 2023: Haaland, Mbappe lead our list of best men's soccer players

Forwards are a blend of strikers, attacking midfielders, and wide players. They handle the free role, deliver under pressure, and score in any situation.

Striker

The FC 100 for 2023: Haaland, Mbappe lead our list of best men's soccer players

Modern strikers are unstoppable prowlers of the penalty area. They read the play, anticipate where the ball will be, and possess the creativity to score in various ways.

Manager

The FC 100 for 2023: Haaland, Mbappe lead our list of best men's soccer players

All the talent on the field means little without an adept mastermind on the touchline. Top managers bring tactics, man-management skills, and self-awareness to transform individual players into a harmonious collective.

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Conclusion

The FC 100 for 2023 showcases the best men’s soccer players across various positions. From goalkeepers to managers, this list offers an in-depth look at the world’s top talent. With new No. 1s in most categories and a shift in generations, the ranking reflects the evolving landscape of the sport. The Premier League dominates the list, but players from all over the world have made their mark. Visit Pesstatsdatabase to explore the full FC 100 list and dive deeper into the world of soccer excellence.