How the Guardian ranked the 100 best male footballers in the world 2022 | Soccer

It is a bit later than normal – due to a World Cup that finished in December – but this week we are ready to present our list of the 100 best male footballers in the world in 2022. Football luminaries such as Maicon, Fatih Terim and Avram Grant joined the judges’ panel for our 11th edition.

Former players such as Jan Åge Fjørtoft and Ricardo Rocha also join a selection of coaches, broadcasters, reporters, correspondents and editors from around the world to form a knowledgable and truly global jury.

The 14 current and former professionals have won a combined 558 international caps.

The countdown begins at 09.00 GMT on Tuesday 24 January with numbers 100-71. On Wednesday we will reveal numbers 70-41, on Thursday 40-11 before the top 10 on Friday completes this year’s list.

The top 100 rules are explained beneath the list of judges. The judges are listed in alphabetical order by category.


Patrik Andersson Former Sweden international who won 96 caps and played at the 1994 and 2002 World Cups
Rune Bratseth Former Norway international with 60 caps who captained his country at the 1994 World Cup
Gilles De Bilde Former Belgium international with 25 caps
Erik Edman Former Sweden international with 57 caps who played at the 2006 World Cup
Jan Åge Fjørtoft Former Norway international with 71 caps who played at the 1994 World Cup
Maicon Former Brazil international with 76 caps who played at the 2010 and 2014 World Cups
Janusz Michallik Former US international and ESPN football analyst
Juninho Pernambucano Former Brazil international with 40 caps who played at the 2006 World Cup

Juninho Pernambucano celebrates scoring for Brazil against Japan at the 2006 World Cup.
Juninho Pernambucano celebrates scoring for Brazil against Japan at the 2006 World Cup. Photograph: John Sibley/Action Images/Reuters

Ricardo Rocha Former Brazil international with 38 caps who won the World Cup in 1994
Aymen Tahar Algerian midfielder who played for Boavista among others
Frédéric Waseige Former midfielder who won the Belgian Cup and League Cup with FC Liège and is now a TV pundit

Coaches and technical staff

Fatih Terim Former Milan, Galatasaray and Turkey coach
Avram Grant Former Chelsea, Portsmouth and West Ham manager now in charge of Zambia
Magnús Már Einarsson Head coach of Afturelding in Iceland


Ed Aarons Deputy news editor, the Guardian
Ahmed Adala Journalist, Radio Mosaïque FM Tunisia
Shireen Ahmed Multi-platform journalist and co-host of the Burn It All Down feminist sports podcast
Fares Salem Al-Johani Writer at Asharq Al-Awsat Newspaper in Saudi Arabia
Gary Al-Smith African football specialist and co-author of LeGyanDary, the official autobiography of Asamoah Gyan
Davit Alaverdyan Chief Editor, Mediamax Media Company, Armenia
Abdulmohsen Algabbani Football editor based in Saudi Arabia
Tobias Altschäffl Chief footballer reporter at Sport-Bild in Germany
Nick Ames Football writer, the Guardian
Juan Arango Match Commentator and correspondent for Diario Sport (Spain) and AhoraMismo (USA)
Thiago Arantes Movistar+ commentator and UOL columnist
Marcela Mora y Araujo Argentinian football writer
Emanuele Atturo Football journalist at l’Ultimo Uomo
Philippe Auclair Senior writer, France Football
Nicky Bandini Italian football correspondent, the Guardian
Jorge Baravalle ESPN journalist. European Football Analyst
John Bennett Broadcaster, BBC World Service & BBC 5 Live
Chloe Beresford Content editor at
Luca Bianchin Football writer, La Gazzetta dello Sport
Christoph Biermann Football writer for 11Freunde in Germany
Eduardo Biscayart Commentator on European football at Fox Sports Mexico and Telemundo (USA)
Andreas Böni Head of football at Blick in Switzerland
Anne-Laure Bonnet TV presenter at Téléfoot La Chaine
Andy Brassell European football writer/broadcaster
Costas Bratsos Football writer at in Greece
Feargal Brennan Staff writer, Football España
John Brewin Football writer, the Guardian
Rodrigo Bueno Football journalist and FOX commentator in Brazil
Edgar Cantero Pelota Tata, ESPN
Felipe Cardenas Football writer at the Athletic, covering MLS as well as football in Mexico and Conmebol
Javier Cáceres Football writer, Süddeutsche Zeitung
Susy Campanale Staff writer, Football Italia
Pedro Canelo Journalist at El Comercio in Peru
Antonio Casale Journalist for RCN Radio. Also works for ESPN and El Espectador newspaper
Carolina Castellanos Sports journalist at RCN Radio and La Titular, reporting and commentating on multiple sports
Hernán Castillo Argentinian football journalist at TNTSports
Alex Chaffer Manager of the official Bundesliga website
Ivaylo Chilev Football journalist and Champions League broadcast producer at bTV Media Group in Bulgaria
Rodolfo Chisleanschi Sports journalist for El País (España) and La Nación (Argentina)
Marcus Christenson Football special projects editor, the Guardian
Paulo Vinicius Coelho Football writer and Fox commentator in Brazil

Pedri, seen here celebrating a goal against Real Madrid in the recent Super Cup, finished at No 21 last year. Has he moved up or down?
Pedri, seen here celebrating a goal against Real Madrid in the recent Super Cup, finished at No 21 last year. Has he moved up or down? Photograph: Giuseppe Cacace/AFP/Getty Images

James Corbett Author & Senior Correspondent, Off The Pitch
Santiago Cordera Head of content of juanfutbol, the largest football website in Mexico
Alfredo Coronis Journalist at Hot 94.1 FM/Conexión Goleadora
Adriano Del Monte International TV Presenter (beIN Sports, BT Sport, Fifa, Uefa)
Haresh Deol Editor of TwentyTwo13 in Malaysia
Adam Digby Italian football writer
John Duerden Asian football correspondent for the Guardian
Claudia Ekai Freelance sports journalist, reporter, producer
Amine El Amri Sports journalist at Le Matin in Morocco
Adam Elder US freelance journalist
Kasper Elissaar Editor-in-chief at Soccernet in Estonia
Jeroen Elshoff Football commentator NOS Dutch National television
Rodrigo Errasti Founder of Imagosport Comunication & Former sports editor chief of the Agencia Colpisa-Vocento in Spain
Alejandro Etcheverry Football reporter at BMS Plus radio
Amr Fahmy Journalist working for beIN Sports in Egypt
Christian Falk Head of football at Sport-Bild in Germany
Babacar Ndaw Faye Writer at Emedia in Senegal
Alan Feehely Football writer for Twenty3
Ryan Fenix TV commentator, Philippines
Martín Fernandez Senior football writer at Globoesporte in Brazil
Barak Fever ESPN football commentator
Oliver Fritsch Sports editor of Zeit Online
Alex Frosio Football editor at La Gazzetta dello Sport
Juan Manuel Gavilan TV football producer in Peru
Jonas Giaever Sports journalist at Dagbladet in Norway
Barry Glendenning Football writer and Guardian Football Weekly regular
Fabián Godoy Argentinian/Spanish Commentator and Tactical Analyst at Directv Sports, TNT Sports and Continental Radio. Correspondent from Argentina at Cadena Cope (Spain).
Bryan Graham Guardian US sports journalist
Andreas Hagenauer Football journalist at Der Standard
Daniel Harris Sports writer, the Guardian, and film-maker
Jesper Haue Hansen Football reporter at Jyllands-Posten in Denmark
Kevin Hatchard Commentator for Bundesliga world feed, Uefa and talkSPORT
Johannes Hofer Presenter at Sky Sport Austria
Gustavo Hofman Football journalist and ESPN commentator in Brazil
Andy Hunter Football writer, the Guardian
Azmaal Hydoo Head of football at Mauritius’s best-selling paper and magazine, L’Express
David Hytner Chief football correspondent, the Guardian
Seo Hyung-wook MBC TV commentator, Footballist CEO, South Korea
Sasa Ibrulj Bosnian football writer
Wael Jabir CEO in Dubai

Hakim Ziyech in action for Morocco during the World Cup, where he shone on the country’s way to the semi-final. But will he make the 2022 list after a stop-start year at Chelsea?
Hakim Ziyech in action for Morocco during the World Cup, where he shone. But will he make the 2022 list after a stop-start year at Chelsea? Photograph: Bagu Blanco/Pressinphoto/Shutterstock

Kristian Jack VP, Canadian Premier League. TV/radio host, reporter, writer
Behnam Jafarzadeh Deputy editor at, Iran
Ott Järvela Estonian journalist working at, Kuku Raadio and Viaplay
Boris Jovanovic Editor in Chief
Raphaël Jucobin Editor-in-chief, Get French Football News
Eduard Kalantaryan Head of Armenia TV sport
Celestine Karoney Kenyan sports journalist
Jamie Kemble Journalist at Football España
Ali Khaled Sports Editor at Arab News
André Kfouri Commentator and writer for ESPN Brasil
Tom Kludt Football journalist based in the US
Pavle Knezevic Reporter at
Ermal Kuka Sports journalist at Panorama Sport in Albania
Samindra Kunti Freelance football journalist
Cecilia Lagos ESPN correspondent based in the Netherlands
Steven Lavon Sports journalist and editor-in-chief of in Lomé, Togo
Joshua Law São Paulo-based freelance journalist and editor of the website Yellow and Green Football
Sergio Levinsky Journalist working for Infobae and Jornada in Argentina as well as Kicker in Germany
Gianluca Lia Sports journalist at Times of Malta
Fabio Licari Head of international department at Gazzetta delo Sport
Jonathan Liew Sports writer, the Guardian
Sid Lowe Spanish football correspondent for the Guardian
Alexandre Lozetti Commentator and writer for Globo
Olof Lundh Swedish football writer for Fotbollskanalen and Dagens Industri, pundit for TV4 and C More and author
Ben Lyttleton Football author and consultant
Ben Mabley Japan-based television commentator for J Sports, SkyPerfecTV, and DAZN
Jaime F Macias Football analyst at BeIN Sports USA
Nebojsa Markovic Sports journalist at in Serbia
Gergely Marosi Freelance sports journalist and football writer in Hungary
Everaldo Marques TV Globo broadcaster in Brazil
Martin Mazur Argentinian football journalist for El Gráfico, FourFourTwo and La Gazzetta dello Sport
Ugur Meleke Hurriyet columnist and BeinSports pundit
Marcus Mergulhao Sports Editor, The Times of India
Colin Millar European football writer for Mirror Football
Filip Mishov Freelance sports journalist and football writer from Macedonia
Tomasz Mortimer Hungarian football writer
Dmitriy Mostovoy Commentator at Setanta Sports in Kazakhstan
Rasim Movsumzadeh Has written for Kicker and The European Football Yearbook and has been Azerbaijan’s juror on the Ballon d’Or since 2000
Hassanin Mubarak Football writer
Daniel Mundim International football journalist at TV Globo
Ricardo Murguía Champions League commentator for TNT Sports México
Ewan Murray Scottish football correspondent, the Guardian
Hirofumi Nakano Journalist and radio show host in Japan
Sachin Nakrani Football writer, the Guardian
Mauricio Noriega Brazilian journalist and SporTV commentator
Vladimir Novak Freelance sports journalist, football writer and producer
Hernan O’Donnell Journalist working for Universo Deportivo who has previously written for El Gráfico and La Nación
Antonis Oikonomidis Greek freelance football writer
Oluwashina Okeleji Reporter for BBC Sport, World Soccer and Al Jazeera online
Rafael Oliveira Football journalist and ESPN commentator in Brazil
Collins Okinyo African football journalist and managing editor of
Joseph Owino Founder, Kawowo Sports
Álex Pareja Sports journalist at ESPN
Juan Carlos Pasman Argentinian journalist who presents his own shows on DirecTV Sports and Radio La Red
Artur Petrosyan Football journalist based in Dubai
Ricardo Puig Football journalist at ESPN Fuera de Juego
Kieran Quaile Editor at Get Spanish Football News
Thiago Rabelo Brazilian journalist and Guardian contributor
Derek Rae ESPN commentator Bundesliga & La Liga and the Fifa 22 video game
Ali Rea British football journalist and content director for the UAE’s
Marion Reimers Journalist and broadcaster/commentator for TNT Sports. Founder and president of Versus
Filippo Maria Ricci Spain correspondent for Gazzetta dello Sport
Roberto Rivera Sports commentator and producer with his own company, Gol Dreams Films. Also presenter of a show on WAO (radio) and Gol Magazine (TV) in Panama
Tom Robinson Senior content producer at Hudl and South American football writer, podcaster and scout.
Vitor Sergio Rodrigues Commentator and editor at Esporte Interativo in Brazil
José Armando Rodríguez Editor-in-chief, Deporte Total USA
Roberto Rojas Paraguayan-American journalist working for beIN Sports USA & co-host of the Low Limit Futbol podcast
Juan Pablo Romero Sports journalist at El País in Uruguay
Emanuel Rosu Romanian football writer
Stephan Roth Reporter at Swiss daily Blick
Jeff Rueter Football writer for the Athletic
Max Rushden Guardian Football Weekly host
Graham Ruthven Football journalist based in Scotland
Mina Rzouki Writer, presenter and football pundit contributing to BBC 5live, BBC Sportsworld, Sky Sports, CNN, ESPN and TRT World
Marwan Saeed Operations manager of
Emre Sarigul Editor and founder of
Josué Seixas Brazilian football journalist who contributes to The Guardian, Daily Mail and Folha de S. Paulo
Metodi Shumanov Bulgarian football writer
Vidir Sigurdsson Sports editor of Morgunbladid and and author of the Icelandic Football Yearbook
Nacho Silván Co-founder of Imagosport and professional football analyst
Manos Staramopoulos Chief editor of, Demokratia and Foxssportstories and contributor to and Overfm 104,9
Mojmir Stasko Football writer for Dennik Sport in Slovakia
Jacob Steinberg Football writer, Guardian
Nikos Stratis Sports writer/international football analyst/TV presenter/Radio producer at
Keeshaanan Sundaresan Host/Writer at Astro SuperSport Malaysia
Saku-Pekka Sundelin Football journalist at Ilta-Sanomat
Aet Süvari Estonian football reporter
Agris Suveizda Reporter for in Latvia
Jonathan Tannenwald Football journalist at Philadelphia Inquirer
Luiz Teixeira TV Globo presenter in Brazil
Mihovil Topic Chief football writer at Telesport in Croatia
Nuno Travassos Portuguese football writer at Maisfutebol
Tran Duc Truong Sports Journalist, ZingNews, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
Darren Tulett Presenter at beIN Sports in France
Will Unwin Football writer, the Guardian
Petter Veland Norwegian TV commentator and La Liga expert for Viasat
Felipe Valderrama Journalist for Caracol Radio and editor of
Ari Virtanen Sports journalist at Helsingin Sanomat in Finland
Raúl Vilchis Mexican sports journalist based in New York
Bart Vlietstra Dutch football journalist working for de Volkskrant and SANTOS magazine
Lukas Vrablik Slovakian journalist at Denník N
Ola Wenström Freelance football journalist and producer
Greg Wilcox Freelance sports journalist and football writer
Senta Wintner Sports writer for Austrian daily newspaper Die Presse
Tomasz Wlodarczyk Football Journalist,
Carl Worswick Football writer based in Colombia
Michael Yokhin European football writer
Bi Yuan Chinese Football Journalist at Titan Sports, Beijing
Victor Zaferson Mendoza Football scout & analyst based in Peru
Clemens Zavarsky Football writer for Ballesterer in Austria
Miran Zore Chief editor of Nogomania in Slovenia

How the voting works

The No 1 choice of each judge was awarded 40 points, No 2 given 39pts, down to 1pt for their No 40 choice. All the votes were added together to give a raw score.

To minimise the influence of outliers in the list, the highest score awarded to a player was then deducted to give a final score.

A player needed to receive votes from at least five judges to qualify for the list.

If players are level on points in the scoring, the number of individual votes cast is used as a tie-breaker.

The individual voting breakdown will be published when the full list has been revealed.

Voting disclosure

We are very grateful to our judges for taking part, and none have been paid for participating in this project.

To allow our judges the freedom to express their opinions without fear or favour, individual voting records will be anonymised in the full breakdown of scores.

Voters are identified only by their category and a number chosen at random. The judges’ numbers bear no relation to the alphabetical list of judges’ names presented above.

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