Picking a world XI is one of the funnest, and most difficult, things a football fan can do.
There’s a million different ways to go formation, personnel and tactically, and everything time a decision is finally firmly made you think: “what about [x player] though?”
After a few weeks of hard work and very intense debating (all of which can be seen on our YouTube channel) the team at 90min have chosen their very own world XI as part of our 2023 Welcome to World Class series.
GK: Alisson Becker – Seeing off La Liga competition from Thibaut Courtois and Marc-Andre ter Stegen, Liverpool’s Alisson makes the cut thanks his remarkable consistency. The inaugural Yashin Trophy winner is well on his way to becoming an all-time great goalkeeper, while he’s Brazil’s undisputed starter between the sticks.
RB: Kyle Walker – Now widely, and deservedly, regarded as the best right-back in Premier League history, Walker has been exceptional for Manchester City over the years. His defensive nous saw him ultimately edge out Trent Alexander-Arnold for the right-back slot.
CB: John Stones – Literally no one in the world, not even his own mum and dad, would’ve had Stones in a world XI two years ago. Now, literally everyone in the world would. How times have changed.
CB: Ruben Dias – The Portuguese defender has now taken the crown of ‘best centre-back in the world’ thanks to his stunning form since returning from injury. Simply put, Manchester City don’t win the Champions League without him.
LB: Alphonso Davies – Truthfully, there weren’t too many players in contention for the left-back spot other than Davies. That being said, even if there was, Davies would probably have still made the cut because he’s utterly fantastic.
CM: Kevin De Bruyne – A Champions League triumph was overdue for De Bruyne, who has been one of the best midfielders in the world for the best part of the last decade. He was in stunning form last season, as per.
CM: Rodri – There’ve been plenty of shouts for Rodri to win the 2023 Ballon d’Or and, despite the Spaniard being a holding midfielder, they’re not that ridiculous. The number six scored the winning goal in the Champions League final, and has been wholly dependable for Pep Guardiola in all competitions.
CM: Jude Bellingham – Is it too soon to have Bellingham in a world XI? Judging by the fact that he’s the best player on the books at the biggest and most successful club in the world (Real Madrid). it probably isn’t.
RW: Lionel Messi – Messi is quite literally the greatest footballer of all time and, despite being 36 years old, is still as magical on the ball as ever.
ST: Erling Haaland – Another Manchester City player but is it any real surprise? They won absolutely everything last season and Erling Haaland bagged over 50 goals while they did so. The Norwegian is an unbelievable talent up front and looks impossible to stop.
LW: Kylian Mbappe – It’s pretty incredible that Mbappe is still just 24. If he retired today he’d go down as one of the best player of his generation, and when he eventually does retire in 10-15 years he’ll go down as one of the best players of all time.
The selection of the best XI concludes the 2023 edition of Welcome to World Class, which has seen the 90min team select the best possible 25-man squad in world football.
Three goalkeepers, seven defenders, eight midfielders and seven forwards were included to provide the ultimate balance, with the squad headlined by the mercurial Lionel Messi.
Virgil van Dijk, Trent Alexander-Arnold and David Alaba made up the rest of the defence, with Ilkay Gundogan, Casemiro, Bernardo Silva, Luka Modric and Federico Valverde providing a glut of quality alternatives in midfield.
Up front, Harry Kane, Vinicius Junior, Mohamed Salah and Victor Osimhen provide the supplementary firepower, should Messi, Mbappe and Haaland fail to get the job done.