Welcome back to my blog, and today I will be making my team of the year for 2023. Do note that only achievements made in 2023 will count, unlike the Ballon d'Or. With that out of the way, let’s begin!
GK: Alisson (Liverpool FC)
Alisson may not have won much in terms of silverware for Liverpool this year, but he has been exceptional for a revitalised Liverpool side. Many thought the Klopp era was coming to a close after Liverpool finished outside the top 4 in 22/23, but Alisson continued to perform at the highest level even when the Liverpool team was a mess. However, the Reds are now just 1 point behind league leaders Arsenal, and Alisson definitely deserves credit for that.
RB: Kieran Trippier (Newcastle United)
The Englishman has received a lot of flak for his calamitous error against Chelsea in the FA Cup, but other than that, he has been world-class for Newcastle this year. He may be approaching the end of his career, but his stamina and top-notch defending remain largely intact, which has allowed him to thrive in this Newcastle side. He is also a dead-ball specialist, an added advantage for any full-back. In the end, Trippier has been the quintessential right-back for Newcastle this year.
CB: Ruben Dias (Manchester City)
The Portuguese defender has been sublime for Manchester City this year, winning a quintuple with them and performing at the highest level. Dias has always been physically strong and intimidating, but he also added new elements to his game and improved as a player under the watchful eye of Guardiola. Despite falling victim to Pep Roulette more than he would like, Dias has been an essential part of this City team when not injured or benched and should continue to be a world-class defender for years to come.
LB: Theo Hernandez (AC Milan)
Theo Hernandez may not have won much for AC Milan this year, but he continues to prove that he is the most talented left-back on the planet. His stellar performances and vital goal contributions have kept Milan competitive this season, and he continues to impress for France as well. It’s hard to find another left-back as talented and consistent as the Frenchman, which is why he deservedly clinches a spot in this XI.
CDM: Rodri (Manchester City)
Probably the most obvious pick on the list. Rodri has been phenomenal for Manchester City this year, scoring in the CL Final and leading the dressing room by example. He has dropped 8/10 performances in almost every game he has played, and his defensive prowess and passing range are essential to the way City plays. They’ve struggled this season whenever he has been out of the side, and thus he secures a spot on the basis that a key player for the best team in the world can’t miss out on this year’s best XI.
RCM: Jude Bellingham (Real Madrid)
Jude Bellingham’s rise this year has been meteoric, as he followed up a hugely impressive World Cup campaign with another decent season at Dortmund before getting a dream move to Real Madrid, where he has had a flying start. He has 13 goals and 2 assists in just 16 league games for Los Angeles, an impressive goal contribution rate considering he is used to playing deeper throughout his career. His impact is clear to see at Madrid, and he undoubtedly has been the most in-form midfielder of this season.
LCM: Kevin De Bruyne (Manchester City)
The Belgian is another player essential to how City have been able to dominate European football, and his absence has been a factor affecting City’s performances this year. He had another stellar season in 22/23, making 16 assists and 7 goals in the PL while also impressing in the CL despite having significantly lesser goal contributions. Although he has been injured this season, I felt his performances in City’s treble-winning season were more than enough to merit inclusion in this 11.
LW: Kylian Mbappe (PSG)
The Frenchman is having another exceptional year, as he continues to be PSG’s and France’s best player by a mile. He has already scored 18 goals in just 16 league games this season, showing that he is above his competition. He also did well last season, scoring 29 in 34 league games. He won Ligue 1 last season and should win it again this season, and he may even move to Real Madrid for a fresh start. Regardless of his future, the French forward continues to show why he’s one of the best players in the world with stellar performances and goals after goals.
ST: Erling Haaland (Manchester City)
Haaland is perhaps the best player in the world; forget just the best striker. He has had an unreal 2023, breaking the PL's record for most goals per season alongside many more records. 52 goals in 53 games is another statistic that is just mental to me, and despite his performance level declining slightly, he has also scored 14 in 15 games this season. Oh, he was also robbed of the Ballon d'Or and finished second. Need I say more?
RW: Mohammed Salah (Liverpool)
Our final pick is another obvious choice, as I had to choose the Egyptian wizard Mo Salah. Salah has been consistently performing for Liverpool since 2017, and he had yet another great season with 31 goal contributions in 38 for Liverpool last season. He also has 19 in 19 this season, which shows that despite him crossing the age of 30, he will not be slowing down anytime soon.
That’s all for this article. I hope you enjoyed reading it as much as I did writing it. Check out my previous articles, and suggest some potential ideas for future articles in the comments below. And till next time, adios!