Football Manager 2022 best players: All the top forwards, midfielders, defenders and goalkeepers

Martin Macdonald
Martin Macdonald 1 Jan 2022 20:13 CET 5 min read
Karim Benzema celebrates, Real Madrid v Shakhtar Donetsk in UCL

Football Manager 2022 has now been officially released since November.

One of the best aspects of FM 2021 is trying to build that team of superstars who you believe can lead your club to glory. A fantasy XI that will defeat all-comers – and one that would probably be unlikely feature in the real world!

Recruitment can be a minefield at times, but FootballTransfers has you covered.

We have already detailed the best Wonderkids within FM 22, but in this article we'll detail the stars of now rather than the stars of the future - superstars who will almost guarantee performances and success.

As the below are the best players in the world, and in the game, they will not come cheap...

Football Manager 2022 best goalkeepers

Goalkeepers

PlayeValueReputation
Ederson, 27, Man City£196m ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
Thibaut Courtois, 29, Real Madrid£76m ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
Manuel Neuer, 25, Bayern£27m ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
Marc-Andre ter Stegen, 29, Barcelona£145m ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
Jan Oblak, 28, Atletico£91m ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
Alisson, 28, Liverpool£200m ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
Gianluigi Donnarumma, 22, PSG£85m⭐ ⭐ ⭐ 1/2
Wojciech Szczesny, 31, Juventus£37m⭐ ⭐ ⭐ 1/2
David de Gea, 30, Man Utd£44m⭐ ⭐ ⭐ 1/2
Keylor Navas, 34, PSG£27m⭐ ⭐ ⭐ 1/2

The highest rated goalkeeper in FM 22 is Manchester City shot-stopper Ederson, who has a four-star reputation within the game. He is also valued at around £196 million so it will be pretty much impossible for users to sign him within the first couple of years of play.

The two cheapest goalkeepers on our list are two veterans - Manuel Neuer and Keylor Navas.

Neuer will likely never be sold by Bayern within the game, but with Gianluigi Donnarumma set to take over as number one goalkeeper at PSG, Navas has suddenly become more attainable.

Football Manager 2022 best defenders

Defenders

PlayerValueReputation
Ruben Dias, 26, Man City£137m⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
Aymeric Laporte, 26, Man City£102m⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
Sergio Ramos, 25, PSG£9m⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
Virgil van Dijk, 29, Liverpool£116m⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
Raphael Varane, 28, Man Utd£69m⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
Leonardo Bonucci, 34, Juventus£18m⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
Achraf Hakimi, 22, PSG£159m⭐ ⭐ ⭐ 1/2
Mats Hummels, 32, Dortmund£19m⭐ ⭐ ⭐ 1/2
Matthijs de Ligt, 21, Juventus£92m⭐ ⭐ ⭐ 1/2
Juan Cuadrado, 33, Juventus£13m⭐ ⭐ ⭐ 1/2
Giorgio Chiellini, 36, Juventus£3.5m⭐ ⭐ ⭐ 1/2
Gerard Pique, 34, Barcelona£17m⭐ ⭐ ⭐ 1/2
Marquinhos, 27, PSG£63m⭐ ⭐ ⭐ 1/2
Stefan de Vrij, 29, Inter£44m⭐ ⭐ ⭐ 1/2
Thiago Silva, 36, Chelsea£3.9m⭐ ⭐ ⭐ 1/2
John Stones, 27, Man City£79m⭐ ⭐ ⭐ 1/2
Joao Cancelo, 27, Man City£68m⭐ ⭐ ⭐ 1/2
Kalidou Koulibaly, 30, Napoli£42m⭐ ⭐ ⭐ 1/2
Milan Skriniar, 26, Inter£52m⭐ ⭐ ⭐ 1/2
David Alaba, 29, Real Madrid£46⭐ ⭐ ⭐ 1/2

Central defenders dominate the list of the best defenders within FM 22. The defenders with four-star reputations are Ruben Dias, Aymeric Laporte, Sergio Ramos, Virgil van Dijk, Raphael Varane and Leonardo Bonucci.

The highest rated full-back within the game is Achraf Hakimi, though he will not be sold be PSG within the first few campaigns, having just signed this summer from Inter for a huge fee of €70m.

Football Manager 2022 best midfielders

Midfielders

PlayerValueReputation
Kevin De Bruyne, 30, Man City£215m⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ 1/2
Joshua Kimmich, 26, Bayern1£72m⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
Luka Modric, 35, Real Madrid£5.6m⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
Toni Kroos, 31, Real Madrid£54m⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
Bernardo Silva, 26, Man City£105m⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
Sergey Milinkovic-Savic, 26, Lazio£63m⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
Ilkay Gundogan, 30, Man City£54m⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
N'Golo Kante, 30, Chelsea£59m⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
Paul Pogba, 28, Man Utd£55m⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
Frenkie de Jong, 24, Barcelona£121m⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
Casemiro, 29, Real Madrid£74m⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
Leon Goretzka, 26, Bayern£55m⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
Nicolo Barella, 24, Inter£52m⭐ ⭐ ⭐ 1/2
Martin Odegaard, 22, Arsenal£94m⭐ ⭐ ⭐ 1/2
Bruno Fernandes, 26, Man Utd£92m⭐ ⭐ ⭐ 1/2
Thiago, 30, Liverpool£50m⭐ ⭐ ⭐ 1/2
Rodri, 25, Man City£59m⭐ ⭐ ⭐ 1/2
Sergio Busquets, 32, Barcelona£28m⭐ ⭐ ⭐ 1/2
Luis Alberto, 28, Lazio£41m⭐ ⭐ ⭐ 1/2
Phil Foden, 21, Man City£102m⭐ ⭐ ⭐ 1/2

The best midfielder in Football Manager 2022 is Manchester City superstar Kevin De Bruyne. The Belgian's reputation continues to grow within the world of football and with Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo ageing, he is certainly in the conversation for the best player around.

De Bruyne is the only midfielder who earns four-and-a-half stars out of five.

Joshua Kimmich is the best defensive-minded midfielder in the list, with veteran Real Madrid pairing Luka Modric and Toni Kroos also still terrific. Modric's talents will likely decline slightly though as he is 35 as the season kicks off.

Football Manager 2022 best forwards

Forwards

PlayerValueReputation
Lionel Messi, 34, PSG£58m⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐⭐
Cristiano Ronaldo, 36, Man Utd£30m⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ 1/2
Robert Lewandowski, 32, Bayern£63m⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ 1/2
Kylian Mbappe, 22, PSG£87m⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
Harry Kane, 27, Tottenham£187m⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
Sergio Aguero, 33, Barcelona£50m⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
Romelu Lukaku, 28, Chelsea£217m⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
Antooine Griezmann, 30, Atletico£67m⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
Luis Suarez, 34, Atletico£16m⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
Erling Haaland, 20, Dortmund£96m⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
Mohamed Salah, 29, Liverpool£101m⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
Karim Benzema, 33, Real Madrid£40m⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
Heung-min Son, 28, Tottenham£72m⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
Zlatan Ibrahimovic, 39, Milan£4.8m⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
Neymar, 29, PSG£169m⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
Eden Hazard, 30, Real Madrid£69m⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
Sadio Mane, 29, Liverpool£101m⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
Leroy Sane, 25, Bayern£50m⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
Thomas Muller, 31, Bayern£45m⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
Riyad Mahrez, 30, Man City£57m

There is only one player with a worldwide reputation of five stars at the starting point of FM 22 and that player is Messi.

The Argentine may have completed an emotional transfer away from Barcelona this summer, but that hasn't impacted his attributes in the game as he remains the best player by some distance. Even at 34, Messi's attributes are incredible, while his value has also increased from the last game as his contract is not expiring.

In below are two prolific forwards in Ronaldo and Robert Lewandowski, both of whom enjoy four-and-a-half star ratings for worldwide reputation.

The rest of the players on our list are all rated at four stars - and there are many more who missed out so attackers in the game are certainly the strongest out of all the positions.

To look at the best players from Football Manager 2021, click here.