Haaland, Mbappe, Foden: Predicting the 2025 FIFA World XI

On Tuesday and Wednesday, Kylian Mbappe and Erling Braut Haaland reminded the world that they are the future of world football.

The two strikers starred in the Champions League for their respective teams, with Mbappe first grabbing a hat-trick against Barcelona in a 4-1 win for Paris Saint-Germain.

Haaland then responded by scoring twice in Borussia Dortmund’s 3-2 victory away at Sevilla, taking his tally in the competition to 18 from just 13 appearances.

They’re phenomenons and in the years to come, both players will be regulars in the FIFA World XI, which is selected annually and revealed in December.

But the big question is; who will they be joined by? After a prolonged gaze into our crystal ball, we’ve had a go at predicting the team we think will receive the prestigious honour from football’s governing body in December 2025.

Age is, of course, a telling factor here, so the likes of Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo, Robert Lewandowksi and Neymar – players in or past their prime – all miss out.

Messi & Mbappe

Goalkeeper: Ederson

The Manchester City ‘keeper is still only 27, so when December 2025 rolls around, the Brazilian will likely still be in his prime and a very strong contender to be named as the world’s best in his position – he isn’t far off that in the present day to be honest.

Right-back: Trent Alexander-Arnold

The Liverpool man has found the going a lot tougher in 2020/21, but he’s still a generational talent and has the potential to be one of the greatest right-backs of all time. Don’t write off the 22-year-old after the first iffy spell of form in his short career.

Centre-back: Ruben Dias

It’s crazy to think that the man who has transformed City’s back line this season is just 23 years of age. Dias is, to borrow a cliche, a Rolls-Royce defender and in 2025, the Portuguese will be in his peak years and likely have improved as a player, which is a scary thought for strikers.

Dias in action

Centre-back: Jules Kounde

Sevilla’s French centre-back continues to fly under the radar, but along with Dias, he’s the most exciting youngster in his position on the planet. In our opinion, Kounde is a superior prospect to Dayot Upamecano and could even become the most expensive defender of all time when he inevitably joins a European giant.

Left-back: Alphonso Davies

The Canadian is probably the best left-back in the world right now at the age of the 20, which is all we need to say here really.

Right-mid: Jadon Sancho

Haaland’s partner-in-crime at Dortmund is already a superstar and has all the makings of a future Ballon d’Or winner. In 2025, Sancho will likely be dominating the Premier League, although it remains to be seen what colour shirt he’ll be wearing.

Sancho in action

Centre-mid: Eduardo Camavinga

The Rennes midfielder has been heavily linked with a move to Real Madrid after his performances in Ligue 1. A midfielder blessed with outrageous natural ability, Camavinga has made three appearances for the French national team and a place among the world’s best in 2025 seems inevitable at this point.

Centre-mid: Phil Foden

Two English players in one FIFA World XI?! It’s certainly on the cards. At the age of 20, Foden is already one of Pep Guardiola’s trusted lieutenants at City, which is an impressive feat in itself. The ‘Stockport Iniesta’ is firmly on the path to superstardom and the sky is his limit.

Left-mid: Ansu Fati

The heir to Messi’s throne at Barcelona. Fati is still only 18, but he plays with the maturity and quality of a footballer in his prime. Like plenty of the names in this XI, he’ll be competing for the most prestigious personal accolades on offer in the not too distant future.

Fati in action

Striker: Kylian Mbappe

Mbappe has already featured in the 2018 and 2019 editions of the FIFA World XI. It’s hard to envisage a future in which the Frenchman hasn’t added to his collection of individual honours, isn’t it? Whether he achieves that at Paris Saint-Germain is another matter, though…

Striker: Erling Haaland

Haaland and Mbappe up top? Not a bad strike force that. The Norwegian will almost certainly secure a move to one of Europe’s biggest clubs in the next couple of years, which will no doubt see him feature in far more than just one FIFA World XI.

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