Achraf Hakimi Morocco 2

Achraf Hakimi: The full-back World 11 nominee who started out as a striker


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Achraf Hakimi Morocco 2
  • The Moroccan full-back is aiming to make the FIFA FIFPRO World 11 Men's for the first time

  • Hakimi's high level and leadership in historic Morocco run at Qatar 2022 saw him voted into the list of nominees by fellow pros

  • FIFPRO looks at why Hakimi is one of the 26 players shortlisted for the team of the year

Achraf Hakimi is one of the names that will forever be associated with the 2022 FIFA World Cup. The epic feat of the Morocco team in reaching the semi-finals is an indelible part of the history of Qatar 2022, and one of its icons is the Paris Saint-Germain full-back, who is one of 26 candidates in the running for a 2022 FIFA FIFPRO Men’s World 11 place.

If Hakimi achieves it, the team of the year would have a right-back in its ranks with the soul of a striker, while for Hakimi himself it would be a new sign of the progress of his career: at the age of 24, it would be his first World 11 appearance.

The Moroccan star is one of 26 players who made it to the final list of nominees, thanks to the votes of his fellow professionals, and their votes will also decide who will be in the final 11 honoured at the gala for The Best FIFA Football Awards 2022, to be held in Paris on 27 February 2023.

There are at least three places reserved for defenders — potentially five, according to the rules. Hakimi will have strong competition in the quest for a place at the back: Joao Cancelo (Manchester City/Bayern Munich, Portugal), Alphonso Davies (Bayern Munich, Canada), Virgil van Dijk (Liverpool, Netherlands), Josko Gvardiol (RB Leipzig, Croatia), Theo Hernandez (AC Milan, France), Antonio Rudiger (Chelsea/Real Madrid, Germany) and Thiago Silva (Chelsea, Brazil).

How does the World 11 voting work?

Hakimi’s last 18 months

Hakimi’s arrival at Paris Saint-Germain from Inter Milan kicked off a brilliant 2021/22 season, not to mention the final months of last year, when the World Cup catapulted him definitively to worldwide fame.

With the Parisians he won the French League and the French Super Cup — known as the Trophée des Champions — making his mark as a full-back with great attacking potential: he scored seven goals and provided nine assists.

His aggressive style dates back to his childhood: at the age of seven he was a striker, at 14 he was a winger, and only between the ages of 16 and 17 did he start playing as a full-back in the Real Madrid youth system.

In the months before Qatar, he was the defender with the second highest number of appearances as a starter for PSG, counting Ligue 1 and Champions League games — 17 out of a possible 20 — as well as scoring three goals and making the same number of assists.

In the World Cup itself, his superb performance made him one of the stars of an unforgettable team: Morocco was the first African country in history — and also the first Arab country — to reach the semi-finals.

His best statistic in Qatar also reflects his versatility and leadership. This full-back recognised for his attacking ability was the player with the most tackles won (17) in the tournament, along with Mateo Kovacic of Croatia.

Beyond his assist against Canada in the group stage and the constant threat he posed, his most memorable contribution in attack will always be the penalty against Spain that decided the shoot-out and took the Atlas Lions into the quarter-finals.

“I’m a full-back with the soul of a striker. I feel important because although I play as a defender, I can be in the opponents’ area and change the course of a game”

— by Achraf Hakimi

Hakimi’s individual achievements

  • Member of the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations Team of the Tournament
  • Best Arab Sportsman 2022
  • Order of the Throne – state decoration awarded by the Moroccan government

The football world talks about Hakimi

"He’s the best right-back in the world."
Kylian Mbappe, Paris Saint-Germain and France forward

"His speed is incredible."
Marco Reus, Hakimi’s team-mate at Borussia Dortmund

"I like Achraf a lot. I really like full-backs to attack, even without the ball. It's a very tiring role because they have to handle the whole flank, but it's very eye-catching and is becoming increasingly important."
Cafu, two-time World Cup winner with Brazil