Kyle Walker W11 2023 2

Kyle Walker: "Kevin De Bruyne is in the same bracket as Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo"

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Kyle Walker W11 2023 2
  • Kyle Walker was one of six Manchester City stars voted into the FIFA FIFPRO World 11 by fellow professional footballers from around the globe 

  • The World 11’s three defenders – Ruben Dias, John Stones and Walker – all hail from City

  • Walker talks fellow World 11 team-mates Kevin De Bruyne, Erling Haaland, and Lionel Messi

After Manchester City’s 2022/23 treble-winning campaign, it came as no surprise to see the 2023 FIFA FIFPRO Men’s World 11 laden with City stars.

Not since Barcelona in 2010 – then managed by current Citizens boss Pep Guardiola – has one club managed to contribute six players to a single edition of the world team of the year.

Defender Kyle Walker was one of City’s super six who was voted into the World 11 by 22,000 professional men’s footballers.

“It's a great honour to be voted for by your peers,” said Walker. “They're your biggest critics and you play against them week in, week out.”

City’s influence on the Men’s World 11

The three defenders of the Men’s World 11 all hail from Manchester City: Ruben Dias, John Stones and Walker. “We built a real connection last season, whether it was me or John playing at right back, or Ruben, who was a big part of that. He commands a lot of the defence, which probably goes unnoticed, and he deserves a lot of credit.”

Kyle Walker W11 2023

Players around the globe voted two City midfielders into the World 11: Bernardo Silva and Kevin De Bruyne.

While 2023 marked a debut appearance for the Portuguese international, De Bruyne was named in the global team of the year for a fourth successive time; just days after making his long-awaited return from injury where he powered his side to a comeback victory over Newcastle United.

"I think there's only certain players, the likes of Messi and Ronaldo, that you can say are in the same bracket as Kevin – Kevin goes into that bracket for me.

“When he came on against Newcastle, you could feel that push, you could feel that energy and that excitement. He gives you a lift and Kevin is at his best when he's on the ball playing passes that you don't think are even visible to play.”

Erling Haaland’s goalscoring exploits in 2023, where he netted a record 36 goals in his debut Premier League campaign, naturally caught the attention of his peers who voted him en masse into the World 11. Sixty-four percent of players selected Haaland in the team of the year, making him the most-voted player.

Speaking of his City team-mate, Walker said: “As a player, he's very professional. He’s the first one in training and the last one to leave.

“He’s 23 and he’s got that level head. His dad [former Manchester City player Alf-Inge Haaland] is a big driving force in wanting him to be professional and achieve as much as he can in the game and hit the ground running, as he did last season and scored that many goals.

“Breaking the records that he did, I think that says a lot about himself and his character.” 

The World 11 boasts a forward line of Haaland, Kylian Mbappe, Vinicius Jr and Lionel Messi. When asked which player in their prime he would most like to play alongside, Walker selected the Argentinian ace, who marked a record 17th successive World 11 appearance on Monday.

Walker said: “It would have to be Messi. Not just because of the manager – Pep [Guardiola] says about him, about his aura on the pitch – but I’ve spoken with Julian Alvarez about him and what he brings to a team. I’ve been fortunate to play against Messi, but to play with him would be something very special.”