Coming into the 2022 World Cup, Barcelona boasted of the highest representation at the tournament, with 16 first-team players donning the garnet and blue. Apart from these, we also saw Sergino Dest and Ez Abde in Qatar, in a loan capacity.
While no Barça player ended up lifting the trophy, Lionel Messi’s win was celebrated at the club and the city like their own. Unsurprisingly so, too.
That said, Barcelona had three players representing them in the semi-final bracket, with Ousmane Dembele and Jules Kounde as part of the French contingent, and Abde from Morocco.
Overall, it was a largely underwhelming tournament for those from the Catalan capital, on an individual level.
Following the grandest festival on Earth, we at Barça Universal run the rule over Barcelona players’ performances through the tournament.
Robert Lewandowski: 6
Poland reached the round of 16 of the 2022 World Cup, mainly in courtesy of favours from Mexico and Saudi Arabia. Their performances were criticised for their dull brand of football, with Wojciech Szczesny their standout performer.
Lewandowski scored two goals and assisted one in Qatar, but in his defence, had little to no service. He also missed a penalty against Mexico – that he himself won – and was completely boxed out of the game vs Argentina.
Ousmane Dembele: 7.5
Dembele was undoubtedly the best Barcelona player at the World Cup, starting on the right wing for France. He registered two assists through seven games, while creating three big chances.
He created 11 chances for France, second only to Griezmann’s 22, and registered an xA (expected assists) of 0.21 per 90.
France also benefitted from his defensive work-rate, and his ability to single-handedly carry attacking transitions.
That said, Dembouz’s performance in the final was outright terrible, as he committed a penalty and had little to no impact.
Memphis Depay: 6
Louis van Gaal did not have the services of Memphis Depay regularly throughout the tournament due to injury, but he added a different layer to the Dutch attack each time he got the ball.
Memphis also scored a lovely counter-attacking goal against United States of America, but was completely shut off by the Argentina midfield in the quarters.
Ferran Torres: 6
Opened his account against Costa Rica with a brace, but was barely impactful in the following games. Torres continued to miss chances, and was not productive enough from the right-wing.
Xavi should definitely take notes on how to utilise Raphinha, who showed his near-best level while playing for Brazil.
The winger was a creative wizard, creating three big chances and averaging nearly two chances created per game. Was unlucky to walk out of the tournament with no goal contributions, but was hailed as the best player vs South Korea by Neymar.
Ansu Fati: N/A
Played just 44 minutes — not enough to warrant a rating.
Frenkie de Jong: 7
De Jong could be hailed as Netherlands’ best player during the tournament alongside Nathan Ake, and showed just how incredible he can be in multiple roles – sometimes in the same game.
The 25-year-old scored one and assisted one, but his best game came against Argentina, as he constantly found his way through Lionel Scaloni’s mid-block.
Pedri put in an incredible shift vs Costa Rica, but it would not be controversial to say his influence decreased massively against Japan and Morocco.
They blocked off all service lines for the youngster, as he was unable to create much in either game.
That said, in his first World Cup, Pedri showed no signs of nerves and was specially complimented by Luis Enrique for his displays in the tournament.
Man of the match against Costa Rica, Gavi showed his importance for Spain in following games, especially when he was substituted.
His ability to cut off passing lanes and press the opposition midfield with constant dedication through and hour and a half makes him an important peg for Spain as they look to gain constant control in midfield.
It is necessary to mention his beautiful volley goal against Costa Rica.
Sergio Busquets: 6
As one would expect, Busquets was much better for La Roja compared to his performances with Barcelona. He was much more commanding with the ball, but equally suspect defensively against the transitions of Germany, Japan, and Morocco.
Jules Kounde: 6.5
Kounde was evidently much more comfortable in the right-back role for France than Benjamin Pavard, inverting brilliantly in and out of possession.
He did face trouble against tricky dribblers, though, as was evident vs Sofiane Boufal and Abde vs Morocco, and vs Angel di Maria in the final.
Extra points for a brilliant goal-line clearance vs Morocco in the dying minutes, though.
Andreas Christensen: 6
By far and large Denmark’s best player as the Danes failed to make it out of the group stages.
Not only did he score their only goal of the tournament, but also led the squad in passes per game, shot blocks, and total defensive actions.
Jordi Alba: 7.25
As Spain faced trouble in opening up defences, Alba looked like their best player most often than not. Not only can he credit himself to two assists, but also averaged more than a chance created per game.
Further, he looked to have improved defensively each passing game, keeping the likes of Hakim Ziyech, and Serge Gnabry at bay.
Undoubtedly one of the better Barcelona representatives in Qatar.
Alejandro Balde: 5
Balde totalled no more than 120 minutes in the World Cup, starting against Japan in the third round of group stages.
Eric Garcia: N/A
Did not get a single minute, surprisingly.
Ronald Araujo: N/A
Did not get fit in time to don the Uruguayan shirt at the tournament.
Marc-Andre ter Stegen: N/A
Played second fiddle to Manuel Neuer, did not get a single minute.