Pogba, Kane, Kante: The 2022 XI for the future was predicted in 2017

  • Kobe Tong
Kane and Pogba clash.

What do N’Golo Kante, Harry Kane and Hector Bellerin have in common?

Well, other than representing London-based clubs in the Premier League, they also happened to have been named in “the team of the future for 2022” that was selected by Sportskeeda back in 2017.

Here at GIVEMESPORT, we love the wacky and wonderful world of football predictions where you either look like the second coming of Nostradamus or that you know absolutely nothing about the sport.

The joy of football predictions

We’ve all sat across our mates in the pub and made bold calls that have either proven to be genius flashes of foresight or complete lunacy that should be blamed on the five pints beforehand.

However, that’s exactly what makes looking back at footballing predictions so fun and now that the year around which Sportskeeda built their own forecast has arrived, it’s time to look at how well it’s fared.

The moral of the story is that there are some great picks, some not so great picks and some terrible picks, but that’s exactly the nature of the beast and our predictions would hardly have been much better.

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Let’s start easy: who’s this iconic character?

‘The team of the future for 2022’

Nevertheless, it’s time to check up on how their predicted 2022 team for the future has turned out and you can join us in revisiting Sportskeeda’s selections by walking through each player down below:

GK: Gianluigi Donnarumma

We’re off to a great start. The Paris Saint-Germain shot-stopper is most certainly revered amongst the world’s best goalkeepers having recently bagged the Yashin Trophy and Euro 2020 Player of the Tournament award.

PSG's Donnarumma speaking.
Soccer Football – The Ballon d’Or Awards – Theatre du Chatelet, Paris, France – November 29, 2021 Paris St Germain’s Gianluigi Donnarumma with the Yachine Trophy REUTERS/Benoit Tessier

RB: Hector Bellerin

Not the worst shout in the world when you consider that Bellerin briefly established himself as the Premier League’s finest right-back for a couple of the seasons in the mid-2010s.

However, injuries and inconsistent form saw his Arsenal career tail away in the intervening years, though he has experienced Copa del Rey glory while out on loan at Real Betis for the 2021/22 campaign.

CB: Presnel Kimpembe

While he might not be the world’s best centre-half, this is another sound prediction with Kimpembe amassing more than 200 appearances for PSG and 26 caps in an extremely competitive France squad.

PSG's Kimpembe celebrates.
Soccer Football – Ligue 1 – Lille v Paris St Germain – Stade Pierre-Mauroy, Villeneuve-d’Ascq, France – February 6, 2022 Paris St Germain’s Presnel Kimpembe celebrates scoring their second goal REUTERS/Pascal Rossignol

CB: Marquinhos

There’s a bit of a PSG theme going on here and it’s worked a treat once again because Marquinhos is rightfully ranked amongst the world’s best centre-backs, even if the likes of Ruben Dias ultimately best him.

LB: David Alaba

Rounding off a pretty strong back five is the magnificent Alaba. Now plying his trade at Real Madrid via an extra Champions League win at Bayern Munich, the Austrian is shining both at left-back and centre-back.

Real Madrid's Alaba looked gutted.
Soccer Football – Champions League – Quarter Final – Second Leg – Real Madrid v Chelsea – Santiago Bernabeu, Madrid, Spain – April 12, 2022 Real Madrid’s David Alaba reacts REUTERS/Susana Vera

CM: N’Golo Kante

The prediction that Kante will “perhaps officially be recognised as the most formidable middle-man in world football,” was quite the understatement with the Chelsea man fresh from competing for the Ballon d’Or.

The 2021/22 campaign might not have been quite so storybook for the Blues star, but he would still be many people’s picks for the world’s best defensive midfielder and that’s a huge victory for this prediction.

CM: Max Meyer

Oh no. We have our first true clanger here with Meyer never truly reaching the dizzying heights expected of him, notably flopping in the Premier League with just two goals for Crystal Palace.

The former German prodigy hasn’t picked up a single cap for his country since the prediction was released and recently spent time on loan at FC Midtjylland away from parent club Fenerbah├že.

Meyer playing for Crystal Palace.
Soccer Football – Pre Season Friendly – Bristol City v Crystal Palace – Ashton Gate Stadium, Bristol, Britain – July 27, 2019 Crystal Palace’s Max Meyer in action with Bristol City’s Jack Hunt Action Images via Reuters/Peter Cziborra

CM: Paul Pogba

A selection that feels painfully topical because Pogba is set to leave the club that he’s represented for the five-year spell in question and he’s still arguably never matched the electric performances that he delivered for Juventus.

RW: Yunus Malli

By far and away the biggest misfire in the XI, Malli is nowhere near “one of the most prolific midfield talents around,” that he was tipped to be back in 2017 and has indeed faded into obscurity.

The goalscoring brilliance that was touted for him quickly fizzled out at Wolfsburg with just eight strikes in 38 appearances, before eventually being reduced to substitute appearances for Trabzonspor.

Malli is tackled at Wolfsburg.
Football Soccer – VFL Wolfsburg v Eintracht Braunschweig – Bundesliga Relegation Playoff Match First Leg – Volkswagen Arena, Wolfsburg, Germany – 25/5/17 Wolfsburg’s Yunus Malli in action with Eintracht Braunschweig’s Mirko Boland Reuters / Fabian Bimmer Livepic DFL RULES TO LIMIT THE ONLINE USAGE DURING MATCH TIME TO 15 PICTURES PER GAME. IMAGE SEQUENCES TO SIMULATE VIDEO IS NOT ALLOWED AT ANY TIME. FOR FURTHER QUERIES PLEASE CONTACT DFL DIRECTLY AT + 49 69 650050.

LW: Ousmane Dembele

A pretty solid shout and one that was very understandable at the time. Nevertheless, Dembele’s Barcelona career continues to hang in the balance as injuries have stopped him from truly reaching his potential.

ST: Harry Kane

Are Karim Benzema and Robert Lewandowski better? Yes, yes they are, but we don’t want to mock one of the strongest predictions of the bunch because Kane is certainly still one of the world’s best number nines.

Even in a season where the goal contributions haven’t always been free-flowing, it speaks volumes that Kane has still been able to amass 22 strikes and eight assists in just 45 matches.

Tottenham's Kane celebrates.
Soccer Football – Premier League – Manchester City v Tottenham Hotspur – Etihad Stadium, Manchester, Britain – February 19, 2022 Tottenham Hotspur’s Harry Kane celebrates scoring their third goal Action Images via Reuters/Carl Recine EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or ‘live’ services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club /league/player publications. Please contact your account representative for further details.

Some solid predictions

Fair play, Sportskeeda. We’ve seen much, much worse.

While Kante and Donnarumma are probably the only players that you could argue genuinely warrant a place in the world’s best XI right now, the trio of Kane, Alaba and Marquinhos aren’t a million miles away.

You can also understand why Dembele, Pogba and Bellerin might have inspired so much optimism looking forward to 2022, but the less said about the nods for Malli and Meyer, the better.

All in all, it just goes to show that there is only ever one thing that you can predict in football and that’s just how darn unpredictable it is. That doesn’t make it any less fun to try, though…

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