eFootball 2023, Konami’s replacement for the iconic Pro Evolution Soccer, is back and we’re here to run you through the best players in the game. Be warned, though, neither Cristiano Ronaldo or World Cup winner Lionel Messi feature in the top three, marking the dawn of a new era.
10. Manuel Neuer
Club: Bayern Munich
There’s no better goalkeeper in world football right now than Manuel Neuer, according to eFootball 2023’s ratings. The Germany and Bayern Munich number one has an overall rating of 90 which puts him ahead of Thibaut Courtois, Alisson and Jan Oblak. Now into his 12th season with the German champions, Neuer has completely revolutionised the role of a goalkeeper. Gone are the days where number ones don’t dare leave the safety of their penalty areas. Now they’re all sweeper keepers who want to play out from the back and occupy a higher starting position allowing defenders to push further up the pitch.
This, of course, requires awareness and a good footballing brain, something Neuer has aplenty, which is reflected in eFootball 2023 with 82 goalkeeper awareness. The 36-year-old has always been among the world’s best when it comes to shop stopping and that’s no different this year with 84 reflexes and 83 reach. He loves it.
9. Virgil van Dijk
Up one place on last year despite a dodgy start to the 2022/23 season, Virgil van Dijk is the only defensive outfield player to make the list. Still rated 90 overall, the Dutchman’s understanding and reading of the game is like no other player in his position. He has 90 defensive awareness and 80 defensive engagement in eFootball 2023, which illustrates his footballing intelligence. In the air he’s dominant and is rarely beaten with 80 heading, 81 jumping and 87 physical contact.
With the latter also being utilised on the deck where he puts himself about to out muscle and push opponents off the ball with ease. Like all good, modern centre backs, van Dijk is an accomplished ball player and can pick a pass. A key feature of Liverpool’s style of play under Jurgen Klopp involves long diagonal balls out to their wide-men, something van Dijk is able to execute with 75 lofted passing.
8. Neymar Jr.
After bagging 107 league goals in 177 appearances for Santos as a teenager, Neymar Jr. was the most sought after youngster in world football. He eventually chose Barcelona, as we all know, and the belief was he’d go on to become one of, if not the, greatest player on the planet. And while he hasn’t exactly reached that level, he has enjoyed a fantastic career winning a hatful of titles with both Barcelona and PSG.
It’s his goalscoring record for Brazil that’s most impressive, though. Neymar sits level with the great Pele on 77 international goals, meaning he needs one more to become Brazil’s all time leading goalscorer.
The PSG star has seen his overall rating in eFootball drop from 91 to 90, but remains one of the best dribblers in the game with 90 dribbling, 89 tight possession and 88 ball control.
7. Cristiano Ronaldo
Club: Al Nassr
Cristiano Ronaldo’s not quite the player he once was, but make no mistake he remains one of the best in world football right now. At the age of 37 he still has a rating of 90 in eFootball 2023, which is ridiculous really.
Now plying his trade in Saudi Arabia at Al Nassr following a turbulent second spell at Manchester United, CR7 has not lost that killer instinct in front of goal with 83 finishing. The pace, and explosive power, might have gone but the footballing brain, well that never leaves you according to your old man. It’s true, though, especially in the case of Ronaldo who has 85 offensive awareness. He still poses a threat in the air too. Stick it in the mixer and nine times out of ten CR7 will get his head on it with 88 jumping and 82 heading.
6. Kevin De Bruyne
Club: Manchester City
The best central midfielder on the planet right now, Kevin de Bruyne can do things with a football you or I could only dream of. Rated 91 in eFootball 2023, the Belgian international picks passes others can’t see with 88 low passing, 87 lofted passing and 80 offensive awareness. Sat-nav. Make a run and he’ll find you, carrying the ball forward is another key asset to De Bruyne’s game, yet he probably doesn’t get the credit he deserves. Even in eFootball 2023 his dribbling is only rated 78, which seems pretty harsh, but he does have 85 ball control and 84 tight possession allowing him to retain the ball in the middle of the park where space is limited.
5. Lionel Messi
It’s absolutely criminal that World Cup winner Lionel Messi is only 5th on this list. Even at the age of 35, the Argentina forward proved he’s still the best on the planet in Qatar. A year older, Messi’s overall rating has dropped from 93 to 91, seeing him slip down three places in the list compared to last year. Despite all of that, though, he remains a formidable dribbler, with 90 ball control, 89 dribbling and 89 tight possession.
There’s no need for us to go into too much detail regarding Messi’s style of play. We’ve all seen him play. We all know his strengths. We all know how clinical he is, which is backed up with 87 finishing and, obviously, the ridiculous number of goals he’s bagged throughout his career. He’s a cheat code. A freak.
4. Kylian Mbappe
Kylian Mbappe is the 4th best player in eFootball 2023, but give it another year and he’ll probably sit top. The 24-year-old delivered on the biggest stage of them all out in Qatar claiming the Golden Boot ahead of Lionel Messi, proving to everyone he’s ready to take on the baton.
Still developing his game, but already playing at a ridiculous level, Mbappe has an overall rating of 91 in eFootball 2023 with a potential of 97. His pace is clearly a huge asset with both sprint speed and acceleration rated 89, but he’s more than a one trick pony.
He can dribble and retain possession in tight areas. He’s clinical in front of goal. And despite his youth, he already has excellent offensive awareness. Simply put, he’s got it all.
3. Karim Benzema
Club: Real Madrid
The 2022 Ballon d’Or winner, Karim Benzema, is finally getting the credit many believe he deserves. Better late than never, eh? Since becoming the main man at Real Madrid, Benzema has thrived, bagging 20+ goals in each of the last four seasons. Ronaldo’s departure has played a key role in the upturn in form, with the Frenchman now rated 91 overall in eFootball 2023.
In front of goal he has a finishing attribute of 85, and is dangerous in the air with 82 heading. Link up play isn’t his strongest attribute with low passing at 77, but his hold up play and touch is second to none. Benzema has 85 ball control, 82 tight possession and 80 dribbling.
2. Mohamed Salah
Liverpool and Egypt’s talisman, Mohamed Salah, retains an overall rating of 92 in eFootball’s latest instalment despite what has been a relatively poor start, by his standards at least, to the 2022/23 season.
Predominantly playing off the right, where he’s able to cut inside on his trusty left foot, Salah torments defenders with 85 ball control and 82 dribbling. The Egyptian skipper also uses 87 sprint speed and 85 acceleration to terrorise his opponents. He’ll gain a yard on those tasked with marking him by slowing down, almost to a standstill, before turning on the afterburners. Catching his opponents flat footed and off guard.
In front of goal Salah’s stats speak for themselves, he’s averaged a goal every other game throughout his career and has 85 finishing in eFootball 2023.
1. Robert Lewandowski
Robert Lewandowski is the best player in eFootball for a second year running despite his overall rating dropping from 93 to 92. The Poland striker bagged 50 goals in all competitions last campaign, in what was his final season at Bayern Munich. Now at Barcelona, Lewandowski has shown no signs of letting up, scoring 22 goals in 24 appearances (at the time of writing).
With 90 finishing you’ll find few players, if any, operating at the same level in front of goal. Add to that 88 offensive awareness and 82 heading and it’s easy to see why the 34-year-old bags as many goals as he does. It’s cliche, but the 6ft 1” forward does have a good touch for a big man with 83 ball control in eFootball 2023.
Don’t be surprised if we see a completely new top three in next year’s edition of eFootball, with Erling Haaland finally breaking into the top 10 and the possibility of Cristiano Ronaldo not featuring anywhere on the list. A changing of the guard is in full flow, and we’re here for it.