The biggest sporting event in the world calls for the biggest names in the business to represent their country, moving towards the ultimate prize–the FIFA World Cup trophy. Here are the five superstars that fans across the globe will look out for during the entire tournament:
1. Cristiano Ronaldo - Portugal
Ever since winning the 2016 Euro cup, the Portuguese Forward is playing on a different level altogether. During 2017-18, Ronaldo has made 38 appearances and scored a staggering total of 40 goals for his club, Real Madrid.
He has also been exceptional when it comes to international football in which he has represented his country in 149 matches while scoring a total of 81 goals (leads the active international goal-scorers’ list).
Always been a part of the debate about being the best footballer in the history of the sport, this may be Ronaldo’s last world cup appearance. This would definitely be the ultimate platform to prove the haters wrong and put an end to the debate for good.
2. Lionel Messi – Argentina
The ‘David’ to Cristiano Ronaldo’s ‘Goliath’, Messi is the one to watch out for this FIFA World Cup. After losing to Germany in the 2014 FIFA World Cup finals, this may be Messi’s year!
He has been an unstoppable force in La Liga and his hat-trick at Deportivo La Coruna gave Barcelona the edge to seal the Copa de la Liga (League Cup) which was their seventh title in 10 years!
Messi has made a total of 119 appearances for Argentina in which he has scored 63 times (second on the active international goal-scorers’ list).
It is widely believed to be Messi’s last World Cup appearance. Will the Atomic Flea be able to add the biggest achievement any footballer could dream of, to his award shelf?
3. Mohamed Salah – Egypt
Popularly known as MoSalah, the Egyptian has had the best season of his entire career this year. A season full of individual awards like the Premier League Golden Boot, the PFA Players' Player of the Year award and the African Player of the Year, Salah is the sole reason behind Egypt’s third FIFA World Cup appearance.
After having a rather disappointing association with his former club – Chelsea, Salah was a completely different man in Liverpool, scoring a total of 43 goals in just 49 appearances (2017-18). Salah has also been a dominating force when it comes to international games. With a scoring rate of .82 goals per game, he has scored 32 times in only 39 games.
There is no shortage of motivation for Salah and it is evident in his game. Nonetheless, winning the World Cup trophy would be an incredible way to cap his year of achievements.
4. David de Gea – Spain
Arguably the best goalkeeper in the world, the 27-year-old David De Gea has had a career full of prestigious awards such as the Premier League Golden Glove and being elected as Manchester’s Sir Matt Busby Player of the Year for four consecutive seasons with Manchester United.
During the 2017-18 season, de Gea has made 45 appearances with 22 clean sheets for his club, allowing them to finish second only to the extremely talented Manchester City, at the end of the 2017-2018 season of the Premier League.
With Spain being only able to make it to the group stage during the 2014 FIFA World Cup, De Gea will look to bring back the glory-days to the Spanish national team.
5. Antoine Griezmann – France
Despite Portugal winning the Euro cup in 2016, it was the then 26-year-old Griezmann who made the headlines because of his brilliance on the field which allowed France to finish as runners-up. The Frenchman has also had an impact on La Liga like no other. Forcing his rather underwhelming club–Atletico Madrid to finish 2nd in the league at the end of the 2017-18 season (above Ronaldo’s Real Madrid), Griezmann has shown that he has the heart of a champion.
He has scored 29 goals in 48 appearances for Atletico Madrid, including all competitions during the 2017-18 and a total of 25 goals in 70 appearances for France throughout his career.
With a team overflowing with talent and a manager with championship DNA, Griezmann has ample support to back him up during tournament, all he needs to do is to go and play the best football he has ever played and the ultimate glory will be his!