The 2022 World Cup has already gotten off to a news making start with Qatar becoming the first host country to lose their opening game as Ecuador came out deserving 2-0 winners to kick things off.
With 32 teams in the mix, all ready to entertain millions of fans across the globe, we have got a fantastic mix of established players and budding young talents.
Without further ado, let us take a look at the top 10 players to look forward to in the Qatar World Cup.
Arguably the best player on the planet, Lionel Messi, perhaps, has the last chance of winning the World Cup. The mercurial Argentinean, 35, lit up the Copa America 2021, bagging four goals and five assists on his way to lifting the trophy with La Albiceleste.
Having finally got his hands on the Copa America, Messi needs the final piece of silverware with Argentina to complete his collection. With 12 goals and 14 assists in just 18 games for PSG, the playmaker is heading to Qatar in the best of forms.
Of course, it is next to impossible to feature Messi on the list of the best players to watch out for in the 2022 World Cup without including Cristiano Ronaldo.
Ronaldo, 37, has been in the headlines of late following his spicy interview with Piers Morgan, burning all the bridges with Manchester United after criticizing the Glazer family, the chief executives, members of the club and the manager.
Surely, he is past his best but even at the ripe age of 37, the Portuguese superstar is still one of the most prolific strikers in the game. After being deemed a squad player by Ten Hag at Man United this season, Ronaldo will be even more desperate to prove his detractors wrong and take Portugal to glory in Qatar.
At just 23 years old, Kylian Mbappe is widely regarded as the best player in world football going by current form.
Four years ago, the then 19-year-old Mbappe became the first teenager to score twice in a World Cup final in France’s 4-2 victory over Croatia in Russia. The Frenchman bagged four goals and an assist on his way to lifting the World Cup, and if his evolution over the last few years is anything to go by, he is certain to shatter his 2018 tally.
With 18 goals and five assists in just 19 games for PSG this season, Mbappe is heading to Qatar in sublime form and is naturally among the best players to watch out for in this edition of the World Cup.
A lot of expectations will be on Neymar’s shoulders to take Brazil to the Promised Land in Qatar. This is going to be his third World Cup and he has got a massive target on his back.
Speed, dribbling, rainbow flicks, technical wonderment, free-kicks, assists and goals make Neymar a special player, and he’ll be looking to combine well with Vinicius Jr., Raphinha, Richarlison and Lucas Paqueta and torment opposition defences in the tournament.
Off the back of a superb season so far with PSG which includes 15 goals and 12 assists in 19 games, Neymar has the potential to win the World Cup on his own for Brazil.
#Kevin de Bruyne
One of the world’s best midfielders, Kevin de Bruyne is the heartbeat of this Belgium side. Be it the national team or Man City, the playmaker is an asset to any team he plays for.
Best known for his expert passing, vision, tireless work rate, and finishing ability, De Bruyne looks set to play a key role for Roberto Martinez’s team this year.
For Poland, everything starts and ends with Robert Lewandowski. Possibly one of the greatest centre-forwards of all time, the spotlight will be on him whenever Poland plays.
Lewandowski’s start to the season with Barcelona has been fiery, and he appears determined to drag an underachieving Polish side from the group stages to the knockout rounds and beyond.
Harry Kane, England’s talisman, needs only two goals to equal Wayne Rooney’s 53 goals as the Three Lions’ all-time leading goal-scorer.
The 29-year-old has got everything required in a striker, making him a constant threat to the opposition. With England, Kane will be playing alongside top talents such as Bukayo Saka, Mason Mount, Marcus Rashford and Raheem Sterling, but as usual, he will be the focus of the attack.
Memphis Depay has largely had a topsy turvy club career, with his deserving transfers to the conventional big clubs more often than not ending in a lacklustre fashion. A player with a lot of potential, whose lack of consistency has forced him to prove himself again and again, will find himself in more familiar surroundings when lining up alongside his Dutch teammates in the Qatar World Cup. This tournament comes at a time when he is looking for a transfer having been frozen out at Barcelona.
Netherlands are the favourites in Group A and if they are to progress into the latter stages, Depay will be expected to play a major role in the proceedings.
Brazil, one of the big favourites to win the 2022 World Cup, has a great blend of experience with exciting and in-form young talents who could have breakthrough tournaments, like Vinicius Jr., who has been in great form for Real Madrid over the last two years.
Blessed with pace, power, physicality, dribbling ability and technical skills, Vinicius Jr. will look to rise to the challenge in the Qatar World Cup spectacularly. The forward’s world-class potential could see him become one of the star names of the tournament.
Like many superstars, this could be Luka Modric’s last World Cup and he will be keen to bid farewell to international football with the coveted trophy after helping Croatia reach the finals in 2018 in Russia.
At the ripe age of 37, Modric is still helping Real Madrid dominate games in the middle of the park, thereby, showing no signs of slowing down. Croatia may not be a team boasting of superstars, but they are a well-drilled unit that will want to go all the way this time around.
And for that to happen, Croatia will need Modric to be at his best.