We’re just less than a month away from the biggest sports event on the planet--World Cup 2018. And of course, no sporting event is complete without its living legends and superstars. Here’s our list of the best players to watch out for in FIFA World Cup 2018.
Let’s get obvious out of the way. Sure, Argentina’s national team is full of capable and qualified players in their own right. But without Lionel Messi’s leadership and fantastic goals, they wouldn’t be considered as much of a threat in the world stage. Heck, they probably won’t even be in Russia if Messi hadn’t saved them in the qualifiers.
Messi is the best and most exciting soccer player in the world right now--hands down. And even if he doesn’t bring the crown for Argentina this year, he’s sure to delight us fans with his unmatchable speed and dribbling skills on the field.
Choosing a standout player is particularly tough among the current World Cup Champions, Germany. After all, it takes a stellar team to make a perfect 10/10 in the qualifiers and scoring a total record of 43 goals at the same time.
But when pushed to pick a favorite, we’ll have to go with Toni Kroos. A versatile and strategic midfielder, he can play defense, center, and attack. A pretty neat set of skills to have when you’re leading the charge to a repeat win, which hasn’t happened to the World Cup in over half a century.
With Neymar at the 2018 World Cup, we are about to watch a legend at the peak of his career. An agile winger with lightning-quick feet and signature mohawk hair, watching Neymar on the field can sometimes feel like a thrilling ride from one’s couch.
There’s A LOT of pressure on Neymar to carry Brazil to the finals. Brazil is a fervent football nation, and Neymar--ranked #3 in the world--is their best player at the moment. Let’s just hope the pressure doesn’t bog him down, so we see a great performance from this spectacular player.
He was THAT guy who stole the spotlight from Neymar in the 2014 World Cup. James (pronounced hahm-ess) dribbled his way into the center of the world stage with his flamboyant, attacking style. He and his team also borrowed from their Brazilian neighbors by having choreographed cheers for each goal--five of which were scored by James.
Dubbed as the Cristiano Ronaldo of Colombia, this comparison is but skin deep. He might look like Ronaldo, but James plays more centrally. And despite being more of a playmaker than a dedicated finisher, he still managed to make a record number of goals.
A thoroughly underrated player, Silva deserves more credit than he is due. His stats may not be stellar on paper, but watching this Manchester City wonder makes you wonder if there was ever another soccer player who can set plays like him.
Silva is perhaps the greatest midfielder and playmaker right now. His vision and ability to slip through gaps give his teammates near-infinite chances to score. Here’s to hoping the rest of the Spanish team make the most of Silva’s assists.
West Ham striker, Javier “Chicharito” Hernández, will be playing in the World Cup for the third time in his exceptional career. Seen as a successor to Mexican legend Claudio “El Emperador” Suarez, he’s only one tournament away from making it to Mexico’s Hall of Fame.
Chicharito seems to be a charming guy but he’s a deadly finisher on the field. He plays with much gusto, and always with a smile on his face. But if you’re defending against him, you won’t be smiling back when he’s slipping and scoring goals right under your nose.
England, much like Germany, has an incredibly high-caliber roster. In fact, since October 2009, they haven’t lost a qualifying match for any major competition. However, they tend to fall short and disappoint their fans when tournament season comes.
In a similar light, English star player Harry Kane is a player with incredible stats, but no silverware to show for it. He’s already proven his speed, agility, and natural ability to score goals. Could this be the year that he breaks through and finally lifts his team to the finals? We’ll see!
Do you agree with our picks? Did we forget to mention your favorite player? Let us know in the comments below!