Ones to Watch: FIFA World Cup 2018 Russia – Anurag Menon

 

The FIFA World Cup has been a platform for players to showcase their talent for many years now. It is considered the most prestigious award on the international stage and has served as a stepping stone for many players to kick-start their footballing career. Here are some players that I think will shine in the World Cup and play a crucial role for their respective national teams. Note: I’m excluding the likes of Messi, Neymar, Ronaldo and other obvious choices. Instead I’ve decided to focus on players that are on the rise or are having breakthrough seasons.

Mohamed Salah

Nationality: Egyptian

Current Club: Liverpool

When Mohamed Salah signed for Liverpool for approximately 35 million Euros, nobody thought he would be scoring 40+ goals in his first season at the club. But that is precisely what he has done by scoring 45 goals and assisting another 13 in all competitions. Salah’s blistering pace and excellent dribbling ability combined with his pinpoint crossing and

outstanding ball control make him a nightmare for even the world’s best defenders. Capable of playing on either flank or even as a striker, he has been part of Liverpool’s formidable front three and has won the PFA’s(Professional Footballer’s Association) Player of the Year. His heroics have helped Liverpool reach the Champions League final and Egypt qualify for their first World Cup in nearly 27 years.

Sergej Milinkovic-Savic

Nationality: Serbian

Current Club: SS Lazio

Sergej Milinkovic-Savic is currently enjoying a stellar season with Lazio and is making headway in the Italian Serie A having bagged a total of 14 goals and 6 assists in all competitions. Standing at approximately 6’3”, Savic plays as a central midfielder and is a notable presence in the air. He is also very good with his feet and is capable of powering past opponents with his impressive skills and strength. Along with attacking ability, Savic is also known to be quite capable of performing his defensive duties when required by his team. His exploits have seen him linked with moves to Europe’s top clubs, with many of them ready to offer eye-watering sums for the Serb. Still only 23 years old, Savic is a future star in the making and

possibly the key to Serbia’s hopes of progressing in the World Cup.

Nabil Fekir

Nationality:French

Current Club: Olympique Lyon

When you think about France’s star-studded lineup, Nabil Fekir may not be the first name which comes to your mind. But the Lyon skipper, who stands at just 5’6’’ has been in scintillating form for his team, netting 24 goals and setting up another 9 in all competitions. He is an adept dribbler with great agility and balance making him a force to reckoned with when in possession of the ball. When he is not mesmerizing the opposition defenders with his remarkable skills and quick feet, he is making incisive passes with his brilliant left foot. This makes him both an efficient goalscorer as well as a playmaker which is one of the seasons why top clubs like Liverpool are ready to spend big to acquire his services.

Kylian Mbappe

Nationality: French

Current Club: PSG (on loan from Monaco)

From the lesser known Nabil Fekir, we come to France’s very own golden boy who has taken the whole world by storm.

Labelled the next Thierry Henry, Kylian Mbappe has continued his meteoric rise ever since his breakthrough season at Monaco. He has accumulated 24 goals and 11 assists in all competitions and is an integral part of PSG’s attack. Despite being a natural striker, Mbappe has mostly been played on the right at PSG where he has excelled. Blessed with incredible dribbling ability and speed, Mbappe can leave defenders for dead with his sudden bursts of pace and impeccable footwork. Along with this, he is a magnificent finisher of the ball and has all the traits a player needs to become one of the best in the world. At the tender age of 19, Kylian Mbappe still has his best years ahead of him.

Raheem Sterling

Nationality:English

Current Club: Manchester City

Manchester City have had a stellar season under manager Pep Guardiola and Raheem Sterling is one of the main reasons why. Having starred at Liverpool, he was snapped up by City in 2015 for 49 million pounds; a record fee for an English player at the time. After enduring a difficult start to his life at the club, Sterling has turned it around by scoring an impressive 24 goals and making 12 assists in all competitions.

The Manchester City number 7 has left defenders in shreds with his dazzling footwork and marvelous dribbling. Being a lightning quick winger, Sterling takes full advantage of his speed to get past even the best of defenders. He has exceptional shooting skills and has drastically improved his finishing this season. He also has the ability to make key passes and create chances in the final third which lead to clear goal-scoring opportunities for his team. Having gone through a major transformation this season, it is fair to say that Raheem Sterling may finally be justifying his hefty price tag.

Joshua Kimmich

Nationality:German

Current Club: Bayern Munich

Anyone who has seen Joshua Kimmich play would know why many consider him one of the best young fullbacks in the world right now. Having originally been a central midfielder, the 23 year old German has made a successful transition into right back. Kimmich can be described as an attacking full-back who has both defensive and offensive output. While he is very good defensively, he also has the capacity to get forward and swing in a cross. His 6 goals and 13 assists further highlight his attacking capabilities. One of Kimmich’s greatest strengths is his phenomenal crossing ability. From the right-hand side, he can cross the ball with remarkable

accuracy and create dangerous situations for the opposition. Undoubtedly Germany’s first choice right-back, Kimmich has a real chance to showcase his talent and help his country win the World Cup for the second year running.

What are your thoughts on my list of players to watch in the World Cup? Be sure to tell me in the comments below!

4 goals and 11 assists in all competitions and is an integral part of PSG’s attack. Despite being a natural striker, Mbappe has mostly been played on the right at PSG where he has excelled. Blessed with incredible dribbling ability and speed, Mbappe can leave defenders for dead with his sudden bursts of pace and impeccable footwork. Along with this, he is a magnificent finisher of the ball and has all the traits a player needs to become one of the best in the world. At the tender age of 19, Kylian Mbappe still has his best years ahead of him.
Raheem Sterling
Nationality:English
Current Club: Manchester City
Manchester City have had a stellar season under manager Pep Guardiola and Raheem Sterling is one of the main reasons why. Having starred at Liverpool, he was snapped up by City in 2015 for 49 million pounds; a record fee for an English player at the time. After enduring a difficult start to his life at the club, Sterling has turned it around by scoring an impressive 24 goals and making 12 assists in all competitions.
The Manchester City number 7 has left defenders in shreds with his dazzling footwork and marvelous dribbling. Being a lightning quick winger, Sterling takes full advantage of his speed to get past even the best of defenders. He has exceptional shooting skills and has drastically improved his finishing this season. He also has the ability to make key passes and create chances in the final third which lead to clear goal-scoring opportunities for his team. Having gone through a major transformation this season, it is fair to say that Raheem Sterling may finally be justifying his hefty price tag.
Joshua Kimmich
Nationality:German
Current Club: Bayern Munich
Anyone who has seen Joshua Kimmich play would know why many consider him one of the best young fullbacks in the world right now. Having originally been a central midfielder, the 23 year old German has made a successful transition into right back. Kimmich can be described as an attacking full-back who has both defensive and offensive output. While he is very good defensively, he also has the capacity to get forward and swing in a cross. His 6 goals and 13 assists further highlight his attacking capabilities. One of Kimmich’s greatest strengths is his phenomenal crossing ability. From the right-hand side, he can cross the ball with remarkable
accuracy and create dangerous situations for the opposition. Undoubtedly Germany’s first choice right-back, Kimmich has a real chance to showcase his talent and help his country win the World Cup for the second year running.
What are your thoughts on my list of players to watch in the World Cup? Be sure to tell me in the comments below!

Loading Likes...

Leave a Reply