With the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia few days away, Completesportsnigeria.com’s ADEBOYE AMOSU lists 10 key players who are likely to light up the competition…
LIONEL MESSI (ARGENTINA)
The undisputable leader of the Argentine team, Lionel Messi will look to win his first World Cup title with La Albiceleste in Russia after coming second behind Germany fours years ago in Brazil.
The Barcelona man head into Russia 2018 on the back of a successful campaign that saw him win the domestic double with the Spanish giants.
The prodigiously talented forward has won everything with Barcelona but will need to secure his legacy by lifting the World Cup trophy.
CRISTIANO RONALDO (PORTUGAL)
A Champions League winner with Real Madrid, Cristiano Ronaldo’s Portugal head into the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia as the European champions.
They will hope to join the exclusive lists of countries that have won the competition before by adding the world title to their European crown.
Ronaldo will extend his rivalry with Messi to the competition, which will be an added incentive for him to do well in Russia.
Neymar’s season was cut short by the injury he picked up while in action for his club, Paris Saint Germain but he bounced back with a fine performance in Brazil’s 2-0 friendly win against Croatia at the Anfield Stadium last Sunday.
Following the disappointments of the Selecao’s exit from the World Cup in the semi-final on home soil four years ago, Russia 2018 presents Neymar the chance to join the exclusive lists of Brazilians who have led their country to lift the coveted World Cup trophy.
MOHAMED SALAH (EGYPT)
A shoulder injury copped in the Champions League final in his club’s Liverpool 3-1 loss to Liverpool earlier cast doubts on his chances of playing in Russia 2018 but medics have confirmed that Salah will be fit to for the finals.
The former Chelsea and Roma star played a key role in the Pharaoh’s qualification for the mundial, their first since 1990 in Italy.
Much is expected from him in Russia following his impressive showing in for Liverpool.
EDEN HAZARD (BELGIUM)
The Belgium captain will lead the country’s golden generation to Russia where they will hope to surpass their quarter final finish last time in Brazil. He will have the likes of Kevin de Bruyne, Dries Mertens and Romelu Lukaku for company in Russia.
Together they will hope to help their country land the title for the first time.
HARRY KANE (ENGLAND)
The Tottenham Hotspur forward has been bestowed with the honour of captaining the Three Lions at the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia.
The prolific goal scorer will shoulder the goal scoring responsibilities for his team in Russia and coach Gareth Southgate will heavily rely on him to help steer his young team to a second world title.
SERGIO RAMOS (SPAIN)
In a side packed with creative players and talented individuals, the rugged centre-back will play a crucial role in La Furia Roja reclaiming the title they lost four years ago in Brazil.
A born leader, Ramos’ ability to rally his troops even against the toughest opposition and score vital goals from set pieces will be vital for Spain in Russia.
CROATIA (LUKA MODRIC)
The little magician who is unarguably one of the best midfielders in the game today, will hope to carry his impressive club form with European champions Real Madrid to the competition.
With the Croats in a tricky group that has two-time world champions Argentina, Nigeria and debutants Iceland, his experience will be vital for Zlatko Dalic’s men at the World Cup.
ANTOINE GRIEZMANN (FRANCE)
The Les Blues have a richly talented squad but one name that stands out from the lot is Antoine Griezmann. The forward will be the man the entire nation will pin their hope of a second World Cup title on in Russia.
He enjoyed a fine season with Atletico Madrid where he won the Europa League title scoring in the semi-final and the final.
LUIS SUAREZ (URUGUAY)
The controversial forward will play in his third World Cup in Russia and will hope to avoid the spot light for the wrong reason this time around after the biting incident with Giorgio Chiellini the last time.
A World Cup class striker, Suarez will lead the South Americans charge for goals in Russia.