The most anticipated football tournament of the year is almost here – the Qatar 2022 World Cup. Already, the atmosphere is brewing as fans cannot wait to experience the most exciting moments in football.
For players, however, Qatar 2022 is a privilege and an opportunity to sell their talents ahead of the January transfer window in Europe. Playing well at the World Cup will launch their careers to greater heights. Already, many players are out due to injury. But there are some that we will be excited to see as they perform their magic on the pitch.
Top 10 players to watch out for at Qatar 2022
10. Ashraf Hakimi – Morocco
Morocco remains a powerhouse of African football and will be aspiring to do well in Qatar 2022. However, one player stands out from the squad: Ashraf Hakimi. Hakimi is regarded as one of the best fullbacks in the world. He currently plays for Paris Saint-Germain and has remained in sensational form for the Ligue 1 champions. He is expected to continue this form in Qatar and make his country and the entire African continent proud.
9. Gavi – Spain
Pablo Martin Paez Gavira, known as Gavi, is an 18-year-old Barcelona midfield sensation. He broke into the Catalan club’s first team last season and has since broken records for his country, Spain. Gavi is currently the youngest player to represent Spain at just 17 years and 62 days old. He is also the youngest player to score for La Roja at just 17 years and 304 days when he scored against the Czech Republic in the Nations League. Gavi won the Golden Boy, an award given to Europe’s best player under 21. He is expected to replicate his fine form for Spain at Qatar 2022.
8. Harry Kane – England
Harry Kane is known for one thing on the pitch – scoring goals. The England captain has already boasted that the Three Lions will take the World Cup trophy home this year. Kane was the highest goalscorer in Russia 2018 with six goals, and won the Golden Boot. Already, he has broken records in the English Premier League, becoming the first player to score 185 goals in the Premier League for a single club. He will be a joy to watch as he plays for a chance to win his first major trophy.
7. Mohammed Kudus – Ghana
Mohammed Kudus is a 22-year-old attacking midfielder in Ajax who will be representing Ghana in the Qatar 2022 World Cup. Nigerians watched as Kudus broke their hearts as he was critical in ensuring that Ghana made the World Cup slot. However, Nigerian fans are ready to forgive as they wait to watch what he will do at the World Cup. So far, he has scored five goals in 14 appearances in the Dutch Eredivisie and managed four goals in six Champions League matches before Ajax was demoted to the Europa League. Kudus has been sensational for both club and country and deserves a slot for players to look out for at Qatar 2022.
6. Kevin de Bruyne – Belgium
Manchester City attacking midfielder Kevin de Bruyne, has been widely hailed as the most technical midfielder in the world. He is also expected to be the driving force for Roberto Martinez’s team, which has so far failed to live up to the hype and expectations. De Bruyne has proven himself as an exceptional talent, and he will stand out among his teammates, most of whom are in their 30s. Also, there are reports that Qatar 2022 World Cup will likely be his last.
5. Thomas Partey – Ghana
The Black Stars overcame rivals the Super Eagles of Nigeria against all odds to pick the all-important ticket to Qatar 2022, thanks to Arsenal midfielder Thomas Partey. Partey scored the decisive goal that gave Ghana the World Cup ticket and has also played key roles in ensuring that Arsenal remains top of the Premier League. He is expected to replicate his fine form as he represents his country in Qatar.
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4. Vinicius Junior – Brazil
Vinicius Junior has blossomed into one of the brightest young talents in football at the age of just 22. The Real Madrid forward played a key role in helping the Los Blancos win the Champions League last season. He will be suiting up for Brazil, a favourite to win this year’s World Cup, for the first time. The Selecao have extremely loaded attacking options, but Vinicius will definitely not be ignored. He’s in fine form and has already netted six goals and provided three assists in La Liga while scoring four goals in the Champions League. This is his time to shine on the world stage, and we can’t wait to see what he will do on the pitch.
3. Lionel Messi – Argentina
There was a time when Lionel Messi would have topped this list. The 35-year-old is still in top form, but age is no longer on his side. Already, he has announced that Qatar 2022 will be his last appearance at the FIFA World Cup. This means Qatar will be the last time we see Messi entertain us at the World Cup (sad). As expected, he will give his all to ensure Argentina, another World Cup favourite, takes the trophy home for the third time. Meanwhile, the PSG playmaker helped the Argentines win Copa America last year.
2. Neymar Junior – Brazil
Brazilian talent, Neymar Junior, is a controversial footballer, no doubt. But he remains the most thrilling, unpredictable footballer at the front. Counted as the next Pele, the Brazilian team has been built around him since he made his debut. Neymar has been sensational for PSG, having scored 10 goals and provided eight assists so far this season. Despite his occasional spat with teammate, Kylian Mbappe, the 30-year-old has been holding his own, and he will be expected to display his thrilling skills at the Qatar stadiums.
1. Kylian Mbappe – France
Kylian Mbappe made a sensational World Cup debut in 2018 and helped France to become champions. He also won the FIFA Golden Boy award for his incredible display during the tournament. France are hoping to defend the World Cup title and are relying heavily on the 23-year-old to make it happen. Mbappe’s form has been extraordinary, having scored 19 times in 20 appearances for PSG.
But he is in the middle of a tussle with the French football federation over image rights issues. Many France football fans have accused him of trying to disrupt the team’s preparation for the World Cup, and coupled with the fact that N’golo Kante and Paul Pogba will be absent, Mbappe’s efficacy will be severely tested. But the PSG highest-paid player is up to the task, and he will silence his critics with his brilliant skills.