It’s the world’s biggest sporting event, with the world’s best players.
The 2018 World Cup in Russia will brings soccer fans some of the biggest names in the game with 736 total players from 32 countries representing their nation.
From Brazil to Australia and Iceland to Egypt, every team has at least one superstar which provides for some must-see TV. With so many great players to watch, I’ve narrowed down the list to the top 10 must-see players this year.
1) Cristiano Ronaldo, Portugal
Portugal’s Cristiano Ronaldo and Argentina’s Lionel Messi are the two best players in the world. Both players have been named the world’s best soccer player five times. However, I give the slight edge to Ronaldo here and expect the superstar to have a great showing in the tournament. The 6-foot-1, 175-pound striker led Portugal to the European championship in 2016 and will look to deliver an even better showing in the World Cup. Don’t forget his dazzling tricks too!
2) Lionel Messi, Argentina
Lionel Messi is one of the greatest soccer player to ever play the game. From being his scoring titles, and league championships, Messi has nearly won every trophy out there. That is, except one: The World Cup. After leading Argentina to the 2014 World Cup finals, Messi came up just short as Germany held on for a thrilling 1-0 victory. The 30-year-old striker will look to finally win it all in what could be his last World Cup appearance.
3) Neymar, Brazil
Like they are every year, Brazil is one of the favorites to win the World Cup. Loaded with a bunch of star players, Brazil won’t disappoint this year either. Neymar, wil look to lead the Seleção to the promised land after a disappointing showing at home in 2014.
Neymar, a 26-year-old striker and who recently signed the biggest contract in soccer history when he left Barcelona for Paris-Saint Germain for $262 million. There is some talk that Neymar is the best player in the world right now and with a strong showing in the World Cup, he can do just that.
4) Kevin De Bruyne, Belgium
Belgium’s Kevin De Bruyne is a rising star and looks to lead Belgium to its first World Cup title ever. With arguably the most talented team in Belgium history, De Bruyne is the leader of the group, his IQ is off the charts and can play multiple positions for the Red Devils.
While he’s a star player in Europe, De Bruyne can take his star power globally with a great performance in the World Cup. The 26-year-old is already one of the top midfielders in the game and has scored 26 goals in just 61 appearances for the Red Devils in international play.
5) Mo Salah, Egypt
After taking the soccer world by storm last year, Egypt’s Mo Salah quickly became one of the top players in the world. His abilities are off the charts and is why Egypt is back in the World Cup for the first time in 28 years. Egypt is a heavy underdog in the tournament but with Salah, the team will be in every game.
6) Thomas Müller, Germany
Germany’s Thomas Müller has been a major force for Germans and is why the country is the favorite to win it all again. Germany looks to become the first nation to win back-to-back titles since since Italy did so in 1934 and 1938. The 6-foot-1 midfielder is an offensive machine as he’s already recorded 10 World Cup goals in his career to put him in a tie for the eighth all-time. With two more goals, the 28-year-old will tie Brazil’s Pele and with seven more will be atop the list. After scoring five goals in both 2010 and 2014, the midfielder became just the third player in history to score at least five goals in two consecutive World Cups.
7) Sadio Mane, Senegal
If you want to see a lot of goals, look no further than Senegal’s Sadio Mane. The 26-year-old scored 10 goals during Liverpool’s Champions League campaign, and in 2015, set a Premier League record for the fastest hat trick after scoring three goals in 2 minutes and 56 seconds.
8) Son Heung-min, South Korea
Let’s face it, South Korea doesn’t have a great shot at making a big run in the tornament, but that doesn’t mean you should skip out on watching Son Heung-min. The 25-year-old is arguably the best player to come out of Asia in years. He is quick and has a knack for scoring, which is what South Korea will need if it wants to advance. Known for how happy he is while playing and always smiling, Son Heung-minn will easily be a fan favorite during this World Cup.
9) Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez, Mexico
Mexico’s Javier Hernandez, or “Chicharito” is one of Mexico’s most decorated player of all-time. The 30-year old is one of the most skilled forwards in the game and can quickly put goals in a hurry. With arguably Mexico’s most talented team in decades, teams won’t be able to double or triple team Chicharito which should make for an offensive show.
10) Keylor Navas, Costa Rica
No he’s not a striker, but you won’t be able to watch the World Cup without hearing about goalkeeper Keylor Navas. The Real Madrid star is always making remarkable saves and is a big reason why Real Madrid has been so successful, including winning three Champions League titles in a row. While Costa Rica doesn’t have the offensive firepower like most countries have, with Navas, Costa Rica has a great shot.