With time galloping towards the Qatar 2022 World Cup attention will rightly start to shift to tournament winners, dark horses, squad selections, predicted lineups and so on.
Here we focus our attention on some of the key names who will be aiming to take their A-game to the greatest tournament of all time as we assess the best stars of Qatar 2022.
Let’s start with the obvious:
Kylian Mbappe & Karim Benzema, France
Kylian Mbappe burst onto the global scene back in 2018 as his rapid runs and goalscoring touch helped France to glory in Russia. Fast forward four years and he’s very much continued on the trajectory towards becoming the best player in the world. The 23-year-old has been an absolute sensation for PSG this season having racked up a total of 65 goal contributions; that’s around one every hour.
For a long time throughout this past year there had been talk of Mbappe heading to Real Madrid. That would have seen him team up with Karim Benzema at club level. It’s not happening though meaning that deadly duo will be saved for international level only. Benzema has enjoyed a glittering campaign with Real. For so long he’s been seen as ‘the bridesmaid’ but after firing Madrid to a league and Champions League double with 42 goals, his time is now.
Neymar & Vinicius Junior, Brazil
We’ve just spoken about a PSG and Real Madrid duo in the French squad and now we’re doing the same focusing on Brazil, who are the favorites right now, at least according to World Cup odds at Bovada.
Neymar is the poster boy of Brazilian football and whilst his play acting antics and part boy lifestyle aren’t to everyone’s taste, you cannot ignore the amount of goals he scores. Consider the greats that have donned the famed yellow jersey (Ronaldo, Romario, Pele and more) and Neymar is almost definitely going to end up with more goals for his country than all of them.
In one of the wide positions, we’ll be treated to Vinicius Junior putting the burners on time after time. The young winger has long shown promise but he’s really exploded this season with end product arriving to boot. Last year, he weighed in with six goals and seven assists; this year he hit a staggering 22 goals and 20 assists. The prospect of dealing with these two – plus others – is pretty daunting for anyone!
Lionel Messi, Argentina
It might get boring reading about Lionel Messi but it does t get boring watching him. Even at 34-years-old he is the main man in this Argentina side and will be their best chance of winning the World Cup.
His move to PSG last summer got the world whipped into a storm and whilst critics like to point to his lack of goals in France, they do tend to overlook how many goals he’s created; he finished the Ligue 1 campaign with 15 assists. As for on the international scene, he’s just reminded everyone that he can still score goals two with a five-star showing against European side Estonia.
Cristiano Ronaldo, Portugal
We thought we’d better avoid the GOAT debate by including Portugal’s talisman, Cristiano Ronaldo. In all seriousness though, Ronaldo still does his talking on the pitch and the World Cup wouldn’t be the same without the Manchester United forward.
He’s just hit 24 goals across all competitions for a bang average United side and is still tucking goals away for his country too; he’s opening up quite the gap at the top of the ‘most international goals’ rankings. You’d be a fool to bet against him adding more to that tally in Qatar.
Harry Kane, England
England reached the semi-finals in the last World Cup and there are plenty of reasons to believe they’ll be stronger this time round. One of those reasons is Harry Kane, who has improved over the past four years with his time under elite managers like Jose Mourinho and Antonio Conte clearly having an impact. He’s always scored a lot of goals but his hold up play and chance creation has gone through the roof over the past couple of seasons. With that in mind, let us remind you that Kane top scored in Russia with six goals. If England are to go deep again it will be because of goals scored – or created – by this man.
Sadio Mane, Senegal
Last but not least we feel obligated to highlight Sadio Mane. Mane has enjoyed a terrific time with Liverpool over the last few years racking up a total of 90 goals and 36 assists for the club in his time on Merseyside, however, he’s put himself out there to be shot at with public talk of a move to Bayern Munich. It will be good to see how he handles that because he’ll be the one getting shot at on this Senegal side come Qatar because he’s their best player by far. Already in 2022 his goals have seen them to glory in the African Cup of Nations. Now he looks to take them to where no African team have ever been – World Cup triumph!
There you have it, the stars to watch at Qatar 2022.