A World Cup is a showcase for the world’s best footballers, but Qatar 2022 promises to be a mix of potential final appearances for a group of iconic stars and an exciting new generation of talent.
Previous World Cups have offered a platform for established icons to shine and breakthrough players to make their mark on the world stage, and 2022 should be no different.
Kylian Mbappe (France)
Mbappe was superb for France as Didier Deschamps’ side sealed the world title in 2018.
Still, the PSG star has moved to another level in the last two seasons and should be one of the standout performers for the defending champions.
Lionel Messi (Argentina)
Talk of Messi’s powers waning has been exaggerated in the past couple of years, with the mercurial Argentine demonstrating his talents in a deeper role at PSG. All eyes will be on him as he looks to finally add a World Cup to his glittering list of individual and team accolades in what he has already confirmed will be his last World Cup appearance.
Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal)
Despite a troubled time at Manchester United, expectations will still be intense around Ronaldo in Qatar as he competes in a record-equaling fifth final. Still, Portugal had to do things the hard way via the playoffs in qualification. They eventually beat North Macedonia to secure their place in the tournament. The 2016 European champions will look again to Ronaldo’s ability to lead their attack as a huge focal point.
Luka Modric (Croatia)
Modric is likely to follow Ronaldo, Messi, and Benzema, probably calling time on his international career after the World Cup. Still, the 37-year-old midfielder will be determined to lead Croatia to success in Qatar, and despite his advancing years, he remains a player to beat for anyone in world football.
Harry Kane (England)
England captain Kane will be the key man for Gareth Southgate’s side as the Three Lions aim to build on their Euro 2020 final defeat to Italy. Kane edged himself back into top form in the second half of the 2021/22 Premier League season and has started the new campaign in a fashion that suggests he can once again thrive on the biggest stage.