20 days to the most anticipated football tournament in the world. With 32 teams battling it out for the world title, we at Ghanafans pick 11 players who need a very good world cup performance for different reasons.
Mohammed Salah has been sensational for Liverpool this season and has been breaking all sorts of records. He finished the Premier League season with 32 goals – the most for a 38 game season. If Salah can inspire a good run for the Egyptian national team in the World Cup it will be really difficult to ignore him for a top 3 Ballon d’Or nomination.
Dembele’s debut season with FC Barcelona was troubled with injuries. However, the winger picked some form in the latter part of the season and would like to continue in such vein for France at the World Cup. Dembele needs to prove to Valverde that he is indeed the next big thing and a good performance in the World Cup will help his ambition to become a starter at FC Barcelona next season.
The Portuguese international did not have a good start to his season but a major turnaround mid way through the season has seen Ronaldo back to his best again. After Portugal’s glory in Euro 2016, Ronaldo will be eager to give his best to help Portugal win their first ever World Cup.
Pogba has failed to reach his heights at Juventus after he signed for Manchester United. However, everyone in the world knows that confidence is what he lacks because he has so much ability. A good World Cup will definitely be a confidence booster for the creative midfielder as he seeks to put the disappointment of Euro 2016 behind him.
For all his incredible performances, one thing he lacks is international success especially after losing out on three finals with Argentina. Messi is one of the greatest footballers to have ever lived but he knows this is his last chance to get a World Cup for Argentina. A good performance from Messi could see Argentina go all the way in Russia.
According to multiple reports, Unai Emery has been given 70 million pounds to spend this summer. This means there wouldn’t be a lot of summer additions. Therefore, Emery will work with most of the players he has. Iwobi can make it into Emery’s good books with a solid performance in Russia.
Neymar started the season very well and was in blistering form till March when he was sidelined with injury. Footballs fans have short term memories and if Neymar wants to be considered for this year’s Ballon d’Or, he needs an incredible World Cup performance.
Muller has 10 goals in the World Cup so far and is 6 behind the all time top scorer, Miroslav Klose. The primary goal for Muller is to win this World Cup but he would have one eye on Klose. A similar performance like the one he had in Brazil 4 years ago may see Muller stand a good chance of becoming the all time top scorer in the World Cup.
Arguably Chelsea’s best player in the past 5 years. However, Hazard has not been able to replicate his form in England whenever he plays for the national team. Last season could have been better for the Chelsea playmaker but scoring the winner in the FA cup final puts him in the right state of mind for the World Cup. Time is running out for Belgium’s golden generation. Much is expected from Hazard and now is the time for him to step up and guide Belgium to an impressive run in Russia.
Mendy joined Manchester City for 50 million pounds last summer and barely featured after rapturing his ACL. He worked hard to make it in time for the World Cup and he has been included in the France squad. However, Delph impressed in his interim role as a left back and Mendy needs a good performance in Russia to convince Pep that he (Mendy) is still the man for the job.
A good performance in Euro 2016 introduced Andre Silva to the footballing world and a year later he earned a move to AC Milan. However, he still hasn’t hit the ground running after scoring just 9 goals in 41 appearances. A good performance in Russia can help Andre Silva revive his career and start scoring goals once again.