The World Cup is often a launching pad for exciting football players from around the globe to propel their careers forward. The 2014 tournament in Brazil showcased the likes of Toni Kroos, James Rodriguez and Antoine Griezmann, and the three all made big moves following the tournament. Here's our list of World Cup 2018 players to look out for.
10 Exciting New World Cup 2018 players to Watch out for
Timo Werner – Germany
Timo Werner is another in a long line of exciting German players. Currently the main striker for RB Leipzig, the 22-year-old is being linked with big money moves to Liverpool and Bayern Munich. Werner scored 13 goals in 32 Bundesliga games in 2017-18. It was a drop from his first year at Leipzig when he tallied 21, however. The striker will get plenty of playing chances in Russia and could be another German to leave with the Golden Ball.
Gabriel Jesus – Brazil
Premier League fans will know that Gabriel Jesus is an up and coming striker at Manchester City. The Brazilian has only been at the club for 18 months, but in that time, he has scored 20 goals in 39 games. Jesus' senior international record is just as good. The 21-year-old has tallied nine strikes in 15 matches for the Selecao. Playing next to Neymar should give him plenty of scoring chances in Russia.
Alex Iwobi – Nigeria
Arsenal youth team product Alex Iwobi is starting to come into his own. The forward is coming off of his best season at the Emirates in which he scored three goals and tallied five assists in 26 matches. Iwobi showed he can play as a No. 10 this season with his assist total and his vision in central areas. He could get the keys to the Nigerian attack at the World Cup and be the Super Eagles' main creator.
Mohamed Salah – Egypt
Mohamed Salah may not be the youngest player on this list, but the Egyptian is coming off of his best ever season as a professional. Salah won the Premier League Player of the Year, PFA Player of the Year and Golden Boot awards this season and his brilliant play led Liverpool to the Champions League final. Twelve months ago, no one would have thought Salah would ever have an opportunity to win the Ballon d'Or. However, the Egyptian magician is now considered one of the top five players in the world. At just 25, Salah will play in his first World Cup. It should be exciting when he is on the pitch.
Kylian Mbappe – France
While Kylian Mbappe will be at the World Cup in Russia, his club Paris Saint-Germain will be officially sealing a €180 million transfer for him from Monaco. Not only will Mbappe become the second most expensive player in the world, but he will be the most expensive teenager ever purchased. Just 19, Mbappe is set for what should be the first of many World Cup appearances. One of the reasons he chose PSG over Real Madrid was to stay in the national team spotlight of coach Didier Deschamps and it has worked. Mbappe tallied 13 goals and eight assists in Ligue 1 this term and he wasn't even the biggest star or signing PSG made the previous summer.
Paulo Dybala – Argentina
If Argentina are to win the World Cup, it will be down to Lionel Messi leading the team to the trophy. However, he will need help from his supporting cast and Paulo Dybala has quickly garnered praise as the ‘next Messi'. Dybala's playing style isn't too similar to Messi's. The Juventus attacking midfielder isn't the slaloming, slashing dribbler that the team's captain is. Dybala is a dead ball expert who can score goals or create them. The 24-year-old scored 22 goals for Juventus in Serie and added a further five assists this season. He could be Argentina's X-Factor.
Marco Asensio – Spain
Marco Asensio has been dubbed as Cristiano Ronaldo's replacement at Real Madrid. While those are big expectations placed on the 22-year-old's shoulders, it can't be argued that Asensio is a rising star at the biggest club in the world. Asensio spent much of the La Liga season coming off of the bench, so he may not start every World Cup game. If used as a super-sub, he should fit in well as 13 of his 32 league appearances came from the bench at the Bernabeu. He still managed to tally six goals and six assists. He also collected Real Madrid's crucial winning goal in their Champions League semifinal first-leg win over Bayern Munich.
Hirving Lozano – Mexico
Mexican forward Hirving Lozano joined Dutch club PSV Eindhoven in the summer of 2017. In less than 12 months, Lozano established himself as one of the most dynamic and exciting players in the Eredivisie. The 22-year-old scored 17 goals in 29 league matches. He added eight assists as PSV stormed their way to the Eredivisie title. Juventus are already linked with the Mexican as Dybala's replacement. A big World Cup and the forward could be on his way to one of Europe's top clubs.
Giovani Lo Celso – Argentina
Giovani Lo Celso will be one of Messi's co-conspirators in Russia, and the Argentine could play a major role in an Argentina run to the final. Currently playing his club football at PSG, Lo Celso became a regular in the Parisian first team this season. The 22-year-old spent much of the term coming off of the bench, as he was used 15 times as a substitute in Ligue 1. With PSG's enormous wealth of talent, it is easy to understand why he was used as a defensive replacement late in matches. In 33 Ligue 1 matches altogether, Lo Celso managed to tally four goals and three assists. Messi and Argentina will need him strong in central midfield throughout the World Cup to reach the final once more.
Michy Batshuayi – Belgium
Michy Batshuayi may miss out on the World Cup due to an ankle injury suffered in April. However, if he does make Belgium's final World Cup 2018 roster, he will be one of the most exciting strikers at the tournament. Batshuayi made waves at the Euro 2016 tournament and signed with Chelsea after the competition's completion. The Belgian struggled for match time at Stamford Bridge despite scoring goals when on the pitch. Batshuayi has scored seven goals in 32 Premier League games, but in most of those games, he came off the bench. A January 2017 loan to Borussia Dortmund reminded everyone what the 24-year-old can do, as he scored seven times in 10 Bundesliga matches before his injury. Let us hope he is in Russia for the World Cup 2018 tournament.