The World Cup trophy is the most prestigious prize in the history of soccer. It is the ultimate goal and dream of every footballer to help their country lift the trophy. Furthermore, it makes the biggest impact on a footballer’s legacy. In other words, it’ll make a player immortal.
Without further ado, here are five guys who would love to be immortalized in the soccer realm:
1. Cristiano Ronaldo, Portugal
Ronaldo has accomplished just about everything there is to accomplish in soccer except for winning the World Cup. He won the European Championship in 2016, his first title representing his country and he’s Portugal’s all-time leading scorer. The five-time FIFA Ballon d’Or award winner’s accomplishments are considered to be scarce compared to his accomplishments in the club ranks. While he’ll always be considered a national hero in Portugal and go down as of certainly one of the greatest ever, winning the World Cup will recognize him as the one who truly did it all.
2. Lionel Messi, Argentina
In the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, Argentina finished as the runner-up. Messi has represented his country since 2006 and has been the top scorer for La Albiceleste. Since coming up short in 2014, his presence on the national team has been quite stressful.
After Argentina came up short in the 2016 Copa America final, Messi had retired only to immediately change his mind. Argentina barely qualified for this summer’s big event and it was Messi’s hat-trick in Argentina’s last-chance match against Ecuador that secured qualification. His legacy with Barcelona is in good spirits, but it’s his legacy of representing the country that is worrisome. Argentina is certainly a potential favorite, but Messi needs the support of his teammates so he can fulfill his destiny of winning the World Cup.
3. Paul Pogba, France
A player with unique and superior talent. In 2016, he was acquired by Manchester United for a then-record transfer fee of €105 million. Since his return to Old Trafford, Pogba has not exceeded expectations and he’s been regarded as a major disappointment for his club and country. It’s believed that his fame and popularity affected his playing mentality, leading him to be now be considered highly overrated.
A poll showed that over 70 percent of French soccer supporters don’t want Pogba on the World Cup squad due to poor performances in France’s pre-World Cup exhibition matches. Manager Didier Deschamps believes Pogba is a “victim of his own talent“, but insists that he isn’t worried about him and has much confidence in him. Deschamps recently described Pogba as “complete midfielder“. Winning the World Cup, and performing well during France’s run, would do PP some good.
4. Mohamed Salah, Egypt
On October 8th of last year, in a very crucial World Cup qualifying match against Congo, Salah converted a game-winning penalty kick deep into stoppage time to send Egypt to the World Cup. It was the country’s first time since 1990, becoming a national hero in his home country. In June of last year, Salah was acquired by Liverpool F.C. and he immediately made an extreme impact, managing to break records, win numerous awards, and basically become a Liverpool hero.
Despite an injured shoulder, Salah has immediately began training with his national team. Everything seems to be going well for him. A World Cup would only make the people of Egypt worship him even more and put his name in the same breath as Messi and Ronaldo.
5. Harry Kane, England
Kane is regarded as England’s next superstar. After Wayne Rooney retired from international duty, the torch was passed to Kane. During England’s World Cup qualifying run, he scored five goals, which was the most in England’s qualifying group. Kane’s coming into this tournament with experience and confidence. Last month, English manager Gareth Southgate announced that Kane will be the captain for England in the World Cup.
“For me, it’s going to be a massive dream to play in it(the World Cup),” Kane said in an interview. “It’s impossible to not think or dream about lifting the World Cup.”
Winning a World Cup would force the world to take England and Kane more serious.
The World Cup begins on Thursday and the opening game features Russia and Saudi Arabia.