The FIFA World Cup is the biggest stage where any player can demonstrate their skills. Football’s most prestigious tournament is the place to shine if you’re hoping for a transfer, want to prove something to your current club or even just want to end your career at a high level.
Here are a number of players who will be further motivated to compete in Qatar 2022.
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To receive a future transfer
Kylian MbappeFW, France and Paris Saint-Germain
Last month, Sportzshala reported that Mbappé was pushing to leave Paris Saint-Germain just five months after signing a new contract over what he sees as broken promises regarding team tactics and hiring. In the summer, the 23-year-old signed new terms, almost joining Real Madrid on a free transfer. This season there have been many stories of discontent, strife and misfortune in Paris, although he also scored 19 goals in 20 games. For France, Mbappe is clearly a key player and his performances could convince Real Madrid to come back for him, albeit at a significant increase in transfer fees.
Cristiano RonaldoFW, Portugal and Manchester United
It seems incredible, but sources told Sportzshala that no club is interested in signing Ronaldo after he made it clear he wanted to leave Manchester United last summer. The 37-year-old may be one of the world’s greatest players, but his influence on the game is waning. A small player before his surprising attack on the club in an interview shortly before the World Cup break, his influence on the national team could be undermined by his lack of football and the striker will have to impress Portugal when he gets the chance to attract a potential new club.
Frankie YoungSM, Netherlands and Barcelona
After Barcelona agreed to De Jong’s €85m move to Manchester United in the summer, the 25-year-old midfielder opted to stay at Camp Nou. It’s fair to say that things are confusing given his unpaid wages, the club’s apparent desire to leave him, and various poorly worded statements. But he has fans, as sources have told Sportzshala that Premier League teams Chelsea and Liverpool have joined the race to sign him. Although De Jong has not started as regularly at Barcelona, he will certainly be in the Netherlands and both the player and the club want him to have a good tournament so they can finally move on.
Eden HazardFW, Belgium and Real Madrid
After years of injury, the €100m Real Madrid striker is still not playing for his club on a regular basis. Hazard is now 31 years old and should be at his peak, but he has been usurped in the Madrid squad by the likes of Vinicius Jr and Rodrigo and must think about his future. With a contract expiring in 2024, Madrid will know that the next few transfer windows will be the only chance left to win back some money for him. The Belgian captain will be in the spotlight in Qatar and will be interested in helping the so-called “golden generation” meet their demands.
Declan RiceSM, England and West Ham
Possibly the best young defensive midfielder in the world, Rice has a contract until 2024 (the club has an option for another year) and has little time to move forward. The Englishman turns 24 shortly after the World Cup and needs to start thinking about fighting for trophies rather than mid-table battles. The cost of his services exceeds 100 million pounds, but in Qatar he has a chance to show why such money is not gambling.
To raise your profile
Cody GakpoFW, the Netherlands and PSV Eindhoven
When did Manchester United decide to sign a contract? Anthony instead, Gakpo’s transfer hopes were dashed last summer, but his incredible form at PSV this season means he’ll be one of the top targets for clubs in January. With 13 goals and 17 assists in his first 24 appearances this season, the winger will be in the Netherlands squad and he could make a real name for himself in similar form at the World Cup. PSV are in financial difficulties and are reportedly willing to accept around €30m, but that amount could rise significantly.
Jonathan DavidST, Canada and Lille
David, who starred in Lille after moving from Belgian Gent in 2020, is expected to make a big move at some point in 2023. His nine goals in 15 Ligue 1 games this season suggest that the Canadian footballer’s stock is on the rise. A few good World Cup games would do wonders for his reputation. Everton, Manchester United and AC Milan are reportedly keeping a close eye on the 22-year-old striker.
Sergei Milinkovich-SavicKM, Serbia and Lazio
Bound to a move to a big club over the years, Milinkovic-Savic continues to impress Lazio as speculation about his future mounts. At 27, the Serbian midfielder is nearing his peak and wants to make sure he fights for titles. A fee of 100 million euros is being discussed, although Lazio president Claudio Lotito recently said that “every month the price goes up”. However, the reality is that the Milinkovic-Savic contract expires in 2024, so there is a natural limit to how much a bidder will pay to sign it.
Saint MohammedAM, Ghana and Ajax
Kudus played the role of “fake No. 9” at Ajax for most of that season despite being a playmaker and scored 10 goals in 21 games. For Ghana, the 22-year-old is seated behind the centre-forward so he can make more of an impact in the build-up phase and he will be a key player for the Black Stars in Qatar. Ajax are clearly ready to let go of their stars if the right offer comes in, so clubs will know Kudus could very well be available in January. Liverpool fans may take note that Thiago Alcantara was his childhood idol.
Lovro MayerSM, Croatia and Rennes
One of the best creators in Ligue 1, stylistic comparison with Luc Modric Clear, but Mayer creates his own identity in Rennes. Many elite European clubs have been looking for the 24-year-old, including Barcelona and Arsenal, with a €60m transfer fee deemed enough to tempt the club to let him go. Mayer has yet to learn one major tournament under Modric and that could benefit him greatly next year.
To prove something to your clubs
Christian PulisicFW, USA and Chelsea
Pulisic is the man behind the US World Cup campaign. But for Chelsea this season, he was a minor player who replaced the winger. The 24-year-old is playing his preferred role on the left flank for the national team and he hopes Blues boss Graham Potter will pay attention to developments in Qatar. With many other clubs interested in signing Pulisic, including reportedly Juventus and Newcastle, January could offer an exit route if nothing changes.
Takehiro TomiyasuRB/CB, Japan and Arsenal
Tomiyasu had a great first season at Arsenal but was usurped this campaign Ben White right behind and thrown to the left side to cover. While a pair of Arsenal centre-backs Gabriel and William Saliba look unbeatable, Tomiyasu plays in this position for Japan and can match Mikel Arteta with a strong result.
Darwin NunezFW, Uruguay and Liverpool
There is an element of pressure in any transfer that could eventually reach €100m. Nunes has faced criticism for inconsistency and short temper after being sent off in just his second game for the club, and his record of nine goals in 18 games pales in comparison to another big Premier League striker to arrive this summer: Manchester City Erling Haaland (who has 23 goals in 18 games and cost €60m to sign.) Uruguay will continue to rely on 35-year-old strikers. Luis Suarez as well as Edinson Cavanibut Nunes should get a chance to prove why Liverpool paid so much money to get him.
Ferran TorresFW, Spain and Barcelona
It’s fair to say that life at Barcelona after his €55m move from Manchester City in January didn’t go according to plan for Torres. The striker played little in the starting lineup, struggled with injuries and scored just five goals in 18 games. Now he had to watch as €150 million worth of new talent arrived in his place over the summer. While the 22-year-old still has a chance to prove to Xavi what he can do despite the number of attacking options Barcelona have, his performances for Spain in Qatar could help his cause.
Edouard Mendy, GK, Senegal and Chelsea
Returning from a recent injury, Mendy found himself on the bench behind Kepa Arrizabalaga and his status as Chelsea’s first player has been called into question. The 6-foot-4 goalkeeper has generally done well since arriving from Rennes in 2020, but a good World Cup for Senegal would help remind new Blues boss Potter of his pedigree. There have been reports that Chelsea are willing to listen to Mendy’s proposals and have a chance to silence doubters.
Lionel MessiFW, Argentina and PSG
Having returned to form – 12 goals and 14 assists in 19 games – after a difficult first season at PSG, Messi should be confidently heading to the World Cup. The only reason the 34-year-old really needs a good tournament is because he’s missing one big trophy in his career. If he wants to be considered the greatest player of all time (GOAT), then winning the World Championship is key. In 2014, Messi received the Ballon d’Or award as his Argentine team lost in the final to Germany 1–0 after extra time, the closest result he has achieved so far.
Gareth BaleFW, Wales and LAFC
At 33, you’d think Bale had a few good years left. But the LAFC star was about to retire before Wales secured a seat in Qatar and could still hang up his boots after the tournament was over. With his injury struggles and talk of his gigantic Real Madrid paycheck, it’s easy to forget the impact the winger has had on the game. He will strive to ensure that fans remember him for good reasons.
Luka Modric, CM, Croatia and Real Madrid
Against the backdrop of his stellar performances at the 2018 festival…