Football for dummies: 5 players to watch not named Ronaldo or Messi

Football for dummies: 5 players to watch not named Ronaldo or Messi

The global fame and stardom of Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi are such that even non-football and non-sports fans know who they are. These two players have been at the top of the pile of talented international footballers for the best part of a decade.

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They are, however, just the tip of a very talented pool of players who will be in action over the next month in Russia when 32 teams play in 64 matches in the biggest sporting event in the world.

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The 2018 FIFA World Cup has already delivered more than its fair share of shocks and surprises, Spain firing its head coach on the eve of the tournament and Germany’s shock loss to Mexico on Sunday come to mind.

The World Cup has over the years been a stage for rising stars to announce themselves and for established players to prove their brilliance. brings football newbies a list of five of the best football players not named Messi or Ronaldo.

1. Neymar – Brazil

The 26-year old Brazilian is undoubtedly the third most recognisable face in football. He has twice finished second in the world footballer of the year awards. He proved to be an astute businessman when he engineered a move from Barcelona to Paris Saint-Germain for a staggering $263 million (around R3.2 billion).

2. Mohamed Salah – Egypt

Salah had a magnificent debut season in the English Premier League for Liverpool this year. He easily won the golden boot award and in the process broke the record for the most goals scored in a season which was jointly held by Cristiano Ronaldo.

3. Harry Kane – England reported that once again England has placed their hopes and the captain’s armband on their best player. The attacking striker seems to thrive on pressure and seems to be immune to the controversies which engulfed players like David Beckham and Wayne Rooney.

4. Paul Pogba – France

Pogba enters the 2018 tournament with a mountain of pressure. He was named best young player in the 2014 World Cup. This led him to transfer from Juventus to Manchester United. Pogba has failed to deliver while at the Red Devils and has clashed with manager Jose Mourinho.

5. Manuel Neuer – Germany

Neuer is regarded as the best goalkeeper of his era and some even say he could be the best goalkeeper of all-time. Neuer is an attacking goalkeeper who loves to charge at strikers. He gave away just four goals in Germany’s 2014 tournament victory.

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