A World Cup which concluded with Argentina’s victory over France on penalties on Sunday saw a number of players enhance their reputation.
Here, we look at some of the breakout stars of Qatar 2022.
Alexis Mac Allister (Argentina)
Brighton fans may have known about the virtues of Mac Allister for some time but the Argentinian midfielder was hardly one of the Premier League’s biggest stars when he left for Qatar. He returns as a World Cup winner and with his name on the lips of viewers around the globe after a series of dynamic displays, dovetailing well with Lionel Messi. With the transfer window just two weeks away, the Seagulls may have to brace themselves for bids.
Jude Bellingham (England)
The Borussia Dortmund teenager has been tipped for a return to English football for some time having excelled in Germany, but he really announced himself on the world stage in Qatar. Those clubs interested may now find the price has gone up or the competition increased. The 19-year-old was a powerful presence in the England midfield and showed maturity beyond his years.
Cody Gakpo (Netherlands)
The highly-promising Dutch striker justified a lot of the hype by scoring in each of his side’s group games. At the age of 23, there is a feeling the time could be right for him to leave PSV Eindhoven for one of Europe’s biggest leagues. Boasting strength as well as finishing ability, there is unlikely to be a shortage of takers.
The Benfica forward’s big chance came in Portugal’s last-16 tie against Switzerland as coach Fernando Santos did the previously unthinkable and benched Cristiano Ronaldo. As he has done at club level following the departure of Darwin Nunez to Liverpool, Ramos grabbed it with both hands, bagging a stunning hat-trick. Already people are wondering when, not if, he follows Nunez out of Lisbon.
Dominik Livakovic (Croatia)
The Dinamo Zagreb goalkeeper caught the eye throughout the tournament, but particularly in Croatia’s remarkable quarter-final win over Brazil. The 27-year-old produced a series of saves to thwart Neymar, Richarlison and company during the game and then denied Rodrygo in the penalty shoot-out. He also made three saves in the shoot-out win over Japan in the last 16.
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