Despite Mohamed Salah’s emergence as a true Ballon d’Or candidate in 2018, it’s Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo and Neymar who will take all the attention at the World Cup, and the trio are set to shine.
After dividing most club and individual honours over the course of the past decade, Ronaldo and Messi are still fairly matched on the international stage.Ronaldo’s success with Portugal in Euro 2016 has him slightly ahead of the Argentine, although at this stage of their respective careers both are aware that winning a World Cup will secure the better legacy.
Neymar has a different pressure on his shoulders ahead of the Russian showpiece, following a period of three months out courtesy of a metatarsal
injury.Therefore, he may take time to hit his stride.The similarity between all three of these players is that their respective nations depend on them entirely.
Argentina are only taking part in the World Cup because of Messi’s heroics, whilst when Ronaldo doesn’t score there is very little attacking quality in Fernando Santos’ defensive Portuguese setup.World Cups can often see the biggest names flounder under the pressure, something which happened to both Messi and Ronaldo in their younger days, yet in 2018 we can expect the trio to perform.They are all so consistent at club level that it’s just inconceivable that they won’t now step up to the mark in Russia, although it will be difficult to drag their teams to the ultimate success in Moscow.
Salah’s performances with Liverpool in the Champions League have been nothing short of sensational, whilst his goal return in the Premier League was enough to secure him the Golden Boot.He isn’t expected to take the international scene by storm in the same way because of the quality of Hector Cuper’s Egypt.The players around him aren’t of a high enough quality, and furthermore it’s difficult to see Egypt really pushing their way into the knockout stage.