No event can possibly define an athlete’s career more than the World Cup.
It is exactly why so many people still look at Leo Messi like he needs to prove something (he doesn’t) and why Clint Dempsey still brings a proud tear to the eye of American soccer fans. The World Cup of 2014 made Mario Gotze literally an international icon, the time when James Rodriguez became the real hero of Colombians and the event which helped DeAndre Yedlin secure Spurs contract.
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The World Cup is the time when legends are born and veterans go down in infamy. And thus, make no mistake, the upcoming World Cup in Russia will certainly turn a number of new talents into the names recognized in every corner of the planet.
5 Up-and-coming football stars of the year 2018
Kylian Mbappe (PSG)
We were literally blessed with this astonishing reincarnation of “O Fenomeno” on the football field in 19-year-old PSG forward Kylian Mbappe. Equipped with quite a searing pace and an insatiable eye for the ball, Kylian is already tagged as the future of the game at his position.
And it actually seems young footballer is not really worried about himself playing alongside such soccer heavyweights like Anthony Martial, Antoine Griezmann and Alexandre Lacazette already this summertime.
Marco Asensio (Real Madrid)
Zinedine Zidane’s high demands of 22-year-old Asensio only shine a brighter light on his truly limitless potential and Zidane definitely knows Marco can be among the championship’s best.
Asensio was a key player for Spain at the younger levels, including his stellar performance at last year’s European U-21 Championship and the man is about to score even more for the senior side in Russia.
Gabriel Jesus (Manchester City)
Gabriel Jesus is precisely that kind of forward Brazil always craved since the last World Cup. And there’s no denial - wherever Jesus moves, goals tend to follow.
He is a real machine for Man City, scoring 15 goals in last 28 matches. Gabriel’s record for Brazil shows even better — 8 goals in just 13 caps.
The 20-year-old surely can lineup almost anywhere on the attack, combining stunning pace, technical qualities, spectacular finishing and world-class movement skills.
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Marcus Rashford (Manchester United)
Like any other 20-year-old, Marcus still needs to work on adding more consistency and stability to his game, but that is precisely where the player’s similarities with other young footballers end. All sorts of claims that Marcus is about to leave United shortly after Alexis Sanchez joining the club are no more than just the symptoms of an age gone completely stupid — Rashford is still developing at fairly prodigious rate.
Giovani Lo Celso (PSG)
Amidst all the star power of Paris Saint-Germain, Argentinian Giovani Lo Celso was able to force himself into the manager’s consideration to be displayed in the midfield. And although many wondered if PSG would still be top-heavy this season, the guy has demonstrated to be instrumental in assisting his team and providing steady balance in the midfield.