By 90Min
April 06, 2018

The World Cup is the single biggest thing on the football calendar. But with it only coming around once every four years, the chance to take part is not taken lightly. 

These 12 players are all global stars, but 2018 will still be their maiden World Cup...


Marco Asensio (Spain)

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Real Madrid midfielder Marco Asensio has widely been tipped for superstardom in the future and will get his chance to show off his ability on the world stage for the first time this summer.

The youngster was in Spain's preliminary Euro 2016 squad, but didn't ultimately make the final cut. Now, though, he is part of a Spanish team looking to make amends for an early exit in 2014.


Sadio Mane (Senegal)

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Sadio Mane will be hoping that as part of the Senegal team of 2018 he can replicate the achievements of the 2002 squad, who shocked the planet to reach a World Cup quarter final.

The west African nation have been absent from this stage ever since, but a new generation of top talent, of which Mane is the most high profile, is ready and waiting.


Gabriel Jesus (Brazil)

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As an Under-17 Palmeiras prospect, Gabriel Jesus helped paint the Sao Paulo streets in Brazilian colours as part of the celebrations ahead of the last World Cup in 2014.

Now 20 years of age, the Manchester City starlet will be leading the line for his country and has already had a taste of international glory after winning Olympic gold with Brazil in 2016.


Kylian Mbappe (France)

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Now wearing the number 10 shirt made famous for France by Michel Platini and Zinedine Zidane, 19-year-old Kylian Mbappe will be looking to make a splash at his first tournament.

Paris Saint-Germain are already committed to paying up to €180m for the teenager this summer, making his loan permanent, meaning he is the second most expensive player of all time.


Leroy Sane (Germany)

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Leroy Sane has further established himself as one of the most exciting young players in Europe after a marvellous campaign with Manchester City and is now ready for his first World Cup.

The 22-year-old got his first taste of a major international tournament as a fringe member of Germany's squad at Euro 2016, reaching the semi finals.


Thiago Alcantara (Spain)

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Thiago Alcantara has been a full Spain international since 2011 when he made his debut against Italy, but it is only since 2016 that the midfield maestro has been a regular feature.

The Bayern Munich player has the World Cup in his blood, with his father, Mazinho, having won the tournament with Brazil back in 1994.


Robert Lewandowski (Poland)

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Robert Lewandowski has represented Poland at two European Championship tournaments during his career, but in 2018 the national team is preparing for a first World Cup since 2006.

No one scored more goals in qualifying than the Bayern Munich striker, whose return of 16 in 10 games was even more than Cristiano Ronaldo managed for a prolific Portugal.


N'Golo Kante (France)

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N'Golo Kante had just helped Caen earn promotion to Ligue 1 at the time of the last World Cup and only made his debut for France in 2016 after rising to prominence with Leicester.

The midfield dynamo starred en-route to the Euro 2016 final that same year, but was left an unused substitute for the big game itself against Portugal, which Les Bleus lost.


Radamel Falcao (Colombia)

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Better late than never, Radamel Falcao is set to make his World Cup debut at the age of 32 this summer after injury cruelly robbed him of the chance four years ago.

After two dismal seasons in England with Manchester United and Chelsea, the Colombian talisman is back to his best form for Monaco and will be hoping to make up for lost time.


Philippe Coutinho (Brazil)

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After going four years without playing senior international football from his debut in 2010 to breaking back into the squad after Brazil's 2014 World Cup humiliation, Philippe Coutinho is now a key member of the Selecao side.

At €160m he is the world's third most expensive player in history after joining Barcelona.


Harry Kane (England)

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Harry Kane had played just 26 first-team games for Tottenham at the time of the last World Cup. Fast forward four years and England's star has scored over 120 goals and counting for his club.

He made his senior international debut in 2015 and has already scored 12 times in 23 appearances for his country. English fans will be praying he is fully fit for the tournament.


Mohamed Salah (Egypt)

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Liverpool forward Mohamed Salah was still two years away from being born the last time Egypt qualified for the World Cup, and it was his goal that sealed their qualification for Russia.

Salah is the reason Egypt are being touted as a surprise package ahead of the tournament after his incredible return to the Premier League. To reach the knockout rounds, finishing ahead of two of Russia, Saudi Arabia and Uruguay certainly seems plausible.


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