The World Cup is about more than just the likes of Neymar, Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi. Here are the stars on the rise who could play big roles in Russia.

By 90Min
April 12, 2018

We all remember James Rodriguez's World Cup exploits in Brazil back in 2014, don't we? And if you don't, how?! The Colombian, already a player of real pedigree, absolutely smashed it on the world's biggest footballing stage to become a global superstar; his form even earned him a £63m move to Real Madrid at just 23 years old.

No matter what country you were following, you just couldn't help but be inspired by James' performances for his nation. Which begs the question, what other youngsters could break the ceiling of going from a decent player to a universal superstar this time around?

With that in mind, here are eight young, emerging players that could become superstars in Russia this summer.

Hirving 'Chucky' Lozano 

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Whenever Mexico are mentioned as a footballing nation, the likes of Javier 'Chicharito' Hernandez, Carlos Vela and Andres Guardado are commonly mentioned as their key men. However, there's a new kid on the block this time round; Hirving 'Chucky' Lozano. 

The PSV Eindhoven winger, given his nickname as a result of his enjoyment at hiding under his youth teammates' beds and scaring them, has struck 14 times and set up a further seven in the Eredivise this term. 

At just 22, keep an eye on this elusive talent. 

Dávinson Sanchez

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Having quietly but superbly gone about his business throughout his first season in England, Davinson Sanchez is more likely than not to put his stamp on the international scene in Russia.

The former Ajax man has been a rock for Spurs alongside Jan Vertonghen and Toby Alderweireld this season. The 21-year-old could take his country far this summer, especially given the attacking talent in Colombia's ranks which should compliment Sanchez's defensive work nicely. 

Marco Asensio 

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Regardless of whether he gets into Julen Lopetegui's starting XI is up for debate, but if he does, you could bet good money on Marco Asensio lighting up the tournament. 

Real Madrid's 22-year-old sensation has already played a significant role in a Champions League success as well as a La Liga title win in his short career, and is renowned for his ferocious long shot. 

Keep an eye on the young Spaniard.

Sergej Milinković-Savić


Lazio star Sergej Milinkovic-Savic has emerged as one of Europe's leading midfield lights. A big, big money move away from Italy has been touted quietly, but if the Serbian can bring his A game to Russia this summer, those whispers will inevitably turn to shouts. 

Potential suitors should move quickly, or they could face an inflated price after the summer. 

Timo Werner

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RB Leipzig sensation Timo Werner has been doing the business domestically for a while now, but the consistency of his form in recent years has got people sitting up and taking notice. 

The 22-year-old has 18 goals and seven assists so far this term for the Bundesliga side, while he has seven in 12 games for his country. 

Miroslav Klose's retirement means Germany need a new hero; step forward, Timo. 

Marcus Rashford 


The Manchester United academy graduate has found chances hard to come by domestically this season under Jose Mourinho, but has still hit an impressive 11 goals for the Red Devils. 

Gareth Southgate seems to have a bit more faith in the 20-year-old however, as do many England fans. If Harry Kane's injury is still affecting him come the summer, Rashford could be the man for the Three Lions. 

Gabriel Jesus

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Since arriving in England from Palmeiras as a 19-year-old, Gabriel Jesus has set the Premier League on fire with attacking drive and intent beyond his years. 

The £27m man has performed admirably for Pep Guardiola at such a young age, and is without question one of the best youngsters in Europe. What remains to be seen now is if Jesus can lead his country to glory, to go nicely with his imminent Premier League title success. 

Kylian Mbappé


We don't need to introduce him, or tell you what he's about; Kylian Mbappe is already a superstar at club level despite only making his professional debut in December 2015. 

The 19-year-old wonderkid has already made an impact at Champions League level and has a Ligue 1 title under his belt from his time at Monaco. This form prompted Paris Saint-Germain to shell out around £166m for his services, a truly staggering amount, but enough about his club exploits. 

There is a real possibility of Mbappe becoming one of the best strikers the game has seen, but as we all know, the best have to do it on the international scene. 

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