In every World Cup, there are big stars that make a splash, and lesser known players that come into their own and become household names. There are also superstars who become legends. The 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia promises to deliver the goods once more.
The Big Stars
So much has been said about the Argentinian star, Leo Messi, who has won every single title but the World Cup. He arrives in Russia in outstanding form after another brilliant domestic season, where he won both La Liga and the Copa del Rey. Messi has faced heartbreak after heartbreak with Argentina. At the age of 30, this could well be his last chance to win the World Cup, and after having lost the final four years ago, there is no doubt that he hopes to be in top form.
The same can be said for Portugal's star player, Cristiano Ronaldo, who is facing what is likely to be his last chance to win this trophy. The reigning Ballon d'Or has gone through some ups and downs this season with Real Madrid, but there's no denying his extraordinary skills when facing the opposing team’s goal. He scored 44 goals in 44 games for Madrid last season, and is sure to prove pivotal for his country in the World Cup.
At the beginning of the season, nobody would have guessed that Mo Salah would make anyone's top stars list.
The Egyptian's superb performance with Liverpool, however, saw him win the best player of the Premier League award. His national team. Egypt, is not among the favourites to make it through to the final stages of the tournament, however.
Brazil's Neymar did everything he could to recover from his injury just in time for the World Cup. The Brazilian, whose World Cup hopes collapsed in 2014, when he was injured midway through the tournament, is seeking to win his first Ballon d'Or. He certainly has hopes of achieving this feat if his team are crowned world champions - and Brazil are indeed one of the favourite's to win the tournament.
Maradona: "Messi doesn't need to win a World Cup to be considered the best"
There is undoubtedly a fine line between the star players and those who go on to become legends. Euronews had the opportunity to talk about the stuff of legends with world football legend Diego Armando Maradona, who shared his insights.
"I think that we, the legends, must share our talent," said Maradona, adding, "we can't be like those doctors that have a lot of knowledge. but don't share it with their students. Every time I was coaching a team, I always tried to do my best, to help the players and to transmit everything I know. It's important for the players to know how to perform, how to kick and stop the ball. I think Messi is already a legend. He is a very good boy. He doesn't need to win the World Cup to become a legend; he's already earned this title.''
Stay tuned for our next special, where we will present what makes this World Cup - the Russia 2018 FIFA World Cup - special.