Paris Saint-Germain’s glittering lineup of stars will see 12 players get a chance to impress in Russia during the 2018 FIFA World Cup but who is most likely to make the biggest impact? Kevin Trapp might be sitting with the substitutes for Germany, just as defender Presnel Kimpembe has to wait his turn–or for a few injuries–to get a chance to play in France’s pursuit of international football’s biggest prize. The tournament will unlikely remain quiet for the likes of Julian Draxler, Edinson Cavani, and of course, Brazil’s inspirational Neymar Jr.
Coming of Age: Kylian Mbappé to Grab the Headlines
Kylian Mbappé was turning heads well before the talented Frenchman got a chance to put on the PSG jersey after impressing at AS Monaco and the France national team. He’s a player likened to Thierry Henry by the former Arsenal FC striker’s former manager Arsène Wenger and his debut season in Paris, in which he scored 13 goals, has done nothing to dampen his image as one of football’s brightest stars. The World Cup seems to have come at the right time for him to impress on the biggest stage. Head coach Didier Deschamps has an abundance of riches in that France squad but expect Mbappé to be one of its shining lights.
Marquinhos: Star Performances From Unexpected Places
Neymar might grab the headlines for Brazil but his PSG and national-squad teammate, center-half Marquinhos, will have to have a strong tournament if the South Americans are to fulfill their promise as favorites to be crowned World Cup winner. Seemingly preferred to Thiago Silva, another PSG player to be at the tournament this summer, Brazil will hope they can put the chastening 7-1 defeat to Germany four years ago well behind them with a stronger defensive display. Marquinhos’ form could prove crucial between winning and losing.
Comeback King & New Kid on the Block: Di Maria & Lo Celso to Shine
Angel Di Maria has enjoyed better times at PSG after his difficult period at Manchester United having previously established himself as one of the world’s most dynamic wingers at Real Madrid. He remains one of the first names on the Argentina team sheet as well. Di Maria will be joined in the squad by Giovani Lo Celso who, having progressed impressively since being moved to a midfield role at PSG, could play alongside Lionel Messi when La Albiceleste kick-off their World Cup pursuit.
The Usual Suspects: Big Things Expected From Draxler & Neymar Jr.
There are huge expectations on the shoulders of Neymar, who missed Brazil’s devastating loss to Germany on home soil four years ago due to injury. He’s only just back from another injury this time but Brazil will be hoping he can find his top form. If he does, there will be few players in Russia capable of grabbing the headlines in the same way he does. The burden is off Uruguay and PSG striker Cavani, who will have it slightly easier given he has Luis Suárez next to him. Meanwhile, Draxler has the chance to show what he can do alongside some very talented German teammates.