2018 World Cup in Russia: The 50 Best Players

Ronaldo, Messi, Neymar, Salah... Which stars will shine brightest over the next four weeks in Russia?
2018 World Cup in Russia: The 50 Best Players Newsweek

The 2018 World Cup will probably be the last international tournament where soccer fans get the chance to admire Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo at the peak of their powers.

The Argentine magician will be 34 by the time the biggest tournament in the world pitches up in Qatar in four years, while CR7 will be three months short of his 38th birthday and unlikely to be leading Portugal yet again. However, the two best players of their generation are far from the only stars that could shine brightly over the next four weeks in Russia.

Tony Kroos will have a crucial role to play if Germany is to become the first team since Brazil in 1962 to win back-to-back World Cups, and will his Real Madrid teammate Sergio Ramos lift the World Cup less than two months after winning a third Champions League title in a row?

Brazilians will hope Neymar can inspire his country to a sixth title, despite having just returned from injury, while dark horses Belgium will pin its hopes of sparking a major upset on the talent of Eden Hazard and Kevin De Bruyne.

Having failed to score at Euro 2016, Harry Kane will hope to translate his club form onto the international stage for England, while Egypt holds its breath to see whether Liverpool forward Mohamed Salah will add another chapter to his incredible season if he manages to recover in time from the injury sustained in the Champions League.

Among the favorites to win the tournament, France will rely on the attacking talent of Antoine Griezmann and Kylian Mbappe, but must hope Paul Pogba rediscovers his form after a difficult season for Manchester United.

In this gallery, Newsweek counts down the 50 best players at the 2018 World Cup.

50. Alisson—Brazil, 24 caps, 0 goals (GK, 25, Roma): Alisson has brought confidence and control to a role that has often proved to be Brazil’s undoing. He’s been linked with a move to Liverpool or Real Madrid, but Roma are unlikely to sell him. Vanessa Carvalho/LatinContent/Getty Images