Since the last article a lot has occurred again in football. If you missed the first one it is here, and the second here. France won the world cup, Ronaldo did the unthinkable and Richarlison is about to move to Everton for £50 million? What would you prefer, half a Ronaldo or Richarlison… anyway, as expected there will again be controversial views such as one club to break the transfer record? I hope you enjoy!
Meet Duje Ćaleta-Car, the big-money signing who could be Marseille’s equivalent to Javier Mascherano in his prime, and the long-term answer to Croatia’s problems at centre-back.
Well, its all over for another 4 years, and congratulations to France on winning a well fought contest against a plucky Croatia side, coming away with a 4-2 win and ending their 20 year wait for another World Cup success.
Many players impressed during the course of this summer, and there is no doubt a lot of them will use this platform to secure big moves for themselves or bigger contracts where they are.
But who are the 11 players who have stood out during the tournament? We have put together our Team of the Tournament.
Overview of player
Thomas Meunier is a 26 year old right back that plays for Paris Saint Germain in France’s Ligue 1 division. Meunier was brought in to PSG from Belgium side Club Brugge on the 3rd of July 2016 for a fee reported to be 7 million euros. Prior to his move, Thomas had admitted doubts on whether he would lack playing time at PSG. This proved evident during his first season. His first competitive appearance for PSG came on the 6th of August, where he came on to replace David Luiz in the 76th minute of the 2016 French Super Cup. He then unfortunately played a role as an unused substitute for the next few matches until his league debut for the club in a 3-1 loss to Monaco. Since his debut, Meunier found himself competing with Serge Aurier for a starting position, but often found himself on the substitutes bench. Even after Serge Aurier’s departure to Tottenham in August 2017, he still competed for the right-back position with the newly recruited Dani Alves.
Even though Meunier has not yet solidified a starting role at right-back for Paris Saint Germain, he has proven that he has what it takes during his substitute appearances. In 46 games for the club, he has managed to find the back of the net 5 times and has assisted some of the best forwards in football in their scoring endeavours as well. His performances were impressive enough to earn him a call up to Roberto Martinez’ Belgium side for the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia.
Overview of Player:
This 24-year old AZ man is the star player, however you look at it. Boasting an insane 8.20 average rating on Whoscored, being Iran’s most valuable player by far according to Transfermarkt, and being linked to numerous Premier League clubs, Iran will rely on him heavily. At his tender age, Jahanbakhsh already has 38 caps; that’s three more caps than 28-year old Kyle Walker, who feels like he’s been around forever.
With most nations, we would avoid picking the star player, by virtue of it being too obvious and click-bait. However, despite Jahanbakhsh’s exploits, including finishing as the Eredivisie top-scorer last season, he isn’t especially well-known. Unless his name alone prevents him from reaching that feat, the World Cup is a great opportunity for him to bank a move to a bigger club and have his talents recognised globally.
Overview of Player:
English fans probably remember him mostly from his uneventful Leicester days. Signed in the Nigel Pearson era from Rijeka in January 2015, he was perhaps unfortunate that Leicester’s form improved so drastically after he arrived, denying him a regular spot in the team. The next season, when Leciester managed to win the Premier League title under Claudio Ranieri, Kramarić hardly managed to get a look-in, playing a grand total of 22 Premier League minutes. He was then shipped out to Hoffenheim on loan in January 2016.
As Kramarić himself put it, “The other lads took their chances and I had to take the hard road. Again.” He also responded less well to former Leicester manager Claudio Ranieri’s “introverted”, defence-first approach than that of other managers. After Leicester managed to make a profit on the talented forward when the Hannover deal became permanent, he began to show his potential. In 2016-17 he won the player of the year award from Hoffenheim fans; at the end of the most recent season, he made Kicker magazine’s Bundesliga team of the season. On 27th April, it was reported that he had scored 10 goals in his last twelve games, which was only one less than Leicester managed as a whole over that period. This relentless run of form helped propel Hoffenheim into Champions League qualification.
Overview of player
Name: Dawid Kownacki
World Cup influence: 5/10
Overview of Player
Name: Keita Baldé
Nationality: Senegalese (Spanish born)
World Cup Influence: 5/10 Continue reading
Name: Shinji Kagawa
Club: Borussia Dortmund
World Cup Influence: 5/10
Japan finished top of their group with 28 points, picking up a draw and 7 wins. They had a fairly easy group facing Syria, Singapore, Afghanistan and Cambodia. For me it would have been a failure if Japan didn’t finish top of their qualifying group. Smashing Afghanistan twice and beating Syria 5-0 proved for me how strong this Japanese team was in comparison to the other teams.
Overview of Player
Yerry Mina is an out-and-out Centre back who has been playing for FC Barcelona this season. He was signed from Palmeiras in 2018 following 26 appearances in which he scored 6. As a centre-back… you see strikers with worse returns than that.
Yerry Mina represented the Colombian Olympic team for football in 2016 and scored a goal in his four appearances. However it wasn’t meant to be and they went out to a Neymar inspired Brazil in a 2-0 defeat. He has since represented the Senior Colombia team for a total of 12 times where has scored 3. Again, a better return than some forwards…