The World Cup is the most-watched sporting event in the world, and it’s not hard to see why. The competition is fierce and players from all over the globe come together to compete for the grand trophy. Simply put, the World Cup brings people together to cheer, and even cry, when their favourite teams play.
The World Cup 2022 is around the corner, and to celebrate this year’s tournament and honour its history, a look at the most expensive players in World Cup history is fitting. These players are part of the top 5 favourite teams in the World Cup and have been responsible for some of the most remarkable moments in football history, from scoring one-in-a-million goals to making game-saving tackles.
If you’re looking to get into World Cup fever before kickoff, here’s an interesting list of the top six most expensive players to watch out for in this tournament.
- Lionel Messi
Lionel Messi is an Argentine professional footballer who plays as a forward for the French club Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) and the Argentina national team. Often rated highly by many, Messi is the only football player in history to win seven FIFA Ballon d’Ors, four of which he won consecutively. Forbes has ranked the PSG and Argentina forward as the highest-paid athlete. The magazine’s annual list of the top 100 highest-paid athletes of 2022 saw Messi top the charts with yearly earnings of $110m.
- Cristiano Ronaldo
Cristiano Ronaldo dos Santos Aveiro, born on February 5th 1985, is a Portuguese footballer who plays as a forward for the English club Manchester United and captains the Portugal national team. Considered one of the best players in the world, Ronaldo has a record-tying five Ballon d’Or awards, the most for a European player. In addition to his 32 career titles, which include seven league crowns, five UEFA Champions League titles, and one UEFA European Championship, Forbes reports that Cristiano was the first football player to earn over $1 billion in his career.
- Neymar Junior
Neymar (born February 5th 1992) is a Brazilian professional footballer who plays for the Brazilian national team and the French club Paris Saint-Germain (PSG). Neymar gained notoriety at Santos early when his performances and goal-scoring rate caught the attention of Europe’s top clubs. In 2017, Neymar joined PSG from Barcelona for a record €222 million, but there is much more to him than his price tag. He is known for his acceleration, speed, dribbling, finishing and ability with both feet.
- Kylian Mbappé
With a talent unmatched for his age, Kylian Mbappé is the second-most expensive player in football history; with the deal reported to be as much as €180 million. He joined AS Bondy’s youth team at 16, playing from 2004 to 2013 and scoring over 150 goals in just 100 games. When he was ready for a higher level, Monaco’s youth academy offered him a position on their team at only 17 years old. His records include scoring at the 2018 FIFA World Cup Final at only 19 years old, becoming the second teenager after Pelé and the youngest French player ever to do so.
- Harry Maguire
Born on March 5th 1993, Harry Maguire is an English defender that plays for Manchester United. As a result of his record-breaking £80 million transfer fee from Leicester City to Manchester United, he is now the most expensive defender in the annals of football. Maguire is well known for his strength, on-field presence, and ability to understand the game. Some pundits have praised him as “a dominating defender” who can play both centre-back and right-back.
- Joan Felix
Joan Felix will have a significant impact on the World Cup this year. With his dynamism and creativity, Portugal is in a solid position to win this year’s World Cup. After signing for Atletico Madrid, he became the fourth-most expensive player in football history, costing £113 million.
This year’s World Cup will be one of the most exciting yet, as football fans eagerly await the tournament. Whether you’re pulling for Messi to win a World Cup or cheering on your favourite country to go all the way, the fun doesn’t have to end when the final whistle blows. In less than a month, the Qatar World Cup 2022 will kick off and everything will come to a standstill.