With less than four months to the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia, Completesportsnigeria.com’s JOHNNY EDWARD highlights six Great players who will likely play against the Super Eagles in the Russia 2018 Group D. These fearsome six have been dazzling with heroic performances in the colours of their respective European clubs.
1. Lionel Messi (Barcelona,Argentina)
The Barcelona playmaker, Lionel Messi has been the standout player for Ernesto Valverde’s side this season in the Spanish LaLiga Santander and has been instrumental to the club’s unbeaten run so far this season in the league.
Having scored 23 league goals and provided 13 assists in the LaLiga (31 goals, 16 assists in 40 games in all competitions), Messi is the most prolific player on this list that the Super Eagles must be wary of at the World Cup.
The 31 year old Argentine captain is probably in the form of his life and coach Jorge Sampaoli would be hoping he replicates that form in Russia.
2 Luka Modric (Real Madrid, Croatia)
One of the most talented midfield players to have come out of Croatia right now is Luka Modric. He has been extremely consistent for Zinedane Zidane’s Real Madrid side this season.
Despite the Los Blancos being out contention for the LaLiga title this season, Modric has been one of the outstanding players in the team.
The versatile 32-year-old has played a number of positions with equal aplomb and class for Real Madrid this year.
Be it in a defensive or attacking midfielder position or even as a playmaker. Modric has been the go-to man for Real to unlock the tightest defence whenever the going has got tough.
Modric has completed 325 passes this season with a pass accuracy of 90%, of which 74% were forward passes.
3 Sergio Aguero (Manchester City, Argentina)
Sergio Agueeo has been highly impressive in the English Premier League for Manchester City who are closing in on their fifth league title. The Argentine striker is a part of an incredible Manchester City’s free scoring team who have opened a 16 point gap at the top of the league.
The 29 year old who is one goal away from his 200th career goal for the club at the time of this report, has scored 21 goals in 23 appearances in the EPL this season, notching up six assists in his seventh season at the club.
Aguero has been called up for Argentina’s friendlies against Italy and Spain this month. He is one forward that will definitely keep the Nigerian defence nervy when both teams clash in their final group game at the World Cup in Russia.
4. Albert Gudmundsson (Iceland, PSV Eindhoven)
Gudmundsson has lit up Dutch second division league in Holland this season with seven goals and five assists for PSV Eindhoven U-21 side.
The 20-year-old who has scored three goals in three international appearances has been frightening for opposing defenders with his pace and skills.
He will be looking to make a bigger name for himself in the World Cup 2018.
5. Nicolas Otamendi (Manchester City, Argentina)
Argentina will be delighted to have in their ranks at the World Cup in Russia, a transformed Nicolas Otamendi.
Until Pep Guardiola’s arrival, Otamendi struggled to settle into the English game when he arrived from Valencia, Spain as he was often the man caught out and exposed, or simply switching off in crucial moments.
But under Guardiola, the 30 year old has improved his game. To spell out his improvement in this regard, Otamendi has made more passes (1734) than every single player in the top divisions in England, France, Italy, Spain, Germany, the Netherlands, Turkey and Portugal, according to squwaka.com.
He has scored four goals in 27 appearances this season, won 34 tackles with a success rate of 43% and has made 44 interceptions, 93 clearances and eight blocks.
6. Gylfi Sigurdsson (Everton, Iceland)
The 28 year old Gylfi Sigurdsson
has regained his old form for Everton.
Gifted with amazing playmaking skills and tactical versatility, Sigurdsson is also exceptional at taking free-kicks. He has scored four goals in 25 games creating 35 chances and three assists.
Sigurdsson has also completed 475 passes in the colours of Everton this season with a pass accuracy of 76%, of which 76% were forward passes.