The 2018 World Cup has finally arrived and we’ve all been paying very close attention to the teams. We know the starting line-ups, we have our predictions about which team is going to win which match and we picked our favorite players that we’re going to follow religiously for the next month.
However, here are five captains that you may or not be aware of. Some of the faces will be familiar while others may be brand spanking new. As we all know, there are the obvious two: Ronaldo from Portugal and Messi from Argentina. These two soccer hotshots will definitely draw insane attention, but don’t let the hype drown out the talent of other noteworthy captains who are going to be just as crucial to their team’s success.
1. Essam El Hadary
The Egyptian goalkeeper will make history as soon as he steps on the field and the whistle blows. At 45 years old, El Hadary will be the oldest player and captain in World Cup history. The previous title of oldest player was owned by former Colombia goalkeeper Faryd Mondragon. This is also the El Hadary’s first ever time playing in the tournament. Ironic.
2. Harry Kane
On the contrary, you have Harry Kane who’s the youngest captain in the cup. It’s a no-brainer that the 24-year-old is wearing the coveted armband, the same one previously worn by Wayne Rooney and David Beckham. The Tottenham Hotspur striker is a natural leader and it doesn’t hurt that he’s scored over 100 club level goals in the past four seasons. Kane also has his eyes set on taking home the Golden Boot award for the tournament. I mean there is obvious competition from Messi, Ronaldo and Salah, but after losing the award to Salah this past season, Kane’s fueled by redemption.
3. Aron Gunnarsson
Iceland are the new kids on the block for this year’s tournament. The rookies have some promise. They’re not exactly expected to go far, but if anything they will certainly be interesting to watch. The small country has more sheep than people but also has more pride than sheep. Point being, they’re amped and ready to show what they can do. Gunnarsson helped lead his team to the quarter-finals during the 2015 European Championships and now they’re here to face the World Cup. The 29-year-old midfielder recently suffered a knee injury with his club team, Cardiff City. Despite this, he’s expected to be a strong central force.
4. Radamel Falcao
The Colombian superstar took a brutal hit back in 2014. He succumbed to a knee ligament injury that prevented him from participating in the 2014 World Cup. The 32-year-old is his country’s all-time lead scorer and after watching Colombia make it to the quarter-finals of the tournament, only to be knocked out, you know he’s looking for revenge. There’s no doubt Falcao is going to come out guns blazing.
5. Manuel Neuer
The keeper has only recently come back after nine months due to injury, but he’s still just as impressive. The 32-year-old is crucial to Germany’s style of play. Neuer acts as both goalie and sweeper which allows his players to sit higher on the field and press faster. Germany used this tactic in the 2014 World Cup and it worked pretty well for them. Let’s see if it will help carry them to victory this year.