World Cup: A launchpad for superstar career moves

World Cup offers every player a chance to make a name for himself and use the tournament as a stepping stone to a big career move which might not be forthcoming otherwise.

Eden Hazard Belgium World Cup

Eden Hazard's World Cup performances seems to have convinced La Liga giant Real Madrid to splash the cash on the Belgian.   -  Getty Images

The football World Cup is unique, with the exception that it, too, like the Olympics or any other marquee tournament, has the potential to transform the careers of those who have starred in front of a world audience. A no-brainer, the World Cup offers every player a chance to make a name for himself and use the tournament as a stepping stone to a big career move which might not be forthcoming otherwise.

The likes of Mesut Ozil, Lukas Podolski, James Rodriguez among others, have used the World Cup as a platform to earn lucrative, career-changing moves to iconic football clubs. And, already, the 2018 World Cup is starting to reward the star performers with big career moves. 

Although not a direct consequence of his performances in Russia, Alisson Becker, Brazil’s first-choice goalkeeper, has earned himself a world record, £67m move to Liverpool from Roma, becoming the most expensive goalkeeper in history.

Ivan Perisic and Ante Rebic are linked with big-money moves to Manchester United   -  Getty Images

 

Croatian duo of Ante Rebic and Ivan Perisic were among the standout players in the tournament, contributing hugely to their team's run to the Moscow final. Perisic scored in the summit clash against France, though in an ultimately losing cause. Ante Rebic, who plays for Bundesliga club Eintracht Frankfurt, has seen his stock go up too and, along with Inter Milan's Perisic, is linked with a move to Manchester United. According to reports, Rebic and Perisic are attracting transfer amounts of close to £50m each from United.

Kylian Mbappe won the Young Player of the tournament award for his tally of four goals in seven appearances and multiple match-winning performances for France. Not to forget, he became the second-youngest player, only after Pele, to score in a World Cup final. The 19-year-old forward went into the World Cup with a chance to prove himself and emerged as a world beater who outshone Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo.

Naturally, he has grown in stature and his stock has risen too. But Mbappe has clearly said that he will remain at Paris Saint-Germain, quelling any chance of him being linked with another club. In contrast, Belgium captain Eden Hazard has given a strong indication, on the back of world-class performances in Russia, that he is open to a move away from Stamford Bridge for what will likely be a world-record transfer fee.

Colombia's James Rodriguez completed his transfer to Real Madrid from AS Monaco after his star show in the 2014 World Cup   -  Getty Images

 

After the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, the Golden Boot and Puskas Award-winning James Rodriguez was rewarded with a reported £60m move to Real Madrid. So impressive were his performances that he became a Galactico just a fortnight after Colombia's elimination from the World Cup at the quarterfinal stage.

Another footballer from a South American nation, Marcos Rojo became one of Louis van Gaal's signings as Manchester United manager after Brazil 2014, in which he showed his versatility as a defender who can play in central defence and as a fullback.

Mesut Ozil and his compatriot Lukas Podolski, are other examples of players who got career-changing moves after their World Cup performances. Ozil finished the 2010 World Cup with the joint-most assists (three) and helped Germany to a third-place finish. He moved from Werder Bremen to Real Madrid after the tournament in South Africa. Four years earlier, Podolski secured a move to Bayern Munich after winning the Young Player of the tournament award in the 2006 World Cup.

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