Top 5 Breakout Players of the 2018 World Cup

VOICE OVER: Adrian Sousa WRITTEN BY: Adrian Sousa
Script written by Adrian Sousa

Well, their transfer value just increased by 100%. From Maguire, to Inui, to Pavard, these soccer stars are making waves at the biggest tournament in the world. WatchMojo counts down the Top 5 Breakout Players of the 2018 World Cup.
Script written by Adrian Sousa

Top 5 Breakout Players of the 2018 World Cup

Well, their transfer value just increased by 100%. Welcome to, and today, we’ll be counting down the top five breakout stars of the 2018 World Cup.

For this list, we’ll be looking at players who utilized the World Cup to elevate their notoriety to unprecedented personal levels. These players didn’t have to be complete unknowns prior to the World Cup in order to be considered for this list; some club success is okay! However, these players can’t have had a breakthrough in the public consciousness prior to this tournament. For example: while Kylian Mbappé has shone at this World Cup for France, his big coming out party occurred while he was still with Monaco both in the Ligue 1 and the Champions League in 2017. With that said, let’s get to it!

#5: Harry Maguire

Harry Maguire moved from Hull City to Leicester City for £12 million pounds in 2017 and went from an English fan at Euro 2016 to an English starting center-back at the 2018 World Cup. Maguire certainly has the body makeup to be a dominant central defender, but as the saying goes: he's got a decent touch for a big man. Maguire has been integral to England's set-piece dominance at the 2018 World Cup, getting in on the goals himself against Sweden in the quarter-finals. He leads the tournament with 33 aerial duels won, making life very difficult for opposition forwards. Plus, with the ball at his feet, he hasn’t looked a step off pace.

#4: Takashi Inui

The oldest player of the group, but at 30, he made a big impact on this world cup with two great performances in the group stage and another in the heartbreaking 3 - 2 loss against Belgium. Along the way, Inui managed to grab 2 goals and an assist across 4 appearances. His best performance was undoubtedly against Senegal in which he was involved in both of Japan’s goals. Also, here’s a useless fact: the way his name was stylized on the Japanese kits made his surname a perfect ambigram. And the final kicker regarding Inui: a few weeks before the start of the World Cup in Russia, he signed on with Real Betis of La Liga on a free transfer. Great bit of business there!

#3: Benjamin Pavard

After a successful season with Stuttgart in which Benjamin Pavard was a top performer in the center back position for the mid-table team, Pavard announced himself to the world as part of a strong Les Bleus back line. However, he doesn’t play in his preferred position for France, as their lack of right backs has forced Didier Deschamps to employ the 22-year-old out of position. Although French fans weren’t convinced that Pavard was the answer, he has more than proven himself at this World Cup, with the highlight being a stunning goal against Argentina. His performances have caught the eye of the likes of Bayern Munich, Manchester City, etc. You know, the usual suspects.

#2: Hirving “Chucky” Lozano

Was beginning to make waves in the Eredivisie after he finished the season with 17 goals from 29 appearances for PSV Eindhoven. In qualifying for Mexico, he scored 3 goals in 5 appearances. He marked his arrival in Russia with a goal that shocked the defending champions Germany in Mexico's statement win. Then, against South Korea, Lozano went on a solo run before slotting the ball to Javier Hernandez to score his 50th goal for Mexico. While he had frustrating matches against both Sweden and Brazil, he did enough on the world stage to attract the attention of big clubs around Europe, especially when coupled with his club achievements from the last year.

#1: Aleksander Golovin

For those who took in the UEFA Europa League, or even those who have caught a few CSKA Moskva Russian Premier League matches will know that Aleksander Golovin is a bit special. For those that caught their first glimpse of him in the 2018 World Cup opening match between hosts Russia and Saudi Arabia must have had a very good impression indeed after he set up two of his teammates before scoring a stunning free-kick himself. While he may not have contributed further as far as goal involvement, whenever he has the ball at his feet, he demands the attention of a handful of opposing defenders. That, plus his eye for a pass and ability to put the ball where he wants it makes him a very hot commodity indeed, with a move to a top club expected to be on in the summer of 2018.