Russia2018: See Bounce News' All Star XI
Russia 2018 won’t just be another one-off football tournament - not that any FIFA World Cup has been - it would be a festival of colours, fanfare and sporting passion.
Thousands of fans are already in Russia, and even more people are still flying to the Eastern European nation.
At the same time, millions are getting ready to view the world cup from their homes or designated viewing centres across the world.
The 2014 edition held in Brazil reached 3.2 billion viewers, it is only logical to assume this edition will surpass that number.
However, people do not just gather for no reason, the anticipation to watch their countries and favourite football stars is a key factor.
So who will be the stars to watch out for in Russia for the next one month?
Bounce Sports brings you its special All Star XI for the FIFA World Cup. In a 4-2-1-3 formation, this is how our team line up.
Goalkeeper - David de Gea (Spain & Manchester United)
David de Gea makes it straight into our team following his outstanding performances for Manchester United last season.
The Spaniard made 37 appearances for United in the Premier League, keeping 18 clean sheets and making 115 saves more than any other goalkeeper in England’s top flight.
Reserves: Alisson (Brazil & Roma), Manuel Neuer (Germany & Bayern Munich)
Right Wingback - Joshua Kimmich (Germany & Bayern Munich)
Kimmich has stepped up nicely to replace the legendary Phillip Lahm both in club and country.
The right wingback notched up 13 assists for Bayern Munich during last season’s campaign and is one of the reasons why the Germans are considered strong favourites to lift the trophy.
Reserve: Dani Carvajal (Spain & Real Madrid)
Left Wingback - Marcelo (Brazil & Real Madrid)
There should be no questions here at all.
Marcelo has been in amazing form for more than two seasons at Real Madrid. The Brazilian’s skillful play and regular contribution to attack makes him the first choice left wing back on our team.
Reserve: David Alba (Spain & Barcelona)
1. Sergio Ramos (Spain & Real Madrid)
Many Africans are yet to forgive the Real Madrid captain for his tackle on Mohammed Salah during the UEFA Champions league final match.
However, none can take anything away from Ramos’ talents in securing the back for both Real and Spain.
Often aggressive in his tackles, it is that quality that makes him mean enough to lead our backline.
Reserve for Ramos: Jerome Boateng (Germany & Bayern Munich)
2. Matt Hummels (Germany & Bayern Munich)
The big centre back made the switch from Dortmund to Munich and has since been rock solid for the Budesliga giants.
Hummels’ positional awareness makes it difficult for attackers to get the better of him. At the heart of our defence, his calmness and dexterity will make a good pair for the more aggressive Ramos.
Reserve for Hummels: Thiago Silva (Brazil & PSG)
1. Ngolo Kante (France & Chelsea)
Kante’s rise in global football hierarchy has been stellar.
From obscurity, the Frenchman came to limelight in Leicester City’s magical run to the Premier League crown in 2016/17 season.
He was the star man as Chelsea reclaimed the title in 2017 and despite the Blues’ failure to defend their crown, Kante has singled himself out as a player of quality, enough to make it into our team.
He just about edges out Real Madrid’s Casemiro here.
Reserve for Kante: Casemiro (Brazil & Real Madrid)
2. Toni Kroos (Germany & Real Madrid)
Kroos is a midfield master. His close control and vision on the ball is instrumental when building up play for his team.
An average 91% pass rate for Real Madrid last season is proof enough for the midfielder’s quality.
With Kroos on your team, you are sure not to lose a lot of balls in the middle of the park.
Reserve for Kroos: Kevin De Bruyne (Belgium & Manchester City)
Lionel Messi (Argentina & Barcelona)
This would come as a shock to many, but even Messi himself has said recently that he has no problem playing in the midfield in future for Barcelona.
During South Africa 2010 World Cup, Albiceleste coach, Diego Maradona deployed the magician in a midfield role behind Gonzalo Higuain and Carlos Tevez.
Messi was also the chief creator for Barcelona in the past season with the departure of Neymar Jr. to PSG and age slowly catching up with Andres Iniesta.
He will clearly bring that creative ingenuity to our team, and we don’t have to bother about goals – he can create and score them from any position on the pitch.
Reserve: Paul Pogba (France & Manchester United)
Right Wing Forward
Mohammed Salah (Egypt & Liverpool)
Scoring 42 goals in in all competitions and inspiring your team to the final of the UEFA Champions League definitely gets the Egyptian King Salah a place on our team.
Salah’s speed and vision for goal have made him one of the most feared attackers in football that it took a shoulder injury for Real Madrid to escape his fury.
Salah leads Egypt to the world cup with huge expectations hanging over the former Chelsea player despite just recovering to full fitness.
Reserve: Antoine Griezmann (France & Atletico Madrid)
Left Wing Forward
Neymar Jr. (Brazil & PSG)
Neymar was absent when Brazil were beaten 7-1 by Germany at the last world cup on home soil, he would hope injury does not get in the way again as he leads the Selecao to battle in Russia.
His immense skills and eye for goal is beauty and magic all meshed in one and we are definitely giving him an opportunity to combine again with Messi in our All Star XI.
Reserve: Eden Hazard (Belgium & Chelsea)
Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal & Real Madrid)
Arguably the greatest goal poacher in the recent history of the game, Ronaldo knows how to score goals whenever he decides to.
His decisive overhead kick against Juventus in the Champions League will go down as one of the greatest goals scored in the competition.
Portugal will count on him as they did during their victorious Euro 2016 competition to lead the line, and so will the Bounce All Star XI.
Reserve: Robert Lewandowski (Poland & Bayern Munich)
Coach- Joachim Low
Low is on an all time high as he leads in the defending champions.
He also led a second string Germany side to the Confederations Cup title in Russia last summer which clearly stands him out among his contemporaries as the man to lead our All Star XI to glory.