Unless you’re the most hardcore football fan of them all, you probably won’t recognise plenty of players set to feature at this summer’s World Cup. We all know the big stars from the top teams like Germany and Brazil, but every four years, we also get a glimpse of dozens of players we never even knew existed.
Many of these players justify their status as relative unknowns with pretty poor performances at the big tournament, but some of them burst onto the stage and grab the opportunity with both hands (and feet!), astonishing the world and propelling themselves into stardom.
Back in 2010, for example, we saw little-known players like Javier Hernandez and Asamoah Gyan burst onto the big stage. In 2014, we were introduced to previously unknown goalkeepers like Rais M'Bolhi and Keylor Navas, and Ecuador’s Enner Valencia earned himself a high-profile move to West Ham after scoring three goals.
We all know that Messi and Ronaldo are probably going to do well, but one of the most exciting things about watching a World Cup is waiting to see which ‘unknown’ player is going to surprise us next. These players are relatively unheard of right now, but could be household names in just a few weeks’ time.