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World Cup 2022: Three Breakthrough Stars

Jude Bellingham celebration England versus Iran
Jude Bellingham scored in his very first World Cup match against Iran. A future Ballon d’Or winner in the making?

World Cup 2022 features several teen sensations. In this article, we look at three stars that promise to shine brightly in the football firmament of the future. If you want to place a bet on a future Ballon d’Or winner you will be sure to cash in with one of them at least:


Football history was made on 6 October 2021 when Pablo Martin Pez Gavi became at 17 the youngest ever player to represent Spain. The midfielder took the field in the semi-final of the Nations League tournament versus Italy. Spanish coach Luis Enrique caused a sensation when he included Gavi in the starting eleven. During his 83 minutes on the pitch, Gavi showed he belonged, helping Spain to a 2-1 away win versus the Azzurri.

Two months earlier Barcelona coach Ronald Coeman had set the tone when he handed Gavi his La Liga debut versus Getafe CF. The youngster went on to play in 35 games during the season. Only four players had more appearances.

When Gavi began to represent the national squad, he had appeared only seven times in Barca’s first eleven. Gavi relocated at age 11 to Catalonia when he got admitted to FC Barcelona’s school at La Masia. While there, Gavi got to rub shoulders on the football field with older players. That was just the preparation the young man needed before he appeared at age 16 on Barca B’s first eleven.

Gavi in World Cup 2022

Gavi gave more proof of his prodigious skills, scoring in the 74th minute during Spain’s 7-0 rout of Costa Rica on 23 November. Though he became the youngest-ever footballer from Spain in a World Cup, Gabi showed no signs of stress. He assisted the opening goal before his brilliant volley resulted in a fifth goal for his side.

Jamal Musiala

A few years ago, it would have been hard to imagine that the moderately built Jamal Musiala would play for Germany in World Cup 2022. Football observers count the teenager among the future stars of football.

In 2020, Musiala got his breakthrough in senior football, thanks to the talent scouts at Bayern Munich. Since his first season, Musiala has showcased his skills with nine goals and six assists.

Born in Germany, Jamal moved with his parents to England when he was seven years old. He honed his football skills in England and played for England U21 before his stint with Bayern in 2019. England’s loss was Germany’s gain when Musiala decided he wanted to play for the country of his birth. The son of a Nigerian father, Musiala could also have chosen to play for Nigeria.

Before joining Bayern, Musiala enjoyed an 8-year stint with Chelsea. When he scored his first goal against Schalke, he became the youngest goal scorer for Bayern.

Musiala’s versatile talent helps him to play in any midfield position. With a combination of speed, passing, creativity, and goal-scoring ability, the youngster has drawn comparisons with football legend Lionel Messi.

Musiala in World Cup 2022

Those who had looked forward to watching Musiala play in Germany’s first game against Japan on 23 November weren’t disappointed. Though Germany lost 1-2 to the Asian side, they dominated proceedings for most part of the game. Jamal has earned a reputation for operating as the linkman between the central midfielders and the forwards. That was the role he played on the day; the teenager was justly praised for his brilliant game. Japan had problems dealing with Jamal’s speed and ability to manoeuvre the ball between players.

The fact that Jamal Musiala didn’t get to score in this World Cup is almost baffling, hitting the post several times, lately in Germany’s 4-2 win against Costa Rica. A win that surprisingly didn’t send Germany through to the Last 16 as Japan beat Spain to end on top of the table.

Jude Bellingham

Bellingham is arguably the greatest young talent to represent England since Michael Owen announced his arrival with a brilliant goal versus Argentina in 1998. At age 11, Jude advertised his prodigious sporting ability when he played cricket for the Hagley Cricket Club.

However, Jude had already signed at age seven for the football pre-Academy at Birmingham City. In August 2019, Birmingham City played Jude in a Carabao Cup game against Portsmouth. Thus, he became the youngest ever player to appear on the club’s first eleven.

Forty-three games later, Jude was spotted by Manchester United. However, Bundesliga club Borussia Dortmund beat the Old Trafford talent scouts. They offered the youngster a $25 million contract, an offer that he was quick to accept.

In October 2020, Jude was named on Dortmund’s first eleven versus Italian club Lazio, making him the youngest player from England to appear in the Champions League. A month later, he had Gareth Southgate knocking on his door. The rest is history.

Jude is only 117 league-games old. That includes 42 appearances for Birmingham City in the Championship.

Bellingham in World Cup 2022

In World Cup 2022, Jude headed the ball past the Iran goalkeeper in England’s opening match. That caused England fans in the stand to burst into song. The song on everyone’s lips was the Beatles’ popular hit, Hey Jude.

In the match against Iran on 21 November, Jude’s brilliant header gave England the lead. He also had a hand in England’s third goal, starting the counter-attack that led to the strike. It was a dominant display from a 19-year-old at the top of his game.