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The Most Expensive Players in the History of the World Cup

The FIFA World Cup is one of the most watched sporting events on the planet and it rarely fails to deliver when it comes to entertainment. When it comes to major tournaments, football fans often relish the opportunity to see the sport’s most talented superstars going head-to-head across a fascinating four week period.

Although there will be some notable absentees at the 2022 World Cup such as the prolific Erling Haaland, the ageless Zlatan Ibrahimovic and the classy Mo Salah, the tournament is still set to showcase some of the world’s finest talents, as well as being responsible for a handful of breakout stars. Players who enjoy a successful stint at this tournament can significantly inflate their price tag in the transfer market and we’ve taken a look at some of the most expensive players to have competed at the tournament over the last couple of decades.

Neymar Jr.

When it comes to betting on major tournaments, Neymar Jr and Brazil are always popular options for punters in the UK. With hundreds of World Cup betting offers and match-by-match markets to choose from, the Selecao and their talismanic striker are always likely to be one of the favourites to enjoy a successful tournament. However, the 30-year old is yet to reach his zenith and despite commanding a fee of €222m, he has netted just five times across his last two tournament appearances. He will be hoping to add to that total in Qatar.

Kylian Mbappe

Kylian Mbappe is one of the most talented footballers on the planet and possesses both pace and trickery. He is also an accomplished finisher and despite being just 23-years old, he is already regarded as one of France’s greatest players of the modern era.

PSG coughed up €180m for his services and although he’s been recently linked with a move to Real Madrid, he has enjoyed an incredibly successful spell in the French capital. The former Monaco man will be hoping to help Les Bleus defend their title at the 2022 World Cup and is likely to be one of the most talked-about players at the tournament this year.

Joao Felix

Joao Felix is yet to fulfil his potential on the international stage with some pundits suggesting that Fernando Santos’ negative tactics have failed to get the best out of this undoubtedly talented winger.

Atletico Madrid paid €126m to secure the 22-year old and although he hasn’t enjoyed a particularly productive start to the 2022-23 campaign, he notched eight goals in 24 La Liga appearances last season and is likely to feature in Qatar in some capacity.

Romelu Lukaku

Romelu Lukaku has moved between clubs several times over the last couple of seasons with the Belgian striker having struggled following his €115m move from Inter to Chelsea. Although he now finds himself back at the San Siro, he has struggled to replicate his heroics from two seasons ago in Serie A and is likely to arrive in Qatar low on confidence.

His record at major tournaments is decent enough, although he does tend to do the majority of best work during the group stage. At Russia 2018, he netted four times, however, all of these goals came against either Tunisia or Panama.

Paul Pogba

Paul Pogba is another player who has struggled to recapture his form this season, however, the €105m Frenchman has suffered from a number of injury setbacks. He will feature for Les Bleus in Qatar, and having netted in the 2018 World Cup final against Croatia, he is likely to be selected by France manager Didier Deschamps. This will be his third outing at the FIFA World Cup and he is yet to draw a blank at this tournament.

Cristiano Ronaldo

Having scored a world record 117 goals for his country, Cristiano Ronaldo needs very little introduction. Although he’s now in his second spell at Manchester United, CR7 once commanded a fee of €100m when swapping Real Madrid for Juventus in 2018. This is likely to be his final appearance at the FIFA World Cup and he’ll be hoping to add to his four goals at Russia 2018.

Gonzalo Higuain

Gonzalo Higuain is the first player on our list who will not feature at Qatar 2022. Having previously retired from international duty, the Argentine striker will call time on his playing career at the end of the 2022 MLS season. He featured in three World Cups, with his best performance arriving in South Africa where he hit four goals in as many appearances. He also found the net in 2014, however, he failed to have an impact in Russia and clocked up just 208 minutes.