The journey to the 2022 World Cup in Qatar has certainly been long and storied, ever since the tiny Arabian country successfully won its bid to host the tentpole FIFA tournament. Aside from a variety of controversies which surrounded the choice of location, important scheduling changes were made to accommodate the climate of this country, shifting the competition to an unusual winter slot rather than the traditional summer timeframe.
But now the tournament is finally underway, billions of people will be glued to their screens, watching from every corner of the globe. Millions will also be aiming to discover the best World Cup 2022 betting sites, particularly throughout the Middle East region, looking for expert advice covering the latest odds and promotions available. In these Arabic nations, there is also an emphasis on seeking safe and trusted wagering options, backed by reliable reviews.
Undoubtedly fuelling much of the interest, the World Cup is always filled with interesting narratives, as the story of the tournament itself unfolds. The key protagonists are the participating teams and of course, the players. This is a competition in which success or failure can forge legacies, while recent news brings even greater focus on some of the biggest names in football.
The International Swansong of Lionel Messi
When he is already regarded as one of the greatest of all time, some would say that Lionel Messi has little need to prove his worth in football. However, many fans of Argentina will always value Diego Maradona higher in their esteem, thanks to his legendary exploits with the national team. You see, Maradona lifted the World Cup trophy during his illustrious and storied career, whereas Messi has never quite managed to achieve that honour.
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The clock is also ticking for Messi and this is likely to be his last opportunity, given the 35-year-old superstar will bring down the curtain on his glittering international career, having he will retire from action with Argentina following the World Cup. Having helped the Albiceleste selection win the Copa America in 2021, he has managed to fulfil one ambition with the national team, yet one burning desire still remains. Messi needs to win the World Cup.
Cristiano Ronaldo Drops Critical Bombshell
When he returned to Manchester United in 2021, everyone hoped that Cristiano Ronaldo would be the driving force, tasked with leading the Red Devils towards their long-awaited revival. Unfortunately, things haven’t quite turned out that way, and Ronaldo has aired his grievances in the most public of ways, firing criticism in all directions during an explosive interview. Now his days at the club would seem to be numbered.
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Images of 37-year-old Ronaldo were removed from Old Trafford, plus United fans have reacted poorly, while his international colleagues appear less than impressed. Indeed, when the Portugal squad gathered ahead of travelling to the World Cup, club teammate Bruno Fernandes appeared frosty towards Ronaldo, when they came face to face in the dressing room. This might indicate a rift between two key players, and that could negatively affect Portuguese performance.
Neymar Still Needs to Prove Himself
Once hailed as having the potential to become the greatest Brazilian player ever, possibly even surpassing the achievements of legendary Pele, the career of Neymar has constantly been under the spotlight. Although considered to be a global football icon, the 30-year-old has never quite reached the hights that were predicted, despite enjoying an impressive and successful club career, during his time with Santos, Barcelona, and Paris Saint-Germain.
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While his capacity of his talent and skill cannot be questioned, which includes registering 75 goals in 121 appearances for his country, his legacy with Brazil will always be questioned unless they win the 2022 World Cup. Heading into every tournament at which Neymar has featured, Brazil have always been tipped as outright favourites, albeit without eventually lifting the trophy. This time will need to be different, and Neymar must also be the star of the show.