In the world of fútbol, there are some names everyone knows. Lionel Messi. Neymar da Silva Santos Júnior. And there are a lot of top-tier players that anyone who follows the sport also knows, but who might have escaped the attention of the most casual fans. With most fútbol leagues around the world already underway or ready to start their seasons, here are some players not named Messi or Neymar that are worth keeping an eye on!
Juan Guillermo Cuadrado, Colombia
Cuadrado is a staple both at Italian Club Juventus and the Colombia National team, which just finished in third place at the Copa America, South America’s regional tournament. The right-back is known for his versatile style of play, and for his attacking prowess, despite playing a traditionally defensive position.
Roberto Firmino, Brazil
Roberto Firmino who recently made some noise during Brazil’s second-place run in the Copa America is a powerful forward with a keen eye for when and where to move, which makes him a nightmare for opposing defenses. Both the Brazil national team and his Premier League club, Liverpool are very happy to have him.
Paulo Dybala, Argentina
Dybala has had an up-and-down last year, suffering the lasting aftereffects of COVID and injuries, but the attacker looks poised to come back with a vengeance. His club, Juventus, and his national team, Argentina, will be very happy to get his goals, and his tactical awareness, back in play.
Keylor Navas, Costa Rica
One of the best goalkeepers in the world, Keylor Navas was instrumental in his club, PSG, reaching the Champions League final last season. He’s also made a name for himself in a Costa Rica national team that has been more successful with him at the helm than any other team in Central America.
Carlos Vela, Mexico
Mexico has a long, storied tradition of great players, and forward Carlos Vela, who plays for the MLS team Los Angeles FC has been shining as bright as any other for the past few years. Vela hasn’t made an appearance in the Mexico national team that has gone through some turmoil in a while, but he’s letting his play speak for him.
Rodrigo De Paul, Argentina
De Paul is on top of the world right now. He was instrumental in Argentina winning the Copa America, their first national team title in 28 years, and has just signed a contract to play for Spanish League champions Atletico de Madrid. His precise touch and clear field vision make him the dream midfielder, and his commitment also doesn’t hurt.
Rodrigo Bentancur, Uruguay
Another midfielder, this time from Uruguay, Bentancur, who also plays for Italian side Juventus, has grown into one of the most well-regarded midfielders in the world, because of his presence and good decision making. At just 24 years old and already a mainstay in the Uruguay national team, the future looks bright for Bentancur.