With less than two weeks left for the FIFA World Cup 2018 to start in Russia, it’s time to look at some prospects. This tournament has always been a platform for young talents to showcase that they are the real deal in the footballing world. Here is a list of five such rising stars to look out for.

1.Kylian Mbappe

This choice is a no-brainer. The French forward has had the world’s attention for two years, and he is only 19 years of age. His move from Monaco to Paris Saint-Germain for $222 Million was the second most expensive transfer of all time.

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This is Kylian Mbappe’s first WC appearance. Photo Courtesy: Daily Star

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Mbappe has fierce pace and incredible shooting ability. He also possesses a brilliant knack for knowing where the ball is going to fall for him to attack the goal. He is riding high on confidence after winning back-to-back Ligue 1 titles.

With Neymar as his teammate, Mbappe will only grow as a player. This will be his first appearance at the biggest stage, and Mbappe won’t be letting it go amiss.

Country: France

International Caps: 13

Age: 19

2. Marco Asensio

Real Madrid player Marco Asensio is an exceptional winger. The Spanish forward has shown time and again how destructive he can be to the opposition defence if he is given time and space.

He has had goals in the UEFA Champions League finals and has also played an important role for his team in their pursuit of Spanish La Liga.

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Marco Asensio is known to be a big-match player. Photo Courtesy: FourFourTwo

In the 2017/18 season, there were some games that Asensio won on his own merit for the club. For a brief period of time, he even outshined Cristiano Ronaldo, Gareth Bale and Isco.

Even though he may not be a guaranteed starter, given the pedigree of the Spanish squad, he will be extremely useful off the bench.

Country: Spain

International Caps: 10

Age: 22

3. Gabriel Jesus

The story of this Brazilian striker is almost reminiscent of a fairytale. Not even in his wildest dreams could he have predicted that after painting walls during the FIFA World Cup 2014 in Brazil, he will be representing his nation at 2018 event in Russia.

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Gabriel Jesus has been mercurial for both club and country. Photo Courtesy: DNA India

Gabriel Jesus broke through the scene after his sensational move to Manchester City and immediately became a threat to Sergio Aguero for the starting position.

His raw strength, agility, pace and determination has got him many goals during his short stint in the Premier League.

With Roberto Firmino the only other world-renowned forward in the squad, expect Gabriel Jesus to have many opportunities to showcase his flair.

Country: Brazil

International Caps: 15

Age: 21

4. Andre Silva

This selection might be questionable if his current form is looked at, but Andre Silva is a name the footballing world shouldn’t take lightly.

The Portuguese forward had a good outing during the qualifying stint for the World Cup and performed well in tandem with his captain Cristiano Ronaldo.

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Andre Silva can form a decent partnership with Cristiano Ronaldo up-top. Photo Courtesy: Rossoneri Blog

His big move to AC Milan hasn’t gone as well as he had hoped, but the striker has a boatload of potential, brimming to be unleashed.

As a matter of fact, he has always been in top-form whenever he has played for his country and has scored 12 goals already in 21 games.

World Cup might work as a catalyst for Silva for him to finally break his shackles and complete his journey as a complete forward player.

Country: Portugal

International Caps: 21

Age: 22

5. Sergej Milinkovic-Savic

The Serbian midfielder is probably the most sought-after central midfielder in the current transfer market. After performing exceptionally well for Lazio in Serie A, talks of a big-money move is being touted for Sergej Milinkovic-Savic.

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Sergej Milinkovic-Savic has performed well for Lazio in 2017/18 season. Photo Courtesy: Daily Star

Reportedly, Manchester United are one of the clubs that are trying to get the services of the big Serbian.

However, he should put all these questions at rest for the time being, because if he performs in Russia at the level he has with Lazio, the inevitability of him being snapped up will increase.

Country: Serbia

International Caps: 2

Age: 23