Who are the next generation superstars to watch at this year’s world cup?

Published on: 01 November 2022

The 2022 World Cup gets started in November and some of the world’s brightest young stars will head to Qatar with their respective squads.

Many great young players have shot themselves to international fame in World Cup history. 19-year-old Kylian Mbappe impressed in Russia, in 2018 and a 17-year-old Pele was central to the Brazil side that won the 1958 World Cup.

Several standout superstars have emerged as potential standout performers leading up to the biggest tournament in football, that’s why this World Cup betting guide offers insight into which young players have a chance to capture the attention of the world on the sport’s biggest stage this winter. We look at some of the talented young players that will be looking to make a big impression at the tournament this year.

Rafael Leão

Since making his international debut for Portugal in 2021, Rafael Leão has increasingly been given more playing time under manager Fernando Santos.

During the 2022/23 Nations League campaign, Leão played in every game, started three and scored in the 4-0 away win against the Czech Republic.

Leão earned his recent run in the Portuguese national team after three strong seasons with AC Milan. Since joining the Italian giants in 2019, the winger has become a key figure in the squad, making 95 appearances and scoring 25 goals.

With plenty of playing experience at the top level of club and international football, more opportunities are likely to come for Leão to impress at the highest level.


Who are the next generation superstars to watch at this year’s world cup?

After an injury-hit 2021/22 season, Barcelona and Spain midfielder Pedri looks to be reclaiming form this season. The 19-year-old has become a central figure in Xavi’s Barcelona side, making nine La Liga starts this season and scoring twice.

For La Roja, Pedri caught attention for his controlled displays at Euro 2020. The young playmaker started every game in Spain’s run to the quarter-final and was named in the UEFA Team of the Tournament.

Pedri also returned to the national team for Spain’s final two matches of the 2022/23 Nations League and he will be desperate to reclaim his impressive form at the World Cup.

Vinicus Jr

Who are the next generation superstars to watch at this year’s world cup?

There have been high expectations for Vinicius Jr ever since he moved to Real Madrid in 2018. In recent seasons, the 22-year-old has excelled and become a key part of the Los Blancos attack.

In the 2021/22 season, Vinicius Jr had his best-ever season for Madrid, scoring 22 goals and helping his side to lift the Champions League and La Liga titles.

Despite just one goal in 16 senior appearances for Brazil, Vinicius has had a consistent run in the national team recently, showing that manager Tite has trust in the young star.

Jude Bellingham

Who are the next generation superstars to watch at this year’s world cup?

19-year-old English midfielder Jude Bellingham continues to develop at the highest levels of club and international level. For Dortmund, Bellingham has been a consistent performer in central midfield and he has made over 100 appearances for the club.

English manager Gareth Southgate has also selected Bellingham regular as a midfield starter. At Euro 2020, Bellingham became the youngest-ever player to feature in the tournament and he made three appearances for the Three Lions. In addition, the 19-year-old started all but one of England’s recent 2022/23 Nations League matches.