Qatar’s FIFA tournament will be the first of its kind as it will be the first World Cup in the Middle East.
As fans anticipate an exciting battle for the all-important gold trophy, several Arab superstar players can be expected to shine alongside their national teams for this year’s World Cup.
Here are a few players who have the potential to make an impact in Qatar this coming winter.
Arguably the finest player this season, the Algerian striker is predicted to lead his team to another World Cup final.
It’s no surprise that Karim Benzema is the favourite to win the 2022 Ballon d’Or awards. The Real Madrid striker nailed the 2021-22 campaign in the history books after winning the La Liga and the UEFA Champions League while finishing as the top scorer in both competitions.
The 34-year-old added yet another medal to his 23 trophies showcase after sinking in a strike in the 2022 UEFA Super Cup final.
Benzema’s goal against Eintracht Frankfurt made him the second highest goalscorer in Real Madrid’s history with 324 goals.
Undoubtedly, Benzema is a household name to many Algerians, and, despite playing with the French team, he will still be praised by Arab fans when he steps onto the World Cup pitches in Qatar.
Viewed as one of the best-attacking full-backs in the world, Achraf Hakimi has built a name for himself.
The 23-year-old has been crowned several awards, including the CAF Youth Player of the Year, Bundesliga Rookie of the Month, Lion d’Or African Footballer of the Year, and many more.
Joining the star-powered Paris Saint Germain, Hakimi has already made an impression this season by scoring one goal during the ongoing 2022/2023 Ligue 1 season.
Morocco can count on Hakimi’s swift, agile and superb dribbling ability this winter in Qatar.
Saudi Arabia’s Al-Dawsari
Salem Al-Dawsari was one of, if not the best, Asian player in 2021.
The Al-Hilal winger led his team to its eighth Asian Football Confederation title last year and claimed the Best Player award during the tournament.
On the global stage, he scored 17 international goals for the team. This will mark his third appearance at the FIFA World Cup.
Seen as the face of Qatari football, Almoez Ali became the first player in history to score in three tournaments and on three different continents – the Copa America 2019, the Asian Cup 2019, and the CONCACAF Gold Cup.
The 25-year-old led the country to its first-ever AFC Asian Cup win with a memorable bicycle kick as he recorded his historic ninth tournament goal.
Almoez will be a significant factor for the Qatar national team as it faces off against Ecuador at the opening match on 20 November.
Known for his long bursts down the field, Ellyes Skhiri was one of the contributing factors in qualifying Tunisia’s qualification for the AFCON.
The 27-year-old midfielder is a defensive machine skilled with the ability of elegant passes.
During the last round of the African World Cup qualifiers, Skhiri struck a glorious goal that fans would compare to the great Giovanni Bronckhorst.
Skhiri’s performance during the Mauritania match was also nominated for goal of the year for the CAF Awards 2022.
Tunisia has made it through the World Cup qualifying rounds on six occasions yet has to progress past the group stage; Skhiri and his experienced squad have the skills to change that.