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From Cristiano Ronaldo to Kevin de Bruyne … Five star players who didn’t perform at the World Cup

Durban – The conclusion of the 2022 Fifa World Cup in Qatar saw the best players and national team on the planet rewarded for their efforts as the competition reached completion on Sunday.

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The likes of Kylian Mbappe, Lionel Messi and Enzo Fernandez were named among the best performers at this year’s world cup edition.

IOL Sport’s Smiso Msomi takes a look at the Five Worst Performing Stars at the World Cup:

Cristiano Ronaldo

The Portuguese football icon headed to the World Cup in Qatar with a chip on his shoulder as he looked to prove his detractors wrong and show he could keep executing at the highest level at the age of 37.

However, he only managed to achieve the opposite, scoring just one penalty in the four games he appeared in and catching more attention with his off-the-field antics that got him on the wrong side of his national team coach Fernando Santos.

Kevin de Bruyne

The Manchester City star formed part of Belgium’s highly-rated ‘Golden Generation’ as they attempted to finally make history with the best squad the country has ever produced.

De Bruyne was not able to recreate the moments of magic he does at club level and he and his Red Devils side bombed out of the competition at the group stages with De Bruyne without a goal or assist in his three appearances.

Gareth Bale

It is fair to say football fans had lowered their expectations of the kind of level Bale could play at since his move to the Los Angeles FC in the MLS.

The 33-year-old’s performances for Wales had not taken a hit ahead of this tournament, however with just a single goal, a penalty, in three group stage matches, it is hard to ignore that he flopped at this year’s World Cup.

Eden Hazard

Hazard has had a torrid time in Spain since his £100-million move to Real Madrid but Belgium coach Roberto Martinez looked to relight the fire that made Hazard one of the best players in the world.

The 31-year-old retired from international football immediately after the tournament, an unsurprising move considering he had shown that he could not reach the required levels for the national team.

Lautaro Martinez

Martinez is somewhat of a wildcard inclusion in this list considering he was part of the World Cup-winning Argentina attack.

The Inter Milan forward, although lively whenever introduced, was guilty of missing several glorious opportunities throughout the World Cup and if it wasn’t for Messi’s magic, he probably would be seen in a similar light to the former Argentina international Gonzalo Higuain after the 2014 World Cup.


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