The Champions League and Copa Libertadores are undoubtedly some of the biggest football competitions in the world. But they all live in the shadow of the king- the FIFA World Cup. Every footballer’s biggest dream is making it to the World Cup, and it is believed to measure the difference between good and great players. 832 players will arrive in Qatar to represent the 32 participating nations, including World Champions France, American Champions Argentina, African Champions Senegal, the host Qatar, former world champions (England, Spain, and Uruguay), as well as some big European, American, and Asian powerhouses. Seven of the eight custom-built stadiums house over forty-thousand fans, and the Lusail Stadium, where the finals will be played, can host up to eighty thousand. 

It’s only natural that the biggest teams are represented on the biggest international footballing stage. However, this year’s World Cup will feel the losses of European Champions Italy, as well as Chile, Colombia, Egypt, Sweden, China, Peru, and New Zealand. We will also not see incredible individuals like Mohammed Salah, Erling Haaland, Martin Odegaard, Zlatan Ibrahivomic, James Rodriguez, Luis Diaz, and Federico Chiesa. For many fans, this bittersweet World Cup marks the end of storybook athletic careers, most notably, GOATS Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo. 

Although the World Cup hasn’t started yet, drama has already ensued after it was revealed that the Qatari government had committed human rights violations, causing the deaths of thousands of people to build the stadiums that will house the competitions. Some fans have called for a boycott of the event, saying that differences from the past, such as changing it to a winter event and the excess of funding (300 billion dollars) have taken away the World Cup’s charm. Some European nations (list them here) have decided not to broadcast the Cup as a sign of protest, and some players, including Germany’s Philip Lahm, refuse to play because of the controversial Qatari policies. 

But still, this world cup will get the biggest attraction simply due to the fact the GOATs will wear their national colors and play in the world cup for the very last time. No matter how much one is against the world cup, everyone wants Argentina vs Portugal in the final, and every single human on the planet will watch that game without a doubt. Let the world cup begin.