2018 World Cup stars like you've never seen before
Last Updated: 13/06/18 6:17pm
The World Cup is nearly upon us and ahead of the start of the tournament we take a look at some of the stars who are expected to shine in Russia, but as you have never seen them before.
The showpiece event gets underway on Thursday afternoon, when hosts Russia take on Saudi Arabia in Moscow, while England are first in action on Monday evening when they face Tunisia.
However, with all 32 competing nations having now arrived in Russia, here is a quick look at how some of the players have been preparing for the event, albeit in some quirky poses...
Sergio Ramos made headlines after playing a role in Mo Salah's shoulder injury in May's Champions League final and the Spain centre-back will no doubt be trying to silence his critics again this summer.
Meanwhile, combative Atletico Madrid striker Diego Costa will no doubt be looking to wind up opposition defenders while leading the line for La Roja.
Another of the World Cup favourites, France, will be desperate for Paul Pogba to shine in Russia and judging by this pose, the languid Man Utd playmaker looks to be in a relaxed frame of mind.
However, if Les Bleus are to get their hands on the trophy for a second time, then you feel Kylian Mbappe - pictured here relaxing ahead of his side's opening group-stage clash with Australia - will need to hit the ground the running.
And another player Didier Deschamps will be looking to for goals is Atleti striker Antoine Griezmann, who we could see doing his now familiar goal celebration several times this summer.
Speaking of goals, Mohamed Salah scored 44 times in total for Liverpool last season and Egypt's fans will be praying they get the chance to see the forward celebrate at the World Cup following his shoulder injury in last month's Champions League final defeat to Madrid.
Wolves supporters will no doubt be keeping close tabs on Mexico striker Raul Jimenez, who joined the newly-promoted Premier League club on loan from Benfica in June.
Another man with Premier League experience is Switzerland midfielder Valon Behrami, who previously turned out for both West Ham and Watford, although he will be hoping this tournament will be no laughing matter for him and his team-mates.
Speaking of playing in the English top flight, Serbia left-back Aleksandar Kolarov - who won two Premier League titles with Man City, before joining Roma last summer - will also be on show in Russia and is someone you do not want to give a shooting opportunity to.
James Rodriguez was the star of the last World Cup in Brazil, with the Colombia midfielder winning the Golden Ball for the best player in the tournament and a big-money move to Real Madrid in the process. So, what chance of the now Bayern Munich playmaker doing the same this time around?
Another player who made the headlines four years ago was Uruguay forward Luis Suarez, although for all the wrong reasons after the-then Liverpool player bit Italy defender Giorgio Chiellini, meaning fingers were pointed at him for his actions.
Luckily, the South Americans were also able to call upon Edinson Cavani in attack, although not even the presence of the lethal Paris Saint-Germain frontman could prevent them being knocked out of the tournament by Colombia.
However, do not bet against Cavani and Co celebrating this summer...
Nigeria have won admirers for their kit choice for the World Cup. But will Arsenal's Alex Iwobi and Co receive plaudits for their performances on the pitch?
If the 'Super Eagles' are to surprise people, then Chelsea's Victor Moses will surely be the man to get people shouting from the rooftops in Russia.
Argentina are much fancied for this World Cup after finishing runners-up last time around, and with good reason too given they boast one of the most dangerous-looking forward lines in world football.
In fact, manager Jorge Sampaoli may even opt to go with the likes of Juventus striker Gonzalo Higuain after another fine campaign in Turin.
Alongside Higuain in attack could be Manchester City's all-time record goal scorer Sergio Aguero.
And, of course, there is also a certain Lionel Messi, the five-time Ballon d'Or winner and Barcelona superstar who will be expected to fire Argentina to a third World title in July.
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