DOHA ( Associated Press) – The World Cup is soccer’s biggest showdown.
Anyone who performs well in front of a global audience can expect calls from Europe’s biggest clubs.
And with the transfer market opening up in January, Qatar has been the perfect opportunity for promising players to improve their chances of a good transfer.
For example, Manchester United have a hole to fill after Cristiano Ronaldo was out of contract last month.
Liverpool are looking to strengthen their midfield and Spanish league giants Real Madrid and Barcelona are always on the lookout for the next star.
Here’s a look at five players who could spark interest after the World Cup:
Jude Bellingham, Inglaterra
Midfielder Bellingham was expected to be one of the most sought-after players in Europe by the end of the season. Manchester United, Manchester City, Liverpool and Paris Saint-Germain are among his suitors.
His club, Bundesliga side Borussia Dortmund, is known for selling its best players quickly, and 19-year-old Bellingham is expected to be next.
He justified the pre-Qatar hype with his outstanding performance for England, reaching the quarter-finals.
Obviously, the only question is how many Euros will have to be raised to hire this teen.
Azz-eddin Unahi, Marrukos
There is no doubt that midfielder Onahi made a great impression on Spanish coach Luis Enrique.
“It’s wonderful,” said Luis Enrique after Morocco beat Spain on penalties in the round of 16. “Where did that boy come from?”
The 22-year-old Onahi is skilful on the ball but also has boundless energy to run all over the ground. He looks like a complete midfielder.
Currently, he plays for French bottom club Angers, and could be a big move after the World Cup.
Kodi Gakpo, Netherlands
PSV Eindhoven striker Gakpo was already on Manchester United’s radar in the summer break, and interest could be renewed in January following Ronaldo’s departure.
His three goals in the group stage highlighted his potential as a striker, something United manager Erik ten Haag wants to bring into his team.
Gakpo is a very modern striker, capable of performing both on the wings and in the centre, which will attract the attention of many clubs.
Dutch coach Louis van Gaal said, “Things may change, but Cody has everything to be a star.”
Gonalo Ramos, Portugal
Ramos is probably the most impactful player in the World Cup.
He surprisingly started for Cristiano in the round of 16 match against Switzerland and scored a hat-trick.
The 21-year-old Benfica forward had scored 14 goals for his club before Qatar. And after such a performance on the biggest stage, his stock will undoubtedly skyrocket.
Agar Guardiol, Croatia
The protective mask due to a facial injury before the tournament only added to Guardiola’s intimidating presence for opposing forwards.
The 20-year-old centre-back was a key figure in Croatia’s qualification to the semi-finals, with outstanding performances against Belgium and Brazil.
The Leipzig defender has been linked with several of Europe’s biggest clubs and his transfer is only a matter of time.
One of the unforgettable scenes of the tournament may be the dance that Lionel Messi gave in the play before Argentina’s third goal as they beat Croatia 3-0 in the semi-finals. But he sees a positive side in this.
Guardiol said, “Someday I will be able to talk about it with my boys that I had to mark this great player.”