Following the recent visit of a Belgian delegation to the Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy, we take a look at some of the most promising Belgian players of the top FIFA-ranked football nation in the world.
Thibaut Courtois: The 23-year-old Chelsea custodian could potentially rise to the ranks of legends such as England’s Gordon Banks (1966), Italy’s Dino Zoff (1982) and Gianluigi Buffon (2006) and Spain’s Iker Casillas (2010) as goalkeepers who fashioned their country’s World Cup wins. Just how good is this shot stopper par excellence? Look back to 2013-14 when he was on loan at Atletico Madrid – the season when Diego Simeone’s team won the Spanish League and reached the final of the UEFA Champions League. Courtois stopped virtually everything that a certain Lionel Messi threw at him over four high profile matches – two in the league and two Champions League – and finished the season without conceding against the great man. Need we say anything more?
Eden Hazard: The 25-year-old attacking midfielder, who also plays as a winger, is easily the most technically gifted Chelsea football player since Stamford Bridge legend Gianfranco Zola. Hazard was voted the best player of the English Premier League last season, scoring 19 goals and clocking up the assists as Jose Mourinho’s side won the league. His blistering pace might drop a notch by Qatar 2022 but his breathtaking range of passing will still be a force to reckon with.
Romelu Lukaku: The 22-year-old has been finding the sweet spot of his left foot consistently this season for Everton having scored 26 goals in all competitions to date. The 6-ft-3 centre-forward is one of the five players of all time to have scored 50 Premier League goals before his 23rd birthday and was named by The Guardian in January 2014 as one of the 10 most promising footballers in Europe. It is only a matter of time before the European heavyweights come calling. In 2022, he will be at his prime as a striker, and could unsettle opposition defences with his sudden bursts of speed.
Kevin De Bruyne: The 24-year-old playmaker clinched a summer move to Manchester City after a career-defining season with Bundesliga side VFL Wolfsburg when he was named Germany’s footballer of the season. Though an offensive player with an emerging reputation for metronomical passing, De Bruyne has displayed an admirable work ethic dropping back to take on defensive duties when his team is not in possession. This attribute will come in handy in 2022. At the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil™, De Bruyne showed a glimpse of things to come in future World Cups – he had a memorable tournament scoring an injury-time winner against the United States in the round of 16 and being voted the man of the match in his country’s group opener against Algeria.
Adnan Januzaj: The 21-year-old winger has been playing for the most followed football club in the world, Manchester United, from the time he was 18, an enviable achievement in itself. Though he is yet to fulfil his full potential, the fact that the club allotted him the number 11 shirt, previously worn by the legendary Ryan Giggs, speaks volumes about his technical skills. He will be at his peak in 2022.