LaLiga Santander has begun a mid-season break for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, but that doesn't mean that its stars will stop dazzling a global audience. The cream of the crop of Spanish football will be at the World Cup representing their countries and once again demonstrating LaLiga's quality.
Not only are an impressive number of LaLiga stars heading to the World Cup, but the individual quality is even more impressive. This group includes the reigning Ballon d'Or winner Karim Benzema (Real Madrid & France) and the current European Golden Boot winner Robert Lewandowski (FC Barcelona & Poland), as well as Gavi (FC Barcelona & Spain), the current Golden Boy and Kopa Trophy winner, and Thibaut Courtois (Real Madrid & Belgium), who recently collected the Yashin Trophy for the best keeper on the planet. And don't forget to add in the likes of Vini Jr (Real Madrid & Brazil), Fede Valverde (Real Madrid & Uruguay), Luka Modric (Real Madrid & Croatia), Antoine Griezmann (Atlético de Madrid & France), Joao Felix (Atlético de Madrid & Portugal), Frenkie de Jong (FC Barcelona & Netherlands), Ousmane Dembele (FC Barcelona & France), Aurelien Tchouameni (FC Barcelona & France) and Edinson Cavani (Valencia CF & Uruguay), or even Andres Guardado (Real Betis & Mexico), who adds his name to the exclusive list of players to play at five World Cup finals.
These are world-class players who will aim to continue the run of good performances that LaLiga players have delivered at past World Cups. At the last four World Cups, the Golden Ball prize for the best individual player came back to Spain on each occasion: in 2006, it was won by Zinedine Zidane, who was representing Real Madrid; in 2010, it went to Uruguay's Diego Forlán, then with Atlético de Madrid; in 2014, it was won by FC Barcelona's Lionel Messi; and, in 2018, Real Madrid's Luka Modrić took the honour.
It wouldn't be a surprise if this were to happen again or if at least one player from a LaLiga team returns home having won the tournament, since the favourites include players from many Spanish clubs, as is the case with teams such as Spain, Brazil, Argentina, France, and Germany.
There will be 87 players in Qatar representing 18 different LaLiga Santander clubs and three LaLiga SmartBank teams, which shows that Spanish football is in good health. 25 of the 32 national teams participating in the World Cup will have at least one LaLiga player in their ranks. There are LaLiga players in teams from Europe, Asia, Africa, America and also Australia, with the presence of Awer Mabil from Cádiz CF.
Even on the final day for squad announcements, three more LaLiga Santander players found out they were going to Qatar: Gonzalo Plata (Real Valladolid & Ecuador), Andrés Guardado (Real Betis & Mexico) and Iñaki Williams (Athletic Club & Ghana). It'll be an extra special experience for the latter, as he'll see his brother Nico Williams defending the colours of Spain at the same tournament.
Even through the league is being briefly halted, the LaLiga Santander players will continue to represent their clubs in the best possible way at a tournament that is expected to be evenly matched and competitive. Viewers from all over the world will be able to spot the familiar faces of the superstars that take to the pitches of Spain's stadiums week in, week out.
All the LaLiga Santander and LaLiga SmartBank players at the 2022 World Cup:
Iran: Amir Abedzadeh (SD Ponferradina)
Argentina: Gerónimo Rulli (Villarreal CF), Nahuel Molina (Atlético de Madrid), Gonzalo Montiel (Sevilla FC), Germán Pezzella (Real Betis), Marcos Acuña (Sevilla FC), Juan Foyth (Villarreal CF), Rodrigo de Paul (Atlético de Madrid), Guido Rodríguez (Real Betis), Alejandro 'Papu' Gómez (Sevilla FC), Ángel Correa (Atlético de Madrid)
Mexico: Andrés Guardado (Real Betis)
France: Jules Koundé (FC Barcelona), Eduardo Camavinga (Real Madrid), Aurélien Tchouaméni (Real Madrid), Karim Benzema (Real Madrid), Ousmane Dembélé (FC Barcelona), Antoine Griezmann (Atlético de Madrid)
Australia: Awer Mabil (Cádiz CF)
Spain: Unai Simón (Athletic Club), Dani Carvajal (Real Madrid), Eric García (FC Barcelona), Hugo Guillamón (Valencia CF), Pau Torres (Villarreal CF), Jordi Alba (FC Barcelona), José Gayà (Valencia CF), Sergio Busquets (FC Barcelona), Pedri (FC Barcelona), Gavi (FC Barcelona), Koke (Atlético de Madrid), Marcos Llorente (Atlético de Madrid), Álvaro Morata (Atlético de Madrid), Ferran Torres (FC Barcelona), Nico Williams (Athletic Club), Marco Asensio (Real Madrid), Yeremy Pino (Villarreal CF), Ansu Fati (FC Barcelona)
Costa Rica: Patrick Sequeira (CD Lugo)
Switzerland: Eray Cömert (Valencia CF)
Ghana: Joseph Aidoo (RC Celta), Iñaki Williams (Athletic Club)
South Korea: Kang-in Lee (RCD Mallorca)