For a limited time starting March 9, these 23 players contending for a spot on their national team will be available in packs as special Path to Glory Spring Edition items. Time is running out – who will make the final squad?
While each player fights to prove his worth, the items get automatic upgrades for every Team of the Week, Man of the Match, Hero, European Team of the Tournament, or Record Breaker player item they earn. Path to Glory items also have a chance of getting upgrades throughout the summer, based on select national team performances.
The talented Inter Milan striker has led his team (and most of the league) in scoring this season, but Icardi still has work to do if he's to stand out in a national team pool brimming with world-class attackers.
Despite being one of the most prolific goalscorers in Argentina national team history, the experienced Juventus forward must continue to impress at club level if he hopes to secure his place with La Albiceleste this summer.
The Juventus fullback has been one of the best defenders in Serie A this season, but he may need to do even more to break into Brazil's dazzling and intrepid backline.
After a few years of quiet hard work at Liverpool, Firmino is finally getting deserved respect as part of the Reds' terrifying attacking trio. If his form continues, a summer with Seleção will surely be in his future.
Chelsea winger Willian is consistently one of the top attackers in the Premier League, which would make him a lock for nearly any national team in the world—but Brazil can be a different story. A strong, consistent close to the season could do wonders for Willian's chance to don that iconic yellow kit at the highest level.
The honeymoon for Leicester City's epic title win in 2016 might be over, but the tenacious English striker has maintained his reputation as one of the league's best. Between injuries and dips in form, Vardy could seize his chance to lead the line for his country if he keeps climbing the scoring charts.
Having developed a more varied and useful skill set under the excellent coaching of Pep Guardiola at Manchester City, Sterling proved that he's no longer just a one-trick pony on the wing. Able to play behind the forwards or even lead the line, Sterling's remaining performances for City in their likely title run could seal his place with the Three Lions.
Even though he tends to play as an attacking midfielder, Martial has proven himself to be creative and dangerous just about anywhere in Manchester United's attack. Already competing for starting spots at club level, Martial needs to find consistent form ahead of a big summer for Les Bleus.
After a blockbuster transfer to Barcelona this season, Dembele has struggled for minutes in the Catalan club's superstar-laden roster. However, his talent was evident even in making such a move, and if he's able to get more time on the pitch he will surely get a chance to represent his country when June rolls around.
The Manchester City midfielder has yet to cement a regular place in the club's starting XI, but his performances this season have played an important role in their domination of the league. If Gündogan continues to aid his team in their likely run to the title, he could lock down a role with the reigning world champions.
Ahead of his move to Bayern Munich next season, the young Schalke 04 midfielder has a great opportunity to secure a spot with his country, not just this summer, but for years to come. Goretzka has been solid in his opportunities with Germany in the past year and been even better with his club, but meeting the standards of Die Mannschaft is no easy feat.
Despite being a consistent presence on the Spanish national team, Thiago has yet to become a truly first-choice player for La Roja. However, if he continues his solid club form with Bayern Munich for the rest of the season, the chances are he makes it onto Spain's roster in June.
Having quietly built a reputation in the shadow of superstars at Real Madrid, the young Spaniard known as Isco is finally getting global recognition. Even though there are many excellent midfielders pushing for a role with Spain, Isco's versatility in both midfield and attack could tip the scales in his favor.
The versatile winger has been linked with clubs all over the world, but he continues to ply his trade with Monaco and is one of the best young players in Ligue 1. Lemar has yet to cement a regular place with his country, but he is certainly on the radar with a decent chance of making the squad if he continues to excel.
One of the latest talents to emerge at Liga NOS powerhouse Sporting CP, Martins dazzles for club and country with speed and technique on the wing. Despite the established talents on the Portugal national team, Martins has proven himself a valuable asset for the squad since first called up in 2016.
The Real Madrid right-back has been in and out of the Spanish national team fold since first called up a few years ago, but his consistent play for such a large club won't be overlooked. Carvajal is also one of the few natural right-backs contending for the position, giving him another boost when it's time for rosters to be finalized.
The tricky young midfielder is finally starting to step out of his brother's shadow, but still has a lot of work to do if he hopes to earn the big call-up to the Belgium squad this summer. Hazard was a star for many youth national teams, and his talent earned him a call-up to the senior squad at a young age; he'll need to really stand out in the coming months if he hopes to get a spot on the team this summer.
One of the more underrated young midfielders in Europe, Milinkovic-Savic only recently earned his first Serbia national team caps. Armed with strength and size to go with his finishing ability and technique on the ball, Milinkovic-Savic has been a revelation in Italy and seems likely to become a permanent fixture in his country's midfield.
One of the fastest players in world football, Damm's place with the Mexico national team has fluctuated over the years. If he can stay consistent and show off his speed alongside other positive qualities in the coming months, he could find himself on the roster.
After gradually making his case for a starting role with Manchester City over the course of this season, Silva has started to become something of a household name in English football. Silva also boasts a respectable amount of international experience despite his young age, so a role with Portugal this summer seems pretty likely.
Only recently making his debut for the senior Germany squad, Plattenhardt's consistency for Hertha Berlin has vaulted him into the conversation at left-back. With no concrete starter at the position for Die Mannschaft, Plattenhardt could seize the opportunity and earn the nod for the reigning world champions.
Having recently made the move from Arsenal to Chelsea in the English Premier League, the experienced French forward will be pushing hard at his new club to show that he still has what it takes to compete at the highest level for his country.
Even though he has a respectable amount of experience playing for his country, Bertrand's international career never really found the consistency that he'd like. The English full-back has plenty of competition at his position for the Three Lions, and his form over the next few months could make or break his chance this summer.
The 29-year-old Atalanta forward didn’t make his international debut until this year, but he marked it with a goal against Singapore. If he continues his sensational club form in the Italian league, he might be able to crack an Argentina squad already overflowing with quality strikers.
A semi-permanent fixture in a stacked Paris Saint-Germain squad, creative midfielder Pastore is looking to break back into his national team after missing out on the last few sets of call-ups. With a world class attack ready to feed off his creativity and vision, Pastore has a golden chance to impress in the second half of the season.
After entering his national team as a teenager and earning himself a big transfer to Liverpool, Origi hasn’t had much luck with the Red Devils. But his form—and his luck—have changed since joining Wolfsburg on loan ahead of the current season. If more call-ups to Belgium are in the cards this year, Origi could cement a place next summer.
The young Manchester City forward has been sensational since joining the Premier League, and his short international career might be even more impressive. Despite his successes, breaking into a team with attackers like Neymar, Roberto Firmino, and Douglas Costa isn’t easy. But if Jesus’ form continues in the next few months, locking down a spot in the famous yellow of Brazil might just be within reach.
It seems like Marquinhos has been a staple in Paris Saint-Germain’s defense forever, because he joined and immediately started for the club at just 19. Four years later and Marquinhos’ reputation as a defensive stalwart precedes him all over the world, thanks to his successes with PSG and Brazil. But even a starting role in one of the top teams in Europe doesn’t guarantee a place on the most successful national team in history.
A fringe player for his country since his debut in 2010, Giuliano’s strong 2016-17 season for Zenit Saint Petersburg earned him a move to Turkey’s Fenerbahçe, where he’s been turning heads this season. An attacking midfielder with a keen eye for finding space for himself and his teammates, Giuliano could find himself back in yellow next summer if he continues to dazzle and excite.
Manchester United forward Rashford kicked off his international career in style when he scored within 135 seconds of his first ever appearance for the national team. In the year since, he has earned a handful of caps for the Three Lions, but he’s not yet a regular. Rashford will be hoping to cement his position leading the line for England by scoring goals and living up to his prodigious talent.
Despite his status as one of the most efficient goalscorers in the current England international pool, Welbeck’s role for his country has declined in recent seasons. Possessed with the rare combination of height, speed, and raw finishing ability, his challenge for the rest of the season will be reminding everyone just how special and unique his skills are, and why England would be foolish to ignore him.
Once a much-hyped young talent for Southampton and Arsenal, the speedy midfielder made a fresh start by transferring to Liverpool on the last day of the 2017 summer transfer window. A hard worker whose actual position on the field has never been fully cemented, he’ll need to keep pushing for minutes at Liverpool if he hopes to play for England next summer.
Currently the most-capped member of the England national team pool, Hart’s stance with the Three Lions has been shaky since he lost his place as the starting goalkeeper at Manchester City. If he keeps it steady between the sticks during his loan move to West Ham, he’ll likely be the man for England in the near future.
The young defensive midfielder’s career has blossomed in the past couple of seasons; his performances for Monaco earned him his first France cap in March and a big move to Chelsea last summer. Known for his ability to read the game and break up attacks, Bakayoko is one of the more complete young midfielders in Europe. If he continues to show his worth at a club level, he could make a very good case for anchoring his country’s midfield for years to come.
As if it weren’t impressive enough that Varane has been a regular starter in Real Madrid’s backline since he was 20, the big center back has also been a staple for the French national team since he was first capped in 2013. With plenty of challengers for his position, Varane must continue earning clean sheets for Madrid if he hopes to earn them for his country, too.
After spending two seasons on loan at Bayern Munich, Coman’s performances at the German club were rewarded with a permanent transfer from Juventus last summer. The Parisian winger has appeared sporadically for France in recent seasons. However, good form with Bayern could make his international role more permanent by the end of the season.
Journeyman playmaker Payet didn’t make much of a splash in football until he was nearly 30, when his fierce set pieces and pinpoint passes on international duty with France made him a household name. Now back in his home country with Marseille, Payet has to do the reverse and impress at club level to keep his star from falling with Les Bleus.
Signed by Manchester City last year as one of the hottest prospects in world football, Sané has now developed into one of the most explosive wingers in the Premier League. He might only be on the fringes of the Germany squad right now, but his consistent performances for his club could snag a steady gig with the world champions.
Perhaps one of the more underrated forwards in the Bundesliga, Stindl has started to make a name for himself as of late—as well as a case for his inclusion in the Germany squad. A brilliant finisher, Stindl can put the ball on frame from any angle, but his work rate and willingness to defend makes him a unique and valuable asset.
After spending an entire senior career in the Bundesliga with Schalke 04, Höwedes set his sights on a new challenge this season by going on loan with Italian giant Juventus. Versatile enough to play anywhere across the defense, Höwedes truly shines at center back where his height and aerial prowess make him a nightmare for forwards. Höwedes has been a key player for Germany over the years, but he’ll need to work hard to ensure his inclusion going forward.
Another late bloomer for the Germans, Wagner bounced between a handful of Bundesliga clubs before finally breaking out at 1899 Hoffenheim over the last two seasons. His strong 2016-17 season put him on the German national team radar, where he’s been sensational in the few appearances earned this year.
Stephan El Shaarawy
A very talented winger whose decorated club career hasn’t always translated to international success, El Shaarawy has steadily been making a case for more consistent work with Italy. His creativity, versatility, and willingness to run at defenders make El Shaarawy a worthwhile asset to any squad. That unique combination should make him an invaluable asset to Italy going forward, should he continue to impress at club level.
Despite a strong 2016 that led to success at both the club and international level, Sanches has spent much of 2017 striving to get back to the same level. Sent on loan to the Premier League’s Swansea City by Bayern Munich for the season, his place with the Portuguese national team could be in jeopardy. A natural talent in midfield, there are no doubts about Sanches’ ability—but he still has plenty to prove if he hopes to snag a spot with the European champions.
A mainstay with Portugal, Carvalho continues to impress for Sporting CP and make a strong case for his inclusion in the national team. Carvalho may not be the biggest or the fastest player, but his creativity in placing the ball nearly anywhere on the pitch makes him an invaluable asset to any team. This certainly works to his advantage with Portugal, who require a brilliant passer to feed the ball to superstars like Cristiano Ronaldo.
Touted as the future of Spain and Real Madrid, Asensio had a brilliant breakout season for his club last season as they ran riot over the competition. Commonly deployed as a jack-of-all-trades for Madrid, Asensio excels in any position that allows him to use his close control and technique to beat opponents and kick off attacks. Even though his national team career has been short, Asensio’s club form is surely good enough to earn him plenty of call-ups in the near future.
Rodrigo Moreno Machado
The Brazilian-born, Spanish-raised attacker Rodrigo has had an adventurous career thus far, and he’s become a key member of the Valencia squad since arriving in 2015. Even though he picked up his first cap in 2014, Rodrigo didn’t get a second appearance for Spain until late 2017. While proficient in wide positions, Rodrigo’s form has peaked since he started playing as a forward with his club. It might be tough to earn a spot leading Spain’s talented line, but Rodrigo’s recent play is solid evidence that he’s up to the task.
Another gifted young player that might be up to the near-impossible task of breaking into a talented Spain squad, Saúl has been a key cog in central midfield for Atletico Madrid for several seasons. His ability to keep possession and create attacks is incredibly strong, but his youthful energy and speed also help him burst forward to support the strikers in front of him. Despite the uphill battle of earning a place on the Spain squad, Saúl will certainly make a case for himself if his club form continues.
A big part of RB Leipzig’s meteoric rise from Germany’s 2nd division to runner-up in the Bundesliga the following season, the creative Forsberg is one of the top players to ever come out of Sweden. Often deployed on the left wing with Leipzig, Forsberg uses his tricky skills and agility to beat defenders and get the ball to his teammates from impossible angles. Forsberg’s talents translate to nearly any position in the attack or midfield, meaning that as long as his form continues, there’s no reason for him to not play a big role for Sweden.
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