Remember the World Cup?
That fun-fuelled frenetic feast of football that finished with a French frenzy?
Well the post-tournament hangover has been an excused peddled out for years now by players who suffer a dip in form immediately after the greatest show on Earth.
You only have to look at the form of Real Madrid, Barcelona and Bayern Munich so far this season as a pointer to a post-World Cup lull.
But some players who ventured deep into the tournament are showing no signs of lasting effects at all.
Starting with the best player in the Premier League by a country mile…
1 Eden Hazard
The Premier League’s greatest asset right now and we should enjoy him while we can before he inevitably succumbs to Real Madrid’s advances.
Hazard was brilliant for Belgium in Russia but for Chelsea he’s upped the ante even more, scoring eight times and assisting three more in 10 appearances in all competitions.
Considering Belgium played as many games as anyone at the World Cup, the winger has looked as bright as a button.
2 Raheem Sterling
Scapegoated by many for his lack of end product as England’s campaign ended in semi-final heartbreak, Sterling looks a completely different player in the Man City shirt.
In seven Premier League games he has four goals and two assists and only Hazard (8.15) has a better WhoScored rating than his 7.81.
Bright, bustling and beautifully in tune with his attacking team-mates, he’s started every league or Champions League game he’s been available for at the expense of Riyad Mahrez and Leroy Sane.
3 Ivan Perisic
Delivered a dagger to the hearts of 80 million English people and was a standout performer in Croatia’s eventual final defeat to France too.
Perisic can flatter to deceive at times but if you thought his exhausting World Cup exploits would impact his Inter Milan performances, they haven’t one jot.
Two goals and two assists in five Serie A games have helped Inter recover from a slow start to enter the top four.
We personally can’t wait to see him linked with a move to Jose Mourinho’s Man United in January for the 18th transfer window in a row.
4 Paul Pogba
No player divides opinion more than United’s fulcrum, but when you break down the stats he’s really carried Mourinho’s miserable lot so far this season.
He’s been involved in more goals (7) than any other United player and even stepped into centre-back to help spearhead the comeback against Newcastle at the weekend.
Should United fans expect more from him? Maybe, but at least he’s standing up the count unlike some of the others…
5 Kylian Mbappe
The most lucrative teenager on the planet (take that, Kylie Jenner).
Destroyed international defences time and time again in Russia – that run against Argentina will be talked about for years – and deservedly scored in the final to take his tournament tally to four.
And he hasn’t really stopped, peaking at the weekend with an astonishing four goals in 13 minutes for PSG against Lyon.
He’s nailed onto win a Ballon d’Or at some point, but could one arrive as early as this year?
- Where has it all gone wrong for Europe’s three biggest clubs this season?
- How do you go from Premier League flop to World Cup winner in three years?
- 8 things you’ve already forgotten about England’s World Cup journey
WATCH: Love Of The Game: Leyton Orient (Episode 1)