Premier League players at the World Cup
The Premier League sent the largest contingent of players to the 2018 World Cup, with 108 of the footballers at the tournament plying their trade in the English top division. In fact, only one side from the 2017/18 Premier League did not have representation at the tournament – AFC Bournemouth. England also boasted the leading goal-scorer at the 2018 World Cup as England captain and Tottenham Hotspur star, Harry Kane, took home the award after hitting the back of the net six times during the tournament in Russia. However, he still has some way to go to match the 16 goals scored by all-time leading World Cup goal scorer, Miroslav Klose.
Clubs reluctant to part with their stars
The World Cup is the pinnacle of any footballer’s career, but with clubs relying on their best players to be at the top of their game for the domestic season, it is no wonder that they are reluctant to see their superstars go through the rigors of a World Cup campaign. As a result, FIFA introduced the so-called World Cup Benefits Program to compensate domestic leagues and clubs for the risk of injury to players during the tournament. For the 2018 World Cup, FIFA paid out over 27 million euros to the English domestic leagues alone, as well as almost 15 million euros to the Spanish leagues. Having sent some of their prized assets to the World Cup, including Cristiano Ronaldo and Luka Modric, Real Madrid received the highest amount of compensation out of any domestic teams for their players featuring at the 2018 World Cup.