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Lionel Messi highlights David Silva and Kevin de Bruyne as key players ahead of World Cup

Argentine superstar Lionel Messi has highlighted Manchester City duo David Silva and Kevin de Bruyne as among the players, who could make the difference at the World Cup. The pair were crucial towards ending the Citizens’ three-season wait for the Premier League title as they broke several records last term.

Speaking to reporters, Messi indicated that City are the best-represented team at the global tournament ahead of Real Madrid. He continued to name the big-name players in different squads where Silva and De Bruyne were both mentioned. He said: “City have 16 players going to the World Cup, making them the best-represented club at the showpiece in Russia ahead of Real Madrid with 15. Brazil have Neymar and Philippe [Coutinho. Spain have Andres Iniesta and [David] Silva. Germany don't have any one star, but they are very solid. Belgium have [Eden] Hazard and [Kevin] De Bruyne. France have [Antoine] Griezmann and [Kylian] Mbappe.”

Silva had been linked with a potential return home last summer after the club signed his namesake Bernardo Silva from AS Monaco. However, the Spain international managed to maintain his performances through the campaign and he ended the seasonwith an impressive tally of 12 goals and 20 assists across all competitions.

Meanwhile, De Bruyne was the only player, who had performed better than Silva through the title-winning campaign and manager Pep Guardiola personally admitted that he should have secured the PFA Player of the Year crown ahead of Mohamed Salah. The Belgian notched 11 goals and 19 assists in the season just past where he was lauded more for his all-round play than his attacking contribution.

Both players are expected to make their mark at the summer World Cup alongside 14 other teammates and it will be exciting to see whether one of the pair gets the opportunity to lift the trophy in Russia. Spain have won the World Cup on just one occasion in 2010 whilst Belgium are still searching for their maiden triumph.

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