As suspected, all eyes will be firmly on the battle for the Golden Ball award at this summer's World Cup.
Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo, Neymar and co will all be grappling to assert their dominance when the world is watching in Russia.
However, behind the scenes there is another battle taking place, the battle of the unsung heroes, the battle for the Golden Glove.
Over the years we have seen a whole host of magnificent shot-stoppers grace the world stage.
From the traditional goalies like Peter Shilton and Gordon Banks, to the slightly more unorthodox approaches of Rene Higuita and Guillermo Ochoa, the FIFA World Cup has seen it all.
But who could be the planet's safest glovesman in this year's Russia tournament? Billy Cundall takes a look at some potential contenders...
2014 – Manuel Neuer
2010 – Iker Casillas
2006 – Gianluigi Buffon
2002 – Oliver Kahn
1998 – Fabien Barthez
Sticking with the previous winner, Germany’s Manuel Neuer comes into the tournament as clear favourite, looking to become the first goalkeeper ever to retain the title.
The commanding stopper seems like an obvious choice, but for understandable reasons. His confidence, often bordering on arrogance, makes the Bayern Munich keeper an intimidating prospect. His self-assurance conveys an almost unbeatable resilience that has made him up there with the best goalkeepers of his time.
There are, however, doubts over the 32-year-old’s fitness, with Neuer’s last appearance coming before foot surgery in September. And with Barcelona’s Marc-Andre ter Stegen waiting in the wings, perhaps Russia might have come too soon for Neuer.
There aren’t enough superlatives in the dictionary to describe some of David De Gea’s performances this season.
Time and time again the Spaniard has come up big when it mattered most, and his stunning record of winning Manchester United’s Player of the Season award in four of the last five years demonstrates how important the shot-stopper is for the Red Devils.
Pair that with a victory in the race for this season's Premier League Golden Glove, and the 27-year old starts to look like a serious contender. It is true that the Spanish defence does not look as dominant as in recent tournaments, but this will only heap the importance of a solid goalkeeper, and add fuel to De Gea’s fire.
If transfer speculation is to be believed, Alisson Becker could soon become the most expensive goalkeeper on the planet, driving his claim to capture this summer’s Golden Glove award. Little was known about the 25-year-old Brazilian until his incredible performances helped Roma achieve their best Champions League campaign ever by reaching the last four.
To put it into perspective for those still uncertain about the talents of this young goalkeeper, Manchester City’s Ederson, who has enjoyed a stellar debut season in the Premier League, has to settle for a place on the national side’s bench because of Alisson. With Brazil tipped to go all the way, the evidence is stacking up to suggest that the Roma keeper will stake a very bold claim to win FIFA’s goalkeeping showpiece prize.
The 2017/18 season saw Hugo Lloris come under more scrutiny than ever before.
The Frenchman’s sporadic mistakes became more regular, and the media backlash hit the 31-year-old relatively hard. Still, the Spurs stopper regained his composure and enjoyed an accomplished end to the year, maintaining his club and national number one spot.
Lloris will be heading to Russia with high hopes, and the array of young talent in front of him could inspire Didier Deschamps' side to go all the way.
As with four of the past five Golden Glove winners, if your country wins it all, the goalkeeper has a good chance of winning the individual award too. If you fancy France to do well, Hugo Lloris might be a shrewd bet at 5/1.
A lot of Thibaut Courtois’ chances of winning the Golden Glove rely on the ye olde question of ‘will the Belgians click?’
With an abundance of attacking talent, and a sublime back line to boot, Belgium have all the ingredients to be world champions in Russia. However, performances at recent major tournaments in 2014 and 2016 would not inspire any regular punter to side with Roberto Martinez’s Red Devils.
The sticking detail however, is that if the Belgians do gel, and do realise their potential, then they will be a force to be reckoned with. If that is the case, and Eden Hazard starts to link up with Kevin De Bruyne, Romelu Lukaku and co., then Courtois will have as good of a chance as any to win the award.
After 52 years of hurt, do we not deserve a double victory?
Everton’s Jordan Pickford looks set to cement his place as Gareth Southgate’s number one this summer, and what better way to announce your first competitive tournament than winning the individual prize.
The confident 24-year old cost the Merseyside club around £30m, and after sweeping all the individual awards for the 2017/18 season, Pickford looks ready to step up to the international stage. England do admittedly look an outside bet for global glory, but with a young and exciting squad with lots of pace, maybe this is theirs, and Pickford’s, year to shine.
Best of the rest
Argentina’s Willy Caballero comes in at 11/1 to scoop the award, after Manchester United’s Sergio Romero was ruled out of the Argentina squad last week. The Chelsea keeper will be looking to Lionel Messi and co. to steer Argentina to successive World Cup finals, which would give the ex-Man City glovesman the best chance to win the award.
Euro 2016 champion Rui Patricio will be hoping his Portuguese team can inspire another underdog triumph this summer, and with Cristiano Ronaldo staring down the barrel of his last World Cup, he could produce the magic needed to win it all. Patricio will have to play a key role in any progression Portugal make, and at 25/1 he could be an outside bet.
Croatia’s Danijel Subasic and Uruguay�����s Fernando Muslera sit at 33/1 each, while Arsenal’s David Ospina (pictured, below) could be a could be an interesting selection at 40/1 behind a talented Colombia side.
Mexico’s Guillermo Ochoa stole the show in Brazil, and could provide the best value bet at 66/1 to replicate his 2014 heroics and go on to capture the Golden Glove.
Odds correct as of 1230 BST on 30/05/18
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