From no international goals to three at the World Cup — that has been the story of Russia’s Denis Cheryshev.He arrived at the world’s biggest stage as a player of the Russian squad but will leave as the country’s prolific scorer at their home World Cup. Currently, he has now scored one less goal than the Ballon d’Or holder Cristiano Ronaldo.Cheryshev did not even start Russia’s first game at the 2018 FIFA World Cup, came on as a substitute for the injured Alan Dzagoev and scored twice to cement his place for the next game.2018 FIFA WORLD CUP: FULL COVERAGEHe was part of the starting XI for Russia’s clash against Mohamed Salah’s Egypt and he outshone the Liverpool forward, scored another goal for his country and is now a Golden Boot contender. Denis Cheryshev had never scored a goal for Russia before the 2018 World Cup (Reuters Photo)His first international goal was absolutely mesmerising — collecting a pass on the left of the box, he smartly flicked the ball just a little over the two defenders sliding in and then struck it to the back of the net. The Luzhniki Stadium was at its feet with the stunning touch of skill they had witnessed from one of their own.He scored another against Saudi Arabia — a clever little goal from the outside of his foot — and on Tuesday night, his combined with two of his teammates to slot home a goal of pure quality.It has all been a dream World Cup for the 27-year-old.advertisementTHE SPANISH CONNECTIONDid you know that Cheryshev could have actually chosen to play for Spain?The Nizhny Novgorod-born has dual citizenship and was actually eligible to even represent Spain. In 2011, he even went on to say that he felt more Spanish than Russian but eventually it was his home country he chose.Cheryshev is a Real Madrid youth product. Though he initially played at Sporting de Gijon and Burgos, he joined Madrid at the age of 12.FIFA WORLD CUP: FIXTURES | POINTS TABLEFrom 2002-2013, Cheryshev played for various Real Madrid teams, from Castilla and reserve side to the first team in 2012, the Russian spent a big part of his life in the Spanish capital.Thereafter, he was loaned to Sevilla and Villareal and he had a fruitful time at the latter.Cheryshev returned to the Santiago Bernabeu in 2015 but he was soon hit by a controversy. From 2002-2013, Cheryshev played for various Real Madrid teams (Reuters Photo)Remember when Rafa Benitez’s Real Madrid featured a player in their Copa del Rey match against Cadiz and got expelled from the tournament? That player was Cheryshev and it happened because he had received three yellow cards in the previous edition and was ineligible for selection.Cheryshev is now at Villareal on a permanent deal and his club finished fifth (Europa League spot) in the La Liga table this season.INJURY-PLAGUED INTERNATIONAL CAREERJust like his club career, Cheryshev’s injury issues have hampered his international career as well.He had made his Russia debut by the end of 2012 and played his first competitive game for the country on August 14, 2013 in a FIFA World Cup qualifier.However, after just five minutes on the pitch, Cheryshev had to be replaced due to injury.He was part of Russia’s provisional squad for the 2014 World Cup but did not make it to the final list and thereafter, he went on to miss the Euro 2016 for Russia with another injury.Two years hence, he did not make a single appearance for Russia and only on March 27, 2018, he got a chance to play against France in a friendly.He made it once against Russia’s extended squad list for the 2018 World Cup but this time, his name was in the final squad as well.Despite not starting the first match, it has been destiny for Cheryshev and it now looks like, it’s finally smiling upon him.