It’s time to forget about the over-rated and much hyped Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo, Wayne Rooney, Kaka and co. This World Cup has brought us a new generation of heroes – players who can actually cut it on the biggest stage.
Lets take a look at 10 World Cup stars who have shone in South Africa that the Premier League would love to see week in week out.
Although the Ajax skipper’s reputation has been tarnished by his ‘Hand of God’ antics against Ghana, there’s no doubt his actions on the pitch have impressed.The striker, 23, bagged 49 goals in 48 games for his club last season and has featured in all five of Uruguay’s matches, netting a further three times.
A year ago Honda, 24, was turning out for Dutch minnows VVV Venlo but following his four games – and two goals – for Japan, he is now rated as one of the best midfielders in the world. Ohh please maybe in Japan
In Slovakia’s first-ever World Cup finals, Vittek produced a huge shock by becoming the tournament’s top scorer for a time and scoring the goals which knocked out holders Italy in the process. Though unwanted at his current club Lille and is unlikely to return to Ankaragucu in Turkey where he has been on loan. Such a player in limbo who could be a real bargain.
Don’t let Gyan’s penalty miss distract from what has been a wonderful tournament for the Stade Rennes forward. Bagged 13 goals in the French top flight before heading to South Africa – and becoming a hero in his native Ghana. Had this punk scored the spot kick against Uruguay it would have sent Ghana into the semi-finals for the first time.
Despite Nigeria enduring a disappointing tournament, the Hapoel Tel-Aviv goalkeeper, 27, actually enhanced his reputation, proving himself to be a very agile shot-stopper. A number of EPL clubs should be on the lookout for him. I would think Arsene Wenger, should consider over hauling his goal keeper department, considering how pathetic they have been over the last couple of seasons.
We have seen plenty of Sneijder during last season’s Champions League. Intrinsic in Inter Milan’s victorious campaign, with man-of-the-match performances. The playmaker, 26, has picked with Holland up where he left the Inter Milan – the creative hub of everything positive Holland are producing. Don’t be surprised to see him nominated for POY(player of the year).
One of the most influential players of the tournament, Forlan, 31, has benefited from playing in the hole behind the strikers for Uruguay and impressed with his work-rate. He looks a perfect fit for the Premier League but intimated he won’t return. His goals at the tournament clearly show that he means business.
Three years ago, Elia’s career was stumbling, languishing on the bench, in the margins of the Dutch league with FC Twente.
But his performances for Holland, albeit from the bench, mean his current club Hamburg have a huge star on their hands.
Still only 23, the dynamic winger has acquired a number of admirers with his pace and trickery during his time in South Africa. His only weakness is that he tends to hold onto the ball too much just the same as Dos Santos and Di Maria do. It is something they need to outgrow.
THOMAS MULLER ( The Ball Boy)
After Maradona refused to share the stage with the Ball boy, he has gone ahead and scored four goals in five games. Bayern Munich have a job on their hands to convince their 20-year-old midfielder his future lies at the Allianz Arena. Described as a ‘phenomenon’ by Bayern chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, Muller has played a vital role in the Germans march to the semis and the four-goal destructions of England and Argentina. Let us see how far this “one hit wonder will last”.