Less than 14 months from now, the world will gather in Brazil for the 20th FIFA World Cup.
One of world football’s brightest young stars will be representing the hosts in that tournament, and if he hasn’t departed Santos in favour of a European giant by then, there’s a good chance he’ll do so shortly thereafter.
Goal-line technology will also make its major international debut—a phenomenon that will finally mark the sport’s step into the future. Although, by the time the first ball is kicked in Sao Paulo, the English Premier League will have employed the Hawk-Eye system for a full season.
And then there is the country itself.
That it is putting on the World Cup is only part of Brazil’s story. Its domestic championship continues to get better by the year, and while countless players opt to stay longer in the country of their birth, others agitate for a return, and others still make their big-money transfers within its borders.
These are changing times, and 2014 could well mark a new, modern era for football.
In the following three slides, we’ll take a closer look at the storylines to watch in 2014.