This article profiles players whose legacies will be on the line at the 2014 World Cup.
The tournament, which comes around every four years, is football’s grandest stage. It is the biggest event in the sport’s four-year cycle, is watched by fans worldwide and represents the pinnacle of a player’s career.
It is no coincidence that men such as Pele, Diego Maradona and Johan Cruyff built their legacies on unforgettable performances at the international high table.
While these three founded their eternal reputations on success (or in Cruyff’s case, near-success) in the glorious context of the World Cup, players have also had their legacies defined by enduring failure.
Roberto Baggio, for example, had his magical career defined by a single spot-kick, while the global recollection of men such as Gabriel Batistuta, Dennis Bergkamp, Eric Cantona, Hugo Sanchez and Duncan Edwards will, for various reasons, be tempered by their lack of influential performances at the elite end of international competitions.