How Brazil's World Cup Squad Shows the Changing of the Times at Chelsea

Garry HayesFeatured ColumnistMay 7, 2014

CORRECTS PLAYERS NAME TO OSCAR - Chelsea's players Willian, left, David Luiz, second left, Ramires, second right, and Oscar, right, arrive for a training session at Cobham in England Tuesday, April 29, 2014. Chelsea will play in a Champions League semifinal second leg soccer match against Atletico Madrid on Wednesday. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth)
Kirsty Wigglesworth/Associated Press

When the World Cup comes around every four years, we witness how Lady Time has impacted the international game.

At Brazil 2014, the stars of the competition this year are going to be very different to those we saw in South Africa, with new powers on the rise and the older names waning.

The announcement of Luiz Felipe Scolari's Brazilian squad this week has highlighted a little more; however, how much have things changed at Stamford Bridge?

Whereas it was once key players for England who formed the spine of the Chelsea team, there is a somewhat more South American flavor to the Blues' squad these days—notably from Brazil.

The inclusion of David Luiz, Willian, Oscar and Ramires in Scolari's 23-man squad means Chelsea will be the best represented club in the Samba Boys' dressing room this summer.

When we consider the options Roy Hodgson has at his disposal, it is in stark contrast given he can only pick Frank Lampard, Gary Cahill and Ashley Cole from the Chelsea ranks.

That will be a concern for the England manager, especially as Chelsea have supplied plenty of talent at World Cups past.

The likes of Joe Cole, Shaun Wright-Phillips, Wayne Bridge and, of course, John Terry are just some of the other high-profile Englishmen who have worn the England jersey in recent years.

Kirsty Wigglesworth/Associated Press

Over time, that influence of homegrown talent has slowly been diluted.

Whereas Lampard, Terry and Co. once represented the future for club and country, their influence has waned, replaced in West London by the rising stars from overseas.

When we consider the future of Chelsea, few—if any—English players feature at the forefront.

Yet outside of that quartet of Brazilians, there are even more who are expected to make an impression under Jose Mourinho.

He may be Spanish in name, but Brazilian-born striker Diego Costa is being hotly tipped for a big-money move to Chelsea this summer, per Anthony Chapman of The Express.

It's hoped he will cure the Blues' problems in front of goal after a frustrating season that has seen their strikers under perform at various stages.

Sang Tan/Associated Press

And coming through the ranks is the considerable talent of Lucas Piazon, the 20-year-old Brazilian attacking midfielder who has impressed so much while on loan with Vitesse Arnhem this term.

Not so long ago, mentioning Brazilians in the Premier League was often greeted with a punch line. Save for a few exceptions, they just didn't fit.

It's different now—the Samba Boys are beginning to play a big role, none more so than at Chelsea.

And it's the England team that will suffer most.

Gary Neville recently tweeted about the importance of building a team with a homegrown spine, whether it be in France, Italy, England, Spain or Germany.

Neville's logic is that for success, domestic players must be the biggest and most influential personalities in the dressing room.

The former Manchester United man has a valid point.

Barcelona's recent dominance on the continent has been built around Carles Puyol, Xavi and Andres Iniesta, while at Bayern Munich, Philipp Lahm, Bastian Schweinsteiger and other Germans have been vital.

While Neville was a player at Old Trafford, it was David Beckham, Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes and himself who were the influential names alongside captain Roy Keane.

LONDON, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 05:  Oscar and David Luiz watch Chelsea team mate Ramires during a Brazil training session at The Hive football centre on February 5, 2013 in London, England.  (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)
Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

Going further back in history, the great AC Milan teams of the past had an Italian core, while Ajax's previous successes have been based around their Dutch talent.

In 1993, Marseille lifted the European Cup with eight Frenchmen in their starting line-up, while their bench was completed with nothing but native players.

Yet as Chelsea look forward, their current and potentially incoming Brazilians are breaking the mould.

When Mourinho was first appointed manager in 2004, he inherited a team of Englishmen. This time, he's inherited Brazilians and is expected to be adding to it.

Finishing in the Premier League's top three this season while reaching the Champions League semi-final, the Chelsea manager is predicting his team will be stronger next time.

If it so proves, expect a Samba beat to be the loudest noise coming from the Stamford Bridge dressing room.

Garry Hayes is Bleacher Report's lead Chelsea correspondent and will be following the club from a London base throughout the 2013-14 season. Follow him on Twitter @garryhayes