2010 FIFA World Cup: Who Will Be the "New Big Star" After the Cup
Forget Messi, Ronaldo, Rooney, Lampard, Drogba etc.
You will find these players in every football enthusiast's "players expected to perform well" list.
However, this article enlists new crop of players that will use the World Cup to elevate themselves to global stardom. Players whose splendid World Cup performances made them household names include Michael Owen (98), Gheorge Hagi (94), Davor Suker (98), Ronaldinho (02), etc.
So, which of the current footballers will step up their game and truly announce their arrival into the World Class stardom? Who will be the breakthrough star of this World Cup?
Robin van Persie
Some would argue that van Persie is already a world class talent, in the company of Messi, Ronaldo, and Kaka.
However, the story of Robin is more about "what he could have been" rather than what he is. His talent is in no question. He was on track for an amazing season until he had a lengthy layoff.
Luckily for Oranje that long layoff has give them a fresher and sharper van Persie who looks to be back to his very best. This World Cup is a big opportunity for him to silent his critics and solidify his place as one of the best in the world.
Daniele de Rossi
Roma fans call him "Captain of the Future". Not only at Roma—he is widely considered to be favorite for Italian captain's armband after Cannavaro retires.
Considering the lack of quality in current Italian squad, he is one of the silver linings. He is important both offensively and defensively and has a knack of scoring occasional thunderbolts.
Remember the lone Roma goal he scored when Roma was humiliated 7-1 by Man Utd? If the defending champions are to have any chance of repeating their success Daniele de Rossi will be a huge part of it.
His performances in France's Ligue 1 have redeemed him from his forgettable tenure at Milan. His remarkable playmaking ability has drawn comparisons with legends, some even branding him as the new Zidane.
Rumor has it that Arsene Wenger is eyeing this gem to replace Fabregas if he leaves for Camp Nou. He has to be at his best to revive the fortunes of Les Blues who look so strong on paper but just haven't gelled as a team. Even though he has the big shoe of Zidane to fill in, there is no doubt about his potential.
Angel di Maria
Angel di Maria is not a new name to ardent lovers of European football. His performances for Benfica have already alerted many bigger clubs. He is so highly rated that Maradona called him Argentina's next big star, and he is expected to start for Argentina in the finals.
He is a complete winger who can dribble well, cross dangerous balls, and score screamers. Mark my words and watch out closely for this gem in the World Cup!
It is surprising that he has been around for a long time considering that he is just 24. Fabio Capello has singled him out as an important player for England. His versatility, maturity, and tenacity make him a headache for defenders.
Coming off his best ever professional season, Milner will have to play important role if England are to progress deep into the World Cup.