7 Players Who Will Become Superstars by the Time World Cup 2014 Arrives

Neri Stein@neristeinFeatured ColumnistJuly 25, 2011

7 Players Who Will Become Superstars by the Time World Cup 2014 Arrives

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    The FIFA World Cup is arguably the biggest sporting event in the world, so why not start looking forward to the 2014 World Cup now?

    Spain won its first World Cup last summer with a squad primarily in its prime, but its Under-21 side and even its bench are just as loaded.

    Brazil is starting from scratch after two disappointing World Cups and has plenty of young stars who will be hoping to win the title at home, but Uruguay is also working its way back in the world order, hoping to finish 2014 the way the last World Cup in Brazil ended.  

    Plenty of Europe's top nations also have plenty of young starlets who are just getting their feet wet.

    Let's take a look (in no particular order) at some of those players who in three years will be the superstars of the game.  

7. Gervinho

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    Didier Drogba is one of the best African footballers of all time, but at age 33, his days are certainly numbered at the top. 

    His compatriot Gervinho is primed to take his place though. At 24, the Ivorian is Arsenal's newest striker and can become a star in North London in the next few years.

    After lighting up the French Ligue in two seasons with Lille, Arsene Wenger made him the Gunners' first big transfer signing in the last few years, and playing at Arsenal should make him even better in the prime of his career.  

    The Gunners will be looking at him for plenty of goals, and he should get ample opportunity with the support of Arsenal's midfield. 

6. Thomas Muller

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    Thomas Muller was just one of the young surprises who shone with Germany last summer, and at 21, the Bayern Munich striker can become a sensation leading up to the 2014 World Cup.

    He was the Best Young Player and Golden Boot winner of the 2010 World Cup, and his versatile attacking skills will only get better in the next three years. 

    He's got a knack for being in the right place to score goals and will likely be leading the German line after the 2012 European Championships, if not during. 

    Muller is already at one of Europe's top clubs and has big-game experience, and he can only go up from here. 

5. Juan Mata

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    Spain is so stacked that Juan Mata could barely get on the field last summer in South Africa.

    The Valencia star is one of the hottest wingers on the market this summer, but the 23-year-old will likely stay with Los Che for at least one more year. 

    Mata has great pace, fantastic crossing and scoring ability and is a very clever player. 

    Next summer's European Championships can be Mata's introduction to world football, and after that, there's no stopping him. 

4. Luis Suarez

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    Luis Suarez is probably the biggest villain in world football these days, but his performances for Ajax, Liverpool and Uruguay in the last year and in the next three will make him a superstar.

    He has fantastic skills and is great at set pieces. He can score goals from just about anywhere, and his fancy footwork in the future should help to erase people's memories of his handball against Ghana.

    Suarez led Uruguay to its 15th Copa America title and was named Player of the Tournament in the process, and he is certainly well on his way to becoming a superstar.   

3. Jack Wilshere

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    The English midfield has been a problem area the past several years, but Three Lions fans shouldn't have to worry about Steven Gerrard and Frank Lampard for much longer. 

    Jack Wilshere will be taking over from here. 

    The young Arsenal midfielder broke onto the scene last season, earning his first international call-up last August.

    For the Gunners, he dominated the midfield and dazzled the footballing world with his passing ability, his most impressive display coming in the 2-1 win over Barcelona of all opponents.

    The 19-year-old (seriously) was the PFA Young Player of the Year last season and has plenty of his best years ahead of him. 

    England has a great group of youngsters, and with Joe Hart in goal, Wilshere in the middle and Andy Carroll up front, things are looking bright.  

2. Javier Hernandez

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    There was no bigger breakout star in world football last season than Manchester United's Javier "Chicharito" Hernandez. 

    The 23-year-old Mexican scored 20 goals in his first season in England, including the one that essentially brought United its 19th league title against Chelsea and the ones that sent the Red Devils past Marseille and through to the Champions League quarterfinals.

    Mexico has plenty of young stars who can take the team far in 2014, but at Manchester United, Chicharito has the biggest stage on which to display his skills. 

1. Neymar

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    Brazil will be hosting the 2014 World Cup (if they can get it together that is), and A Selecao will be looking to win big. 

    That starts with Neymar up top.

    The 19-year-old Santos star puts on a show whenever he's on the pitch and has drawn comparisons to Pele and plenty of attention from Europe's top clubs. 

    He may be spending one more season in Brazil, but by next summer, he will be plying his trade for Real Madrid, Inter Milan, Chelsea or another top club, and it will only enhance his play. 

    Given he'll be in front of of his home crowd in three years, Neymar will shine brighter than any other superstar in the 2014 World Cup.

    So, who do you think will be a football superstar three years from now?