Identifying which footballers will stand out in the 2013 Confederations Cup is more clear-cut than trying to predict which club will win it all.
Certain stars are almost guaranteed to leave their mark on the event. Here are the ones who will shine the brightest and compete for tourney MVP.
5. F Neymar, Brazil
Few footballers in the world are more explosive than Neymar. The Barcelona addition scored goals in four straight matches and five out of six from late March to April, even scoring four in one match for FC Santos.
He put a dent in the scoreboard less than three minutes into the first match of the Confederations Cup.
4. F Javier Hernandez, Mexico
The Manchester United sub is always a threat to go off in international competition. In the 2011 CONCACAF Gold Cup, he scored seven goals in six games, carrying his club to a title. This season, he’s shouldered the workload more than ever, according to ESPN’s Paul Carr.
3. G Gianluigi Buffon, Italy
Buffon is 35 years old, but he’s still just as dominant as ever. Since Feb., Buffon recorded 13 shutouts for Juventus. Against opponents other than Bayern Munich—who beat up on Buffon and everyone else this year—he only allowed a grand total of four goals in four other games over that time span. He’s dominant enough to will Italy to victory.
2. MF Santi Cazorla, Spain
Cazorla will enter the Confederations Cup coming off a phenomenal campaign with Arsenal. He finished tied 13th in the English Premier League in goals scored with 12 and tied for second in assists with 11. In his second-to-last match with the Gunners he notched an unreal four assists, so he’s on fire.
1. F Luis Suarez, Uruguay
Only Robin van Persie scored more goals than Suarez this past EPL season. The Liverpool striker notched 23, six of which came in his two hat tricks. Uruguay needs Suarez to play up to his potential to win the tournament.
David Daniels is a breaking news writer at Bleacher Report and news editor at Wade-O Radio.