A little over two weeks have passed since the World Cup final in Brazil, yet it seems like a century has passed.
It may be that our attention has been catalyzed on the frivolity side of the heat that does not arrive, on the serious side of the clashes between Israelis and Palestinians, and on the football side of the pre-season and the sudden farewell of Conte, but in any case, the defeat of Italy and of Brazil, the feat of the Germans and Leo Messi’s burnt hopes seem to be only a faded memory.
However, when we were still close to those games, as soon as you played the two finals, we asked you to express an opinion on which in your opinion was the best player of the tournament, sure that you would not have found yourself completely in agreement with FIFA, which instead he had awarded his own Messi.
And in fact, despite your vote being divided among many good players, none of you voted for the Argentine number 10, who after an exciting start ended up “patching” the decisive matches. So who, in your opinion, was the best player at the World Cup in Brazil? Here are your choices, starting from the fifth position and going up to the first.
5. Manuel Neuer
The Goalkeeper Who Knows How to Play Free
In truth, he wasn’t very busy, having in front of him the team that clearly proved to be the strongest and most organized of the tournament, but Manuel Neuer – German goalkeeper in force at Bayern Munich since 2011, when he was taken by Schalke 04, the team from his hometown – has impressed our readers well.
Winner of the golden glove reserved for the best number 1 of the tournament, the boy born in 1986 was amazed not only by the readiness between the posts, which was already known at the European level but also by the audacity of the outputs that in fact have made more like an old-fashioned free than a goalkeeper.
In practically every game we have seen him venture out of his penalty area to try to anticipate the opponent’s attacker (often on a tightrope) and thus prevent a dangerous counterattack; even in the final, he did not fail to launch himself in a slightly reckless way on Gonzalo Higuain, risking, if not the penalty, at least the touch of a hand outside the box.
However, as one of our readers wrote to us, his ability to take risks was his greatest strength in this World Cup and it was probably the only possible strategy to keep in balance a team naturally devoted to attacking and exposure.
The Bundesliga Career
Born and raised in Gelsenkirchen, Neuer made his Bundesliga debut with Schalke in 2006, at the age of twenty, quickly becoming a starter and winning the German Cup, the German League Cup, and the Champions League semi-finals.
With Bayern then his tally has grown further, with two other German Cups, two league titles, a Champions League, a Club World Cup, and other titles; and individually he was crowned German player of the year in 2011 and the best goalkeeper in the world in 2013.
4. Thomas Müller
The Most Effective Player of Germany’s Attack
Given that they won the World Cup by dominating many of the games they played, it was probably inevitable to find two German players in our five, and in fact, after the first of the defenders you decided to reward the first with your vote – at least as regards the kilometers traveled. and the involvement in the maneuver – of the attackers, Thomas Müller.
With just 24 years on his shoulders (he will turn 25 in September), the German forward already has a résumé that will shake your wrists.
He participated in two World Cups, winning the title of top scorer of the event in the first (also thanks to the 3 assists, which FIFA considered to make him prevail over other players who like him had scored 5 goals) and in the second the World Cup, but also at the club level he has made sparks, already winning 3 league titles, 3 German Cups, 1 Champions League and 1 Club World Cup.
In the Brazilian World Cup, he was the main proponent of German attacking maneuvers, once again scoring 5 goals (a hat-trick against Portugal and goals against the United States and Brazil) but also providing a good number of assists and undermining, with his speed, his initiatives but also his tactical flexibility, practically all the defenses with which he measured himself.
It is no coincidence that FIFA awarded him with the Silver Ball and that one of our readers, Marco from an unspecified Ligurian location, defined him as “the player that all presidents would like to have in the team”.
“Not very conspicuous – he continued – and almost ugly to look at, and therefore inexpensive in terms of engagement, but very strong in front of goal”. Müller, born in a small town in Upper Bavaria, has played for Bayern Munich since he was 11 years old.
3. Javier Mascherano
The Defensive and Moral Leader of Argentina
On a par with Müller, another player who played in the final of the Maracana but this time on the side of the losers was also classified in our ranking: Javier Mascherano.
Argentina had a strange trend in this World Cup: Beyond the too easy enthusiasm of the first matches and the too ferocious criticism of the final, the team coached by Alejandro Sabella could have an important squad, especially from the waist up.
In fact, he could boast champions like Di Maria, Higuain, a tactically indispensable Lavezzi, and obviously Leo Messi, who fielded qualities that could easily make up for Sergio Aguero’s bad form.
But also in midfield and in defense, where the names were generally less high-sounding, the team held up well the impact with the opponents, as evidenced by the very few goals collected during the tournament.
The Inconspicuous Solidity
In your opinion, the credit for this solidity must be attributed to a large extent to Javier Mascherano, the backward leader of the team, who after his experience as a central defender at Barcelona seems to have become a fundamental player from a tactical point of view for his ability to intuit the progress of the game and to lead the teammates.
When Messi, in the decisive moment, passed away, the personality of a man emerged who, with his closures and his stubborn fight, actually led the Argentines up to the final and indeed to so much – that is to say to a couple of bad opportunities in front of the door – from the title.
Even in his homeland, Mascherano was hailed as the hero of the Brazilian adventure, and his tears at the end of the game at least partially alleviated the pain of the fans who had flocked to Rio to celebrate the victory of the third Cup which, if won at home bitter rivals, it would have had a very special flavor.
Since arriving in Europe – in 2006 together with compatriot Carlos Tevez – he has played for West Ham, Liverpool, and Barcelona.
2. James Rodriguez
The Talented Surprise of Colombia
In second place overall in the ranking that you yourself have compiled, we find what was certainly – on an individual level – the greatest surprise of the tournament, James Rodriguez, the player who brought Colombia to the quarter-finals for the first time in his history. of a World Cup.
Before the event, the player was practically unknown to the general public: he had arrived in Europe, at Porto, at just 19 years old, and there is the space of three seasons he had earned three league titles, a Europa League and above all a starting position after the farewell to Radamel Falcao, the compatriot who has repeatedly overshadowed him in the press and media.
Then, last year, Ranieri moved to Monaco, where he played a good but not exciting season and above all far from the big spotlights, given that the Monegasque team was newly promoted and therefore did not compete in any international competition.
At the World Cup – thanks to the injury of his national team (and club) mate Falcao – he had to carry a young and dynamic team on his shoulders, revealing himself to be the main architect of his successes.
In the five matches played between rounds, a round of 16, and quarter-finals, in fact, Rodriguez managed to score as many as six goals, entering the scoresheet of each match and winning the Golden Boot at the end of the tournament as the tournament’s top scorer.
Moreover, unconventional goals showed – especially in the goal against Japan and in the first against Uruguay – a talent that was rarely seen in the event.
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On the other hand, even at Real Madrid, they seem to think like our readers, given that just after the World Cup the young Rodriguez was bought by the Spanish team for the considerable sum of 80 million euros, to which 7 million must be added. euro per season of engagement.
1. Arjen Robben
Speed and Touches of Class for the Third Classified Holland
It is no surprise instead of the player you proclaimed the best of this edition of the World Championship, that Arjen Robben who for ten years has been running along with the bands of half of Europe, almost always leaving his mark, for better or for worse. .
Without counting the Europeans, for Robben, now 30 years of age, this was the third World Cup and probably the fast Bayern Munich striker had something to be forgiven after four years ago in South Africa some of his sideline mistakes had been decisive for allowing Spain to clinch victory in the Johannesburg final.
Since the first match in Brazil – among other things, a rematch against Spain – Robben has in fact shown not only to be particularly fit and now permanently free from physical ailments but also to know how to be ruthless in front of the goal, qualities that in youth had not always belonged to him.
After the double to the title holders, he also scored against Australia and earned the penalties that allowed his team to rule Mexico in a hard-fought eighth-final and Brazil in the final for third place.
Of course, as some of our readers wrote, we could have expected something more from him during the semifinal against Argentina then lost on penalties, but in some cases, it was also the skill of the opponents – as in the famous closure of the aforementioned Mascherano – to prevent him from scoring.
In any case, for Robben it remains an exciting championship, with flashes of great football played in speed, with progressions and touches of class, with goals and assists. As for his career, after growing up in the youth academy of his city team, VV Bedum, he already moved to Groningen at the age of 15, and sometime later made his debut in the Eredivisie.
He then had his first tastes of international football at PSV, where he also won a Dutch championship and some individual awards before being bought by Roman Abramovich for Mourinho’s first Chelsea, with whom he won two more championships but also had some misunderstandings, partly due also to a certain physical fragility.
After two seasons, with a scudetto, at Real Madrid, since 2009 he has been one of the columns of Bayern Munich that we have often talked about within this five, a team with which he has won 3 league titles, 3 German Cups, 1 Champions and 1 Club World Cup.