Kick it off!
We begin our World Cup coverage with a two-parter.
Ten offenders to watch come Cup-calling time this upcoming June.
Mind you, this is not a comprehensive or exclusive list, nor is it a list of the top scorers or the top point-getters. It’s merely a list of ten guys who dazzle with the ball on and coming off their foot.
Some are well known and some are under the radar; but all should play a part in at least one highlight in South Africa 2010.
(As always with video compilation pieces, either grab your best club gear and a Zima or turn down your sound.)
10. Danny (Portugal)
Everyone, but everyone will be focused on Danny’s slickster Portugese counterpart, Cristiano “The Greasy One” Ronaldo. That would be a mistake. We already know that Ronaldo will make his presence felt.
The 26-year old Venezuelen-born striker had his coming out party in August 2008, notching two goals in his debut for current club Zenit as they knocked off Manchester United 2008 UEFA Super Cup. If you watched Danny’s display that day, it was, in one word, spectacular. After that day, I’ve always looked for highlights or updates on his form.
If Danny’s current form is any indication (5 goals in 10 club appearances this year as we write this), we think he’s due in World Cup 2010.
09. Giuseppe Rossi (Italy)
We’ll spare the Benedict Arnold tirade.
The slightly mercurial Italian national, by way of New Jersey, United States, has been coming into his own in 2009. After shrugging of country pitch time issues–those who played in Serie A are favored–the Villarreal striker has been on target for his club, notching 8 goals in 17 appearances to go along with handful of assists.
With the expected absence of Cassano in the Italian squad, the 22-year-old Rossi will be a focus of the Italian attack and, in our opinion, he’ll deliver.
08. Diego Forlan (Uruguay)
Diego Forlan likely needs zero introduction on this publication.
One of the elder statesmen of this group, the 30-year old Forlan is Uruguay.
Forlan had a topsy-turvy ride earlier on in his career at Manchester United, but has long-since bloomed in La Liga with Atletico Madrid. A continual target of various EPL clubs now, Forlan has bagged 6 in 12 outside the Champions’ League this year for Madrid.
While were in the minority in stating that Uruguay does not get out of Group A, there will at least be one massive highlight from the blond-locked striker in the group stage. Mark our words.
07. Gonzalo Higuain (Argentina)
“Well it’s about time” was the TSG statement when Higuain finally factored for the Argentinian Maradonas. Rumor has it Maradona as an alumnus of Boca Juniors didn’t want to trot out a big-time striker who played for arch rival River Plate.
Higuain is lights out for Real Madrid this season. El Pipita (or The Nose as Higuain is known) has made summer acquisition of Karim Benzema redundant and spurred transfer rumors for the Frenchman Benzema just a half season after arriving at the Bernabeu.
06. Alexis Sanchez (Chile)
Watching Chile attempt to beat Spain using a 3-5-2 isn’t the only reason to tune into the Chilean World Cup squad.
Before Sir Alex heisted Antonio Valencia as Ronaldo’s replacement, rumor was Ferguson was sniffing around Udinese’s Sanchez. Dubbed both the Wonder Boy and the Explosive Boy for his on-the-ball moves, Sanchez has yet to reach world acclaim. Look for him to improve on his 8 goals in 26 appearances for his national team….and make himself known….globally.
Tomorrow: Part II