Friday, May 1, 2009

10 Stars Who Will Break Out at 2010 World Cup


405 days to go ...

We previously discussed the Top 10 African Youngsters at the 2010 World Cup.

But who are the top 10 world players who we'll be talking about by next summer's tournament?

According to John Molinaro of CBC Sports in Canada, these are the guys you should be paying attention to ... what do you think? Break out stars or busts?

Bruno Alves, 27, Portugal (above)
Alves is a bit of a late bloomer (he only made his national team debut two years ago) but the FC Porto star is an imposing and tenacious central defender, very much in the mould of Chelsea star and countryman Ricardo Carvalho.

Michael Bradley, 21, United States
Even though he's the son of U.S. national team coach Bob Bradley, Michael earned his spot on the American roster with his consistent and steady performances while patrolling the midfield for German club Borussia Monchengladbach.

Claudio Bravo, 26, Chile
Bravo is only six-feet tall (relatively small for a goalkeeper) but the Chilean captain is a talented shot-stopper who has looked pretty impressive since joining Spanish side Real Sociedad in 2006.

Patrick Helmes, 25, Germany
Helmes comes from good soccer stock, as his father, Uwe Helmes, was a former player. What makes Patrick, who plays for Bayer Leverkusen, so dangerous are his excellent finishing skills in front of the net and his ability to score with both feet.

Milan Jovanovic, 28, Serbia (above)
This Serbian striker has established quite a name for himself with Standard Liege in Belgium, scoring goals at an alarming rate. His greatest asset is his ability to hold onto the ball when being chased down, not to mention his composure inside the penalty area.

Seydou Keita, 29, Mali
He doesn't get the credit he deserves at FC Barcelona, as he's often overshadowed by the likes of Lionel Messi and Samuel Eto'o. But there's no denying his invaluable contributions on the field as a tough-tackling, defensive central midfielder.

Riccardo Montolivo, 24, Italy
A cultured, left-sided midfielder with Italian club Fiorentina, Montolivo is a creative player with a great touch on the ball who is just as comfortable slotting in the centre of midfield as the chief playmaker and directing the attack.

Cristian Riveros, 26, Paraguay
Think of him as the Paraguayan Patrick Vieira, the Frenchman who starred for Les Bleus at the 1998 World Cup. Riveros is a sensational, two-way midfielder, who uses his size and strength to outmuscle opponents and runs himself into the ground for 90 minutes.

Tatsuya Tanaka, 26, Japan
Deployed either as a striker or a winger, the diminutive Tanaka is a real live wire with the ball at his feet, using his speed and sublime ball control to take defenders on one-on-one and make things happen in the attacking third of the field.

Amr Zaki, 26, Egypt
The Egyptian forward came out of nowhere and took the English Premier League by storm this season, scoring bags of goals for Wigan Athletic. Zaki has been compared to English legend Alan Shearer for his sheer ruthlessness when it comes to scoring goals.

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