Much is made of the strikers who can win a game with a sensational strike, but they would never receive the ball if it were not for their scheming midfield provider. A commanding midefield general can be the difference between a win or a loss and the 2014 World Cup. So who are the top 10 midfielders gunning for World Cup glory in Brazil?
10. Paulinho (Brazil)
After being voted the third best player at the 2013 Confederations Cup, Paulinho will be looking to steer Brazil to more silverware on home soil at the World Cup. A move to Tottenham has further cemented Paulinho’s reputation as a ‘box to box’ midfielder. He is the engine of the Brazil team with his tough tackling allowing Neymar to weave his magic in the attacking third.
9. Juan Mata (Spain)
Mata may have not been at the peak of his powers this season, but that’s got more to do with playing time than his actual abilities. And with an eye for big games, the Spanish maestro just might just turn up the volume when he’s needed in Brazil 2014.
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8. Andrea Pirlo (Italy)
On his day, Pirlo can match anyone in terms of creativity and ability. And the Italian tactician will be hoping to pull the strings from midfield when the 2006 FIFA World Cup champions begin their quest for glory in June.
7. James Rodriguez (Colombia)
The AS Monaco winger already has 20 international caps to his name despite being only 22 years old. He has skill in abundance with tremendous pace and technical abilities on the ball. More than likely to be the reason why Monaco believe the £40million price fee was justifiable from Porto in 2013. With Falcao doubtful for the World Cup through injury, Colombia’s hopes rest highly on Rodriguez to produce.
6. Mesut Ozil (Germany)
Ozil has redefined himself since his switch to the Emirates and having played exceptionally well in the Premier League, he is bound to be on excellent form as the 2014 FIFA World Cup approaches.
5. Mario Götze (Germany)
Gotze can lay claim to a starting berth in the German National Team that’s filled with an assortment of talent. And with a good season behind him, he could transform his reputation from a skilled attacker to a World Cup winner if everything goes according to coach Joachim Low’s plan.
4. Yaya Toure (Ivory Coast)
Yaya Toure is a beast for Manchester City and the Ivory Coast. And with his box-to-box displays lighting up the Premier League on a weekly basis, it’s high time the world witnesses his sublime talents against some of the best National Teams in the World.
3. Bastian Schweinsteiger (Germany)
Schweinsteiger is the heartbeat of the German side that’s filled to the brim with exciting talents. His abilities are second to none and with an entire nation pinning their hopes on his midfield prowess to see them through to the latter stages of the World Cup, the Bayern Munich star will need to perform in Brazil 2014.
2. Andres Iniesta (Spain)
Reigning champions Spain come into the World Cup as hot favorites. And the man that immortalized them in glory last time out is none other than Barcelona hotshot Andres Iniesta; a player at the peak of his powers for both club and country. Unless, others have special plans to contain him, it is highly likely that La Roja will be coming out on top in June.
1. Xavi (Spain)
If Iniesta is the end product, Xavi is the one who starts it all. His sumptuous combination with his Barcelona partner is unrivaled in world football and these two can out-pass any team on the planet. Xavi is simply on another level and will be the best midfielder on display during the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil.
So which midfielder will lead their team to glory in Brazil?
Will a new global star be unearthed in the shape of Colombian dynamo James Rodriguez? Anyone that we left off the list? Sound off in the comments section below for your chance to win a $50 Premier Sports Memorabilia gift voucher.