Football

World Cup 2014: 5 starlets set to shine

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Next year's World Cup could well be the last for some of the players who have wowed us over the last 8-12 years. Players like Xavi Hernandez, Steven Gerrard, David Villa , Andrea Pirlo and Gianluigi Buffon could well look to international retirement when boarding the plane that returns them home from Rio.

So, here, we take a look at the youngsters who could grab their chance at the upcoming tournament and dominate the awards and headlines for years to come on football's grandest stage...

Neymar

Not much needs to be said about the Brazilian forward, who has already cemented himself as one of the world's top players after exploding onto the scene with Santos at the tender age of 18. His recent move to Barcelona has already been a monumental success, with Neymar already scoring in El Clasico and dazzling the fans with his seemingly bottomless bucket of tricks.

Zakaria Bakkali

Zakaria may be a name that is unfamiliar to most readers, but the 17-year-old Belgian has been making huge waves in the Eredivisie. He became the youngest player of all time to score a hat-trick in the Dutch league at the age of just 17 years and 196 days.

The talented winger has unbelievable ball control, pace to burn and a maturity to his gameplay well ahead of his years. He has been a blinding success at every level of Belgium's youth international team and with his performances this season for the senior team not going unnoticed, don't be surprised to see this lad lining up alongside Marouane Fellaini and co. next year.

Marco Verratti

A player that has only just turned 21 and has already amassed over 100 appearances in Serie A for Pescara and Ligue 1 giants Paris Saint-Germain, Verratti has what it takes to be a world superstar.

Young holding midfielders who possess the ability to pick out a 40-yard pass and land it on a dime but still have a love for a tackle are gold dust in this day and age. With comparisons already being drawn to seasoned veteran Andrea Pirlo, it's not hard to see why PSG parted with over £10 million for the youngsters services. With four full Italy caps to his name already, expect to see this lad go far.

Raphael Varane

The 20-year-old French defender has already been touted as the one of the worlds finest centre-backs. He has also appeared in Marca's Best Foreign Real Madrid XXI in history, which includes names such as Di Stefano, Zidane, and Luis Figo. His calm and collected manner on the ball, aerial presence, and solid man marking have already won him a host of admirers in world football.

With four full international caps to his name already, expect to see this kid to be lining up for Les Bleus next summer

Mario Gotze

Another player who has made a name for himself over the last year is Gotze. Recently acquired by Bayern Munich from rivals Borussia Dortmund, he has become one of the most expensive youngsters in history.

Gotze has the natural ability to go to the very top. With unbelievable pace, dribbling ability, an eye for goal and outstanding passing ability, Gotze has all the attributes an attacking midfielder needs to be a phenomenal footballer for years to come.

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Topics:
World Cup
Football
Neymar
Mario Gotze
Raphael Varane

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This article has been written by a member of the GiveMeSport Writing Academy and does not represent the views of GiveMeSport.com or SportsNewMedia. The views and opinions expressed are solely that of the author credited at the top of this article. GiveMeSport.com and SportsNewMedia do not take any responsibility for the content of its contributors.

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