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World Cup: Top 10 players no-one wants to see injured

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The countdown has started. The World Cup in Brazil is where we all pretended to be in the garden as kids and hundreds of players will this year have the chance to make it a reality.

It is inevitable that some players will miss the tournament through injury (just ask Theo Walcott) and in all cases that's a real shame, but who are the last players we want to see in crutches come June?


10 - Mario Balotelli

While everyone in England is talking about Manchester United's fall from grace, everyone in Italy must be talking about AC Milan's equally dire league position. The Rossoneri have had a slower slide and next year looks set to see them without a place in the Champions League.

Mario Balotelli has done no harm to his reputation, however, and an eye-catching World Cup is all it would take to remind the world of his potential. He excelled in Euro 2012 as Italy went all the way to the final and there is nothing to say he will not be able to fire in some more spectacular goals as he blows off some steam at the end of the season.

9 - Robin van Persie

Holland are in a tough group with Spain and Chile and they will need to surpass expectations if they are to come out on top. They punched above their weight last time around, making it to the final but in 2012 none of their key players ever really got going.

They will need prolific front man Van Persie - who might well have his last chance in the competition - to play with the kind of confidence he has shown with his clubs in recent years if they are to go far.

8 - Yaya Toure

In 2010, everyone got behind Ghana as they represented Africa, almost making it to the semi-finals. You can expect similar support for African teams this year and with a very winnable group, Ivory Coast might go far.

As well as the ever dangerous Didier Drogba leading the line, they have one of the worlds most in-form midfielders in Yaya Toure, who can also win games on his own.

7 - Alexis Sanchez

Everyone loves to see teams punching above their weight and Chile, especially after an impressive performance against Germany recently, are one side people are getting excited about.

Alexis Sanchez has finally started to live up to his billing for Barcelona and this World Cup may be when he makes the transformation from a dangerous player to a truly world-class talent.

6 - Eden Hazard

Some players require little explanation for being on this list and red hot Eden Hazard is one of them. The stand out performer in an increasingly impressive Chelsea side, Hazard has matured into one of the most consistent attackers in world football.

He scores and makes goals for fun and when someone is drawing comparisons with George Best and Lionel Messi among some fans, you have to start taking note.

5 - Sergio Aguero

Sergio Aguero has a had a stop/start season with injuries but his form doesn't seem to be affected by long absences. At full fitness he is almost unstoppable and as centre backs will pay such close attention to Messi, Aguero may prove to be even more deadly for Argentina than he is for Manchester City.

4 - Vincent Kompany

If there is one team people are talking about more than ever before it is Belgium. With a sudden flurry of players making their name at top clubs across Europe, everyone wants to know where all the talent is coming from.

They are producing players in all positions meaning they have an extremely well-balanced side and an impressive spine. At the heart of their hopes is the formidable Vincent Kompany.

The towering centre-half has an immense impact on how his club fare on the pitch and if Belgium are to go far in the tournament, he will need to be at his best from the first kick.

3 - Lionel Messi

Messi has won it all with Barcelona. He has proven he can perform at the highest level - as any Manchester United fan will testify - but questions still remain over his international pedigree.

He failed to light South Africa up in 2010 even as Argentina went far, but he will still be one of the last players any centre-half wants to see in the summer. At 26 he might be able to squeeze in World Cup 2018 before beginning to slow down but the pressure will still be on for him to prove the doubters wrong before its too late.

2 - Cristiano Ronaldo

The best player in the world as the tournament draws near, everyone is waiting to see what Ronaldo can do in Brazil.

The fact that Portugal are considered outside favourites because of him alone tells you everything you need to know about the damage he can do on a football pitch. Like with Messi, people still bring up his international accomplishments when the Pele and Diego Maradona comparisons surface, so doing it on the biggest stage of all is exactly what Ronaldo needs this summer.

1 - Neymar

At only 22 this will not be Neymar's only chance to shine on the world stage. Logic tells me that an injury to Ronaldo or Messi would be more of a shame but sometimes in football logic is thrown out the window.

Neymar is the star of a very-attack minded new Brazilian team and on their own turf, they are out to prove that Brazil is still the ultimate football nation. Spain's recent success (along with the failures of the Brazilian sides in recent years) has led to people wondering if they could overtake Brazil as football's definitive nation.

Neymar has had a fairly tame start to his Barcelona career but he is a different beast when he pulls on the hallowed yellow number 10. With his likeable smiles and lightning feet, he was made for the World Cup in Brazil.

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Topics:
Robin Van Persie
World Cup
Lionel Messi
Football
Neymar
Cristiano Ronaldo

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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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