The 2014 World Cup in Brazil saw the likes of James Rodriguez, Neymar and Thomas Muller rise to the occasion, but Serie A stars suffered in the stifling heat of South America.
Of all the plethora of talent the league possesses, only Juventus duo Arturo Vidal and Paul Pogba impressed, as did Fiorentina’s Juan Cuadrado. Vidal and Pogba have both been linked with a move to the Premier League with Manchester United and Chelsea respectively, whilst Arsenal are said to be keen on Cuadrado’s services as they look to mount a serious title challenge next term.
Miroslav Klose of Lazio scored twice on route to Germany's triumph, but was not the threat of old as international retirement beckoned.
Italy toiled in the group stages despite an opening victory over England, with Mario Balotelli the match winner on that occasion. Yet the AC Milan striker still endured a miserable tournament, with his performances accumulating in him being made a scapegoat for the national team’s dire exit.
Such poor outings have been rumoured to put off possible suitors as the club look to sell the controversial forward, as they look to fund a move for Porto forward Jackson Martinez.
Juventus powered to a stunning third league title last campaign, but barring Vidal all of their superstars failed to hit top gear.
Balotelli’s team-mates Gianluigi Buffon and Andrea Pirlo looked jaded by years of regular football, whilst stalwart Giorgio Chiellini’s only worthy antic was being the latest recipient of a Luis Suarez bite.
Further proof that Roma’s Maicon has enjoyed his best days was provided as Brazil were emphatically thumped 7-1 by Germany, failing to justify the faith shown in him by manager Luiz Felipe Scolari, who had demoted Barcelona’s Dani Alves to the substitutes bench.
More Serie A flops
Inter Milan midfielder Hernanes was a key clog in the Brazilian machine that won last year’s Fifa Confederations Cup, but struggled to make an impact throughout the tournament and was overlooked by Scolari for the majority of the tournament.
Gonzalo Higuain enjoyed a stellar maiden season at Napoli having moved from Real Madrid last summer, but his miss in Argentina’s 1-0 defeat to Germany in the World Cup final will no doubt haunt him for the rest of his days.
The 26-year-old sliced his shot wide with the goal at his mercy, compounding a lacklustre tournament where he netted just once for Alejandro Sabella’s side. His club team-mate Dries Mertens fired Belgium level in their opening game against Algeria, but had little success in this summer’s finals.
That Serie A stars fared so poorly in Brazil is yet another indication of the league’s plight as the top tiers in England, Germany and Spain increase in quality. If Vidal, Pogba or Cuadrado leaves it may be a malaise impossible to overcome.
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