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BW Businessworld

Goal Getters

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Lionel Messi
The 26-year-old Argentine is considered one of the five best players in the history of the game, having been named Fifa’s Player of the Year a record four times. The FC Barcelona striker has  almost supernatural skill and a tactical awareness ahead of his time that makes the impossible look easy

Cristiano Ronaldo
 The 29-year-old striker plays for the Spanish club Real Madrid and captains the Portugal national side. Ronaldo became the most expensive footballer in history when he moved from Manchester United to Real Madrid in 2009 for $132 million. He is regarded as one of the best players in the world, having scored his 400th career goal recently

Neymar Da Silva Santos Junior

Popularly known as Neymar, the 22-year- old is carrying the hopes of an entire country on the back of his No. 10 shirt. Neymar is Brazil's biggest star in a squad without a lot of big names, so all eyes will be on him when the hosts begin their campaign against Croatia in the opener on June 12

Lukas Podolski
Nicknamed Prinz Poldi, the 29-year-old German is a crafty left-winger, known for his strong shots. Last year, he hit the fastest goal in the history of the German national team when he scored nine seconds after kick-off. Podolski was named by Fifa as Best Young Player at the 2006 World Cup and was the second-highest goal scorer for Germany during qualifying play for the 2010 World Cup

David Villa
Spain's all-time top scorer, Villa netted four goals in Spain's 2008 European title campaign and five goals in Spain's run up to the World Cup crown in 2010. Playing in his third World Cup, Villa has few visible weaknesses. He is quick, skilful and capable of tap-ins or spectacular goals from outside the area

Diego Costa
There is no denying that Spanish coach Vicente del Bosque has taken a risk in selecting the still-recovering-from-injury Diego Costa. But there is also no denying the reason that Diego brings to the table what Spain has been missing of late — a genuine striker. Costa scored 27 league goals, helping Atletico Madrid win the title in 2014

Mateo Kovacic
The 20-year-old Croatian is considered to be one of the top young talents of European football. Kovacic is a versatile player, considered a skilful midfielder, having played in different positions and can adapt to playing either wide on the left or as required

Gianluigi Buffon
Making his fifth World Cup appearance, this  Italian is widely considered to be the greatest goalkeeper of all time. Known for his outstanding display under the bar and for being a vocal organiser of the defence, Buffon was declared one of the 125 greatest living footballers in the world by Pele. He is also the only goalkeeper to have won the UEFA Club Footballer of the Year award

(This story was published in BW | Businessworld Issue Dated 30-06-2014)