WORLDS APART; DIFFERENT LEAGUE: MANY SUPERSTARS ARE IN THE CHAMPIONS LEAGUE BUT NOT THE WORLD CUP, OTHERS WILL BE STARS IN BRAZIL NOT EUROPE; Superstars Relishing the Big Event in Brazil. but Others Will Be Thousands of Miles Away

The Mirror (London, England), December 11, 2013 | Go to article overview

WORLDS APART; DIFFERENT LEAGUE: MANY SUPERSTARS ARE IN THE CHAMPIONS LEAGUE BUT NOT THE WORLD CUP, OTHERS WILL BE STARS IN BRAZIL NOT EUROPE; Superstars Relishing the Big Event in Brazil. but Others Will Be Thousands of Miles Away


Byline: KEITH WEBSTER

IT should be the greatest football festival we have ever seen, 32 days of breathtaking brilliance from the finest exponents of the beautiful game's art.

This is, after all, not just any old World Cup, this is a Brazilian World Cup, and other than playing this tournament on home soil, where else would the great and the good rather exhibit their talent? Argentina's Lionel Messi will be there as will his regular competition for World Player of the Year, Cristiano Ronaldo of Portugal.

Germany will parade the exquisite passing of Mesut Ozil, Holland the predatory instincts of Robin van Persie, while Uruguay will hope Luis Suarez the genius rather than Luis Suarez the carnivore turns up to help them triumph in the country where they were last crowned world champions 63 years ago.

But while we will strive to watch every minute for fear of missing something special, the 2014 World Cup will also be notable for the cream of world talent that will be on Spanish beaches rather than Ipanema or Copacabana, resting their weary limbs in preparation for another domestic season instead of trying to lift the golden trophy.

From Gareth Bale, the world's most expensive player, to the preening ego of the sublime Zlatan Ibrahimovic, there will be a team of world beaters who are stars of this season's Champions League... yet who will be watching on television with the rest of us when the national equivalent kicks off.

Their talent will be sadly missed by fans while agents and marketing types will weep silently in their Brahma Beer over the lost money-spinning opportunities such a stage would have presented.

Here are two teams - one containing superstars who won't be in Brazil, and the other including the lucky ones involved in the fantastic showpiece...

IN THE CHAMPIONS LEAGUE, OUT OF BRAZIL

Petr Cech (Chelsea/Czech Republic)

Hasn't made a single save in Chelsea's last three games - and conceded seven goals. But still as good a keeper as you will find.

Branislav Ivanovic (Chelsea/Serbia)

Serbian strongman prefers to play centre-half but has the physicality to shore up the right flank and always a set-piece danger.

Nemanja Vidic (Man Utd/Serbia)

Starting to suffer from the demands on his body. The warrior spirit, though, remains intact.

Neven Subotic (Dortmund/Serbia)

Currently injured - and Dortmund are really struggling as a result. Intelligent, composed and forceful when required. A modern centre-half.

David Alaba (Bayern Munich/Austria)

Flying full-back who has the defensive discipline required. A key part of the Bayern armoury.

Mohamed Salah (Basel/Egypt)

Put Chelsea to the sword twice this season, after netting against both them and Spurs last term. …

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WORLDS APART; DIFFERENT LEAGUE: MANY SUPERSTARS ARE IN THE CHAMPIONS LEAGUE BUT NOT THE WORLD CUP, OTHERS WILL BE STARS IN BRAZIL NOT EUROPE; Superstars Relishing the Big Event in Brazil. but Others Will Be Thousands of Miles Away
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