Eurosport Roundtable: Who’ll be the star of the World Cup?

The Rio Report

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We are one day away from the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.

One day.

Are you excited? Of course you are!

The Roundtable debates are heating up as we continue to preview the huge footballing tournament, and today the penultimate of the special countdown ERs sees the Eurosport team answer the question: who will be the event's standout performer?

Will it be an obvious choice such as Messi or Ronaldo, or will we all be surprised? Check out what we had to say, and then add your own answers/reasoning at the bottom, as usual.

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Alex Chick (Twitter: @alex_eurosport):

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Luis Suarez - Of the world's elite players, Suarez is the one who can most readily transform his electric club form onto the international stage. Messi and Ronaldo have always struggled outside club systems built around them, Neymar has the weight of the world on his shoulders, Spain are increasingly a team without stars (though it's tempting to back Sergio Ramos). And much as I'd love to nominate James Milner, this stage feels made for Suarez.

Tom Adams (Twitter: @tomEurosport):

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Thomas Mueller - Golden Boot winner at the last World Cup after just one season of senior football, he is the ultimate big-game player and always produces his best when it matters most. Though Higuain might outscore him, the Bayern Munich forward also supplies assists and while Germany are unlikely to win, he will leave a lasting impression, as he always does.

Sean Fay (Twitter: @Sean_Fay):

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Sergio Aguero – Lionel Messi is obviously Argentina’s best player, but Sergio Aguero is also simply outstanding when in full flight. With so many weapons on the Argentina team, he should have more room to cause havoc than he has at club level. How fit he is will decide his productivity. If he has fully recovered from the injuries that blighted his Premier League season, he could be potentially devastating as there will be an element of freshness about him that the other superstars, who have been toiling all season, won’t have.

Toby Keel:

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Thiago Silva - This is a tough call – there are perhaps 30 or 40 players who could hit an unforeseen purple patch at the World Cup, and every four years we see at least one or two surprise names becoming smash hits. But if Brazil go on to win, as I expect they will, then someone like Silva will probably the beating heart at the centre of a defence that will need to be impenetrable.

Liam Happe (Twitter: @liamhappe):

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Eden Hazard - Like the Golden Boot, a category like this is available for players who aren't necessarily representing the 'big-hitters' at a World Cup. Belgium are fancied by some to perhaps even shock the world but I think they will hit the glass ceiling at the 'had a great run' stage. However, that'll be enough time for Hazard to prove why he has been overlooked in favour of the Suarezs, Ronaldos and Yaya Toures as far as 2013/14 standouts are concerned as the crown jewel of a talented Belgian squad at the peak of their years-long blossoming as a footballing production line.

Dan Quarrell (Twitter: @Dan_Eurosport):

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Lionel Messi - Most legendary players have a major tournament for which they are remembered and this will be the one which secures Messi's place in history playing in an Argentina shirt. This will be a tournament which sees a group of goalkeepers really thrive but Manuel Neuer, Joe Hart and Thibaut Courtois will be trumped despite strong showings as Messi finally produces the same level of brilliance he does for Barcelona at club level for his country on the biggest stage possible.

Reda Maher (Twitter: @Reda_Eurosport):

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Eden Hazard - Beyond the usual suspects - Lionel Messi owes the world a performance, while Cristiano Ronaldo is limited by the team he plays for - I have a sneaky feeling Eden Hazard and Romelu Lukaku are about to silence Jose Mourinho. Both have been on the wrong end of the Chelsea boss this season, with Lukaku's fall-out seemingly terminal and Hazard's relationship with his boss fractious towards the end of the campaign. Of course while Lukaku could be well in the goals and is my Golden Boot pick, Hazard has all the tools to shine and truly announce himself as in the same bracket as the likes of Suarez, Messi and CR7. They have something to prove, and while Belgium are unlikely to go all the way, I expect them to hang around until at least the quarters.

Desmond Kane :

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Lionel Messi - Heart says Andrea Pirlo, head says Messi - My favourite player in the world is Pirlo. And not just in the way he carries himself. The guy just oozes classes with his vision and free-kicks from midfield, but not sure Brazil is going to suit his legs during such an arduous tournament. Having tipped England to pip Italy into second place, we'll go with Lionel Messi. If ever there was a tournament made for Messi, this is surely it. It is in South America. It is almost the perfect location for him being close to home without having the added pressure that will be on shoulders of tournament poster boy Neymar.

Marcus Foley (Twitter: @mmjfoley):

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Andres Iniesta – Just cannot get enough of this man playing football. Has been incredibly unlucky to never won the Ballon D’or but Iniesta gives off the impression that individual accolades are of little interest to him. Quite, poetically, that sums up why he is such an impressive player – blessed with breath-taking individual ability, he does everything for the better of the team.

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ROUNDTABLE VERDICT

Eden Hazard - 2 votes

Lionel Messi - 2 votes

Luis Suarez - 1 vote

Thomas Mueller - 1 vote

Sergio Aguero - 1 vote

Thiago Silva - 1 vote

Andres Iniesta - 1 vote

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