Posted March. 11, 2010 09:40,
Park Ji-sung of Korea, Wayne Rooney of England, Cristiano Ronaldo of Portugal, Lionel Messi of Argentina, and Didier Drogba of Ivory Coast are the players most world soccer fans want to see the most in the World Cup in June.
Soccer is a team sport, but is also heavily dependent on star players. Park is not considered to have outstanding technique, but his awareness of when, where and how to use his endless energy makes him an indispensable player. No other Asian player has had as much top-flight experience as Park.
England without Rooney is unthinkable. Just like Park, the striker is full of the will to run until he runs out of breath. Rooney boasts excellent skills more than any other English player; he has the vision to score more goals and a fighting spirit that can get him in trouble at times.
Rooney was ejected in the quarterfinals against Portugal in the 2006 World Cup by stepping on Ricardo Alberto Silveira Carvalho of Portugal. The English players exit was crucial in his teams failure to advance to the semifinals. Rooney remains an intense player but has grown more mature season after season.
Ronaldo is Portugals everything. Without him, his team is never strong. When he is top form, bookies dare not bet on Portugals opponent.
Portugals squad this year is considered relatively weaker, but could go far if Ronaldos unrelenting speed, fantastic skills, accurate free kicks and shots all come to the fore.
Lionel Messi, FIFAs World Player of the Year, led FC Barcelona of Spain to six trophies last season, including the Spanish league, cup and Champions League titles. He is always sharp and talented but modest.
His relatively short stature is not a weakness but rather enables fantastic ball control due to his low center of gravity.
Ironically, Messi has not shined under Argentina coach Diego Maradona. While Maradona is believed to have been a greater player than Messi, the coach seems to have no clue how to organize his team and use his talented squad.
Drogba is an African success story. Ivory Coast has a number of tall players. If Guus Hiddink, the Dutch coach who led Korea to the 2002 World Cup semifinals, trained the African team, he would have made all of the players play as a cohesive unit.
Hiddink, who coached Chelsea last season, knows the importance of Drogba. The power from the strikers strong muscles is overwhelming, along with his speed and boldness. He is, however, easily affected by atmosphere and needs the proper motivation and management.
The five stars have much to do until June. Drogba is chasing his first Champions League title to add to his English Premier League and FA Cup wins. That is why his countrymen in Ivory Coast pray that he will stay healthy through June.
Park and the others are also in the same situation, as they pursue their respective league and Champions League titles.
Fans in the countries of the five players hope that their stars do not get injured ahead of the World Cup. Soccer makes all people pray for the same thing, and this is why they wait for the sports biggest spectacle.