The Confederations Cup was a nice little break from the agony of no football which we have had to put up with since May. Here are my top five players from the tournament and why they impressed me.
Neymar – Brazil
This is probably the most blatant name on the list. Neymar entered the Confederations Cup still with a lot of doubters due to only really making a major name for himself in his homeland of Brazil. But after a recent big money move to Barcelona people were intrigued to see the lightweight Brazilian maestro.
He didn’t disappoint; during the opening game he hammered in a terrific half volley from outside the area in just the third minute. The rest of his performances followed suit as he scored four goals in six games as well as winning the golden ball for best player of the tournament.
His performances helped guide Brazil to victory, putting a man of the match performance in for the final. He played a big part in two goals and also grabbed one of his own, one of his trademark skilful bursts also saw the sending off of Spain centre back Gerard Pique, further compounding Spain’s misery.
Emanuele Giaccherini – Italy
One of the surprise packages of the Confederations Cup was Italy’s Giaccherini. He wasn’t really in favour at club team Juventus but it is well documentede that Italy manager Cesare Prandelli doesn’t take club form into account.
Giaccherini is a shining example of Prandelli’s policy as his performances were hard-working but most importantly, a key part to Italy’s play. Deployed in a role just behind the striker meant Giaccherini could shift across in his attacking midfield role offering support for strikers or popping up on either wing.
He scored one goal over the tournament but that doesn’t reflect the hard working nature of Giaccherini’s overall play for the Italian national team – one of the major reasons Prandelli uses him so readily.
Jordi Alba – Spain
Despite being on the losing side in the final, Jordi Alba can walk out of this competition with his head held high after another set of dazzling displays which only helped further his reputation as one of the finest left backs in world football.
Alba’s constant running and blistering pace up the left hand side were a key component of Spain’s attacking play. Defensively he’s no slouch either as he played a part in two of Spain’s three clean sheets.
Alba finished the tournament with two goals of his own after a set of performances in which he flourished with his pace, stamina and defensive attributes which were more than assured.
Andres Iniesta – Spain
If there was a player anyone would want for the big occasion in centre midfield it would be Iniesta. Like Alba, he was on the losing side in the final but he was one of few players who fought until the final whistle and that added to the qualities which the playmaker no doubt possesses.
Iniesta registered no goals at the tournament but his importance to Spain’s play going forward was paramount as he consistently dictated the tempo of matches he played in. He completed 337 passes of the 390 he attempted in the entire competition.
The creative midfielder was voted man of the match during Spain’s first game of the tournament in a 2 – 1 win over Uruguay which the Spanish dominated.
David Luiz – Brazil
His defensive attributes are usually questioned at Chelsea but while playing in his home country for his national team, David Luiz seemed to turn into a defensive genius.
His time at Chelsea has been inconsistent, he can go on forays forward from the back leaving gaps, or make mistakes which get exploited but Luiz became a defensive wall with the heart of a lion for La Selecao, his tournament being encompassed in one moment by his goal-line clearance in the final against Spain.
His popularity for both club and country though will never seem to waiver as he is a fans favourite among both Chelsea and Brazil fans, his popularity even more so following his performances in this competition.