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Head to Head:
Life after Suarez

Liverpool Jul 16, 2014
Read
 Posted by James Tyler
Jul 16, 2014

Where the World Cup plays

FC's Julien Laurens explains why David Luiz could still pan out for PSG despite his woeful World Cup performance.

If you enjoyed the 2014 World Cup, there's no reason to stop tracking the stars who kept you dazzled and awestruck this summer.

Many of them already play in the highest echelons of club soccer, making this a relatively smooth and easy transition from the thrills of Brazil to the tension of the Premier League, Champions League and beyond.

Premier League

ARSENAL: Long built in manager Arsene Wenger's continental image, the Gunners aren't shy of employing several imported maestros from front to back.

Santi Cazorla (Spain); Jack Wilshere, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (England); Olivier Giroud, Laurent Koscielny (France); Mesut Ozil, Lukas Podolski, Per Mertesacker (Germany); Thomas Vermaelen (Belgium); Alexis Sanchez (Chile)

Mesut Ozil will look to continue his World Cup-winning form when he returns to Arsenal in London.

LIVERPOOL: A distinctly home-grown spine dominates, especially with the summer addition of two more players who all too briefly represented the Three Lions in Brazil.

Pepe Reina (Spain); Kolo Toure (Ivory Coast); Glen Johnson, Steven Gerrard, Daniel Sturridge, Jordan Henderson, Raheem Sterling, Rickie Lambert, Adam Lallana (England); Mamadou Sakho (France); Simon Mignolet (Belgium).

Daniel Sturridge forms part of Liverpool's considerable home-grown legion.

MANCHESTER UNITED: No real rhyme or reason to the mix, though all are among the best their nations have to offer in their respective positions.

Javier Hernandez (Mexico); Robin van Persie (Netherlands); David de Gea, Juan Mata (Spain); Shinji Kagawa (Japan); Wayne Rooney, Danny Welbeck, Chris Smalling, Phil Jones, Luke Shaw (England); Antonio Valencia (Ecuador); Patrice Evra (France); Nani (Portugal); Marouane Fellaini, Adnan Januzaj (Belgium).

Robin van Persie will link up with his Dutch national team coach Louis van Gaal, who begins his new role as Manchester United manager.

MANCHESTER CITY: Name brands from South America dominate City's substantial and expensive holdings, though their Belgian central defender is the calming, assertive influence in defense.

Fernandinho (Brazil); David Silva (Spain); Yaya Toure (Ivory Coast); Joe Hart, James Milner (England); Pablo Zabaleta, Martin Demichelis, Sergio Aguero (Argentina); Edin Dzeko (Bosnia-Herzegovina); Vincent Kompany (Belgium).

Vincent Kompany is captain, and marshals the defense, for both club and country.

CHELSEA: A veritable who's-who from around the globe in keeping with owner Roman Abramovich's expensive tastes.

Oscar, Willian, Ramires (Brazil); Cesc Fabregas, Diego Costa, Fernando Torres, Cesar Azpilicueta (Spain); Gary Cahill (England); John Obi Mikel, Victor Moses (Nigeria); Andre Schurrle (Germany); Eden Hazard (Belgium).

Chelsea have added another superstar to their ranks in the form of Cesc Fabregas.

Serie A

JUVENTUS: The spine of the Azzurri can be found at the defending Serie A champions as they aim for a fourth consecutive league title this coming season. Also, their French and Chilean midfielders are, for now at least, their driving force.

Mauricio Isla, Arturo Vidal (Chile); Gianluigi Buffon, Giorgio Chiellini, Claudio Marchisio, Andrea Barzagli, Leonardo Bonucci, Andrea Pirlo (Italy); Martin Caceres (Uruguay); Paul Pogba (France); Stephan Lichtsteiner, Reto Ziegler (Switzerland); Kwadwo Asamoah (Ghana).

French youngster -- and the winner of the 2014 World Cup Best Young Player award -- Paul Pogba is the driving force in Juve's midfield.

AC MILAN: Plenty of unloved and aging international veterans can be found on the Rossoneri's creaking squad given a couple of seasons spent trimming high-earning players and clearing out debt. Balotelli is the tempestuous focal point up front.

Nigel de Jong (Netherlands); Cristian Zapata (Colombia); Keisuke Honda (Japan); Mattia De Sciglio, Ignazio Abate, Mario Balotelli (Italy); Michael Essien, Sulley Muntari (Ghana).

Keisuke Honda showed only a few flashes of brilliance in Brazil. AC Milan will hope that he can shine more regularly for them this season.

INTER MILAN: Not much to punctuate their squad based on the World Cup but several key players either narrowly missed the 23-man cut, including Mauro Icardi (Argentina) and Andrea Ranocchia (Italy), or failed to qualify (Serbia's Nemanja Vidic and Samir Handanovic, to name but two).

Mateo Kovacic (Croatia); Fredy Guarin (Colombia); Yuto Nagatomo (Japan); Hugo Campagnaro, Rodrigo Palacio, Ricardo Alvarez (Argentina); Saphir Taider (Algeria).

Mateo Kovacic is considered one of Europe's elite young stars.

AS ROMA: Sparse, hipster players abound, in keeping with the Giallorossi's general vibe. Unlucky to have seen key Dutch midfielder Kevin Strootman miss the World Cup due to injury.

Maicon (Brazil); Vassilis Torosidis (Greece); Gervinho (Ivory Coast); Miralem Pjanic (Bosnia-Herzegovina); Daniele De Rossi (Italy).

Daniele De Rossi provides the engine for both Roma and the Azzuri.

Bundesliga

BAYERN MUNICH: Rich with the talent that led Die Nationalmannschaft to their fourth World Cup, the Bavarian giant also boasts quality from further afield.

Dante (Brazil); Arjen Robben (Netherlands); Javi Martinez (Spain); Xherdan Shaqiri (Switzerland); Manuel Neuer, Bastian Schweinsteiger, Thomas Muller, Philipp Lahm, Mario Gotze, Jerome Boateng (Germany); Julian Green (USA); Daniel van Buyten (Belgium).

Bayern Munich pair Thomas Mueller and Philipp Lahm have each inked long-term extensions that will keep them at the club for years to come.
Bayern Munich's squad is littered with World Cup winners, such as Thomas Muller and Philipp Lahm.

BORUSSIA DORTMUND: Few of their players in Brazil saw significant time -- Germany could take only 23 to the World Cup, after all -- but don't let that fool you with regard to their squad's obvious quality.

Sokratis Papastathopoulos (Greece); Ciro Immobile (Italy); Kevin Grosskreutz, Mats Hummels, Erik Durm, Roman Weidenfeller (Germany); Mitchell Langerak (Australia).

Mats Hummels is a Dortmund stalwart, although he has recently been linked with a transfer to Manchester United.

Ligue 1

PARIS SAINT-GERMAIN: The well-heeled defending French champs didn't have a ton of players at the World Cup, but those who made it all featured prominently. In the case of club captain Thiago Silva and new signing (and reported world's most expensive defender) David Luiz, this wasn't a good thing.

Thiago Silva, David Luiz, Maxwell (Brazil); Thiago Motta, Salvatore Sirigu, Marco Verratti (Italy); Edinson Cavani (Uruguay); Yohan Cabaye, Blaise Matuidi, Lucas Digne (France); Ezequiel Lavezzi (Argentina).

Brazil's centre-back pairing of Thiago Silva and David Luiz will also form PSG's rearguard this season.

AS MONACO: The team most likely to contend with PSG for Ligue 1 honors sent a small cast out on international duty, especially given Radamel Falcao's late withdrawal.

James Rodriguez (Colombia); Sergio Romero (Argentina); Joao Moutinho (Portugal).

World Cup Golden Boot winner James Rodriguez has attracted attention from Europe's biggest clubs.

La Liga

BARCELONA: The most intriguing of Spain's "big three" boasted a typical bumper crop of players at the World Cup, though many of them left early given Spain's unexpected failure. New signing Luis Suarez adds further firepower to a team boasting some of the world's most coveted forwards.

Dani Alves, Neymar (Brazil); Alex Song (Cameroon); Gerard Pique, Andres Iniesta, Xavi, Pedro, Sergio Busquets, Jordi Alba (Spain); Luis Suarez (Uruguay); Lionel Messi, Javier Mascherano (Argentina).

Barcelona boasts one of the strongest attacks on the planet, built around the likes of Lionel Messi and Neymar.

REAL MADRID: Los Blancos are rich with quality all over the pitch despite Gareth Bale's Wales side coming nowhere near the 32-man party this summer.

Marcelo (Brazil); Luka Modric (Croatia); Iker Casillas, Xabi Alonso, Sergio Ramos (Spain); Raphael Varane, Karim Benzema (France); Angel di Maria (Argentina); Sami Khedira, Toni Kroos(Germany); Pepe, Fabio Coentrao, Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal).

Cristiano Ronaldo may have had a difficult World Cup, but he remains one of the world's premier talents.

ATLETICO MADRID: Losing Diego Costa to Chelsea hurts, but they've a more than capable replacement from Bayern Munich in Mario Mandzukic.

Mario Mandzukic (Croatia); Juanfran, Koke (Spain); Diego Godin, Cristian Rodriguez, Jose Maria Gimenez (Uruguay); Thibaut Courtois, Toby Alderweireld (Belgium).

Koke is the face of the next generation of talent for both Spain and La Liga champions Atletico Madrid.

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