Feel the passion as fans from around the globe bring you all the stories live from the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil™ and share the excitement and colour from the biggest show on earth …

Davide Sannazzaro

Davide Sannazzaro

Ronaldo to Kroos: What the World Cup experts say

Tags: Argentina, colombia, Germany, Portugal, Sony Handycam ®, Sony Xperia, Spain

Goal 50 has showcased many of the best players in the world, some of whom lit up the World Cup in Brazil. Here our Sony Team Ambassadors continue their assessment of today’s stars …

Cristiano Ronaldo, No 1, by Alessandro Nesta and Brad Friedel

Nesta: “Ronaldo radically changed his style of play. I remember when I met him in Manchester, he was very tricky, a dribbling-lover, now he is much more effective, he always shoots on target, he’s very dangerous just because of this. He changed a lot his style, now he uses his skills to be more effective rather than just to make a show.”

Real Madrid v Atletico de Madrid - UEFA Champions League Final

Friedel: “Ronaldo can beat you in any number of ways, but for goalkeepers it is his free-kick ability that can give you the most headaches. It’s certainly important when you face him that you don’t anticipate. Because he hits the ball right on the little air nozzle or valve, then he hits in the middle of the ball and tries to put topspin on it – very similar to playing tennis. He keeps his ankle locked but with an open foot. It takes a tremendous amount of strength to do so and when you strike a ball in that manner, it wobbles.

“The very first movement you see is very rarely the direction it ends up going. Trying to anticipate that it’s going over the wall or around the wall, even if you don’t take a full step and just lean your body in the direction where he wants you, just the pace of the ball will beat you. It’s invariably going to go the opposite way.”

Toni Kroos, No 16, by Dietmar Hamann

“The most naturally gifted player I’ve seen since Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, was how Bayern Munich’s former youth director, Werner Kern, described Kroos. I would add that he’s very flexible and he has many strengths. He is smart, he keeps the ball great, he has a good eye for the situation and great technique. Kroos can play in any team. If there is a loser in this deal that saw him go to Real Madrid, it is Bayern Munich. He is able to play in offensive midfield and defensive midfield as well – and you saw his qualities against Brazil in the semi-final.”

Thibaut Courtois, No 8, by Diego Simeone

“I think that Courtois has experienced a huge improvement in the last two and a half years. He is a young intelligent capable guy. He has a World Cup behind him and consolidated the good work he has been doing for the last three years at Atletico de Madrid.”

In the video below, shot before the World Cup, Simeone talks about Belgium’s chances, then looks at Chelsea keeper Courtois, who had been on loan with Simeone at Atletico Madrid

Javier Mascherano, No 25, by Diego Simeone

“Javier Mascherano told Sergio Romero that he was going to become a hero (before the shootout win against Holland in the semi-final). That doesn’t surprise me. He may not be the captain, but leaders don’t need an armband to mark their leadership and Mascherano has shown that wherever he has played – that human strength and the kind of player he is. He’s a guy with a big personality and he showed his leadership skills by supporting a team-mate in a decisive moment.”

James Rodriguez, No 6, by Emile Heskey

“James Rodriguez lit up the World Cup. I’ve been very impressed with his general ability on the ball. His movement is very good too, he sometimes plays on the left, or off the front man, the inter-change in positions causes lots of problems for defenders. His ability to move the ball is fantastic for such a young player, and to show that ability on the world stage is fantastic. His repertoire of goals has been impressive.

“He scored one against Japan when he left the lad on his back and then lifted it over the keeper. He scored a great header against Ivory Coast and then got a poacher’s goal when he tapped it in at the end of a lovely team move. And he scored the 25-yarder scorcher against Uruguay!”

Angel Di Maria, No 13, by Diego Milito

“He has had an amazing year at Real Madrid – including winning the Champions League. His experience from the past two World Cups has been good for him and I believe he is more mature now and with more confidence. I believe that after Leo Messi and Kun Aguero, Di Maria is the player in the Argentina team who is the biggest threat to defenders.”

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