Stars were born, reputations forged and there were plenty of life-changing moments during the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil™. Some of those who shone have moved on to pastures new, and the English Premier League gets underway this weekend with a host of fresh faces on the sidelines and out on the pitch.
FIFA.com takes a look at some of Brazil 2014’s standout names who will line up in the Premier League for the 2014/15 season, as we look ahead to another intriguing and exciting campaign.
Diego Costa, Chelsea (made World Cup debut for Spain)
After an outstanding season for Atletico Madrid domestically and in Europe, it was not a happy step up to the global stage for Costa, as the holders crashed out at the group stage. Spain’s No19 had already agreed a move to Chelsea at the beginning of July, but the transfer was officially finalised days after Spain were dethroned following Germany’s win at the Maracana. The former Atleti player will have some familiar faces at Stamford Bridge, with Filipe Luis also making the switch from the Vicente Calderon and fellow Spaniard Cesc Fabregas arriving from Barcelona. The Blues begin their Premier League campaign against two newly-promoted sides, facing Burnley on Monday 18 August before their opening home match against Leicester City the following Saturday. With those teams finding their feet, Costa will be hoping to have a similarly swift start to 2014/15 as he did to 2013/14, when he grabbed ten goals in the opening eight Spanish La Liga fixtures.
“Everybody knows it is a big club in a very competitive league, and I am very excited to get started in England with a fantastic coach and team-mates.”
Frank Lampard, Manchester City (became one of few Englishmen to play ten World Cup games)
The aforementioned Fabregas will be looking to fill the void left by a Chelsea legend, who moved on to Manchester after Brazil, via New York. Lampard played once at Brazil 2014, as England failed to progress from the first round of a World Cup for the first time since 1958. Chelsea’s record goalscorer announced his intention to leave Chelsea in early June and he became New York City FC’s second marquee signing, after David Villa, as the new MLS side displayed their intentions to make an impact in the USA. With the team not due to begin playing in the league until 2015, the 36-year-old shocked many in his homeland by swapping dark blue for a lighter shade as the Premier League champions announced his arrival on a loan deal from their sister outfit. Lampard is joined at the Etihad Stadium by two Frenchman who also travelled to Brazil, Eliaquim Mangala and Bacary Sagna, who move from Porto and Arsenal respectively. City have a tough start to their title defence, beginning at Newcastle United before facing Liverpool and Arsenal in their opening games. It is the Citizens’ fifth league game that will surely draw attention though, as they host Chelsea at Eastlands in late September.
“Joining up with Manchester City is a fantastic opportunity for me. This is a new chapter of my career. I'm looking forward to making a contribution for Manchester City ahead of my move over to New York."
Alexis Sanchez, Arsenal (scored twice as Chile reached the knockout stages)
Manuel Pellegrini will be looking for ways to counteract a countryman early on in their Premier League title defence, as City’s Community Shield conquerors now have a red hot Chilean among their number. Sanchez shone for Chile as their exciting brand of attacking football put paid to Spain’s title defence, playing a part in both goals as the holders were dumped out of the World Cup at the Maracana. Despite doubling his personal tally at Brazil 2014 by scoring La Roja’s equaliser in their Round of 16 game against the hosts, the then Barça frontman saw a penalty saved in the shoot-out as the South Americans went out. Two weeks later, Sanchez had agreed to wear red domestically, signing for Arsenal on a long term contract. Colombia’s star stopper David Ospina and France full-back Mathieu Debuchy join Sanchez at the Emirates Stadium after impressing in Brazil, and they begin their campaign at home against Crystal Palace on Saturday. The Gunners announced their intention as genuine title contenders with that impressive win against City at Wembley and Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger will be hoping Sanchez makes the difference for a side that led the table for a large chunk of the 2013/14 season, but came up short.
“I’m so happy to be joining Arsenal, a club which has a great manager, a fantastic squad of players, huge support around the world and a great stadium.”
Enner Valencia, West Ham United (scored three goals in three games for Ecuador)
Ecuador may not have made it out of the group stages at Brazil 2014, but their forward Enner Valencia certainly made a name for himself. The No13 proved a predatory finisher, with a header in his side’s opening defeat against Switzerland followed up by a close range effort and another headed goal in his team’s come-from-behind victory against Honduras. His performances saw West Ham battle off competition for his signature, securing the forward on a five-year contract after the World Cup’s conclusion. The South American is still working towards full fitness after Brazil and will hope to make his Premier League bow before the end of August. He will have a good chance to bed in at Upton Park, as the Hammers play just one of last season’s top five in their opening eight games.
“After the World Cup, several things came along and lots of different clubs. But when West Ham were interested in me, I said yes, definitely, because it's one of my dreams, one of my goals to play in the Premier League.”
Louis van Gaal, Manchester United (led Netherlands to third place)
Ahead of Brazil 2014, Group B looked a daunting prospect for the Dutch. Despite finishing top of their group in European qualifying, the Netherlands were billed as the underdog in their opening game against Spain, a battle of the 2010 finalists. They proved any doubters wrong by coming from behind to demolish the holders 5-1. Van Gaal’s intuitive tactical system was a revolution throughout the tournament, with three central defenders and flying wing-backs complemented by a lethal frontline and creative midfield. The Dutchman was confirmed as David Moyes’s permanent successor in May before he led the Netherlands to third place by seeing off the hosts in Van Gaal’s final game in charge. The former Barcelona and Ajax coach has rung the changes at Old Trafford, bringing in Luke Shaw from Southampton, who played a part in England’s Brazil 2014 campaign, as well as Spanish midfielder Ander Herrera from Athletic Bilbao. Patrice Evra, Nemanja Vidic and Rio Ferdinand have all departed in a revolution for the red half of Manchester. Swansea City visit Old Trafford in the first game of the Premier League season on Saturday, with Van Gaal’s first big test against a team from last season’s top four coming against old friend Jose Mourinho’s Chelsea at the end of October.
“The fans expect a lot and you can't change everything in three or four weeks and the players can't change either. We have to wait and see and develop. We need time.”