The latest Festival of Champions is over, but the atmosphere and the passion witnessed in South Africa will linger long in the memories of fans all over the world. And with an eye on next year’s FIFA World Cup™ in the same country, the sense of anticipation is growing by the day.
At the end of the FIFA Confederations Cup 2009, FIFA.com asked users of all five language versions to name the young player who had impressed them the most. Read on to find out which three starlets received the most mentions.
Chorus of praise for Altidore
A young USA striker certainly stole the headlines and the lamplight. "Jozy Altidore is going to be the best player ever produced by the USA. The boy has huge potential and real promise for the future," wrote futbol198 from Australia. Mexican user Iainas was equally bowled over by the 19-year-old: "It's painful for us Mexicans, but Altidore was the best." Raymond_11 from Venezuela added his opinion: "He was definitely the best young player, especially because of his goal against Spain, and his excellent first touch with his back to goal."
Ramires on course for greatness
22-year-old Brazil midfield ace Ramires garnered just as many mentions as Altidore. "Out on the field, he invested all his energy in defending. But he’s quick, so he helped his team in both defence and attack. I think he’ll conquer Europe in the future," commented Mirladev from Haiti. Japanese user kambetsuanawa was also moved to praise Ramires: "This doesn’t come as any surprise to everyone who follows the Brazilian leagues: he's the key player in midfield for Cruzeiro. Great skill, good passes and fantastic runs! And that’s not all – he’s dangerous in front of goal too!" Peru-based a...guked had this to say: "You can’t ignore the fact he’s replaced great players like Elano and Julio Baptista!"
Praise for young master Rossi
Another young man prompted just as much excited chatter after scoring two goals against the USA, the very country in which he grew up. You the users took a shine to Italy's 22-year-old Giuseppe Rossi. "This boy has a killer instinct like Alessandro Del Piero. He'll score wonderful goals for Italy in years to come," wrote MOIsen6 from the USA. "He's already shown his class for Villarreal," Camilo0873 from Colombia pointed out.
Defensive players not left out
As well as this trio, users also recognised the good performances turned in by a keeper and two rock-solid defenders. South Africa shot-stopper Itumeleng Khune, who celebrated his 22nd birthday during the tournament, and Spain's centre-back Gerard Pique (22) and defensive midfielder Sergio Busquets (20), all earned rave reviews. Users saw that the FIFA Confederations Cup 2009 provided a stage for talented newcomers to show off their skills in all areas of the field – and maybe the starlets will go on to shine even more brightly at the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa™.