Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 23 August 2014

David Healy: Villa, Sneijder and Forlan conjured up the best World Cup magic

In the last World Cup there was no argument that Italian skipper Fabio Cannavaro was the player of the tournament. This time around there are a few contenders.

Perhaps a surprise candidate is Diego Forlan. He has been superb for Uruguay.

When Forlan was at Manchester United he didn’t deliver and became a figure of fun. No one is laughing at him now.

He’s had a brilliant World Cup and was the main reason Uruguay reached the last four.

Since leaving United he has gone from strength to strength scoring goals galore for Villarreal, Atletico Madrid and obviously his country.

Sometimes players just don’t settle at a club or can’t adapt to the culture of a different country. Forlan (pictured) was a case in point.

Wesley Sneijder had similar problems to a lesser degree when he was at Real Madrid. He never truly shone there but look how he has blossomed at Inter Milan, helping them win the treble last season. Now he is in line for a World Cup winners medal.

For Holland he has been sensational, hitting five goals from midfield and creating just about every other one the Dutch have scored.

The Spanish have a few contenders like Xavi, Iniesta and David Villa. They will all be playing together at club level next season with Villa signing for Barcelona. Frightening.

I love watching Villa. He’s a class act. It’s not just his goals that impress, it’s his general play. He’s a top class footballer who has been immense for Spain in this tournament.

So, my one, two, three? It’s a tough choice but first is Villa, second Sneijder and third Forlan.

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