Under-Rated Soccer Stars
Unsung Hero- Diego Costa, Spotlight Stolen By- Radamel Falcao
Some people reading this won't even of heard his name before, never mind seen him play. Diego Costa is the striking partner of Radamel Falcao, and granted, not the accomplished finisher that Falcao is, theres still plenty to his game which he deserves more credit for. Still young at only 24, Costa has already been at seven different clubs since the 2006-2007 season. It was the 2011-2012 season where he came into his own, scoring 10 goals in 16 league games for Rayo Vallecano, which prompted Simeone to call him back from loan to Atletico Madrid. Ever since his call back and chance in the first team Costa has excelled, both chipping in with vital goals and creating them for fellow teammates. He is a physical striker who always chases the ball down and forces errors from the opposition. Also good in the air, quick and a good poacher, Costa is a nightmare for any defender to play against.
Unsung Hero- Leon Osman, Spotlight Stolen By- Marouane Fellaini
14th of November 2012, 31 years of age. This is the date Leon Osman gained his first cap for England, which was seen by many as long overdue. Osman can often go unnoticed on the field by keeping the simple things simple and avoiding the kind of passes that will land his team in trouble. Osman is an all round player who doesn't have any major downfalls in his game, he likes to make long runs into the box and breaks up play well. I'm by no way saying that Osman is a world class player, just stating that he is outshone by fellow players and underrated by many.
Usung Hero- Mesut Özil, Spotlight Stole By- Ronaldo
This man is what I would call our first 'superstar' on the list, but even superstars can be put in a shadow if they play alongside Cristiano Ronaldo. In many of the world's best teams Özil would be the main man, however for now he will have to do with been second best. One of his main strength's is the ability he has to create goals for other people. Over the last four seasons he has gained at least 12 assists in each and has 9 in the current campaign with a little over quarter of it left to play. The creativity he has combined with a wand of a left foot means chances of goals increase drastically when this sublime player is on the field. Özil also has great movement which makes its easier for his teammates to find him, and once he's got the ball, he's in plenty of space to put his creative talents to work.
Unsung Hero- Michael Carrick, Spotlight Stolen By- Robin Van Persie
Over the past few years Carrick's game has improved dramatically, controlling the game from a deep midfield position with the ability to make a difficult pass look simple. He has great vision and and with his high quality array of passes he can speed up or slow down a game at will. Much like Osman, Carrick has little, if any weaknesses to his game and is a consistent and reliable performer. He can go unnoticed as he rarely finds himself on the scoresheet and gains little assists. The best way to decribe Carrick's game is that he expertly supplies the ball to the player he believes to be in the best position, so that they can create a goal whilst he sits back and protects the back four. Take a look at the video below to see a recent example of Carrick's innovative passing.
Unsung Hero- Marek Hamsik, Spotlight Stolen By- Edinson Cavani
Hamsik is an attacking midfielder who plays for Napoli in Serie A. As an attacking player he is pretty much an all rounder, both scoring and providing goals. Since joining the club 6 years ago he has scored at least 10 goals each season, and in the past three years has became prolific at supplying them. 9 assists two seasons ago, 11 last season and already 15 this season only goes to show that his teamplay has developed massively without affecting his own goal rate. He is also a strong player who can shrug players off the ball with ease, however he doesn't use this asset defensively as he can tend to be lazy and stay upfield. With some more good coaching and a little more experience its very much possible Hamsik could eventually come out of Cavani's shadow and shine more prominently at one of Europe's top clubs.