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Not Big Sam: Five players who will shine in the World Cup (before returning home as stars and, eventually, greedy, pampered b**tards)

Putting his own employment worries to the side, Not Big Sam returns to the Paddy Power Blog with a stunning preview of what's to come in Rio...

by Not Big Sam | May 9, 2014

During the summer of 1990 I had become sexually involved with an alarmingly skinny, but still rather enchanting young woman called Arabella Smooth. The relationship was tempestuous, volatile and deeply erotic. A bit like Fred and Rose West, but without all the unpleasantness.

One night, during a rather theatrical bout of upright love-making, I ran towards her puny frame – plonker propelling in mid-air like some sort of adorable, moshing dolphin – and proceeded to gyrate in front of her in a salacious whirlwind of muscular, African rhythm. She looked bemused at first, but that soon dissolved into ecstasy as I feasted upon her naked body, like some sort of rampant sex hyena.

What Arabella didn’t know was the previous night I had sat down with a cool glass of Harvey’s Bristol Cream and watched Cameroon take on Colombia in the last 16 of the 1990 World Cup. During the game, an elderly man by the name of Roger Milla scored a vital goal, ran towards the corner flag and then jigged the jig of a thousand smiling African faces. It was a beautiful, instantly iconic moment, and one that I immediately knew would be re-enacted the following evening, as I made sweet, sweet love to my brittle mistress.

The World Cup has the power to do that to you. The power to make you dream. The power to transport you from the humdrum of everyday life. The power to influence your approach to intercourse.

Giving us four weeks of unsurpassed, intoxicating jubilance, the World Cup is, quite simply, THE most magical event in the sporting calendar. Well, when it’s in the calendar. Most years it isn’t, to be fair, but when it is, it’s the most magical event in the sporting calendar.

As Brazil 2014 inches ever-closer, waves of questions begin to bounce around our excited minds, like TV presenters from the 1970s scurrying around their garage, searching for old, possibly incriminating diaries. Who’s going to win? How will England do? Will Roy Hodgson collapse due to sunstroke and be discovered in sandals and white socks? Some of these queries are beyond even Not Big Sam’s mighty footballing intellect. What I can do, though, is give you an insight into the players I believe will be the stars of the show.

So here, in no particular order other than the one in which Google decided to use when I typed in ‘Who Will Be The Stars of The World Cup’ into my internet box, are the young upstarts that I believe can light up the tournament, before returning home as stars and, eventually, greedy, pampered bastards.

Luis Muriel

Luis Muriel – Colombia

This boy first came to my attention back in 2009, during my time at Blackburn. Before those poultry-f*ckers screwed me over.

I travelled to Colombia with my chief scout Norman Gravy to watch this incredibly exciting young striker play in a Deportivo Cali youth game in surroundings that would honestly make a pig retch. The smells. Jesus H Christ and his untouched mum, the f*cking smells.

On a scorching day in June, I watched this 18-year-old powerhouse score no fewer than 39 goals in a 60-minute game. It was incredible. He twatted them in from all angles, reducing the opposition defence to a puddle of devastated bones and tears. Almost literally in fact; at the end of the game the big centre half actually started crying. And that’s when we noticed it. The forehead. All the foreheads.

It was at this point it became clear Deportivo were playing against a team of mentally-challenged teens. I’d be lying if I said it didn’t diminish Muriel’s achievements somewhat.

You can only beat what’s put in front of you, though. And if it’s a goalkeeper that spends the entire game trying to catch a bee, so be it.

Aleksandr Kokorin

Aleksandr Kokorin – Russia

In many ways, eastern European footballers make the perfect signings; talented, supremely confident and mentally fragile from a youth spent in brutal, grey surroundings. The one major drawback, however, is the sheer amount of shady bastards you have to deal with when trying to sign one of them.

When I was manager of Bolton I travelled to Russia to tie up a deal with an exciting young winger. The player wanted to come and the club had a price, but the boy’s advisors were causing real issues. His agent in particular was a deeply worrying character. He was constantly unshaven but never grew a full beard, which kept me awake at night, and he had a little tin of sardines on his person at all times. During an impasse in negotiations he took me out to the hotel balcony for a cigar and began to tell me a little about himself, in a way that scarred me for years to come.

“Some men only see mother’s vagina once in whole life, my friend,” he slurred, bits of sardines flying out of his wretched mouth and onto the Soviet streets below. “Some men.”

I knew at that point that this deal really wasn’t worth pursuing. Anway, Kokorin is a good player. He’ll get goals.

Paul Pogba

Paul Pogba – France

I know all about Pogba from his time at Manchester United, where he treated my best friend Sir Alex like some sort of schoolyard chump. The arrogance the brat displayed towards the sweetest old man who has ever lived was nothing short of disgraceful.

That’s the bloody French for you, though. All insouciant shrugs and filthy sexual predilection. They’ve never won a f*cking war though, have they? Well, maybe some of their own, but none of the big ones. They’ve never won a big war, have they? Have they balls. Sitting in their palaces, eating French Fancies and drinking Chocolat Chaud. Christ, they rile me something rotten.

Pogba’s main strength is his strength. He’s good on the ball too. Can’t really ask for much more.

Christian Atsu

Christian Atsu – Ghana

Let’s not beat about the bush here; African lads lie about their age. I once went speed-dating with Youssou N’Dour in Bristol and he changed his f*cking age with every single woman he spoke to.

“Youssou,” I said. “You’re a handsome, talented, fiercely-committed, man. Why do you feel the need to lie about your age with these… these women?” I made a dismissive hand gesture when I said “women” for some reason. The silly cow sitting in front of me was furious.

“Big Sam,” he replied, his lilting voice caressing my ears with each edible syllable. “I will use any advantage in my repertoire. My body. My soul. My cunning. My political fury. I’ll also lie if I need to. And if Wendy from Pucklechurch only shags 24-year-olds, then I’ll be a 24-year-old.”

Christian Atsu is a talented attacking midfielder, with exceptional technique and blistering pace. He says he’s 22. I have no reason to doubt him, but I once saw him coming off a team bus listening to Shed Seven’s A Maximum High on a Discman. That’s all I’m saying.

Bernard Brazil

Bernard – Brazil

Bernard Anício Caldeira Duarte (born 8 September 1992), better known as Bernard, is a Brazilian footballer who plays for Shakhtar Donetsk, as a winger.
A left-sided player, Bernard is known for his pace and energy. [4]

I don’t know much else about this fella, but Tracey Emin told me he’s the dog’s beanbag. The fact his name is Bernard is also bloody hilarious. I once met a man from Paraguay who was called Colin. I couldn’t believe it. He was installing a hot tub in my spare room and when I asked him if he’d like me to rustle him up a gourd of traditional South American maté, he replied: “No please thank you Mr Sam, but do you have Horlicks?”

I laughed like a f*cking drain. Then Colin started laughing. And he didn’t even know what he was laughing at. And that got me laughing even more. And there we were laughing our bloody heads off like a couple of best pals. What a moment.

I had to sack him the next day, mind. I won’t tolerate identity theft.

Whatever happens in Brazil, I think we can all agree that these five young men are going to be there. And I think they’ll do really well. And I think that’s testament to both them, but also to me and my foresight.

One does, however, need to retain and appreciate the volatile nature of making predictions and displaying your foresight.

“Foresight,” I once said to Phil Brown. “Where do you stand on foresight?”

“He’s alright, replied Phil, “but those jokes he tells on Strictly are f*cking shite.”

Predictions aren’t for everyone.

Not Big Sam is a parody account on Twitter which can be found here. It is in no way related to Sam Neill, Sam Adams, Sam Allardyce or Sam Fox.

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