Forward: Thomas Müller (GER)
He didn't even play up front for a goodly proportion of the World Cup, subjugated to the almost parodic throwback centre-forward Miroslav Klose. But Thomas Müller is the modern forward, a flexible friend who can "do a job" in any position, and what a job.
Only James Rodriguez scored more goals; Müller bagged five from just 14 shots, of which eight were on target (by comparison, in three games Cristiano Ronaldo had 22 shots, of which nine were on target). He got three assists – only Juan Cuadrado contributed more – and nobody created more chances in open play (although Leo Messi matched his 17); of the forwards, only Messi and Dirk Kuyt (here often a wingback) made more passes. Shwoing his complete comfort up the sharp end, he had the most touches in the opponents' area (47), and only Marouane Fellaini and Islam Slimani contested more aerial duels than his 32 – evidence of his fitting physicality.
Successfully ending an era, Klose scored his record-breaking 16th World Cup finals goal to close an account he had opened in 2002, eight days before his 24th birthday. By the same age Müller had already scored five, doubling that this summer; at this rate, by the time he's Klose's age he'll have 25 World Cup finals goals – and who knows how many winners' medals.
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Stats Zone Premier League Awards: 2013/14 • 2012/13