World Cup 2014: Rooney, Neymar and Ronaldo - the tournament’s most controversial, influential and entertaining players

As a month of intense football begins, we present the players who’ll cause waves for reasons other than their talent

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The Independent Online

The World Cup is upon us and today kicks off over a month of international matches, starring the game’s leading names.

With so many 32 countries competing for glory, we can expect an eclectic mix of personalities.

The good, the bad and the outright entertaining will grace the stadiums of Brazil, but which are the key names to look out for?

We’re not talking about sporting prowess or skill, rather players that have more to them than meets the eye – whether friends with Mafia mobsters or impressive dancers.

We have rounded up our 11-man team of the tournaments key characters, from the controversial  (Mario Balotelli and Luis Suarez) and the angelic (thank everyone for Didier Drogba) to those known for their excellent humour and hair.

Bad boys, peace-makers and drama queens - we present the biggest characters of World Cup 2014.