World Cup 2014: Player profile - Luiz Gustavo, the Brazil midfielder

Counting down the 100 players to look out for in Brazil this summer

Click to follow
The Independent Football

The World Cup in Brazil is coming into view and everyone is hoping this summer's carnival can take its place among some of the great tournaments of the past, but who will be the star of the show?

With 82 days to go until things kick-off, check out our latest instalment of 100 players to look out for at the competition below.

82. Luiz Gustavo (Brazil)

Gustavo is the kind of player who enhances any team – even a team with Brazil’s embarrassment of midfield riches. Paulinho, Ramires, Oscar and Lucas Moura are all vying for a place in Luiz Felipe Scolari’s team – but no player is more important than Wolfsburg’s Gustavo, or more trusted by Scolari. Gustavo sits in front of Brazil’s back four, snapping into tackles and distributing the ball with intelligence and panache. A graduate of Bayern Munich’s school of supercharged tiki taka, he is an exceptional passer: his pass completion rate of 93% was third only to Xavi and Puyol in Europe last season, and he’s not just a sideways pusher – he was also adept at finding Robben and Ribery with raking balls out wide. If Gustavo can provide that sort of service to Hulk and Neymar, this little-known midfielder could be the architect of one of Brazil’s most famous triumphs.

Did you know? Gustavo comes from a small town called Pindamonhangaba, which means ‘where the river bends’ in the Tupi language.