Wednesday, May 22, 2013

41 - 60 Football Wonderkids

41. Sébastien Haller (Auxerre)
At just 17 years-old, Haller is already considered one of France's up and coming stars. Heading up a new generation of talent along with the likes of Raphaël Varane and Yassine Benzia, Haller has yet to make his first team debut for Auxerre but has already built up a reputation as one of the games rising stars. Compared to a Ruud Van Nistlerooy, Haller combines strength with prolific finishing ability. With a quick turn of pace and natural instincts in front of goal, Haller has already demonstrated his abilities and future potential for France at the Under-17 world Cup where he scored two goals in three games, after bagging a brace against former champions England. Good in the air, Auxerre manager Laurent Fournier has already stated that Haller is the club's future, though this season's Ligue 1 campaign may come too soon for the talented teenager. Currently playing for the second string during the 2011/12 season, Haller has scored an impressive 7 goals in 12 appearances. Already being monitored by a host of clubs including Manchester United and Arsenal, Haller is unlikely to make a move so early in his career and focus on making his first team breakthrough at Auxerre and winning his first Under-21 call up by France. With the national team in need of a major revamp and awaiting a new generation to breakthrough, there are big expectations of Haller at both club and country level such is his potential and promise.

42. Gueïda Fofana (Lyon)
Arguably one of France’s finest young prospects, Lyon starlet Gueïda Fofana is held in such high regard that he has already been compared to French greats Patrick Vieira and Claude Makélelé. The 20 year-old defensive midfielder who established himself as a regular at Le Harve moved to Lyon on the final day of the summer transfer window in 2011 for a fee in the region of  €1.8 million having attracted interest from a number of clubs from around Europe. It was at the Under-19 European Championships in 2010 when clubs began to sit up and take notice of Fofana who captained France at the tournament and put in a series of impressive displays. With an athletic build, Fofana possesses strength and pace and plays in the centre of the park. Described as the heartbeat of the team, Fofana has all the abilities to make it to the top. Naturally driven, Fofana has stamina, a good range of passing and  has excellent tackling abilities to  enable him to intercept play.  Although only signing for Lyon in 2011, Fofana who is

capped up to Under-21 level by France is a wanted man and could soon be on his way out of the former French champions. Currently playing in his first season in Ligue 1, he is currently used in a rotation system, but is expected to become one of clubs integral players in the next few years.

43. Muhammed  Demirci (Besiktas)
17 year-old Turkish midfielder Muhammed Demirci has been known by most of Europe’s top clubs now since he was discovered at the age of 7. Described as Turkey’s answer to Lionel Messi, Demirci has incredible playmaking skills. Currently playing for Besiktas he signed his first professional contract in October 2010, signing a 3 year-deal. At the age of 12 he had reportedly been signed by Barcelona for a fee of £2 million but the move was scuppered due to family concerns who had wanted Demirci to stay in Turkey to continue his development. Currently playing for Besiktas second string he has yet to establish himself as part of the first team setup due to his lack of physical presence which should improve with experience. Blessed with excellent pace, dribbling skills and extraordinary vision, Demirci has been capped at international youth level by Turkey and has been capped by the U16’s. With a number of clubs keeping a close eye on his progress, Besiktas have put a £10 million price tag on his head.

44. Lucas Piazon (Chelsea)
Compared to the legendary Kaka, attacking midfielder Lucas Piazón joined Chelsea in January 2012 after turning 18. Known for his playmaking skills, passing and powerful shot, Piazón has an excellent free kick. Lucas Piazon has long been on the radar of European scouts and first came to attention at the Under-15 Nike Cup held at Old Trafford in May 2009. Captaining his side to victory, Piazon scored five goals during the tournament and was voted as the player of the tournament.  It is at international youth level for Brazil’s Under-15s and Under-17s where young teenager truly established a reputation as one of Brazil’s future superstars. In 2009 he helped Brazil to a runner-up finish at the South American Under-15 Football Championships in which he was top goalscorer with ten goals. Currently playing for Chelsea reserves he has put in a number of eye catching displays and scored a wonder goal in their 4-0 victory over Arsenal.

45. Paul Pogba (Manchester United)
19 years-old Manchester United midfielder Paul Pogba is considered one of the best prospects in world football. Joining Old Trafford in a controversial move in October 2009, Pogba has yet to make his first team breakthrough, but this has been mainly due to the starlets on-going contract negotiations and Sir Alex Ferguson’s refusal to put the wonderkid in the shop window. Standing at 6 ft, 2 inches Pogba is an imposing figure. Possessing all the qualities to dominate midfield, Pogba is powerful, creative, has good stamina and an excellent range of passing. With Sir Alex Ferguson looking to the future in an attempt to overhaul his ageing midfield and the impending retirement of Paul Scholes and Ryan Giggs, the Red Devils boss will be encouraged by the progress of one if its academy's finest young talents. A regular at international youth level, Pogba was an influential figure when a talented French team reached the semi-finals of the 2009 Uefa Under-17 European Championships.

46. Maxym Koval (Dynamo Kiev)
19 year-old goalkeeper Maksym Koval is regarded as one of Europe’s most promising goalkeepers and is tipped to be a future international for Ukraine. Already capped up to Under-21 level, he has been compared to Russian goalkeeper Igor Akinfeev due to his style and build. With excellent reflexes and ariel abilities he currently plays for Dynamo Kiev but has yet to firmly establish himself as a first team regular. Koval who is a product of the Metalurg Zaporizhya youth academy was playing in the Ukraine Premier League at just 16 years-old and during the 2009/10 season was first choice, playing 22 matches and conceding 26 goals. In 2010 Dynamo Kiev signed Koval for a fee in the region of €3n where he signed a contract until 2015. Already linked with moves to Arsenal and Tottenham in his short career he is likely to remain with Kiev and become the main replacement for Shovkovskiy after he retires.

47. Diego Rubio (Sporting Lisbon)
Hailed as one of the biggest talents to emerge from Chile in years is 18 year-old striker Diego Rubio. Scoring 6 goals in 10 appearances in his debut season for Colo-Colo began to attract attention from Europe’s elite. A striker by trade he can also operate on the flanks and some have compared him to David Villa. With an excellent first touch, movement and the ability to score from all over the pitch, Rubio plays with great flair. Impressing for Chilean giants Colo-Colo in the Copa Libertadores only added further to his burgeoning reputation in the game. In July 2011, Rubio announced he was joining Portuguese side Sporting Lisbon on a five-year contract, who set a €30 million release fee in his contract. It was only a month before he officially made his debut for Chile in a match against Paraguay. While his rise to prominence has been rapid, he will need to work on establishing himself as a first team regular at Sporting and proving himself in European competition.

48. Kevin De Bruyne (Chelsea)
Some say Belgium is experiencing a golden generation of talent coming through their system with Eden Hazard, Steven Defour, Romelu Lukaku and now Chelsea’s Kevin De Bruyne. Seen as successor to Frank Lampard, De Bruyne has already been capped by Belgium at international level. With a good range of passing, vision and an eye for goal, De Bruyne is an attacking midfielder who can also operate as a left-winger. Starting life at Racing Genk he made his breakthrough in the first team squad during the 2008/09 season at the teenager age of 18. Chelsea signed him on transfer deadline day in January 2012 for a fee in the region of £9 million, signing the teenager on a five and a half year contract. Technically excellent, De Bruyne provides a threat from set pieces and first came to the attention of the football world with his impressive performances for Belgium at Under-19 level where he scored 11 goals in 9 appearances. Loaned back to Genk for the remainder of the season, he will be hoping to breakthrough in 2012/13.

49. Mário Fernandes (Gremio) 
Hailed as the next Lucio is 21 year-old defender Mario Fernandes who currently plays for Grêmio. Able to operate as a centre-back or on the right side of defence, Fernandes is composed on the ball and has good ariel abilities. Real Madrid and Barcelona are some of the many clubs to have scouts over to Brazil to monitor his progress and have delivered glowing reports. Standing at 6ft 2 inches, Fernandes has been described as a natural leader. Under contract until March 2014, Fernandes has mainly been used as a right-back for Grêmio. A regular at Under-20 level for Brazil he was called up the Brazil senior squad in 2011 for a friendly against Argentina but declined the opportunity citing personal problems. Transferring to Grêmio from São Caetano in March 2009, he made his full debut on the 28 June 2009, against Sport and like Lucio is expected to make a move to Europe within the next year.

50. Henrique (São Paulo)
São Paulo's 20 year-old striker Henrique recently became one of the hottest players on the planet after starring at the Fifa Under-20 World Cup for Brazil. With the young prodigy apparently becoming frustrated at the lack of first team opportunities and with his contract expiring, AC Milan, Inter, Roma and Juventus were watching on ready to tempt the Samba star to Serie A. However, head coach Adilson Batista persuaded Henrique that his future remains at São Paulo and recently signed a five-year extension along with tenacious midfielder Carlos Casemiro. At São Paulo since he was 16 years-old, Henrique has excellent technical ability with good dribbling and positioning skills. At the World Cup 2011 Fifa Under-20 World Cup held in Colombia, Henrique was top scorer with 5 goals which included a brace against Mexico in the semi-finals to win the Golden Boot award. He was also awarded with the Golden Ball award for the best player of the tournament to complete a clean sweep as he helped inspire Brazil to victory. Henrique recently signed an 18 month loan deal with Granada having failed to obtain a work permit in order for a move to QPR.

51. Andy Polo (Universitario de Deportes)
Hailed as one of South America's brightest young talents is striker Andy Polo who only turned 17 at the end of September. Helping his team to win the Under-20 version of the Copa Libertadores, the continent's Champions League, he has already made the transition to the senior side. In 2011 alone he has already made over 20 appearances for the Peruvian giants and has scored four goals, including a vital goal against Godoy Cruz in the Copa Sudamerica. With interest rife in the player who has drawn similarities to Sergio Aguero, Polo's agent claims the starlet will head for the German Bundesliga and fend off offers from England, Spain and the Netherlands, where he will join countrymen Claudio Pizarro, Jefferson Farfan and Paolo Guerrero. Polo's rise started in March 2011 when he starred for Peru at the South American Under-17 championships held in Ecuador. Although knocked out in the group stages of the tournament, Polo caught the eye with three goals in four games. Just one month later he made his first league appearance for Universitario aged 16 years old and 7 months in the Lima Clasico. A natural born goalscorer, Polo has good raw pace and excellent technical abilities. Able to go past defenders with his explosive pace and dazzling dribbling abilities, Polo can operate up front or in a deeper supporting role. With Universitario currently experincing financial difficulties, the Peruvian club will be unable to hold onto their prized asset and a number of clubs will be waiting in the wings.

52. Jean-Marie Dongou (Barcelona)
Described by some as Africa’s answer to Lionel Messi, 16 year striker Jean-Marie Dongou is the first player since the Argentine to play for three age groups in Barcelona’s youth academy. Now competing with players three years his senior, Dongou who can also operate as an attacking midfielder is strong, fast and has a natural eye for goal. Currently playing in the Canteria Division at La Masia, he has already featured for Barcelona B in the Segunda division. Pep Guardiola is already an admirer of his talents and he is expected to continue his progress and make his breakthrough at the Nou Camp. Dongou played in the Samuel Eto’o foundation before moving to Barcelona to set up home at La Masia, at the age of 13 years-old, the same as Messi. While the Cameroonian is not similar in style to Messi, standing at 6 ft and being right-footed many people have drawn similarities to Didier Drogba and Romelu Lukaku.  Since joining Barcelona,  Dongou has regularly surpassed the 30-goal mark in each of his seasons at the club. During his first season with ‘Infantil A’, in 2007/08, he scored over 70 goals in all competitions and scored 35 goals with Cadet A. Former youth coach Oscar Garcia has described Dongou as “His potential is limitless.”

53. Jetro Willems (PSV)
Already being chased by Manchester United as they search a long-term replacement for Patrice Evra, 17 year-old left-back Jetro Willems. Having only joined PSV from Sparta Rotterdam in the summer, he is already a member of their first-team squad and is representing the Netherlands at Under-17 level. Signing a three year deal with the Dutch outfit, Sir Alex Ferguson is keen to make his move before his price rises. The Red Devils boss sent his brother, Martin, to see the Dutch left-back in action against NAC Breda in December and was left suitably impressed after Willems setting up the decisive strike for Dries Mertens. Willems who was part of the Netherland's Under-17 team which won the European Championships has excellent technical abilities. Strong in the tackle with natural raw pace, Willems like Evra likes to get up and down the flanks and support the attack. A number of clubs are all ready to make their move for one of Holland's hottest properties who looks like a future international.

54. Ross Barkley (Everton)
Widely tipped as one of the greatest talents the country has ever produced is 18 year-old midfielder Ross Barkley. With Everton having a rich history of producing some of England’s finest talents in recent years including Wayne Rooney and Jack Rodwell, Barkley is the next to come of the conveyor belt at Goodison Park. Having only turned 18 in December, Barkley is already an established international at youth level and has been capped four times by England’s Under-21s. Linked with moves to Chelsea and Manchester United, Everton have been quick to fend off interest by placing a £20 million price-tag on the talented teenager.  In December 2011, Barkley signed a new contract keeping at the club until the end of the 2016 season. A box-to-box midfielder, Barkley combines pace with power. Technically superb, Barkley demonstrates composure and tenacity in midfield. Barkley while frustrated at the lack of first team opportunities will need to bide his team and trust David Moyes to nurture him in the right way.

55. Lorenzo Insigne (Napoli)
A product of Napoli’s youth system, Insigne is an attacking midfielder who operates on the left side of attack or just behind the strikers. With excellent pace and dribbling skills, Insigne has great agility and balance which makes him very difficult to be marked by opposition defenders. Nicknamed the new Lavezzi, Insigne is already capped by Italy at Under-21 level when he was given his debut by Cirro Ferra. This game in a 7-2 victory over Lichtenstein when Insigne struck two goals. The young Neapolitan forward who is contract until June 2016 has been unable to displace the golden triangle of Ezequiel Lavezzi, Marek Hamšík and Edinson Cavani so has spent the past two seasons on loan. He is currently on loan at title chasing Pescara in Serie B where he has struck 10 goals in 24games. A number of Serie A sides have already expressed their interested in the talented Italian should he grow frustrated at the lack of first team opportunities, while Arsenal and Manchester City have registered their interest.

56. Kenneth Zohore (Fiorentina)
The youngest player ever in the Danish Superliga aged 16 years and 35 days, Zohore is a striker with a very bright future. Starting life out at FC Copenhagen made 16 appearances for the Danish outfit and made his Champions League debut in October 2011 against Barcelona at the Nou Camp. Linked with a move to Manchester City, Chelsea and Inter Milan, it was Serie A side outfit Fiorentina who secured the starlets services in January 2012. He first came on the radar of Europe's top clubs before the age of 15, playing for Denmark's U17s where he scored an impressive 12 goals in 23 appearances and now plays at Under-19 level. Physically mature beyond his years, Zohore is strong in the air and possesses a fine left foot. Many believe he is Denmark's best talent seen the Laudrup brothers. At not even 17 years of age, Zohore was already playing his first season as a member of the first team squad but will need to improve on his finishing skills and become more clinical in front of goal in the years ahead.

57. Alvaro Vadillo (Real Betis)
Already linked with a move to Manchester United, Álvaro Vadillo become the second youngest player ever to appear in a  Liga Liga match, when he started in a 1-0 away win against Grenada, aged 16 years, 11 months and 16 days. Considered one of the most exciting prospects in Spain, he has already been likened to Cristiano Ronaldo and Sir Alex Ferguson is ready to make a move with a £3 million move before his value soars. Just as Vadillo started to make his breakthrough with Real Betis, the talented left-winger collided with Sergio Ramos in a match against Real Madrid in September and was stretchered off with a torn cruciate ligament. A regular member for Spain’s Under-17, Vadillo is blessed with pace and trickery. With the ability to create and score goals, it is easy to see why comparisons have been drawn to Ronaldo. Expected to make his comeback before the end of the season, scouts will be eager to assess Vadillo on his return from injury.

58. Marc-Andre ter Stegen (Borussia M'gladbach)
With Germany producing a wealth of goalkeeping talent over the years, the latest starlet to emerge is 19 years-old Marc-Andre ter Stegen, who has already established himself as Borussia Monchengladbach’s number one and is a large reason for the club’s fine Bundesliga campaign. Over the years he has been a prominent figure for both club and country at youth level. In 2009 he was chosen as one of the best two goalkeeper at the Under-17 European Championships which Germany won. Now capped up to Under-21 level, Ter Stegen has already been linked with a move to La Liga giants Barcelona. Compared to Oliver Kahn, Ter Stegen likes to organise his defence as a cohesive unit and like Kahn reacts angrily when they fail to do so. An excellent shot stopper with good agility, Ter Stegen has all the abilities to become of Germany’s next goalkeeper greats. In the forthcoming years he will hope to displace Neuer as Germany's number one and fend off rival competition from Bernd Leno and Ron-Robert Zieler.

59. Fernando Lucas (Gremio) 
Having just turned 20 year-old, Gremio midfielder Fernando is considered as one of Brazil’s hottest properties. With the South American country experiencing a golden generation of talent coming through, Fernando was part of the Brazil Under-20 team which won the World Cup and South American Championships in 2011. Calm and confident on the ball, Fernando likes to orchestrate play from a holding role and is easily able to win the ball back of the opposition. On January 24, 2010 Fernando made his professional debut in the Campeonato Gaúcho coming on as a second half substitute against Veranópolis. An intelligent passer of the ball, Fernando has been linked with a move to a number of European suitors including Chelsea and Inter Milan. Growing frustrated with a lack of first team opportunities, Fernando could make his move sooner rather than later. 

60. Borja Gonzalez (Atlético Madrid)
Described as the jewell in the crown at Atlético Madrid’s youth academy, Borja is one of the great hopes for Spanish football. At 19 years old, much more had been expected of the talented striker but in May 2010, Borja who was making his first team debut against Getafe suffered a cruciate ligament injury which has somewhat delayed his breakthrough to the first team. The Atlético Madrid striker came to the attention of Europe's major clubs when he was top scorer at the Under 17 World Cup in Nigeria in 2009. The number 9 scored 5 goals and created one assist as he helped Spain to third place, winning the Adidas Golden Shoe award. During the tournament he showed power, great technique and an eye for goal to suggest that there may be life after Fernando Torres at the Vicente Calderón. Having made 37 appearances for Atlético B, he has scored 16 goals to show off his goal scoring ability. In August 2011, Borja was loaned to Murcia for the season in an attempt to re-build his career and gain some first team experience after overcoming injury. Borja has all the qualities to become one of Spain’s next strikers and will look to become a regular at the Vicente Calderon in the next year.

No comments:

Post a Comment