Wednesday, May 22, 2013

81 - 100 Football

81. Leandro (Gremio)
Not since the departure of Ronaldinho have Grêmio fans been so excited about a talent coming through their academy system than 18 year-old striker Weverson Leandro Oliveira Moura, simply known as Leandro, who can also operate as a winger. With explosive pace, excellent dribbling skills and an eye for goal, many are tipping the young Brazilian for a big future. Having started out in the youth team of Gama he helped to eliminate current club Grêmio from the Copa Santiago in 2010. Having impressed club officials at the Porto Alegre outfit, he joined Grêmio on loan where he continued to develop in the youth team and played in the Copa São Paulo De Juniores where he continued to impress and put a number of eye catching performances in which helped him to remain at the club. He made his first team debut against Ypiranga Erechim when he replaced former Brazil international Fábio Rochemback and within 11 minutes of coming on made an instant impact scoring the final goal in Grêmio's 5-1 victory. Leandro scored 7 goals in 12 games for Grêmio in the 2011 Gaucho 1 campaign, while creating a number of assists. While the Tricolour's will be hoping to nurture his talent and gradually introduce him to the first team, such is the hype and expectation of the 18 year-old that he may be thrust straight into action. Although he may be a relatively unknown quantity in terms of world football, in Brazil Leandro is a player of high promise and a number of major European clubs are already keeping tabs on the starlet.

82. Tomáš Kalas (Chelsea)
Chelsea defender Tomas Kalas is considered one of the Czech Republic’s most promising players. At the age of 18 years-old, the centre-back who can also play at right-back is currently on loan at Dutch club Vitesse where he has established himself as a first team regular and gaining the necessary experience. Starting life at his hometown club of  Sigma Olomouc and he made one appearance in the first team after starting in a 2–0 victory over Slovan Liberec on 5 May 2010 before signing for Chelsea in July 2010 for a figure of £5.2 million. He immediately joined is former club on a years loan. With Olomouc producing a wealth of talent over the years such as Tomáš Ujfaluši, David Rozehnal and Radoslav Kováč, Kalas is considered the next big thing. When Chelsa signed Kalas, academy boss Neil Bath hailed his speed and technique, “"Tomas has signed but will spend the first year on  loan at  his club, Sigma Olomouc in the Czech Republic," said Bath. " He is now going into the under-18s, and  made  his  first-team debut last season. Very athletic and quick, he is a very good one-on-one defender and comfortable on the ball.” Capped up to Under-21 level already by Czech Republic he has been ever present at international youth level and has built up a growing reputation.

83. Atila Turan (Sporting Lisbon)
19 year-old left back Atila Turan who is of Turkish decent played for his local team before securing a move to Grenoble in July 2008. After three years with the club’s youth academy the defender signed is first professional contract in February 2010 and made his debut in July 2010. Despite Grenoble’s performances during the 2010/11 season, Turan earned individual praise for his performances and was subsequently scouted by several clubs abroad, most notably Barcelona and Fiorentina . The young defender who has been ever present at international youth level, has been capped up to Under-19 level. Compared to Fabio Coentrao in terms of playing style, Turan is technically excellent. With good offensive runs up and down the flanks, Turan has an excellent free-kick. In the summer transfer window of 2011, Turan confirmed he had signed a five year deal with Portuguese powerhouse Sporting Lisbon, making the comparison Coentrao obvious and inevitable. 

84. Joel Campbell (Arsenal)
Born in the Costa Rican capital San José, Campbell is predominantly a left-footed striker and has already been capped 10 times by his country, scoring 4 goals including a wonder goal against world champions Spain. The striker, 19, joined the Gunners in the summer of 2011 from Deportivo Saprissa before being loaned to French side Lorient after failing to earn a work permit. It was his displays for Costa Rica at the Under-20 World Cup which caught the eye for a number of a European scouts and Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger was quick to secure his services. A regular at international youth level, Campbell made 22 appearances for Costa Rica at Under-17  and Under-20 level, scoring 18 goals in the process. With excellent natural raw pace, good movement and an eye for goal, Campbell has all the qualities to fit in with Arsenal’s intelligent and high tempo game. After a season at Lorient he is fully expected to gain a work permit and be part of Arsenal's squad for the 2012/13 Premier League campaign.

85. Davy Klaassen (Ajax)
Joining Ajax at the age of 11 in 2004, Davy Klaassen has been part of ‘Jong Ajax’, an academy which has produced players like Dennis Bergkamp, Wesley Sneijder and Johan Cruyff. The 19 year-old striker made his debut in November 2011 against NEC and scored a minute later to join fellow graduates Johan Cruyff, Patrick Kluivert and Marco van Basten in making his debut. He first built a reputation during the AEGON Future Cup tournament in 2010 when Klaassen was voted player of the competition. His stock continued to rise in 2012 in the NextGen Series where he has scored six goals, only one behind Barcelona’s Jean-Marie Dongou. During the semi-final Ajax tore Liverpool apart with a convincing 6-0 victory where Klaassen scored twice and drew comparisons to Bergkamp. He is currently captain of the Netherlands Under-19 side and has attracted attention to Manchester United.

86. Jean-Christophe Baheback (Paris Saint-Germain)
18 year-old Jean-Christophe Baheback has been hailed as the next Nicolas Anelka and is described as one of France’s most promising talents. Already linked with a number of clubs including Chelsea, Arsenal and Manchester City, he currently plays for French outfit PSG. While starting his career as a striker, Baheback primarily operates as a winger. With natural raw pace, Baheback is a two footed and has excellent dribbling skills. During the 2009-10 season, Bahebeck moved into PSG’s U19 team as a 16-year-old  and scored 14 goals in 20 appearances, helping PSG to the U19 French championship. For the 2010-11 season, Bahebeck made another jump to PSG’s team in the Championnat de France amateur (CFA) – in Group B of French’s fourth league, where he has scored 5 goals in 8 games. On his U18 debut for France in October, Baheback scored twice in a 4-1 victory over Greece. In June 2011, Baheback signed his first professional contract, keeping him at PSG until 2014.

87. Souleymane Coulibaly (Tottenham)
Hailed as the new Didier Drogba is 16 year-old strike sensation Souleymane Coulibaly who looks set to lead the next generation of superstars to replace the country's old guard. Starring at the 2011 Fifa Under-17 World Cup held in Mexico, Coulibaly scored 9 goals in just four games. Equalling the tournament record, Coulibaly  scored an outstanding hat-trick against Brazil and four goals against Denmark. The young striker who played for AC Siena's reserves team, showed excellent abilities in front of goal, dominating the box area and executing great shooting skills and dribbling abilities. His outstanding performances at the World Cup alerted a number of Europe's elite. Tottenham manager Harry Redknapp was quick to make a move and fought off competition from Real Madrid to land the striker in a £2 million deal. Winner of the Golden Boot award at the U17 World Cup due to his goalscoring exploits, he has been likened to fellow countryman Didier Drogba because of his style, power and physical presence. 

88. Armindo Bagna Bruma (Sporting Lisbon)
Described as the next Cristiano Ronaldo, is 16 year-old winger Armindo Bagna Bruma who has already impressed in the youth ranks at Sporting Lisbon. Capped at Under-19 level by Portugal where he scored 2 goals in three European  qualifiers at  the  age of  15, Bruma has put in a number of eye catching performances for Portugal’s Under-17s which has attracted attention from clubs all over Europe including Manchester City, Chelsea and Tottenham. With excellent pace and ball control it is easy to see why there are so many comparisons drawn to the Real Madrid ace. Having signed his first professional club with Sporting until 2015, Armindo Bagna Bruma is likely to remain in Portugal to continue his development. He has recently been impressing scouts with his impressive performances in the Next Gen Series, considered the Champions League of youth football for Sporting’s Under-19 side. Helping his team with victories over Molde and Liverpool, Armindo has scored two goals in three games in the tournament.

89. Andrigo (Internacional)
At just 17 years-old Andrigo is already displaying the attributes and characteristics needed to make it to the top. A tall, powerful forward with natural raw pace and excellent technique, Andrigo has captured the imagination in Internacional's youth team. His impressive performances and prolific goal scoring abilities have seen him linked with a number of Europe's biggest clubs, including Manchester United and  Barcelona.  In  2010,  Andrigo finished  top  scorer  in  the  Copa   Votorantim,  despite Internacional suffering an early exit to Atletico MG, scoring 5 goals, of which 3 came against Sao Paulo in a 4-0 win. Next up in the Copa Armando Nogueira, Andrigo finished as the top scorer as he did  in the Copa Nike Brasil's regional qualifiers, in which he inspired Internacional to victory over Santos, scoring a sublime hat-trick which confirmed his rising reputation in the game. An established regular at international youth level, Andrigo is capped by Brazil at Under-17 level.

90. Kevin Volland (Hoffenheim)
When Germany look for the next up and coming strikers, 19 year-old Kevin Volland is often mentioned. Starting life at 1860 München, Volland progressed through the academy ranks before signing for Hoffenheim on a four-year deal in 2011 and loaned to Munich for the remainder of the season where he has scored 10 goals in 25 appearances. It is perhaps at international youth level where Volland has built and established his reputation as one of the country’s rising stars. Now capped up to Under-21 level by Germany, he has been prolific at both U18 and U19 level, scoring 11 goals in 18 appearances. Although standing at 5ft 10 inches, Volland still possesses strength and is good in the air. With prolific scoring abilities and good instincts and movement, Volland looks all the attributes to become Germany’s next hitman and fill the void by the ageing Miroslav Klose. Volland will be hoping to become a first team fixture in the 2012/13 season for Hoffenheim and get some first team experience in the Bundesliga which will help his development.

91. Nicolai Boilesen (Ajax)
Considered one of Denmark’s finest prospects is 20 year-old defender Nicolai Boilesen who is primarily a left-back but can also operate at centre-back. Starting life at Brondby, Boilesen joined Ajax after his contract expired in December 2009, with the Dutch outfit paying compensation. He decided to join Ajax on the advice of fellow Danish youth international Christian Eriksen, despite having trained with Manchester United and interesting a number of Premier League clubs. Making his debut on 3 April 2011 for Ajax he is still trying to establish himself as a first team regular, though struggled during the 2011/12 season with a string of injuries. Capped twice by Denmark at senior level, Boilesen stands at 6ft 1 inches and is an imposing figure. Strong in the air, Boilesen is also a good tackler of the ball and is good in possession. Technically excellent as you would expect from most Ajax academy graduates he possess good leadership qualities and captained Denmark at youth level. Playing with a sense of maturity far beyond his years he has been likened to Daniel Agger, though some believe his style is more similar to that of Van Der Wiel with his constant runs down the flanks. A number of clubs from around Europe are keeping progress on the Danish starlet and with Sir Alex Ferguson looking for a long-term successor to Patrice Evra, Boilesen could well join the ranks at Old Trafford in the no so distant future.

92. Josh McEachran (Chelsea)
19 year-old midfielder Joshua McEachran may have thought 2011/2012 would have been his breakthrough season but with Chelsea in disarray it was no time to throw the talented wonderkid into the limelight. Signing for Swansea on loan in the January 2012 transfer window many believed it would be an ideal pairing but with Swansea side in fine form, first team opportunities have been limited. Hailed as one of England’s finest prospects, he has been described as Chelsea’s Jack Wilshere. The England Under-21 international who is contracted at Stamford Bridge until 2016 is fully expected to make the grade at Chelsea and is seen as the idea heir to Frank Lampard. Comfortable on the left or in the middle, McEachran was one of Chelsea's pivotal players in their FA Youth Cup final win against Aston Villa.  Despite his small physique, McEachran has already displayed extraordinary vision and  creativity.  With excellent  technique, McEachran  has a  fine range of  passing and is able  to  unlock  defences with  his close control on the ball and composure. With a good football brain, the starlet is able to create space. It is perhaps at international youth level where McEachran has impressed most and represented and captained England at Under-16 level and played a key role in the England U17 side which won the 2010 U17 European Championships.

93. Dino Spehar (Dinamo Zagreb)
When looking at the rich pool of talented youngsters coming through in Croatian football at the moment, 18 year-old striker Dino Spehar is a name that is often mentioned. The teenager  became the youngest player to appear in the Croatian Premier League when he made his debut for Osijek in front of Manchester United scouts, who had been monitoring Dinamo Zagreb's defender Sime Vrsjalko. The teenager has caught the eye with a series of impressive displays for Croatia’s Under-17 team, where he has scored 8 goals in 13 appearances. With question marks surrounding Dino's future, his father Robert was quick to play down the rumours and stated that he does not believe its in the best interests of his son to make such a high profile move so early in his career. In August 2011, it was announced that Spehar had signed a seven-year contract with Croatian powerhouse Dinamo Zagreb where he has yet to make his debut.

94. Juan Cruz Mascia (Nacional)
Hailed by Uruguayan striker Diego Forlan as one for the future is wonderkid Juan Cruz Mascia who currently plays for Nacional. The tall striker who recently turned 18 years old in January is currently regarded as one of the hottest prospects in South America  and is  available just £1 million With 9 goals in 10 appearances for Uruguay at Under-17 level, his form has attracted attention by a number of clubs in England, Spain and Italy. Compared to Forlan himself, he has been described as the Inter Milan hitman’s apparent heir. Juan played for Uruguay at Under-15 level in 2009 and his first official international tournament was the 2009 South American Under-15 Football Championship in which he played six matches and scored three goals. At the 2011 Fifa Under-17 World Cup in Mexico, Mascia helped Mexico to the final and also finished top scorer at the 2011 South American Championships in Ecuador with six goals.

95. John Jairo Ruiz (Lille)
18 year-old Costa Rican striker John Jairo Ruiz became one of the world’s hottest properties after a series of impressive displays at the Under-20 World Cup in Colombia after scoring three goals. While compatriot Joel Campbell was signed by Arsenal, a number of clubs registered their interest in Ruiz including Inter Milan, Lille and Palermo. However, it was French outfit Lille who convinced the teenager from Saprissa to sign for them, with the striker signing a four and half year deal. The starlet has an impressive tally of 5 goals in 5 appearances for Costa Rica’s Under-17 squad and 3 goals in 10 appearances for the Under-20s. Fast and versatile, Ruiz who can also operate on the flanks has excellent technical skills and finishing abilities. Two-footed, Ruiz was subject of intense interest from Barcelona who had hoped to prize the youngster to the Nou Camp but the lure of first team football attracted Ruiz who has yet to make his step to the senior national squad.

96. Frederik Sørensen (Juventus)
19 year-old defender Frederik Sørensen is regarded as one of Europe’s most promising defenders. When Juventus signed Sørensen not many people took notice since very few make it into the Old Lady’s first team.  Signed by chief scout Fabio Patarici, Sørensen had yet to feature for Danish club Lyngby. His debut came in November 2010 when Juventus were short of defenders, with Legrottaglie and Chiellini ruled out. Delneri started the match against Cesena with Sorensen partnering Leonardo Bonucci at the back in their 3-1 victory. Sorensen’s calm and collected approach to defending often covers up for the fact that he is a very young player. In Frederik Sorensen, Juventus have unearthed a player with immense potential. Sorensen’s strongest points are his technique and mental calmness. Good in the air and with a good throw the only weakness to his game is momentary lapses in concentration which should prove with experience. In January 2012 the Danish Under-21 international joined Bologna on loan for the rest of the season.

97. Andreas Pereira (PSV)
Described as one of the best youngsters in his age group, 15 year-old midfielder Andreas Pereira signed for Manchester United in January 2012. Born in Brazil, but raised in Belgium he is regarded as one of the most talented youngsters in Europe and despite interest from a host of clubs decided to move to Old Trafford after meeting with manager Sir Alex Ferguson. Currently playing for PSV, the teenager signed him from local side Lommel. Likened to Kaka he has been described as an offensive midfielder who can not only score, but create. He will join Manchester United’s academy team and join the likes of Gyliano Van Velzen and Mats-Moeller Daehli who have equally been cherry picked as some of the best youngsters in the game. Pereira will be helped by an already strong Brazilian influence at the club with Anderson and the Da Silva brothers. Technically gifted, Pereira has sublime vision and flair.

98. Ángelo José Henríquez (Universidad de Chile)
Dubbed the future of Chilean football and compared to Alexis Sanchez, Ángelo José Henríquez is a 17 year-old the striker who can also operate as a winger. With an eye for goal, excellent pace, and trickery, Heríquez is able go past defenders with ease. After impressing at the Under-17 South American Championships in Ecuador, Manchester  United agreed a first option deal on the Chilean teenager. The agreement allows Sir Alex Ferguson who has already had Henríquez over for training, to sign the striker for a fee of £3 million which can be exercised until 2014. On 27 June 2011, Henríquez made his debut for the club in a Copa Chile match against Unión San Felipe. However, it wasn’t until the 2012 season that Henríquez has featured after the departure of Gustavo Canales to Chinese Super League club Dalian Shide. With the club trying to sign a striker, manager Jorge Sampaolí trusted the starlet and was soon rewarded with goals in the Copa Libertadores against Godoy Cruz and a brace in the league against Cobreloa. 

99. Mats Moeller Dahli (Manchester United)
Hailed as one of Norway’s most naturally gifted players for a decade he has been described as a mix between Lionel Messi and Xavi due to his style. Already capped at Under-17 level by Norway, there are great expectations on the young Norwegian. Signing for Manchester United in 2011 he rejected the advances from Ajax and Bayern Munich and what was even more surprising about the move to Old Trafford is that the talented teenager had only months before signed for Premier League side Stabaek from FC Lyn. With excellent movement, vision and range of passing, Daehli signed his first professional deal in March after turning 17. The Oslo born teenager enjoyed an impressive Milk Cup campaign and is part of the academy side hoping to retain the club’s FA Youth Cup. He has already featured at reserve level for the Red Devils when he came on as a substitute in the 1-0 defeat to West Brom.

100. Marco Verratti (Pescara)
Hailed as the future of Italian football is 19 year-old midfielder Marco Verratti. While some have likened him to Francesco Totti, he is more in the mould of Andrea Pirlo due to his size and style. This is perhaps why Juventus have recently secured 50 per cent of his economic rights from Pescara for a fee in the region of € 3.5 million, seen a long-term successor to Pirlo. A product of Pescara’s youth academy, he made his official first team debut at the age of 16 years-old and has since developed into a key performer for the Serie B side. The no nonsense midfielder has already been capped up to Under-21 level by Italy and many expect him to make the step up to the next grade. Verratti is a creative playmaking midfielder blessed with vision and an excellent range of passing which is able to unlock any defence. Now that he is set to join the Bianconeri in the summer, comparisons to Pirlo are inevitable. Some have even gone on to suggest he is Italy’s answer to Xavi such is the high regard he is held. It is only this season that he has forced his way into Zdenek Zeman’s high-flying Pescara and although fellow starlets Ciro Immobile and Lorenzo Insigne take most of the plaudits, it is Verratti who has excited fans the most.

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