The topic that everyone seems to want to question. Who are the best young players, player comparisons and most importantly is whether they will live up to their potential. There have been numerous youngsters in the past five years alone. Pablo Aimar and Javier Saviola were supposed to be the new Diego Maradona, Antonio Cassano the new Roberto Baggio. The list could go on for failed potential. Here I am going to list the top 10 players in the world.
10) Mario Balotelli
Current Club: Inter Milan
Nationality: Ghana, Italy
Player Comparisons: George Weah
A player with big potential. A big, strong and pacy forward who is a specialist set piece taker. At just 17 he has been called up to an senior international call up by his home country Ghana, though this has been declined due to his preference to play for Italy once he reaches his 18th birthday. Baloteli is one to look out for the future.
9) Giovani Dos Santos
Current Club: Tottenham
Posistion: Attacking Midfielder (Left, Right)
Player Comparisons: Ronaldinho
Giovani Dos Santos comes to Tottenham with a huge reputation. At Barcelona he had the likes of Messi, Ronaldinho, Henry, Bojan and Iniesta competing with him for a first team spot. A skilful winger who can be just as strong playing on the right as he can on the left. The £4.7 million Tottenham paid Barcelona could prove to be a massive bargain as he plays his trade in the Premiership next season.
8) Karim Benzema
Current Club: Lyon
Nationality: France, Algeria
Player Comparisons: Nickolas Anelka
The young French forward has just had a fantastic season in France finishing top scorers with 24 goals ensuring Lyon were to win the League for the 7th year in a row. His quality has interested the likes of Man Utd and Real Madrid though he has underlined his determination to stay with the French champions for the time being. His reputation around Europe has increased around Europe to the point that some fans were already predicting he would become the top scorer at Euro 2008, although this was not to happen.
7) Theo Walcott
Current Club: Arsenal
Position: Right Midfielder, Striker
Player Comparisons: Ryan Giggs
It seems like the young England forward has been around for forever. It was when he was just 16 playing for Southampton that he convinced Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger to sign him beating off some tough competition. He was then brought into the England squad for the 2006 World Cup without playing a single game for Arsenal, though he did not feature in the tournament. Since then he has slowly progressed and will this year be hoping to push himself into the Arsenal starting line up.
6) Carlos Vela
Current Club: Arsenal
Player Comparisons: David Villa
Bought by Arsenal after receiving the player of the tournament in the u17s World Cup for Mexico. He has since spent his time on loan in Spain awaiting a work permit. A player who is very similar to Valencia start David Villa due to his pace and finishing ability. Like Tottenham signing Dos Santos he will be looking to make an impact in his opening season in English football.
Current Club: Cortinthians
Position: Attacking Mid
Player Comparisons: Kaka
The only player in the list playing outside of Europe will show how highly rated this player is. A hugely talented player who could be set to become one of the next Brazilian greats. Clubs like Chelsea are known to have made an enquiry though the Brazilian club will not let him go unless an offer of £24 Million comes in.
4) Alexandre Pato
Current Club: Ac Milan
Player Comparisons: Samuel Eto’o
When people discuss the most deadly forward lines which they do with AC Milan, then for a 18 year old considered to be in that forward line is some fete. It was not until January where he could make his first team appearance for AC Milan. It was when people started realising why he was so talked about prior to his debut. Despite being injured and missing a few weeks off injury, Pato still managed to score 9 goals for the club. The club displayed so much confidence in him that they started him in the Champions league game against Arsenal ahead of the likes of Flippo Inzahgi. He is currently at the Beijing Olympics where he has already spoke off his desire to finish as top scorer.
Current Club: Man Utd
Position: Central Midfield
Player Comparisons: Diego Simeone, Paul Scholes
Bought for a fee believed to be around £18 million. Utd have very high hopes for Anderson and will be one of the only youngsters in the world deemed worthy enough to fill in Paul Schole’s boots. A very all rounded midfielder who passed better then any player on this list. He can also tackle and dribble which is rare nowadays for a player of his talent. One issue with Anderson is that he has been quite prone to injuries so he will need to do his best to ensure this doesn’t damage his career.
Current Club: Barcelona
Player Comparisons: Raul
800 youth goals for Barcelona should be enough to talk about for Bojan. Already given the number 11 shirt for Barcelona which might suggest he will be in the starting eleven for next season. He scored 12 goals in his 1st senior season for Barcelona. He seems like he wants to stay at the club for his whole career so he could break every goalscoring record the club has much like Bojan did at youth levels.
1) Sergio Aguero
Current Club: Athletico Madrid
Player Comparisons: Romario
Seen along with Lionel Messi, the future of Argentinian football. Moving to Athletico Madrid was seen as a massive coup for the club due to the European teams being interested as well. He came to the club with a big reputation and it took him a year to settle in at Madrid where he could show glimpses of his true talent. It was in his second year where he unleashed his full talent terrorising defences everywhere in Spain becoming the La Liga player of the year. Joining Lionel Messi to become the youngest winner of the award in history. Bigger things are expected of him next season as the club are in the Champions League where he can have the perfect stage to demonstrate his talent to the world.
The question however remains as to how many of these players will live up to there potential. It is impossible to answer.