For the fourth successive year we present to you the Don Balon list of 2014, featuring the 101 youngsters we believe to be the most talented on planet Earth.
Over many decades Spanish magazine Don Balon would publish their list of the top 100 youngsters in world football at around this time of year.
Due to economic pressures and a scandal that brought about the arrest of their editor, Don Balon is no longer with us and we initially stepped into the breach four years ago to list the best young players currently plying their trade in world football.
There is one rule for this top youngsters run down, and follows the format Don Balon put in place over many years:
To qualify for inclusion, the player must be born on or after January 1, 1993
The list below is in alphabetical order and includes video evidence, just click on the name of the player.
There could well be omissions you are not happy about, or inclusions that you don’t understand. All constructive feedback is welcomed in the comments or on our social media channels.
We love making this list and are proud to run a football website on a daily basis. Thanks!
1. Rolando Aarons (Newcastle United, 19) – Beginning to make his mark on the Newcastle United senior side, this young winger is blessed with pace reminiscent of fellow Jamaican Usain Bolt. Aarons has scored two goals in his first five games for the club including a brilliant goal against Manchester City which announced himself to the rest of the league.
2. Paco Alcacer (Valencia, 21) – Striker Paco Alcacer has quickly become a key player at Valencia and was rewarded with a call-up to the senior Spain side in September. He’s certainly taken his opportunity when it has presented itself, scoring three goals in his first five International games.
3. Eder Álvarez Balanta (River Plate, 21) – Upon signing his first senior contract, the young Colombian centre half was slapped with a €30m release clause. Described on FIFA’s website as a “left-footed, powerfully built, strong in the air and a fearless tackler … blessed with skill and speed”, Balanta has already been heavily linked to Barcelona and Inter Milan after impressive performances in Argentina.
4. Gabriel “Gabigol” Barbosa (Santos, 18) – Young striker Gabigol has already been dubbed ‘The Next Neymar’ after coming through the Santis academy to steal the limelight at a young age. Playing alongside Robinho, the 18 year old is already a regular at one of Brazil’s biggest club, having scored a whopping 21 goals in 2014. That’s more than Neymar, Aguero, Suarez or Falcao managed in their first full season.
5. Ross Barkley (Everton, 20) – The most talented English midfielder since Paul Gascoigne, Barkley appears to have the world at his feet. Like Gazza, perhaps only injuries can slow down the Everton midfielder but in full flow he is a joy to watch and can make a major difference in the high octane Premier League.
6. Saido Berahino (West Brom, 21) – Currently the top English goal scorer in the Premier League – Berahino has been a must have for all Fantasy Football managers in 2013/2014. Quick across the ground and with his movement, Berhaino has been an ice cool finisher over the past few months.
7. Domenico Berardi (Juventus, on loan at Sassuolo, 20) – Enjoying his second season on loan at Sassuolo after leaving the club for Juventus in 2013, Berardi is being touted as one of the future stars of Italian football. Last season, he played a key role as Sassuolo avoided relegation, scoring hat-tricks against Fiorentina and Sampdoria and four against Milan in three 4-3 wins.
8. Juan Bernat (Bayern Munich, 21) – A genius signing by Pep Guardiola, who, much like David Alaba and Phillipp Lahm, has been used both in midfield and defence for Bayern Munich. Steadily impressive throughout his first few months with the German champions.
9. Isaiah Brown (Chelsea, 17) – The Blues appear to have snapped up some player from West Brom, much to the chagrin of the Baggies and many other English clubs who were after Brown. The 17-year-old scored a stunning goal against Leicester earlier this season for Chelsea U21s and bagged a brace for England Under-19s versus Italy last week.
10. Bruma (Galatasaray, 20) – This young Portuguese winger joined Galatasaray from Sporting CP last summer for a €10m fee but just four months later suffered a serious knee injury. Despite missing most of 2014, the jet-heeled youngster has nonetheless been linked with moves to Liverpool and Everton.
11. Hakan Calhanoglu (Bayer Leverkusen, 20) – This summer the talented young Turkish midfielder moved from Hamburg to Bayer Leverkusen for a club record fee of €14.5m. Born in Germany, the free kick specialist should arguably have been on this year’s Puskas Award shortlist for an outrageous long range free kick beauty against Borussia Dortmund.
12. Calum Chambers (Arsenal, 19) – Sparsely used by Southampton last season, Chambers has been excellent for Arsenal so far this campaign and such are the defensive problems at the Emirates, that he has had to be. Good on the ball, strong in the tackle, Chambers can run all day. The Southampton Academy continues to amaze!
13. Kingsley Coman (Juventus, 18) – This French attacking midfielder became the youngest ever player (16 years, 8 months, 4 days) to play for PSG before rejecting Arsenal and Liverpool to join Juventus in July. Boasting pace and trickery, Coman has made four appearances for the Old Lady including a Man of the Match performance on his debut.
14. Daniel Crowley (Arsenal, 17) – Nabbed from Aston Villa, Crowley looks set for a long and storied career at Arsenal. Has been very impressive for the Gunners in the UEFA Youth League, notably scoring a hat-trick against Anderlecht. A high-profile loan spell looks likely soon.
15. Memphis Depay (PSV, 20) – The 20-year-old forward came to prominence in a global sense with two goals at the World Cup. Outrageously talented, Depay was heavily linked with a move to Spurs in the summer but for now is the main man for PSV as they lead the Eredivisie by four points.
16. Gerard Deulofeu (Barcelona, on loan at Sevilla, 21) – Gerard Deulofeu set the Premier League alight with some explosive performances during a year long loan spell at Everton last season. Blessed with pace, trickery and invention, Deulofeu, who came through the Barcelona academy, is now enjoying a loan spell at La Liga side Sevilla, which could be his last chance to impress the coaches at Barcelona.
17. Baldé Diao Keita (Lazio, 19) – Nabbed from the Barcelona academy in 2011, Keita last season bagged 5 goals in Serie A playing as a forward but has found himself out of favour so far this term. His omission has led to plenty of speculation surrounding a possible move to either Arsenal or Liverpool. He hit the headlines earlier this season for writing off his Lamborghini at 4:20am.
18. Eric Dier (Tottenham, 20) – Almost unknown in England during his time at Sporting Lisbon, Dier rocketed to Premier League stardom with a last minute winner for Spurs at West Ham on debut. A regular right back berth in recent weeks has not done Dier too many favours but he appears to be a strong central defender with good ball skills, he should excel at White Hart Lane.
19. Lucas Digne (Paris Saint-Germain, 21) PSG splashed out €15m on Lille 19 year old left back Lucas Digne in the summer of 2013 after being titled one of the up and coming stars of Ligue 1. Already capped 7 times by France, the young full back is expected to become a regular fixture for France when Patrice Evra retires.
20. Jean Marie Dongou (Barcelona, 19) Comparisons with former Barcelona striker Samuel Eto’o were inevitable, given that both Dongou and Eto’o were born in Doual and both play as a number 9. At 5″8, Dongou has pace to burn and is exceptionally powerful but would surely profit from a loan move elsewhere.
21. Julian Draxler (Schalke, 21) – Heavily linked to Arsenal in recent times, the young Schalke star has struggled to maintain his explosive start to his career in recent months. Despite that, he is still considered one of the best up and coming wingers in Europe and is still capable of the extraordinary having made his debut aged 16 in 2011.
22. Paulo Dybala (Palermo,21) – Signed by Palermo as an 18 year old in 2012 for €12m, Dybala has drawn comparisons to compatriot Sergio Aguero, starting every Serie A game this season and scoring 4 goals. Amidst Arsenal rumours, the Palermo president recently said “It would take €40m to take him away from us. He’s the best striker in Serie A.”
23. Anwar El Ghazi (Ajax, 19) – This exciting young Dutchman has been Ajax’s best player this season, recently scoring against Barcelona in the Champions League. El Ghazi possesses impressive skill, technical ability, height, speed and a powerful shot and has all the attributes to become a future star of European football.
24. Munir El Haddadi (Barcelona, 19) – Rocketed into the Barcelona first team during Luis Suarez’s suspension and showed great maturity and a willingness to make space for bigger names such as Neymar and Lionel Messi. Has banged in the goals at all Barcelona youth levels, the question is whether the Catalans can offer Munir enough first team opportunities in the coming years.
25. Jack Harper (Real Madrid, 18) – Originally born in Malaga but hoping to represent Scotland, great things are expected of this young Real Madrid attacking midfielder. Harper scored in a 4-1 win over Liverpool in the UEFA Youth League earlier in November and he is expected to get more minutes in the Real Madrid Castilla side this season.
26. Breel Embolo (Basel, 17) – Cameroon born Embolo has had a breakthrough year in 2014, becoming a regular feature for the Swiss giants aged only 17. Incredibly, he scored in the Champions League earlier in November 2014 and arrived at school just 12 hours later. Linked heavily with a January move to Wolfsburg, with Chelsea and Arsenal also reportedly keeping tabs on the young forward.
27. Gianluca Gaudino (Bayern Munich, 18) – Boasting exceptional technique and tactical nous beyond his years, central midfielder Gianluca Gaudino was this season promoted to the senior side by Pep Guardiola, making four appearances since. Incredibly, still earning only €250 a month, Juventus are sniffing around with his contract due to run out in the summer.
28. Jose Gaya (Valencia, 19) – This young Spanish left back looks set to follow in the footsteps of Jordi Alba and Juan Bernat who both learnt their trade at Valencia before moving onto Barcelona and Bayern Munich respectively. Gaya scored his first goal for the club recently, whilst remaining a constant in the Valencia XI so far this season. It won’t be long until Valencia will be attempting to swat off interest from top European clubs.
29. Matthias Ginter (Borussia Dortmund, 20) – Jurgen Klopp spent €10m this summer bringing in German World Cup winner Matthias Ginter from Freiburg. Playing every single game, the centre back was a stalwart in the Freiburg defence last season but has found chances harder to come by at his new club.
30. Derlis Gonzalez (Basel, 20) – Basel signed Paraguayan International Derlis “Speedy” Gonzalez from Benfica this summer on a five year deal. The young forward is a classic South American second striker, with skill, pace and hunger making up for an obvious lack of height.
31. Jack Grealish (Aston Villa, 19) – Talented Aston Villa starlet Jack Grealish is one of the up and coming Premier League stars, having made his debut this season. Chelsea are reportedly interested in the youngster who is also currently at the centre of a tug-of-war between Republic of Ireland and England.
32. Julian Green (Hamburg, 19). The youngest player to score at the 2014 World Cup. Green notched for Team USA with his first touch of the ball, inside two minutes against Belgium. Yet to fully show his qualities in the Bundesliga but America have high hopes for the talented attacker.
33. Raphaël Guerreiro (Lorient, 20) – Originally born in France, Portuguese defender Raphaël Guerreiro impressed during his senior Portugal debut in the recent international break and went on to score the winner against Argentina in his second international appearance. The Lorient left sided full back is enjoying a break out season in Ligue 1, starting in every Ligue 1 game thus far.
34. Alen Halilovic (Barcelona, 18) – One of the true ‘wonderkids’ in the list, Halilovic joined Barcelona in May despite interest from a host of other top European clubs. The Croatian starlet, who plays in a similar style to Leo Messi, became the youngest ever Dinamo Zagreb player, making his debut aged 16 and 101 days and scoring his first goal just 11 days later.
35. Thorgan Hazard (Chelsea, on loan at Borussia Monchengladbach, 21) – Younger brother of Chelsea superstar Eden, Thorgan has been tearing apart the Belgian top tier for the last two season whilst on loan at Zulte-Waregem. The talented winger is on the fringes at new loan club Borussia Monchengladbach but will hope to make his mark during his spell in a bid to impress Jose Mourinho.
36. Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg (Bayern Munich, 19) – Having recently hinted at a move away from Bayern Munich due to a lack of playing time, this young Danish International is attracting interest from a number of top European clubs. The talented central midfielder holds the record for the youngest player ever to play for Bayern Munich in the Bundesliga but is unwilling to sit and wait for his chance any longer.
37. Will Hughes (Derby County, 19) – Coming on leaps and bounds at Derby, who currently top the Championship. A box-to-box midfielder with real character, Hughes looks set for the Premier League, either with The Rams or via a big move. Liverpool have been linked for what feels like eternity.
38. Jordon Ibe (Liverpool, on loan at Derby County, 18) – Currently enjoying a successful loan spell at Championship club Derby County, this pacy youngster is cut in a similar mould to fellow Liverpool winger Raheem Sterling. Close friend of Sterling and Sturridge, Liverpool fans will hope Jordon Ibe will be linking up with the Liverpool stars next season.
39. Mauro Icardi (Inter Milan, 21) – Initially, Icardi was well known for marrying Wanda Nara, the former wife of Maxi Lopez. This season, after decent spells in the past two campaigns, Icardi has been one of the bright spots for the Nerazzurri.
40. Juan Iturbe (Roma, 21) – Roma splashed out €22 million this summer on an Argentine winger with striking similarities to Lionel Messi. Iturbe is yet to reach the heights he is certainly capable of at his new club but did recently open his account against title rivals Juventus.
41. Alireza Jahanbakhsh (NEC Nijmegen, 21) – With 10 international caps to his name, Iranian youngster Alireza Jahanbakhsh has settled well at Dutch club NEC Nijmegen since joining from Damash Gilan last summer. This season he has started in all 13 games and bagged six goals, playing a major role in their early season title push.
42. Adnan Januzaj (Manchester United, 19) – This Belgium produced skilful attacking midfielder burst onto the scene from nowhere under David Moyes last season and was one of the only positives in an abysmal Manchester United season. Able to play in any position behind the striker, Januzaj chose to play for Belgium earlier this year after being courted by a host of different countries including England.
43. Tin Jedvaj (Roma, on loan at Bayer Leverkusen, 18) – A highly-rated defender that was bought by Roma from Dinamo Zagreb in the summer before being loaned out to Bundesliga side Leverkusen. Jedvaj has shown his versatility this season, playing in every position of Leverkusen’s back four and has excelled in the Bundesliga and Champions League.
44. Harry Kane (Spurs, 21) – Of late, Kane has become the saviour of White Hart Lane. Perhaps the hype has been a little overboard, but there is no doubt that the England Under-21 striker has outshone both Roberto Soldado and Emmanuel Adebayor this season. A prodigious work rate in training will likely bear fruit for Kane, who appears dopey off the field but can be hugely intelligent on the pitch. A modern day Teddy Sheringham.
45. Davy Klaassen (Ajax, 21) – The latest outstanding talent off the Ajax conveyor belt. Klaasen is an attacking midfielder of real talent who can score and assist and has been linked with a host of big clubs over the past few months.
46. Mateo Kovacic (Inter Milan, 20) – One of the brightest young talents in European football, €11m Inter Milan signing Mateo Kovacic has already racked up 19 caps for the Croatian national side. The technically gifted youngster has become the first name on the teamsheet at Inter, starting all 11 games in Serie A this season.
47. Aymeric Laporte (Athletic Bilbao, 20) – Heavily linked to Manchester United and Arsenal right now, this young Basque has already played 60 La Liga games in the heart of the Bilbao defence. It will take a hefty bid upwards of £30m to pry this talented 6″2 Frenchman away from Spain.
48. Ruben Loftus-Cheek (Chelsea, 18) – One of a number of brilliant Chelsea youngsters that are on the verge of the Blues first team. A box-to-box midfielder in the Paul Pogba mould, RLC could well become a household name in the coming seasons.
49. Hirving Lozano (Pachuca, 19) – This young Mexican burst onto the scene in 2014, coming off the bench to score the winner just 6 minutes into his Pachuca Liga MX debut in February. Hirving “El Chucky” Lozano was given the task of replacing £12m man Enner Valencia this summer and is being touted as the next major force in Mexican football.
50. Romelu Lukaku (Everton, 21) – Amazingly, Lukaku is still just 21 and just about makes a list he has been part of for some time. Everton paid a whopping 28 million pounds for Lukaku in the summer and whilst Jose Mourinho may not rate the Belgian, he would walk into pretty much every Premier League team.
51. Awer Mabil (Adelaide United, 19) – Kenyan A-League star Awer Mabil shot to fame for a horrific miss for Adelaide United this season but those who watch the 19 year old regularly know he has much more to offer. Pacy, powerful and very athletic, the young winger is being trailed by Ajax and is due to have a trial in Holland in January.
52. Lazar Markovic (Liverpool, 20) – This Serbian winger set the Portuguese league alight with a host of fantastic individual performances for Benfica. So much so, Liverpool shelled out a whopping £20m for the exceptional young star and no doubt in time he’ll find his feet in the Premier League.
53. Marquinhos (PSG, 20) – PSG splashed out around £27m last summer on this 19 year old former Roma centre back. Yet to stamp his authority at the French giants, the young Brazilian international is no doubt learning from fellow Brazilians Thiago Silva and David Luiz whilst competing with them for a starting berth.
54. Hachim Mastour (AC Milan, 16) – Promoted to the AC Milan first team squad at the end of last season, Mastour has also been picked by Pippo Inzaghi this campaign. The Rossoneri first team breakthrough has not quite come but 16-year-old, who plays like Cristiano Ronaldo, continues to impress for AC Milan’s youth sides.
55. Paddy McNair (Manchester United, 19) – Young Northern Irish centre half Paddy McNair has been thrust into the limelight this season due to a string of unfortunate injuries at Old Trafford. The 19 year old has handled it exceptionally and has been praised by Louis Van Gaal for his performances, with Manchester United winning all three of the games he has started. McNair was rewarded with a call-up to the Northern Irish senior side.
56. Benjamin Mendy (Marseille, 20) – At just 20, Mendy is tremendously experienced having joined Marseille after impressing Le Havre in Ligue 2. An attacking left-back that cites Dani Alves as his idol, Mendy has all the attributes to be one of the finest full backs on the planet.
57. Maximilian Meyer (Schalke, 19) – An attacking midfielder billed as the successor to Mario Gotze, thanks to his impressive ball skills. Meyer has a grounding in futsal and is steadily establishing himself as a force at Schalke. Was part of the initial Germany 30-man World Cup squad.
58. Arkadiusz Milik (Bayer Leverkusen, on loan at Ajax, 20) – Milik has started banging in the goals at Ajax and the Amsterdam side look like a good place for the Polish striker to learn his trade. Five goals in 13 appearances at international level also suggests Milik has what it takes to succeed on the biggest stage of all.
59. Aleksandr Mitrovic (Anderlecht, 20) – The young Serb was the hero of Anderlecht’s recent 3-3 draw at Arsenal, coming on to score the equaliser. On arrival from Partizan Belgrade, was Anderlecht’s biggest ever signing and the big clubs (AC Milan, Liverpool and Newcastle) have all been linked.
60. Saúl Ñíguez (Atlético Madrid, 19) – Impressed on loan at Rayo Vallecano in 2013/2014 and looks set to be the latest player to impress under Diego Simeone. Strong in the tackle and adept in front of the defence Saúl Ñíguez could well be the long term successor to Sergio Busquets.
61. Nikola Ninkovic (Partizan Belgrade, 19) – Routinely makes all lists of the best youngsters in Europe. Ninkovic is a highly-rated attacking midfielder, linked to the likes of Manchester City, Inter Milan and AC Milan.
62. Jan Oblak (Atletico Madrid, 21) – This young Slovenian keeper was signed for €16m by Atletico Madrid this summer after helping Benfica win the treble last season. He finds himself second choice at his new club despite winning the Primeira Liga’s Best Goalkeeper of the Year award on 6 July 2014, having only conceded three goals in 13 games.
63. Lucas Ocampos (Monaco, 20) – In 2012 Monaco spent €15m on an 18 year old River Plate winger tipped for great things. At 6″2, Ocampos combines his pace with strength and is a threat in the air due to his height.
64. Martin Odegaard (Stromsgodset, 15) – This 15 year old Norwegian International has quickly become hot property with Real Madrid, Barcelona, Manchester United, Manchester City, Chelsea, Liverpool, Ajax and Bayern Munich all trailing him. An attacking midfielder by trade, Odegaard broke onto the scene aged only 15, scoring five goals so far in his maiden season.
65. Divock Origi (Liverpool, on loan at Lille, 19) – Impressed at the World Cup with a hard running style and fearlessness on the biggest stage. Continues to look like Belgium’s best striking option and Liverpool fans have been yearning for Origi after a slow start to the new campaign.
66. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (Arsenal, 21) – The Ox may not make an Arsenal starting XI when everyone is fit (does that ever happen?) but the Southampton graduate is a key player at the Emirates and for England. Still just 21, if Oxlade-Chamberlain adds consistent goals and assists to his game, he could become a major player for club and country.
67. Lucas Piazon (Chelsea, on loan at Eintracht Frankfurt, 20) – Starred for Vitesse Arnhem in the Eredivisie last season and as a clean cut Brazilian will be hoping to emulate Oscar when he finally does return to Chelsea. A stunning free-kick against Hamburg was the highlight of his time in Germany so far.
68. Paul Pogba (Juventus, 21) – This Frenchman is already a regular for both club and country after Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson let him join Juventus on a free in 2012. Already considered one of the best central midfielders around, Pogba has every attribute necessary to go right to the top, combining pace, strength and skill with an eye for goal from all types of range.
69. José Ángel Pozo (Manchester City, 18) – Signed from Real Madrid in 2012, Pozo’s fine early season form saw him called up to the senior squad for their 7-0 Capital One Cup win over Sheffield Wednesday. The youngster marked his debut with a goal and ended up having to play down “crazy” comparisons comparing him to Lionel Messi.
70. Dennis Praet (Anderlecht, 20) – One of the next generation of young Belgian stars, Dennis Praet has already racked up over 100 competitive games at Anderlecht. In November 2014 his excellent performances for his club were recognised by the national side who handed the young star his first cap in a 3-1 win over Iceland.
71. Juan Quintero (Porto, 21) – A Colombian attacking midfielder in the mould of James Rodriguez, Quintero looks set to become the next Porto mega-sale with Arsenal and Juventus reportedly interested. Signed for only €5m last summer from Pescara, the young star scored a beauty 30 seconds into his debut and has since continued to wow fans at the Estádio do Dragão with some stunning goals and dribbles.
72. Adrien Rabiot (Paris Saint-Germain, 19) – Heavily linked to Roma and Arsenal this summer, Rabiot eventually put pen to paper on a new 5 year deal at PSG. The defensive midfielder had a breakthrough season last year, making 25 league appearances on the way to his first Ligue Un title.
73. Sandro Ramirez (Barcelona, 19) – Having made 7 La Liga appearances so far this season, it is clear this young Spanish forward is part of Luis Enrique’s plans going forward. The teenager, who joined Barcelona in 2009, has already scored three goals for the senior side this season, all coming from the bench.
74. Karim Rekik (Man City, on loan at PSV, 19) – This young Dutchman is enjoying his second successive loan in at PSV, missing only one game so far this season. The Manchester City centre back, who came through the Feyenoord academy, made his senior International debut in March and reports are circulating that Juventus are watching him closely.
75. Patrick Roberts (Fulham, 17) – An inch shorter than Leo Messi, Patrick Roberts is being touted for great things having made his Premier League debut against Manchester City earlier this year, just weeks after turning 17. The Cottagers have a major task keeping him on their roster, with Liverpool, Chelsea an Arsenal all reportedly preparing January moves for the young forward.
76. Jese Rodriguez (Real Madrid, 21) – This young forward, in the mould of Cristiano Ronaldo, is finally close to a first team return after suffering an ACL knee ligament injury back in March. Jese had been scoring goals for fun in the reserves and was beginning to make an impression in the Real Madrid senior side before he was struck down by injury.
77. Antonio Rudiger (Stuttgart, 21) – Having burst onto the scene in 2012 as an 18 year old centre back, Antonio Rudiger has since become a regular at Stuttgart on the way to becoming a German international. Amidst speculation linking him to Arsenal and Chelsea, Rudiger admitted that his “heart beats for Arsenal” and could be subject to a January transfer bid.
78. Sergi Samper (Barcelona, 19) – Dubbed the new Sergio Busquets, young Sergi Samper made his first team debut recently in a 1-0 Champions League win over APOEL. The skilful defensive midfielder recently won the Catalunya’s ‘Most Promising Player’ in the Gala Estrellas amidst reports Mauricio Pochettino is trailing him at Tottenham.
79. Simone Scuffet (Udinese, 18) Aged just 17 at the time, this young Italian keeper became the Udinese number one last season before rejecting a summer move to Atletico Madrid. Injured for a month at the start of this season, Scuffet has struggled to reclaim the keeper jersey from in-form Orestis Karnezis but is still being linked to a host of top clubs regardless.
80. Luke Shaw (Manchester United, 19) – This summer the former Southampton full back became the most expensive teenager ever when Manchester United shelled out £30m for his services. Capped by England already and finding his feet at a new club, young Luke Shaw is already being touted to become one of the best left backs in the world.
81. Dominic Solanke (Chelsea, 17) – Solanke is widely considered Chelsea’s best chance of a successful academy graduate with the young striker a regular feature on the 101 Great Goals blog in recent years. His impressive performances for England and Chelsea youth teams were rewarded when Solanke was handed his Chelsea Champions League debut just two weeks after his 17th birthday.
82. Raheem Sterling (Liverpool, 19) – Undoubtedly England’s best player at the World Cup. Sterling was terrific for Liverpool when they threatened to win the title at the back end of last season. Leaving all tired jokes aside, Sterling is crucial to both Liverpool and England – therefore should be protected from burnout, so good is his current level.
83. John Stones (Everton, 20) – John Stones has quickly become a key man at Goodison Park since Roberto Martinez spent £3m on the former Barnsley star, recently signing a new 5 year deal. Whilst able to fill in at right back, the always composed Stones has quickly dislodged Sylvain Diston as first choice centre back and looks set to add many more to his 4 England caps in the coming years.
84. Denis Suarez (Barcelona, on loan at Sevilla, 20) – Signed by Barcelona from Manchester City in 2013 for an undisclosed fee, Denis Suarez is currently on loan at Sevilla with the earlier mentioned Gerard Deulofeu. The attacking midfielder has settled in effortlessly at his new club and there is already talk of him being Xavi’s long term replacement.
85. Adam Taggart (Fulham, 21) – Fulham signed this free-scoring Australian striker this summer on a three year deal but he is yet to feature due to injury. The Australian international is the current holder of the Nike A-League Golden Boot award, scoring 16 goals in 25 appearances for the Newcastle Jets last season.
86. Talisca (Benfica, 20) – The Portuguese champions secured an unknown quantity who has turned into a stunning investment. Compared to Rivaldo, Talisca has been a revelation in Europe this season since joining from Bahia. Eight goals in ten games means the big clubs have noticed and Chelsea could well be a likely destination considering the amount of transactions between the two clubs.
87. Humam Tariq (Al Dhafra, 18) – Young Iraqi full back Ali Adnan made the list last year but was this year replaced by fellow countryman Humam Tariq. The creative attacking midfielder, blessed with stunning technical ability and vision, is already a starter for the National side and was invited to trial with Celtic this summer. It surely won’t be long until we see Tariq plying his trade in a European league.
88. Youri Tielemans (Anderlecht, 17) – Considered one of the most exciting prospects in world football, 17 year old midfielder Youri Tielemans is already the first name on the teamsheet and is unsurprisingly drawing plenty of interest from abroad. With 43 top tier league appearances to boot, the Manchester United fan scored an absolute screamer for Belgium’s U21 side against Spain in the recent International break.
89. Adama Traore (Barcelona, 18) – Yet another La Masia star makes the list with winger Adama Traore currently starring in the 2nd tier of Spanish football for Barcelona B. The assist machine combines pace, strength and incredible footwork and has completed 78 dribbles in the Segunda this season, at least 49 more than any other player.
90. Salih Ucan (Fenerbahce, on loan at Roma, 20) – This summer Roma signed Fenerbahce starlet Salih Ucan on a two year loan after some mightily impressive displays in the Turkish league. The youngster has not really been given an opportunity as of yet in Italy and is behind the likes of Miralem Pjanic in the pecking order. Is being linked with a January move away.
91. Raphael Varane (Real Madrid, 21) – Sergio Ramos and Pepe have to be absolutely on top of their form to keep the young Frenchman out of the Real Madrid side. Varane has already captained France this year and is the defender with everything – Manchester United must still rue the fact they missed out due to Zinedine Zidane’s influence.
92. Tonny Vilhena (Feyenoord, 19) – This left footed midfielder has been a Feyenoord regular since making his debut in 2012 Heavily linked with AC Milan, Vilhena holds the record of the youngest Feyenoord player to ever score twice in one game, scoring a double in a 3-1 win over PSV just 31 days after his 18th birthday.
93. Timo Werner (Stuttgart, 18) – The youngest man to ever play a competitive game for Stuttgart, wide forward (and local boy) Timo Werner looks set for greatness. He has found the net 62 times in 96 official appearances for VfB Stuttgart (including A & B Junior sides and Stuttgart II), and in 2013 he was awarded the U17-Fritz Walter Gold Medal for the best player his age in Germany. His style can be compared to that of Thomas Muller; Pace, goals and a very effective versatile player.
94. Jetro Willems (PSV, 20) – The PSV left back became the youngest player to ever feature in a European Championship match in the sumer of 2012, aged only 18 years and 71 days. He has continued to develop since his early arrival onto the scene and is currently considered one of the best full backs in the Eredivisie. It won’t be long until the big European clubs come sniffing about.
95. James Wilson (Man United, 18) – Having netted a brace on his Premier League debut last season, English striker James Wilson was promoted to the senior side this summer following consistent eye-catching performances for the U21 side. It says a lot that Louis Van Gaal placed him above Danny Welbeck in the pecking order at Old Trafford and his game will surely improve whilst learning from the likes of Robin Van Persie, Wayne Rooney and Radamel Falcao.
96. Seung-Woo Lee (Barcelona, 16) – Dubbed the ‘Korean Messi’, this 16 year old dribbling sensation made heads turn at this summer’s Asian U16 championship in Thailand after scoring solo wondergoals on more than one occasion. Signed in 2011, this wonderkid is making waves in the Barcelona academy and could conceivably be handed a senior debut later this season
97. DeAndre Yedlin (Seattle Sounders – now owned by Tottenham, 21) – A surprise inclusion in the USA World Cup squad, Yedlin was the breakthrough player for Jurgen Klinsmann. Blessed with blistering pace, Yedlin could well become the new big US star playing outside the MLS, especially if played on the right of midfield when he arrives at Spurs.
98. Luka Zahovic (Maribor, 19) – Son of retired star Zlatko Zahovic, the young Portuguese born striker has already netted 9 goals by November in the Slovenian League this season. The Maribor star recently came off the bench in their Champions League clash against Sporting to score a 92nd minute equaliser.
99. Gedion Zelalem (Arsenal, 17) – This young German playmaker burst onto the scene during Arsenal’s pre season tour of Asia in 2013, leading to comparisons to former club great Cesc Fabregas. Born in 1997, Zelalem finally made his senior debut for Arsenal in an FA Cup win over Coventry in January 2014, aged only 16.
100. Enzo Zidane (Real Madrid, 19) – Son of the famous Zinedine, midfielder Enzo Zidane was handed his Real Madrid Castilla debut by his father in recent weeks. Blessed with similar ball skills to his old man, eyes of football fans all over Europe will be watching his development closely.
101. Kurt Zouma (Chelsea, 20) – Jose Mourinho spent £12m on signing one of the most highly rated young centre backs in Europe. The former St. Etienne star has made 5 starts at his new club this season but will have to wait patiently behind the formidable centre back pairing of John Terry and Gary Cahill.