The 101 Great Goals annual list of the top 101 youngsters in world football is now in its fifth year.
There is one rule for this top youngsters run down, and follows the format former Spanish magazine Don Balon put in place over many years:
To qualify for inclusion, the player must be born on or after January 1, 1994.
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 five years ago to list the best young players currently plying their trade in world football.
The list below is in alphabetical order.
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.
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1. Dele Alli (Tottenham Hotspur, 19) – A key player behind MK Dons’ promotion last season, Alli has been superb for Spurs in the opening months of 2015/2016 and has earned England recognition as a result. A tall midfielder with fine technique and what appears to be a sound temperament, big things have been predicted for the Tottenham youngster.
2. Marco Asensio (Real Madrid, on loan at Espanyol, 19) – One of a number of Spanish youngsters to be snapped up by Real Madrid in recent years, Asensio is already showing signs of star quality on loan at Espanyol. Already racking up the assists for Espanyol, he was a key man for Spain’s Under-19 side, who won the European Championships in Greece and Asensio was named player of the tournament.
3. Zakaria Bakkali (Valencia, 19) – Signed from PSV this summer, Bakkali holds the record as the youngest player to score a hat-trick in the Eredivisie, aged 17 years and 196 days. He’s very short at 5″5 but possesses blistering pace, superb dribbling skills and certainly knows how to cross a ball. The Belgium international has only made three starts for Valencia but will surely force his way into the first team soon.
4. Gabriel ‘Gabigol’ Barbosa (Santos, 19) – Likened to Neymar, Gabigol also came through the Santos youth academy and has also been banging the goals in for the first team as a teenager. He’s already scored 41 goals at the top level of Brazilian football and is widely considered as the most exciting South American prospect since Neymar.
5. Riechedly Bazoer (Ajax, 19) -Yet another youngster to emerge from the never ending production line in Amsterdam. Bazoer is a central midfielder compared to the likes of Frank Rijkaard, Clarence Seedorf and Patrick Vieira. Bazoer is a quick and strong midfielder, who is being tracked by plenty of major European clubs.
6. Hector Bellerin (Arsenal, 20) – Signed as a youngster from Barcelona, Bellerin’s rise to prominence in North London has been quite something. Blessed with unbelievable pace, Bellerin has made the right back position his own despite competition from experienced French international Mathieu Debuchy. Has all the potential to be the very best.
7. Nabil Bentaleb (Tottenham Hotspur, 20) – Missed the fine start made by Mauricio Pochettino’s side to 2015/2016 and could have his work cut out to usurp the likes of Eric Dier and Dele Alli. Yet, was the first Spurs youngster to emerge in recent seasons, even before Harry Kane, and has shown his class in midfield for both club and country.
8. Domenico Berardi (Sassuolo, 21) – Eyebrows were raised when Juventus allowed Sassuolo to fully own Berardi last June. Yet there are suggestions that the left-sided attacker could contractually join Juventus at the end of the current campaign for 16 million euros. Berardi has racked up plenty of experience and shown flashes of quality at Sassuolo.
9. Julian Brandt (Bayer Leverkusen, 19) – A regular for all of Germany’s youth sides, Brandt is a winger of huge potential making a name for himself at Leverkusen. Predictably linked with Bayern Munich, who Brandt scored against at the back end of last season. Brandt is seen as one of the best youngsters in Germany and is an outsider to be part of the world champions squad for Euro 2016.
10. Hakan Çalhanoğlu (Bayer Leverkusen, 21) – Considered by many as the best free-kick taker in Europe, Leverkusen splashed out €14.5m to sign the young Turkish star from Hamburg in 2014. The skilful midfielder played a starring role as Bayer secured Champions League football for the 2015-16 campaign.
11. Emre Can (Liverpool, 21) – Has switched between defence and midfield for Liverpool, where despite the odd error, has looked like a real player for the Merseyside giants. Should excel under countryman Jurgen Klopp at Anfield but looks to be knocking on the door of the full German national side.
12. João Cancelo (Valencia, 21) – Following an impressive loan spell from Benfica, Valencia this summer splashed out a reported €15m on Portuguese right back João Cancelo. Great things are expected from him and fellow marauding Valencia full back José Luis Gayà (below).
13. Franco Cervi (Rosario, 21, owned by Benfica) – Once again Benfica look to have usurped the rest of European football by signing Cervi in September. The Rosario winger will not arrive in Portugal until next summer but Benfica have already slapped a 60 million euro release clause on his shoulders.
14. Tahith Chong (Feyenoord, 15) – Latest reports in Holland suggest that Feyenoord have kept hold of Chong despite strong interest from Manchester United. The afro-haired young winger has an extraordinary reputation for someone so young.
15. Kingsley Coman (Juventus, on loan at Bayern Munich, 19) – You know a player has got something special when they’ve already made league appearances for PSG, Juventus and Bayern Munich before they’ve reached the age of 20. The pacy right-winger, who joined Bayern Munich on a two year loan deal this summer, has impressed Pep Guardiola in his appearances so far this season.
16. Ángel Correa (Atletico Madrid, 20) – Correa’s first season at Atletico Madrid saw him suffer a heart tumour but in the opening weeks of the 2015/2016 there have been clear glimpses of his undoubted talent. Compared to both Sergio Aguero and Carlos Tevez, Correa has already played for the Argentina national side and looks to be a real talent.
17. Daniel Crowley (Arsenal, 18) – Considered one of the best academy players at the Emirates, it was something of a surprise when his loan deal at League One strugglers Barnsley was terminated early. It appears Arsene Wenger may have brought his talented playmaker back due to the midfield injury crisis, after the Barnsley manager admitted he was disappointed to lose him and suggested Crowley was “the best 18-year-old I’ve ever seen”.
18. Jason Denayer (Manchester City, on loan at Galatasaray, 20) – A host of big clubs were after Denayer in the summer after a fine loan spell at Celtic. Whether he can make the big breakthrough at Manchester City remains to be seen but looks very likely to go with Belgium to Euro 2016 and his calm and composed style should see him have a fine career.
19. Leander Dendoncker (Anderlecht, 20) – Yet another highly rated young Belgian. Dedoncker is a defensive midfielder who has been part of the Anderlecht first team squad for two seasons now. Linked with Chelsea.
20. Memphis Depay (Manchester United, 21) – Whilst the opening few months of Depay’s career at Manchester United have not gone swimmingly, the Dutchman remains one of the top youngsters in Europe and there are suggestions that Real Madrid are keen on the former PSV playmaker should things not pan out in England. Was electric for PSV last season, especially from free-kicks, if he comes through this rocky spell, Depay could be a major world star.
21. Eric Dier (Tottenham Hotspur, 21) – Performed well for Spurs after joining from Sporting CP last season, at both right back and in the centre of defence. This season Dier has been a revelation in central midfield and is one of many young English stars at White Hart Lane with a big future. Brings plenty of his defensive resilience to the position and also a passing range and technique, honed at Sporting.
22. Gianluigi Donnarumma (AC Milan, 16) – In October 2015, Italian youngster Gianluigi Donnarumma became the youngest goalkeeper ever to start a Serie A match. Three days later he became the youngest keeper to keep a clean sheet in Serie A after the 6″5 16-year-old convinced the AC Milan boss Siniša Mihajlović to keep Diego Lopez on the bench.
23. Bartłomiej Drągowski (Jagiellonia Bialystok, 18) – Along with Donnarumma, Dragowski is a goalkeeper playing high level football at a very young age. Linked with Juventus, Dragowski is the latest Polish goalkeeper off the production line for a country blessed with plenty of top class custodians.
24. Anwar El Ghazi (Ajax, 20) – A regular match winner in the Ajax first team, El Ghazi looks to be a seriously impressive prospect, who has caught the eye of pretty much every big club in Europe. Already has caps for the Holland national team and a goal scoring record at club level that could see him move to be a central striker later on in his career.
25. Munir El Haddadi (Barcelona, 20) – Starting to rack up appearances for Barcelona despite the fact he is in the shadow of the great MSN trio. Nevertheless, Munir always contributes and continues to look like an outstanding prospect. If Barcelona are patient, they may not have to replace one of Messi, Suarez or Neymar with a big signing from outside the club.
26. Breel Embolo (Basel, 18) – When Basel failed to make the Champions League group stages, Embolo looked likely to leave Switzerland but confirmed that he wanted to stay at the Swiss giants to continue his learning process. Already very strong and with a decent goal scoring record, will likely have his pick of some major clubs next summer, especially if he makes any impact at all at Euro 2016.
27. Diego Fagúndez (New England Revolution, 20) – The only MLS player to make the list, Fagúndez made his debut for the New England Revolution when he was 16 and the highly rated attacking midfielder cum striker has since gone on to make 126 appearances for his local club. The Uruguay U20 star possesses blistering pace and is a very intelligent footballer who is often on hand with a goal or assist.
28. Viktor Fischer (Ajax, 21) – Last season was more or less a write off for Fischer due to a hamstring injury but the Dane has returned in great style in 2015/2016. Has been played as a central striker by Frank De Boer this campaign and has shown a good eye for goal as well.
29. José Luis Gayà (Valencia, 20) – Recently signed a new five year contract after being made the first choice left back as a teenager when Juan Bernat left Valencia for Bayern Munich. Chelsea tried to sign the Spain U21 international in the summer but Los Che were unwilling to budge much on his new €50m release clause. The pacy wing back is an attacking threat and is definitely one of Europe’s most exciting young full-backs.
30. Gerson (Fluminense, 18) – Brazilian born Gerson only made his Flu debut in early 2015 but has quickly risen through the ranks, recently agreeing to a January move to Italian giants Roma in a reported €16m deal. The mercurially talented left-footed youngster can play anywhere in midfield and certainly has the ability to go right to the top. Shooting, passing, dribbling and tackle – Gerson’s got it all.
31. José Giménez (Atletico Madrid, 20) – Signed for as little as €1m from Uruguayan club Danubio in 2013, José Giménez has developed fantastically at the Vicente Calderon, usurping Joao Miranda to partner Diego Godin in central defence. Despite only turning 20 earlier in 2015, experienced internationals Miranda and Toby Alderweireld were both sold due to Atletico’s belief in the young Uruguayan. Strong, powerful, quick and good on the ball mean Giménez has all the tools to become one of the most formidable centre-halves of his generation.
32. Joe Gomez (Liverpool, 18) – Looked to be one of the shrewdest signings of the summer in the Premier League, with some cool and calm displays for Liverpool in the opening weeks of the season. A serious ligament injury appears to have curtailed Gomez’s progress for the season but would be no surprise to see him return in fine fettle for 2016/2017.
33. Leon Goretzka (Schalke, 20) – A midfielder with physical presence, Goretzka has impressed for both Schalke and the Germany Under-21 side. Linked primarily with Southampton, a few more years in the Bundesliga could see Goretzka emerge as a major force.
34. Ianis Hagi (Fiorentina, on loan at Viitorul, 17) – Son of legendary Romanian midfielder Gheorghe Hagi. Back on loan in Romania for a season after signing for Fiorentina this summer, Hagi is already the club captain at title challengers FC Viitorul Constanţa. Plays in a similar number 10 position to his father but is more two-footed and prides himself on his passing and assist-making.
35. Alen Halilović (Barcelona, on loan at Sporting de Gijón, 19) – Whilst Halilović showed glimpses of his talent at a struggling Barcelona B side last season, the Croatian is really coming into his own on loan at Sporting de Gijon. A serial man of the match award winner this season, Halilović is staking his claim to be part of the Barcelona first team squad next season.
36. Sébastien Haller (FC Utrecht, 21) – Signed on loan from Auxerre for the second half of the 14-15 campaign, French striker Sébastien Haller fired in 11 goals in 17 Eredivisie matches and was voted as the club’s Player of the Season by the fans. They signed him permanently in the summer and he has continued his superb goalscoring form with 7 goals in his opening 9 games of the campaign.
37. Mouez Hassen (Nice, 20) – Firmly established as Nice’s number one goalkeeper, Hassen has played a key role in their current lofty position of sixth in Ligue 1. Tipped to follow in the footsteps of former Nice keepers Hugo Lloris and David Ospina, by playing for a big club abroad.
38. Pierre-Emile Højbjerg (Bayern Munich, on loan at Schalke, 20) – Despite impressing Pep Guardiola during his first year at the club, Højbjerg has consistently been sent out on loan. Last season to Augsburg, this campaign at Schalke. Still with plenty to prove.
39. Jordon Ibe (Liverpool, 19) – Not quite showing the same promising signs as Raheem Sterling but Ibe has illustrated his talents with some fine displays for Liverpool. Seems a favourite of Jurgen Klopp already and could well develop into a major player for the Merseyside giants.
40. Kelechi Iheanacho (Manchester City, 19) – Now firmly established as Manchester City’s third choice striker, Iheanacho is a regular on Manuel Pellegrini’s bench and is putting pressure on Wilfried Bony. Fine displays on two occasions this season against Crystal Palace have raised expectations for the young Nigerian striker.
41. Kenedy (Chelsea, 19) – Came to the fore at Fluminense and with the Brazil Under-17 side. Many Chelsea fans feel Kenedy should have been utilised a lot more this season. And, that the Brazilian should be employed much further forward. A potential future star of the Premier League.
42. Adnan Januzaj (Manchester United, on loan at Borussia Dortmund, 20) – This young Belgian winger enjoyed a groundbreaking debut season under David Moyes but struggled to back it up under Louis van Gaal. Januzaj appears to be enjoying his football once again playing (somewhat intermittently) on loan at the free-flowing Borussia Dortmund.
43. Gabriel Jesus (Palmeiras, 18) – Predictably described as the “Palmeiras Neymar,” Gabriel Jesus is a forward that has already made an impact on domestic football and the Brazil Under-20 side. As it stands, Jesus’ best football has come at youth team level but there is plenty of hype surrounding this attacker.
44. Luka Jović (Red Star Belgrade, 17) – Scored two minutes into his debut soon after turning 16, coming off the bench to bag a late equaliser in a 3-3 draw on the final day of the season – which was needed to secure the league title. Likened to his idol Radamel Falcao (in his heyday), Jović is a complete forward and – despite their extensive debt – Red Star Belgrade actually rejected a £2m bid from Atletico Madrid for him.
45. Rick Karsdorp (Feyenoord, 20) – Emerged into the Feyenoord first team last season and has made an impact at right back. Has formed a fine partnership with fellow young Dutch central defender Sven van Beek.
46. Naby Keita (RB Salzburg, 20) – One of the best players currently playing in Austria and is rated as a midfielder who can do everything, create, score and defend. Keita has also scored in his past two international matches for Guinea.
47. Joshua Kimmich (Bayern Munich, 20) – Bayern Munich’s signing of Kimmich in the summer from RB Leipzig was hailed as a coup at the time but so far the youngster has not seen a great deal of football under Pep Guardiola. Widely compared to Bastian Schweinsteiger and according to many is a “complete midfielder”.
48. Ricardo Kishna (Lazio, 20) – The Dutch youngster may have left Ajax a little too early in his development but it looked like Lazio had stolen a march on many of Europe’s bigger clubs by signing Kishna in the summer. Blessed with tons of technical ability, Kishna has shown glimpses of his quality in the Italian capital.
49. Mateo Kovačić (Real Madrid, 21) – The Croatian midfielder has long been part of these lists having impressed for Dinamo Zagreb and Inter Milan from a young age. A massive move to Real Madrid could stunt his playing time but he seems happy enough to be playing with his idol Luka Modric.
50. Aymeric Laporte (Athletic Bilbao, 21) – Consistently touted as one of the best young centre backs in Europe, Laporte has been a key member of the Bilbao first team squad for over three seasons now. Heavily linked with Manchester United, Laporte would do well to cut down on the yellow cards.
51. Thomas Lemar (Monaco, 20) – Signed from Caen for 4 million euros, Lemar appears to be another youngster of supreme talent to go through Monaco and will likely end up at a bigger club. A strong midfielder, Lemar should be a key player for France in the coming years having represented a number of Les Bleus youth sides.
52. Ruben Loftus-Cheek (Chelsea, 19) – Considering how talented RLC is and thanks to some excellent performance for Chelsea Under-21s, its a surprise he isn’t trusted more by Jose Mourinho. With the travails of this campaign, the Blues boss could do worse than trust in Loftus-Cheek to shore up a shaky looking midfield.
53. Hirving Lozano (Pachuca, 20) – This young winger featured in our list last year and has continued his fine development at Mexican club Pachuca. Nicknamed “El Chucky“, Lozano possesses great pace, vision, shooting ability and is a superb dribbler. Mexicans believe Lozano will be their next major star but he needs to become more consistent.
54. Nemanja Maksimovic (Astana, 20) – The Serbian midfielder is currently appearing in the Champions League group stages for Kazakhstan side Astana. Scored the winner for Serbia, in the Under-20 World Cup final against Brazil last summer.
55. Marquinhos (PSG, 21) – A defender of supreme talent. There are some seasoned PSG watchers who believe Marquinhos is already a better defender than fellow Brazilians and club team mates Thiago Silva and David Luiz. Constantly linked with Chelsea and Barcelona despite the fact PSG would demand an enormous fee.
56. Anthony Martial (Manchester United, 19) – Eyebrows were raised by most English fans and journalists when Manchester United paid Monaco a record-breaking £36m for an unknown striker/left winger. Martial answered his critics immediately and won the Premier League Player of the Month award in his first month in English football. Has since been capped by France and is being billed to lead the line at Old Trafford for years to come.
57. Hachim Mastour (AC Milan, on loan at Malaga, 17) – A Moroccan born wonderkid who has been a regular feature on 101 Great Goals for years. Incredibly skilful, the attacking minded Mastour recently joined Malaga on a two-year loan deal but is yet to feature for the first team. Blessed with amazing ball control, Mastour loves to take players on with his quick feet and turn of pace.
58. Arkadiusz “Arek” Milik (Ajax, 21) – Has been impressive for Ajax since joining from Bayer Leverkusen. Certainly looks more of a goal threat in Holland than at any time in his career to date. Also boasts a good record for Poland and of late has shown some free-kick prowess. Can only learn from Robert Lewandowski and prosper with all the talent on show at Ajax.
59. Aleksandar Mitrović (Newcastle United, 21) – So far the Serbian has failed to truly ignite at The Toon but has shown glimpses of his ability to mix it up physically both positively and negatively. Has all the ability to become a key player for Newcastle as well as Serbia but it might take time.
60. André Moreira (Atletico Madrid, on loan at União da Madeira, 19) – This young stopper is certainly a rarity as a first choice teenage keeper in one of the top European leagues – and has already been acquired by super-agent Jorge Mendes. Signed by Atletico Madrid in 2014 after an impressive Under-19 European Championships, 6″4 Moreira joined newly promoted Portuguese side União da Madeira on loan this summer. It’s no coincidence that they had the best defence in the league conceding four goals in his opening six games of the season.
61. Matías Nahuel (Villarreal, 19) – Born in Rosario, Nahuel is a right winger who has impressed for Villarreal and Spain youth sides. A true gem at The Yellow Submarine, Nahuel has been linked with Liverpool.
62. Nathan (Chelsea, on loan at Vitesse, 19) – Appears to be one of the Chelsea loanees who is prospering in Holland and his attacking verve could well be useful at Stamford Bridge right now. Previously starred for the Brazil Under-20 side.
63. Rúben Neves (FC Porto, 18) – Recently became the youngest player to captain his team in the Champions League and is already being targeted by the likes of Liverpool and Chelsea. The €40m rated defensive midfielder has already broken so many records for being the youngest player to do all kinds of things, winning a Man of the Match award and scoring on his Porto debut in August 2014. Technically gifted, the deep-lying central midfielder has been likened to both Sergio Busquets and Joao Moutinho.
64. Saúl Ñíguez (Atletico Madrid, 20) – Appeared to seriously benefit from regular football at Rayo Vallecano two seasons ago. Saul is undoubtedly hugely talented but struggles for regular playing time in the Atletico first team. Compared to Sergio Busquets.
65. Martin Ødegaard (Real Madrid, 16) – Real Madrid beat off competition from a variety of top European clubs to complete the signing of this Norwegian wonderkid. The skilful attacking midfielder made his international debut aged 15 years and 253 days after impressing in the domestic top tier and later became Real Madrid’s youngest ever La Liga debutant aged 16 years and 157 days. Is expected to go out on loan in January.
66. Victor Osmihen (Ultimate Strikers Academy, 16) – Osmihen absolutely destroyed the recent Under-17 World Cup, scoring 10 goals as Nigeria won the tournament. Linked with Liverpool and Spurs, Osmihen was selling things on the street as a child so if he can make it to a big club, it will be a true rags to riches story.
67. Adrien Rabiot (PSG, 20) – On the periphery of the PSG first team, Rabiot’s future still seems fairly unclear with his agent mother reportedly keen for the midfielder to play more regularly. Highly-rated, and a Premier League move would not be a surprise.
68. Baba Rahman (Chelsea, 21) – He’s not enjoyed an ideal start to his career at Chelsea but there is a reason Jose Mourinho splashed out €20m on the Ghanaian international. The athletic Baba Rahman was magnificent as left back at Augsburg last season achieved their highest ever Bundesliga finish, tirelessly running up and down the wings. Unfortunately, he appears to have joined the Blues at the wrong time with the club in shambles following a torrid start to the season.
69. Predrag Rajković (Maccabi Tel-Aviv, 20) – The Israeli champions utilised their position as a Champions League club to snare one of the highest rated goalkeepers in Europe, in the summer. Rajković has not been an instant success but has shown glimpses that he is a keeper who could well hit the big time in a few years.
70. Jeff Reine-Adelaide (Arsenal, 17) – The latest Arsenal youngster to emerge during the Emirates Cup. Reine-Adelaide has since impressed for the Arsenal Under-21 side and has been on the fringes of the first team squad. Looks blessed with talent and trickery, as well as technique and pace, Gooners are now awaiting a high-profile loan spell.
71. Jaïro Riedewald (Ajax, 19) – Already capped by Holland and now a key member of the Ajax backline, Riedewald is certainly a player to keep an eye on. A classy defender with the passing ability you would expect of a player that has come through the famed Ajax youth academy.
72. Patrick Roberts (Manchester City, 18) – The England winger has been impressive at youth level but still has it all to do at Manchester City where the former Fulham starlet has found it hard to make an impact on Manuel Pellegrini’s first team. Tipped to be a star of the future for England.
73. Alessio Romagnoli (AC Milan, 20) – Now a regular for the Rossoneri after impressing at Sampdoria last season. Compared to Alessandro Nesta, Romagnoli is considered a good ball-playing defender, much like his current coach at the San Siro.
74. Lucas Romero (Vélez Sársfield, 21) – Tipped as the “new Javier Mascherano” and compared to Diego Simeone, Romero is the latest tigerish Argentine defensive midfielder. Heavily linked with a move to either Italy or Spain where he will be keen to show his qualities.
75. Daniele Rugani (Juventus, 21) – Was hugely impressive whilst spending two years on loan at Empoli and was rewarded with a call-up to the Italian national team in November 2014. Juventus signed him outright this summer but he is, surprisingly, yet to break into the first team under Massimiliano Allegri and top European sides such as Napoli and Arsenal are reportedly sniffing around.
76. Sergi Samper (Barcelona, 20) – Long billed as the next Xavi, Sergi Samper has appeared to be on the verge of the Barcelona first team for some time. Part of a struggling Barcelona B side last season, it looks like Samper needs plenty more football to live up to his billing.
77. Leroy Sané (Schalke, 19) – Exploded on the scene towards the end of last season after only making his full Schalke debut in March 2015. The Germany U21 international scored a beauty against Real Madrid in a Champions League thriller and the attacking midfielder has since become a regular feature in an exciting Schalke side. Already heavily linked to a host of Premier League giants, Schalke are going to have to fight hard to ward off understandable interest.
78. Lee Seung-woo (Barcelona, 17) – Dubbed “The Korean Messi”, Lee Seung-woo has made a name for himself in the Barcelona academy. He is currently unable to play official matches until he turns 18 on January 6, 2016 due to Barcelona’s infringement of the FIFA Youth Eligibility Rules. The South Korean star was named Player of the Tournament at the 2014 AFC U-16 Championships and is expected to play for Barcelona B when he turns 18 in January.
79. Luke Shaw (Manchester United, 20) – The Reds splashed out a record-breaking £30m on Southampton’s teenage full back sensation in 2014 but the speedy English international recently suffered a terrible ankle break in a Champions League group game. Shaw had started the 15/16 season brilliantly, making the left back position his own – but now won’t feature until at least April 2016.
80. Bernardo Silva (Monaco, 21) – One of Portugal’s best players as they reached the final of the Under-21 European Championships, only to lose to Sweden on penalties last summer. Has since moved to Monaco where he is a key member of a young side in Ligue 1.
81. Moses Simon (Gent, 20) – Moses “Daddy” Simon has been described as the “Nigerian Ronaldo” and has been linked with both Spurs and Liverpool. Struggling for goals this season, Simon is blessed with plenty of pace but there are concerns about his recent form.
82. Giovanni Simeone (River Plate, on loan at Banfield, 20) – Son of Atletico Madrid manager Diego Simeone, Giovanni was having a hard time of making the cut at River Plate so joined fellow Primera División side Banfield on loan earlier in 2015. He has scored 6 goals in 13 games and looks much better prepared to compete with the River Plate forward line when he returns.
83. Pione Sisto (FC Midtjylland, 20) – Born in Uganda, Sisto has lived in Denmark since he was two months old and is consistently linked with moves to major clubs outside of Scandinavia. Most recently linked with AC Milan, Sisto is the biggest talent in Denmark right now.
84. Dominic Solanke (Chelsea, on loan at Vitesse, 18) – Judging by Chelsea’s striker options this season, Jose Mourinho could do with having Solanke available. A prolific scorer at youth level, Solanke should benefit from regular football with Vitesse but could conceivably have played often this season at Stamford Bridge.
85. Marc Stendera (Eintracht Frankfurt, 19) – An exciting attacking midfielder, who is already considered one of Frankfurt’s star men despite his teenage years. Equipped with great vision, pace and technical ability, Stendera also showed he has an eye for goal with a recent match-winning brace against Hannover. Can’t be long before the big boys are sniffing around.
86. Raheem Sterling (Manchester City, 20) – Sterling has been a consistent entry into our annual Don Balon lists ever since emerging as a hyped youngster at QPR. Liverpool fans may still be angry with the England forward for leaving Anfield last summer, but Sterling has already shown flashes of his brilliance at Manchester City. With pace to burn, and Sterling’s finishing improving, perhaps the City attacker is the player England should build their Euro 2016 campaign around?
87. John Stones (Everton, 21) – Made plenty of headlines over the summer as Everton rejected multiple bids from Chelsea for the young defender. Stones has been really classy for Roberto Martinez’s side and has shown defensive maturity beyond his years. Seems inevitable that the transfer gossips will continue to swirl around Stones until he does leave Goodison Park.
88. Jonathan Tah (Bayer Leverkusen, 19) – Bayer this summer spent €10m on Hamburg’s highly-rated 6″3 teenage centre back Jonathan Tah. He has slotted in seamlessly in the heart of the Leverkusen defence and has played every single minute in every single competition so far this season.
89. Anderson Talisca (Benfica, 21) – Still yet to make his full Brazil debut, Anderson Talisca emerged last season at Benfica with a number of goal scoring displays. Compared to Yaya Toure and Rivaldo, Talisca still needs a few more seasons in Portugal before what looks to be an inevitable big money move to a bigger league.
90. Humam Tariq (Al Ahli, on loan at Al-Quwa Al-Jawiya, 19) – Already capped 31 times by Iraq, Humam Tariq combines speed and vision to be a constant threat to opposition defences. Incredibly hard-working, the Iraqi sensation can play anywhere across the midfield and don’t be surprised to see him make a move to Europe in the near future.
91. Youri Tielemans (Anderlecht, 18) – A playmaker with an eye for a spectacular pass, Tielemans is constantly linked with a move to the Premier League. Chelsea, Manchester United and Manchester City are all reportedly interested. Is picking up a serious amount of minutes in the Anderlecht first team, which should suit the Belgian schemer when the big move does come to fruition.
92. Óliver Torres (Atletico Madrid, 21) – A key part of Spain’s Under-21 side but not quite a permanent member of Diego Simeone’s first team at Atletico Madrid. Torres performed well on loan at Porto last season and still remains one of the up-and-coming midfielders in Spain.
93. Adama Traoré (Aston Villa, 19) – It was a major surprise when Barcelona let one of their hottest prospects leave the club for a £7m fee this summer. Blessed with pace, skill and strength, Adama Traore has already shown some flashes of brilliance from the wing at Villa Park this season.
94. James Ward-Prowse (Southampton, 21) – In terms of set pieces and whipping the ball in, JWP is the closest thing England have had to David Beckham. Ward-Prowse is an energetic midfielder with dead-ball qualities that should see him progress to the main England international side from the Under-21s.
95. Julian Weigl (Borussia Dortmund, 20) – Now a key part of Thomas Tuchel’s free-scoring Borussia Dortmund side having joined from 1860 Munich in the summer for a fee of just 5 million euros. Has impressed with calm and precise passing from the base of the Dortmund midfield and thanks to a slim tender frame has been compared to Sergio Busquets.
96. Timo Werner (Stuttgart, 19) – Linked with Spurs over the summer, Werner has impressed more for the Germany Under-21 side this season, than his club Stuttgart. Has shown enough in his short career so far to suggest that a major club could do worse than try and snap Werner up with relations with Stuttgart not currently at their finest.
97. Iñaki Williams (Athletic Bilbao, 21) – Earlier in 2015 he became the first black player to score a goal for Athletic Bilbao in their 117 year history. With the ability to dribble and run past players, the physical force named Iñaki Williams is able to play in attacking midfield or as the main striker. Is being billed to take the reigns from ageing club legend Aritz Aduriz.
98. Rafik Zekhnini (Odd, 17) – A complete unknown, Zekhnini ran Borussia Dortmund’s defence ragged in a game the Norwegian side ended losing 4-3 despite going 3-0 up. The lightning quick direct winger has since become a regular feature in the Odd XI and has been heavily linked with a move to Dortmund.
99. Andrija Zivkovic (Partizan, 19) – A star of the Under-20 World Cup in New Zealand, Zivkovic has already notched a number of records, including youngest Serbian international and youngest Partizan captain. The “Serbian Messi” has somewhat predictably been linked with Chelsea.
100. Gedion Zelalem (Arsenal, on loan at Rangers, 18) – Having massively impressed in Arsenal’s 2013 pre-season tour, the German born creative midfielder is now beginning to shine in competitive football at Rangers. He has been an assist machine and has played a major role in Rangers 100% Championship record thus far. The Glaswegian club are reportedly hoping to extend his loan deal until to the end of the season.
101. Kurt Zouma (Chelsea, 21) – Impressed at Stamford Bridge last season, often in a midfield role but is a powerful defender likened to the French legend Marcel Desailly. Zouma has been one of the few Chelsea players to enhance his reputation in 2015/2016 and is proof of the depth of squad currently at the disposal to France manager Didier Deschamps.