Don Balon 2017: The top 101 youngsters in world football

Don Balon 2017: The 101 top youngsters to watch in 2017

The 101 Great Goals annual list of the top 101 youngsters in world football is now in its fifth year.  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. We initially stepped into the breach five 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 the former magazine put in place over many years: The player must be born on or after January 1, 1995.

This year we have changed the format a little –  we have split players up into sections – Goalkeepers, Defenders, Midfielders & Attackers.

Rank the players & Facebook Live

To add to your enjoyment of Don Balon, we have also inserted a ranking system for the top 20 players – rank your players here.

We will also produce a Facebook Live show discussing the rankings, the players we missed and those that we think are going to be world superstars. Keep an eye on all our social channels for schedule and more info.

  • Please bear in mind that it can be very difficult to pin down the position of many players in this age group. We may well be proved wrong in some of our assessments.
  • 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 any of our social media channels linked to above.

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Our team of the top 11 youngsters in world football.
What’s yours?

Bon Balon 2017 - 101 top youngsters in work footbal: The 101 Dream Team

Build your own team here & share it anywhere with the hashtag: #DonBalon2017

Explaining “Attackers”

Attackers is a more encompassing term than the other criteria. If you can play anywhere in the one up front or band of three behind that most teams play with these days, then you are an attacker.

There are though clearly some “out and out strikers” in the attackers section.

Some players are also hard to pin down. For example Chelsea’s Kennedy is a wing back in English football, but more of a Victor Moses than a Marcos Alonso, so we have put the Brazilian as a midfielder.

Explaining Value

And, have also added a current value in pounds.

This is the first year that we have put values on players and do expect plenty of feedback. There are lots of criteria that play into valuations, so don’t take our word as gospel.

A player is only worth as much as someone is willing to pay. Vice versa, some clubs don’t need to sell their young players.

Karamko Dembele & Xavi Simons

Over previous years we have been criticised for including very young players. This time we feature Karamko Dembele and Xavi Simons.

This is even harder to project but from what we have seen so far these two are ones to keep an eye on.

Of course we could end up with a Freddy Adu type prediction as well.

And, there is a clear bias in our list towards European players as opposed to South Americans and Africans as well as Asia.

In answer to this one, we simply watch a lot more European football than club football in South America and Africa.

Having said that, international football in South America and Africa is far superior to Europe, which could explain how so many young internationals from those two continents are already playing Champions League football.


We would like to thank our followers on Twitter and Facebook and Instagram for aiding us in this endeavour.

And, many thanks to the following 101 Great Goals writers for profiling each player: Dov Rawson, James McGlade, Paul Morrissey, Roland Kesler & Aaron Goldstein.

We love making this list and are proud to run a football website on a daily basis. Thanks!

Previous Don Balon lists: 2012, 2013, 2014 & 2015.

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