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The 50 most exciting teenagers in soccer


If you missed the November issue of World Soccer magazine you missed a cover story on the 50 Most Exciting Teenagers on the Planet. It was a great piece with quality information, especially for those of you who relish knowing about the best up and coming talents in the game.

Some of the players you would expect were on the list, including Sergio Aguero, Alexandre Pato, Micah Richards, Giovani Dos Santos, Bojan Krkic and Anderson, but there were two players who were NOT on the list that left me scratching my head a bit.

Jozy Altidore and Freddy Adu were nowhere to be found.

Now I’m not saying it’s a travesty that neither is on the list. I just found it interesting that neither made it, particularly after how both performed at the Under-20 World Cup. Altidore nets two goals against Brazil and Adu was on fire, but neither made the list.

If you are wondering what players WERE on the list, here they are (not in any particular order):

  • Sergio Aguero, Argentina, Atletico Madrid, forward
  • Karim Benzema, France, Lyon, forward
  • Alexandre Pato, Brazil, AC Milan, forward
  • Giovani Dos Santos, Mexico, Barcelona, attacking midfielder
  • Bojan Krkic, Spain, Barcelona, forward
  • Anderson, Brazil, Manchester United, attacking midfielder
  • Ever Banega, Argentina, Boca Juniors, attacking midfielder
  • Angel Di Maria, Argentina, Benfica, left winger
  • Carlos Vela, Mexico, Osasuna, forward
  • Theo Walcott, England, Arsenal, forward
  • Micah Richards, England, Manchester City, central defender/right back
  • Juan Manuel Mata, Spain, Valencia, forward
  • Gerardo Bruna, Argentina, Liverpool, attacking midfielder
  • Diego Buonanotte, Argentina, River Plate, attacking midfielder
  • Ismail Aissati, Holland, PSV Eindhoven, attacking midfielder
  • Macauley Chrisantus, Nigeria, Abuja, forward
  • Sadick Adams, Ghana, Ashanti, forward
  • Gareth Bale, Wales, Tottenham, left back
  • Breno, Brazil, Sao Paulo, central defender
  • Franco Di Santo, Argentina, Audax Italiano, forward
  • Dumitru Copil, Romania, Hearts, attacking midfielder
  • Kermit Erasmus, South Africa, Sundown United, forward
  • Fabio, Brazil, Fluminense, left back
  • Fabio Coentrao, Portugal, Benfica, left winger
  • Marouane Fellaini, Belgium, Standard Liege, central midfielder
  • Guilherme, Brazil, Cruziero, forward
  • Nour Hadhria, Tunisia, Club Africain, central midfielder
  • Rabul Ibrahim, Nigeria, Sporting Lisbon, attacking midfielder
  • Damian Ismodes, Peru, Sporting Cristal, forward/attacking midfielder
  • Lorenzo De Silvestri, Italy, Lazio, right back
  • Kerlon, Brazil, Cruzeiro, attacking midfielder
  • Toni Kroos, Germany, Bayern Munich, attacking midfielder
  • Lulinha, Brazil, Corinthians, attacking midfielder
  • Sapol Mani, Togo, Manatha, central midfielder
  • Cristian Nazarith, Colombia, America de Cali, forward
  • Aaron Niguez, Spain, Valencia, attacking midfielder
  • Daniel Opare, Ghana, Ashanti, right back
  • Ransford Osei, Ghana, Kesseben, forward
  • Fran Merida, Spain, Arsenal, attacking midfielder
  • Nikolay Mihaylov, Bulgaria, Twente Enschede, goalkeeper
  • Mesut Ozil, Germany, Schalke 04, attacking midfielder
  • Renato Agusto, Brazil, Flamengo, attacking midfielder
  • Andrea Russotto, Italy, Treviso, forward
  • Henri Saivet, France, Bordeaux, forward
  • Alexis Sanchez, Chile, River Plate, forward/right winger
  • Marek Suchy, Czech Republic, Slavia Prague, central defender
  • Sergio Tejera, Spain, Chelsea, left winger
  • Ivan Rakitic, Croatia, Schalke 04, attacking midfielder
  • Abdou Traore, Burkina Faso, Rosenborg, left winger
  • Gregory Van Der Wiel, Holland, Ajax, central defender

Breakdown by country: Brazil (7), Argentina (6), Spain (5), Ghana (3), England (2), France (2), Holland (2), Italy (2), Mexico (2), Nigeria (2).

It’s a good list, don’t get me wrong, but I still had some questions about some players who didn’t make the list. Altidore and Adu weren’t the only curious omissions. You also had:

Gonzalo Higuain, Argentina, Real Madrid, forward. To be fair, his 20th birthday is December 10th so World Soccer may have made New Year’s Day the cutoff for 20. Otherwise, it’s insane for him not to be on the list.

Michael Johnson, England, Manchester City, central midfielder. Anyone who has watched Man City this year will attest to just how special this kid is.

Diego Capel, Spain, Sevilla, left winger. World Soccer clearly leaned on U-17 and U-20 World Cup performances for some of its selections. If so, how do they skip Capel, one of the best at the U-20 World Cup? Nevermind the fact that he has been lighting it up for Sevilla the past few months.

Marcelo, Brazi, Real Madrid, forward. A teenager getting playing time at Real Madrid should be on the list, no? I know the category was Most Exciting Teenagers but Marcelo is at least as exciting as some of the center backs on the list. Maybe the committee decided that if Adu isn’t on the list then the guy he toasted at the U-20 World Cup can’t be on the list either.

Ben Sahar, Israel, Chelsea, forward. Okay, so he hasn’t done much lately to be on the list but he is a player to watch.

James Vaughan, England, Everton, forward. The kid is going to be special but is overshadowed by Walcott. He isn’t even the only deserving Everton forward. Victor Anichebe isn’t a bad young striker either. So maybe they shouldn’t be on the list, but they’re in the ballpark.

Higuain, Johnson, Capel and Marcelo all should have been on the list, and you can definitely make arguments for Altidore and Adu, but as is the case with lists like these, it will always come down to the preferences of the selection committee.

Ultimately, the list is a great piece of information and if you pick up the magazine it will be an issue you’ll want to store away for a few years so you can look back on it.

What do you think of the list? How about Altidore and Adu’s absence? Were there any other players who you were surprised to see left out? Share your thoughts below.


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