There have been several articles written with a title of “the new Messi or Ronaldo”, which talk about a youngster that was recognized as a huge talent and is expected to one day be among the best in the football world. And while I like to read them just to see who this new “gem” is and to see if the statements about prove to be true, more times than not those so-called soon to be the best football players seemingly disappear from the spotlights. Nonetheless, finding new prospects is always an interesting thing to do, as they just might be playing in one of the best football teams in the world one day for us to watch and cheer for in the upcoming years.
Throughout history there have been several “wonderkids“, but only a few of them lived up to their potential. For some, the injuries were the cause of their inability to fulfill their potential, others struggled due to their mentality and there are a few which suffered from events that occurred in their life. I, however, won’t be focusing my attention to those who failed to become what was expected of them, but rather on those who have established themselves as the best young players in the world as of now.
Now let’s check our list of top 5 young football prospects and start of 2019.
#1 Ante Palaversa
We start off our list with lesser-known player Ante Palavers, the Croatian midfielder, who has established himself as a highly technically gifted midfielder and a huge prospect. With only 18 years of age, he was spotted by Manchester City who signed him for a fee of 4.8 Mil. € on January 31st, 2019. After the signing, he was loaned out back to his former club Hajduk Split, which competes in the first tier of Croatian league. By some, he is compared to young Toni Kross due to his high football IQ, vision and an eye for scoring goals. With his young age, there is a lot of room for improvement and while he is not yet competing in the highest tier of football, I will surely follow the development of this player and hopefully get a chance to watch him playing in one of the biggest clubs in the world in the near future.
#2 Troy Parrott
One of the biggest Irish prospects Troy Parrott who just turned 17-year-old is currently a part of the Tottenham U18 team, where he has already scored 11 goals to which he added 3 assists in only 7 games played in the U18 Premier League. To put it into a perspective, he is involved in 2 goals per match he plays. His good performances do not stop there, as he has also scored 3 goals and has 1 assist in the UEFA Youth League this season. Parrott is a big part of Tottenham U18 team success in the Youth League, where they are now in the knockout stages where they were paired with PAOK. With his spectacular performances, he is considered to be called into the Irish national team, which despite his young age should prove to be a great step towards gathering experience.
#3 Marco Asensio
With barely 23 years of age, Marco Asensio has become one of the best young football players in the world with his spectacular performances in the LaLiga. He started off his football career in Mallorca, where he was spotted by the football giant Real Madrid, who did not hesitate to sign him in 2015. The same year he was loaned out to Espanyol where his value only grew and is now estimated to be worth 80 mil €. In his career, he has achieved numerous trophies and awards, most notably 2 Champions League titles, Spanish Champion and cup winner. He even appeared in the Spanish national team in 2016 with only 20 years of age. The same year he also scored his first goal for his country. While he is not yet among the best players in the world, his work ethics and spectacular performances on the highest level of football point towards the bright future for this youngster.
#4 Gabriel Jesus
As of now a well-known player, Gabriel Jesus has become an irreplaceable part of the Manchester City team. With only 21 years of age, this Brazilian Centre-Forward value skyrocketed after joining Manchester City from Palmeiras back in 2017, from 16 Mil. € to 70 Mil. €. This season alone he has scored 15 goals and added 2 assists in 31 games played for Manchester City in all competitions. The fact that he is put alongside Sergio Aguero at his age is a spectacular achievement. In his career, he has already achieved Footballer of the Year award, won the English Cup and won the Premier League. Not only is he shining in Manchester City, but Gabriel Jesus has also scored 10 goals for Brazil in his 25 appearances. There is no doubt in my mind he has a long and successful career ahead of him, only if he can avoid mistakes other Brazilian stars made, whose careers suffered due to all the fame and money they received.
#5 Kylian Mbappe
No list is complete without Kylian Mbappe. Currently the most expensive player in the world, he is valued at an astonishing 200 Mil. € with only 20 years of age. Not only that but his value is steadily increasing just like his performances, which are getting better and better each year. This season alone he has scored 22 goals to which he added 12 assists in only 25 games played. He is a World Cup winner with France, two-time Ligue 1 winner, Footballer of the Year, French Cup winner and the list goes on and on. There is simply no other word to describe him as a phenomenal player. He was expected to be a replacement for Neymar in PSG, but the truth is far from it, as Kylian Mbappe outshined Neymar. It’s hard to say where exactly his career is going. Maybe a decision to move to a stronger league would benefit him in the long run as well as his legacy, but for now, he is one of the best young players of our time.
While there are plenty of young stars that I have not mentioned, like Dele Alli, Leroy Sane, Marcus Rashford, Timo Werner, Ousmane Dembele… We limited our list to consists of players that have huge potential to improve and rise to the top. If I were to list every young star this would be a top 20 or even 30 list, but for now, we settled for our top 5 picks of players I will surely follow in their careers and developments.
Sports journalist, content writer and passionate football lover.