Maybe we have got used to names like Messi or Ronaldo, but one thing to remember is that they aren’t forever. Stars are replaced by younger talents sooner or later; if so, then by whom are they going to be replaced if ever? Who are the best young footballers of 2020 who deserve to be future stars?
We are going to introduce some of the best young footballers of 2020 who have the potential and talent to replace great players like Messi and Ronaldo. Indeed, they have a long way to go, but some of them have already taken long steps forward, and who knows? One day, they might even surpass today's great players.
Nationality is no limit in this concern. The players you are going to get acquainted with below are from across the globe, from Algeria and Guinea to Italy, Spain, and the Netherlands. Nation doesn't matter! What matters is that some of these players have shown great talents and have set records despite being so young.
Here comes a list of today's young talents who will probably replace today's stars in the future.
Bouzida have been playing for the U21 team of the Algerian club, Paradou, with scouts and agents monitoring his progress. He’s gifted with blistering pace and remarkable dribbling capabilities that could turn him to a full-back’s nightmare, so, he can be on our list of
best young footballers of 2020
And with Paradou’s policy of exporting their brightest players, it seems only a matter of time before he will play in European leagues.
After his performances with his club, Primeiro de Agosto, and the under-17 Angolan national team two years ago, Luvumbro has shined as a young talent at least in his continent, Africa.
Luvumbo was particularly impressive in the 2019 Angolan Cup final, where he contributed to his team’s win by scoring a goal and a penalty. Not only in his continent, but also at an international level, the dynamic midfielder has caught the eyes.
reportedly made an offer for Luvomb and West Ham United were also interested in his services but because he couldn't get a work permit in England, he could not plan for a long stay there and sign a contract with one of these two top clubs, instead, he chose to join the Serie A club, Cagliari Calcio, in September 2020, for a transfer fee of €1 million and is currently on loan to a Serie B club, namely Como, which will end in June 2022.
Luvombo can play on both wings and is skilled enough to utilise his pace to beat defenders, though he has still to improve his right foot. He's indeed among the
best under 18 football players in 2020
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Captain Taylor, the beating heart of Netherlands U17 national team who has been playing for the Dutch U18 team since September 2019 having made 3 appearances for them since, is one of the talented under-aged players from Ajax, waiting for his senior national debut which doesn't seem too far. Having played also for Ajax under-aged teams - U17, U19 and U21, the young midfielder has been promoted to Ajax senior team since November 2020 with a market value of €3 million.
Taylor models his game onManchester City
's Kevin De Bruyne andTottenham
's Christian Eriksen and loves making assists, though he is better fitted in defensive roles.
Few players choose to leave Barcelona's La Masia Academy on their own, but Simons did it to finally end his stay there after nine years and join PSG. No doubt the €1.17 million-a-year contract, negotiated by Mino Raiola, had something to do with it. And now, after two years of service to PSG U19 team, Simons has been finally promoted to PSG senior team - actually since July, 2020. He has also played for the Dutch U15, U16, and U17 teams having made a total of 12 appearances and scored 4 goals for them.
legend, Xavi, and nicknamed 'golden curls' for his hair, Simons has been the captain of a number of Barcelona youth teams and a four-time winner of the youth Ballon d'Or award. “With a high technical quality and an excellent vision of the game… Xavi is among the most promising players in Dutch football," said a PSG official following his arrival in the French capital.
Despite his youth, Simons has already 3.5 million followers in total across his various social media pages. His Instagram page is by far the most popular with 3.4 million followers (as of August 2021).
He has also around 76K followers onTwitter
and 46K onhis Facebook page
. Maybe with all these followers at such a young age, he’s by far ahead of other
best under 18 footballers in 2020
in terms of popularity?
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Another young and talented footballer trained at Barcelona's academy who chose to leave and try his luck elsewhere - actually in Manchester City, Eric Garcia served Manchester City U18 and U23 teams from 2017 to 2019 before he was promoted to the Premier League club's senior team. He remained with Man City for another two years until 2021 before he joined his previous club, Barcelona, just recently in July 2021.
Garcia is gifted with the ability to command the defense with maturity and maybe his comfort on the ball means he could also do well as a playmaker. Will Garcia remain with Barcelona for long or does he choose to leave maybe for another Premier League club? Nobody knows; what we know is that he's definitely on the list of
best young footballers of 2020
and he's definitely precious to Barcelona to have put a €400 million release clause on him.
Few under-18 players around the world are as commanding as Fati is, the youngster who could become
's heir at the Nou Camp. Barca have already put a €100million release clause on Fati lest they might lose him.
The fearlessness in his play and the exuberance of youth has seen him go through all the junior ranks at the club. However, he must be thankful to Messi’s injury at the start of his career that allowed him to be considered as a player fit enough to be in the first team.
Since his debut, Fati has become the second youngest first-team debutant in Barca’s history, the youngest player to have scored for the club's senior team, the youngest Barca player to score and assist in the same game in the La Liga history and the youngest ever scorer in the Champions League.
His impact on the football world is similar to that of
’s 17 years ago. With all these triumphs, could he be a good candidate to replace Messi in the future among the
best u18 footballers in 2020
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Having scored 12 goals in 21 games in France's youth teams up to under-18 level, Geubbels made his Ligue 1 debut in 2017-18 season at the age 16, becoming the first young footballer born in the 21st century to play in Ligue 1 and the 5th youngest player to have ever played in the French top-tier league.
"Willem has already demonstrated a lot of qualities and great potential. With patience and a lot of work, we are convinced that he will arrive at the top level," saidMonaco
CEO, Vadim Vasilyev once about the young footballers who is indeed among the
best young footballers of 2020
About three years ago in 2018, Gomez made headlines worldwide when plucked from Barcelona byDortmund
, who paid €3 million to bring him to Germany. He's currently with the Belgian side, Anderlecht, on a 4-year permanent contract which ends in 2025, and although he's not old enough to serve Spain's senior national team, he has served Spain U16, U17, U18, U19, and U21 teams since 2016 having made a total of 47 appearances and scored 12 goals for them in the process.
“the new Iniesta”
, Gomez’s quick thinking and equally rapid feet when in small spaces is particularly impressive. He can get himself out of the tightest situations to pick out a pass or unleash a ferocious shot with his preferred left foot. Scoring four goals in seven games, Gomez was voted the second best player at the FIFA Under-17 World Cup in India. He's indeed one of the
best u18 soccer players in 2020
Kubo was spotted by Barcelona’s scouts at the age of 11 and joined Barca’s La Masia Academy to shine in the Spanish club's schoolboy teams. However, his move to Barcelona was found to have violated FIFA transfer rules, so he was forced to get back to his homeland, Japan.
Kubo was one of the most exciting talents at Barcelona's academy before he was forced to return to Japan. He was expected to return to Barca after 18, but he shocked everyone by signing with Barca’s hated rivals, Real Madrid, in 2019. Nicknamed
“the Japanese Messi”
, he excelled during the pre-season tour, but maybe because not experienced enough yet, though talented enough, to be on Real's first team, he's been loaned to three other Spanish clubs, namely Mallorca, Villarreal, and Getafe, since joining the Whites.
Baro, who has already made his senior debut for the Portuguese side, Porto, is a midfielder with tactical awareness, prying for an opportunity to hit on the break. He is also one of the loyal fans ofReal Madrid
, and always tries to copy his style.
“I am always watching videos of him on YouTube. He was an incredible player, I try to copy everything he did, the pirouettes, the shimmies…” Baro said once.
In 2018/19 UEFA Youth League, Baro scored six goals in ten appearances contributing to Porto’s victories that finally won the title for them. In the final, he assisted Afonso Sousa for the last goal of a 3–1 win over Chelsea.
With Porto's B-team, Baro scored four goals in 43 appearances and with Portugal's under-aged teams including U16, U17, U18, U19, and U21 ones, he has made 37 appearances and scored 4 goals in total. With all this, he can be on our list of the
best young footballers of 2020
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, Camavinga is a player to shine at a very early age by winning records, becoming for example the youngest Rennes player to ever play for the first team (against Angers, in April 2019) and the first 2020 player among five big leagues to appear in a league game, at the age of 16.
What makes Camavinga so special is that despite his young age, he plays in front of the defence in a midfield holding position, where even the smallest error can prove fatal.
In the recent history of Europe's five major leagues, only
has managed to play in the same position at the same age. So, with such a great talent, he would surely have a place in our list of best young footballers of 2020.
At the age of 19, Brown became the top scorer of the UEFA Youth League in 2018-19 season with his 12 goals winning also the same league's Golden Boot award. It was as his nearest rivals had only 6 goals in the bag each. On average he has scored a goal every 67 minutes against Europe’s best youth teams in UEFA Youth League.
Charlie Brown joined Ipswich Town’s youth academy as an under-10 player, but later on signed a three-year contract with Chelsea's. He was mainly used as an impact substitute during his first season at the club, but managed to score 10 goals in 600 minutes of play four of which were scored from the bench in a 13-0 win overBrighton
. Although Brown is currently serving the League One club, Milton Keynes Dons - he's been since January 2021, he could still be among those best young footballers of 2020 who would probably replace today's stars due to his top performances for the Chelsea U23 team.
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Breaking a number of goal-scoring records during his time at Barcelona's La Masia Academy, Pablo Moreno, like many young footballers, decided to continue his footballing education elsewhere, namely Juventus FC.
But to be frank, he had shined even before joining Barca's La Masia Academy by helping Ciudad de Granada to the league title, the Federation Cup and the Andalusian Championship, scoring more than 100 goals during the process.
Here are Moreno's records at Barca: In his first season with the Alevin A, or Under-12s, he scored 72 goals in 27 matches. He scored another 41 goals the following year, 66 goals the year after that and a further 34 goals in his final season at the club.
Through such an impressive display, he became part of Spain's U16 squad just at the age of 14. Later, he also served Spain U17 and U18 teams scoring 4 goals in the 15 appearances that he made for them. With such bright records, Pablo Moreno has indeed a place on the list of best young footballers of 2020. He's currently with Manchester City - has actually been since 2020 - but hasn't made an appearance for them yet.
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Although Esposito had already played for Brescia's under-aged team as a youth, his talent was only discovered after he joinedInter Milan
youth academy in 2014. In 2018-19 season, he was part of the Inter U17 team who won the Italian youth championship where he scored a brace in the semi-final and a hat-trick in the final of the competition. He also became Inter's top scorer and the championship's second top scorer with 16 goals in the same season just behind Philip Yeboah of Ghana with 24 goals.
In March 2019, he made his first-team debut as he played for Inter in the Europa League against Eintracht Frankfurt, becoming Inter’s youngest debutant in the UEFA Cup/Europa League only at the age of 16 years and 255 days; he's indeed another talent on our list of the best young footballers of 2020.
“He wants to be the best player in the world,” The Athletic has reported! Sontje Hansen, another product ofAjax
academy, has scored in two important matches in U17 European Championship, namely a 5-2 win over England in the group stage and a 4-2 win over Italy in the final.
He has also scored six goals at the U17 World Cup in Brazil, including a hat-trick against Nigeria in the round of 16. His dream of becoming the best player in the world may one day come true as he's already on the list of the best young footballers of 2020.
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Another footballer on our list of best young footballers of 2020, Szoboszlai was the captain of Hungary U17 team in the 2017 U17 UEFA European Championship in Croatia, where he scored two goals and his team finished 6th in the tournament. His idol is
, though he has his own style of play.
Having joined the Bundesliga club, RB Leipzig since December 2020, Szoboszlai is regarded as one of the best teenagers in the world of football and the highest ranked player outside Europe’s five major leagues according toGoal’s 2019 NxGn list
. During his service to Red Bull Salzburg which lasted from 2018 to early 2021, Szoboszlai made a total of 56 appearances and scored 16 goals for the Bundesliga club which translates to a little bit more than 1 goal (exactly 1.12) in every 4 appearances and is quite good for a young midfielder like him - it could probably increase in the future.
A product of Vasco da Gama’s youth academy, the Rio de Janeiro club who have won four Brazilian Serie A titles till now, Paulinho was a mainstay with the Brazilian under-aged team in the U17 World Cup in India, though he could not prevent his team from being eliminated by England in the semi-finals despite his brilliant performances for them.
Paulinho joinedBayer Leverkusen
for a transfer fee of €23.3 million in April 2018 which was indeed a club-record deal for Vasco. Dubbed
“the next Kaka”
, he can play on both wings, though his right foot is more precise and powerful.
He fits easily in different roles, and he could even change between them swiftly as needed; an ability that allows him to be a part of Leverkusen’s dynamic attacking setup.
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A combination of
Gennaro Gattuso, Andrea Pirlo and Daniele De Rossi
in style, Tonali caught the scouts' eyes in 2018-19 season despite playing for Brescia in Serie B. He is a technically gifted playmaker who draws more similarity to Pirlo than any other Italian footballer. He shares Pirlo’s talent in free-kicks, but he is more robust and aggressive in his play than Pirlo was.
Tonali was called up to Italy’s senior squad in November 2018 while still playing for Brescia inSerie B
. Could it be a record among the
best young football players of 2020
? Maybe! But if he’s not a record-breaker, he’s indeed a headline maker: Brescia’s owner, Massimo Cellino, has put a €300 million release clause on him after the match againstFiorentina
that made top lurking clubs think twice before they make their move to snatch him away.
Currently with Arsenal's U23 team, Cirjan looks like a promising midfielder at the age of 18 who models his playstyle on that of Aaron Ramsey’s. Cirjan joinedArsenal
youth academy in July 2019 from the Romanian club Viitorul Domnesti, and made a total of 20 appearances in the U18 Premier League laying on three assists and scoring three goals.
Cirjan, when only 13, played a level above other players in Viitorul Domnesti, and now with a bright future on horizon, he's considered the most promising Romanian player ever since
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A product of the Vancouver Whitecaps youth academy, Davies often played as a winger but since he has moved toBayern
, he’s also been deployed in the left back role where he has also excelled. In his 81 appearances with the Whitecaps from 2016 to 2018, Davies scored 12 goals and provided 14 assists which is not bad for a winger who also plays a more defensive role on the wings.
Although Davies currently plays in a more defending position at Bayern, he can at times get forward and find the back of the net for his club, too. He has actually scored five goals in his 58 appearances for Bayern since 2018.
He scored his first goal for Bayern on March 17, which was indeed the final goal in a 6–0 win over Mainz 05, and by doing so at the age of 18 he became the youngest U20 player since Roque Santa Cruz to score for the club.