Best under 21 football players of 2019
Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo are the best football players of 2019, winning nearly every individual award and leading their clubs to win back-to-back titles. Yet both are in the twilights of their careers, at 32 and 34 years old, respectively. Since previous heirs to the throne such as Neymar and Gareth Bale didn't come close replace them, everybody wonders who could replace the two stars once they retire?
It prompts some obvious questions: Who's next? Who will take on the challenge of being the best in soccer? Will the next soccer star get as many goals as Messi or Ronaldo?
The following list includes the future of several national sides and potential football stars of future World Cups:
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1. Ansu Fati
Fati signed his first professional contract with Barcelona on 24 July 2019, agreeing to a deal until 2022.
On 25 August 2019, he became the youngest player for the Barça first team in the league at the age of 16 years and 298 days. The striker, wearing number 31, came on in the 78th minutes of the game against Betis to replace Carles Pérez in week 2 of the 2019/20 league season.
On 31 August 2019, in a game against Osasuna in El Sadar, Ansu Fati became the youngest player ever to score in the league for Barça. The striker scored with a well-placed header from Carles Pérez in the 2-2 draw in Pamplona.
On 14 September 2019 against Valencia at home, Fati became the youngest ever player to start a game at Camp Nou. Seven minutes into the game he had become the youngest player ever to score and provide an assist in the same league game whilst at the same time becoming the young player ever to score at Camp Nou.
It’s worth mentioning that the Barcelona phenom’s net worth is more than $4 million which includes his salary from FC Barcelona. As a young football player, he has many opportunities to grow up more professionally in the presence of some of the greatest football players in the club.
There is no doubt that Fati has endured a meteoric rise to prominence as one of the best under 21 football players of 2019, becoming a priceless property of the club!
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2. Moise Keane
The other outstanding under 21 football players of 2019, Moise Bioty Kean, was born on 28 February 2000. He is an Italian professional footballer who plays as a forward for Premier League club Everton and the Italy national team.
Moise Kean witnessed the separation of his mother and father after his father decided to leave his family. He accredited his mother as being the one who made him the vastly talented individual he is today.
Kean started his career with Juventus in 2016, winning a domestic double in his first season with the club. He spent the following season on loan with Verona before returning to Juventus the next season, winning another Serie A title in 2019. In the summer of that year, he joined the English side, Everton.
At the international level, Kean made his senior debut for Italy in 2018. He is the youngest goalscorer for Italy in a competitive match.
The Italian starlet became the first player born in the 2000s to make his debut in the Serie A, featuring for Juventus at the age of just 16 years and 268 days, as well as scoring in the league when he was just 17 years and 88 days old.
He even scored for the Italian national team when he was 19 years and 23 days old.
3. João Félix
João Félix Sequeira, born on 10 November 1999, is a Portuguese professional footballer who plays for Spanish club Atlético Madrid and the Portugal national team as a forward. He can also play as a winger or an attacking midfielder.
The young Portuguese prospect has been one of the most exciting under 21 talents of 2019. He was helping Benfica fight for the league title with his goals before joining Atlético Madrid.
In 2019, Félix signed a seven-year contract with the Spanish club Atlético Madrid for a transfer fee of €126 million (£113 million), the third-highest ever paid in football (Benfica's biggest transfer and Atlético's most expensive signing) as well as the second-highest-paid for a teenager after Kylian Mbappé.
The Portuguese sensation is only 20 years old and scored his first international goal for Portugal's under-21 team in a 7–0 thrashing of Liechtenstein. At the end of the qualification process, he had scored four goals, helping guide Portugal to the play-offs, which has turned heads all over Europe.
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4. Mattéo Guendouzi
The 19-year-old has a Moroccan heritage and was approached by the Atlas Lions head coach Herve Renard.
But Guendouzi pledged his allegiances to his home country, currently playing at various youth levels for France.
The Frenchman completed a sensational £7 million move to Arsenal on Wednesday from Lorient.
Guendouzi initially joined Paris Saint-Germain's academy in 2005, before moving to Les Merlus nine years later.
After starting his professional career in the B team, he made his Lorient debut on October 15, 2016, at the age of 17.
Following their relegation, Guendouzi found opportunities easier to come by in Ligue 2 last season, playing 21 times in all competitions.
In 2018, during the summer transfer window, it was announced that Guendouzi had joined Arsenal for an undisclosed fee, believed to be around £7 million plus bonuses.
He expressed his delight upon joining the Gunners, telling the club: "Arsenal have always been the team closest to my heart and a side I've wanted to join since I was a child."
5. Mason Mount
As an academy graduate of Chelsea, Mount made his competitive debut on 11 August 2019, scoring his first goal for the club on 18 August 2019 against Leicester City.
He played seven times for the club’s under-18s in 2014/15 when still a schoolboy and, despite picking up an injury on the first day of pre-season training, Mount's debut campaign as a scholar was a positive one.
He netted in the 5-1 win at Manchester United in the FA Youth Cup and played a pivotal role as a substitute in both the semi-final and final of our triumphant UEFA Youth League defense in April, setting up two goals in the 3-0 last-four win over Anderlecht.
Later, he scored a crucial goal in the first leg of the Youth Cup final away at Manchester City to successfully defend the trophy.
In July 2018, he moved on loan to Championship side Derby County, managed by Frank Lampard and his former youth team boss Jody Morris. The midfielder was an integral part of the way Lampard’s Derby played, pressing from the front with intelligence and industry, while also demonstrating guile and quality on the ball.
He only turned 20 midway through the season but finished with 16 goals and assists combined as the Rams fell 90 minutes short of promotion to the Premier League. However, his injury absence from February and March coincided with Derby winning, just two of 10 matches.
After going to the Under-21 European Championships with England in the summer of 2019, Mount returned to Chelsea and signed a new five-year contract.
He started the season in the team under Lampard, making his Chelsea debut and impressing against Man United despite an eventual heavy defeat.
He marked his first appearance at the Bridge by opening the scoring early on, and he followed that maiden strike up with another away to Norwich the following weekend.
Mount scored his third Chelsea goal in four games late on in our big 5-2 win at Wolves, capping a fine few days in which he had also made his senior England debut at Wembley.
6. Martin Ødegaard
Martin Ødegaard, born 17 December 1998, is a Norwegian professional footballer who plays as a midfielder for Real Sociedad, on loan from Real Madrid, and the Norway national team. Ødegaard plays mainly in a central midfield position for Real Sociedad but has also been deployed as a winger or attacking midfielder.
Since joining Real Sociedad on loan this season, Martin Odegaard’s made quite the impact on the Basque outfit.
After two seasons in the Eredivisie with Heerenveen and Vitesse respectively, which proved crucial in the Real Madrid loanee’s development, Odegaard’s well on his way to fulfilling his potential. The 2018/2019 campaign was especially brilliant for him, as not only did he rack up 11 goals and 12 assists but also made the Eredivisie team of the season.
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7. Vinícius Júnior
Vinícius José Paixão de Oliveira Júnior, born 12 July 2000, commonly known as Vinícius Júnior is a Brazilian professional footballer who plays as a striker for Spanish club Real Madrid.
In 2006, he began his football career at the Flamengo club and continued his training until 2010. He signed to youth contract of Flamengo when he was only 10. In 2018, Real Madrid signed a contract with the Brazilian wonderkid
One of the major talking points at Real Madrid throughout this season has been Vinicius Junior, who has only played 12 minutes with the first team and who has been playing most weeks with Castilla, the B team.
The 19-year-old has revealed that he was one of the ones calling for opportunities with the B team, as he'd rather play third-tier football than no competitive football.
"I did pre-season with the first team aware that I could end up playing with the B team," he said in an interview. "I asked to play there if I wasn't going to be considered because it's better than staying at home. Drama at Castilla overflights from Vigo and preferential treatment for Vinicius Junior.
8. Kai Havertz
He began his youth soccer career in the youth academy of Alemannia Mariadorf from 2003 to 2009. He later joined Bayer 04 Leverkusen's youth academy in 2010.
After his debut for Leverkusen in 2016, Havertz became the club's youngest ever debutant in the Bundesliga and he became their youngest ever goalscorer when he scored his first goal the following year.
He is also the youngest player to reach the milestones of 50 and 100 league appearances in the German top-flight.
9. Erling Braut Haland
The striker scored a first-half hat-trick on his Champions League debut to inspire RB Salzburg to a 6-2 win over Genk last month.
Haaland became the first teenager to score a hat-trick on his Champions League debut since Wayne Rooney in 2004.
In 2017, Haaland revealed his ‘dream’ was to win the Premier League title with Leeds, where he did become something of a cult hero.
He said to reporters: “I want to be the best possible. The dream is to win the Premier League with Leeds.”
10. Trent Alexander-Arnold
As one of the exceptional talents of the last season in European football, this young Liverpool product is becoming one of the greatest players of his generation.
As a full-back for the Reds, Alexander-Arnold is already amongst the most pleasant young surprises of the season.
Alexander-Arnold needs to rise up to the challenge and cement his place in the first team by the new arrivals assured at Anfield.
11. Matthijs de Ligt
The other Dutch discovery from the last season happens to be the former Ajax player; de Ligt has everything one could ever ask from a center-back!
His playing style reminds us of young Carles Puyol, except that Matthijs has much better quality with the ball at his feet.
He previously captained AFC Ajax and led them all the way to two domestic titles, as well as the UEFA Champions League semifinals at the age of 19.
On 18 July 2019, De Ligt signed for Serie A champions Juventus on a five-year contract for a fee of €75 million, to be paid in five annual installments, with additional costs of €10.5 million.
He made his official debut for the club in a 4–3 home win over Napoli in Serie A on 31 August. On 3 November, he scored his first goal for the club in a 1–0 away win over cross-city rivals Torino in the Derby Della Mole.
12. Jadon Sancho
Another teenager from this list who is actually one of the best under 21 players in the world already, Jadon Sancho is the biggest discovery from England since Wayne Rooney.
Jadon Malik Sancho, born on 25 March 2000, is an English professional footballer who plays as a winger for Bundesliga club Borussia Dortmund and the England national team.
Sancho is coming from doing a fantastic season with his German club and breaking a record of assists for a player who made his debut in the Bundesliga.
Sancho is currently wanted by the biggest clubs in the world, but it has not been announced yet where he is going to play next season.
Many believe that Sancho is better than previous club sensation Ousmane Dembélé. Although both players have different play styles, Sancho succeeded in winning the support of Black and Yellow fans.
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13. Kylian Mbappe
Kylian Mbappé Lottin, born on 20 December 1998, is a French professional footballer who plays as a forward for Ligue 1 club Paris Saint-Germain and the France national team.
There is no doubt that Kylian Mbappe is currently the best French player in the world and one of the Top 5 players at the moment.
The French youngster is only 20 and he already competed with Lionel Messi to win the Golden Shoe this season.
The international sensation after his stunning performance during the 2018 World Cup was named the second teenager in history to score in a World Cup final. Unfortunately, Mbappe was suspended near the end of the season and he wasn’t able to reach Messi’s goals in the race.
It was reported that Mbappé donated the roughly 400,000 Euros he made over the course of the World Cup to a children’s charity as he felt that he should not be paid to represent France.
Mbappé is well-known for his speed, agility, and playing style. Although young, he is a great potential and is believed to be a future Ballon d’Or contender after the retirement of Lionel Messi and Christiano Ronaldo.
14. Christian Pulisic
The last under 21 football player of 2019 is Christian Mate Pulisic who was born on September 18, 1998. He is an American professional football player who plays as a winger and an attacking midfielder for Premier League club Chelsea and the United States national team.
Pulisic signed for Dortmund as a 16-year-old in early 2015, quickly rising through the academy ranks to make his senior debut a year later.
Pulisic’s first half-season in the Bundesliga provided nine appearances and two goals, and he became a regular player under Thomas Tuchel during the 2016/17 campaign, adding more than 60 league appearances over the next two years.
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Pulisic became a member of the Chelsea squad for the start of the 2019/20 season based on a contract signed in January 2019 for his permanent move from Borussia Dortmund. He spent the remainder of that season on loan at the German club.
He joined Chelsea on a five-and-a-half-year contract and became the third American player in the history after his international teammates, Matt Miazga and Roy Wegerle.
Pulisic made his Chelsea debut as a sub in the defeat to Manchester United, and his first start followed a couple of days later as they were beaten by Liverpool on penalties in the Super Cup. He set up Olivier Giroud's opener and had a goal of his own ruled out for offside.
After the October international break, he played decisive passes in tight wins over Newcastle and Ajax having been brought off the bench.
Two-footed Pulisic was rewarded with a start at Burnley in the next league outing and responded in style, scoring a brilliant hat-trick.
Which of these young talents are you most excited to watch over the next decade? Please share your opinion in the comment section down below.