Superstars like Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi are now in the twilights of their glorious careers and their era of domination will soon be over. They have duopolised the Balon d’Or title for a decade and racked up all manner of silverware, but all good things must come to an end. Established players like Kylian Mbappe, Neymar and Eden Hazard are bidding to become the next greats of the game, but what about the budding superstars that could usurp them? Here are the five hottest prospects in world football right now:
The 18-year-old Brazilian has already broken into the Real Madrid first team and he looks like another Galactico in the making. President Florentino Perez spent an astonishing €61 million to snap him up at the age of just 16, such is the obvious potential of this classy wunderkind. Real Madrid appointed Julen Lopetegui in the summer to replace the outgoing Zinedine Zidane, and Vicinius did not get much playing time under the new boss. But Lopetegui was quickly axed after a disastrous run of results and his replacement, Santiago Solari, has put a great deal of faith in the youngster. He made two assists on his debut, and then grabbed his first goal in a victory over Valladolid. The odds on offer at the best betting sites on SBR show that Real Madrid are outsiders to win La Liga this season, but with Vicinius leading the charge they might well pip Barcelona to the title.
The young Englishman has been a revelation since leaving Man City and joining Bundesliga side Borussia Dortmund. He has only started five league games and made six substitute appearances this season, but in that time he has managed an exceptional four goals and six assists. He has also lit up the Champions League, with a goal and an assist in four games, and his spectacular form has seen him break into the England team. The future looks very bright for this technically gifted youngster, who can waltz past defenders and terrify the opposition with his pace, dynamism and finishing ability.
Frenkie De Jong
The latest budding superstar off the Ajax conveyor belt has already been linked with a move to Europe’s biggest clubs. Man City are readying a bid off £60 million for his services in order to fend off the advances of Barcelona, and it is easy to see why he would command such an eye-watering fee. Henk ten Cate, a former assistant coach at Barca, describes him as a mix of Xavi and Deco, and he could well develop into the finest playmaker in world football.
Barcelona already have a superstar for the future on their books as Ruiz is Spain’s all-time leading scorer at under-17 level. He banged in 27 goals to lead the Spanish to the Under-17 Euro 2017 title and he went on to hit seven goals in just four games for the under-18 side. He is now playing for the under-19s, with five goals in eight matches, and he is a regular for Barcelona B. Competition is fierce for places in the Barca squad, but he will hope to make the step up to the first team soon.
The Bayer Leverkusen youngster is described as a cross between Michael Ballack and Mesut Ozil in his homeland, which is high praise indeed. He certainly appears to be blessed with similar levels of vision, grace and poise on the ball, but he is also a magnificent dribbler. He has already become the youngest player to reach 50 Bundesliga appearances, and Bayern Munich are trying to sign him, but Leverkusen have thus far held firm. He is technically gifted, two footed and supremely comfortable on the ball, with a great eye for a pass and a decent goalscoring ratio, so he should become very hot property indeed in the years ahead.