In the late 90s, Ronaldo took the World by storm when he signed for Spanish giants Barcelona. The then 20 year old was the new sensation in European football circles. Scoring an amazing 47 goals in 49 appearances, Ronaldo made headlines for being the youngest player to ever win the FIFA World Player of the Year award.
A few years later, another Brazilian captured the attention of millions of fans with his witty dribbling and tricks that left defenders breaking into a cold sweat when they marked him. A 23 year old Ronaldinho entertained millions of fans, earned the respect of die hard critics and went on to win numerous awards for exceptional talent. Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi later followed.
Now, there is a new breed of young talent to keep an eye on. Bayern Munich’s Thomas Muller, Real Madrid’s Mesut Oezil, AC Milan’s Pato, Inter’s Coutinho and Barcelona’s Bojan.
These players might not be new to us (with the exception of Coutinho) however, they do possess immense talent that could prove to be an essential ingredient to their respective club success this season.
Thomas Muller was part of Germany’s World Cup squad that finished in third place this summer. The 21 year old won the golden boot and the best young player of the tournament. His compatriot and Real Madrid player Mesut Oezil was also part of the squad.
Oezil had a fantastic Champions League debut with Madrid last night as he helped Los Blancos record a convincing 2-0 win over Ajax at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium proving just why Mourinho was right in signing him from Weder Bremen.
Inter Milan’s Phillippe Coutinho is definitely a talent worth watching. The 18 year old has impressed in his few outings for the Nerazzurri although he is yet to cement his position in the Inter starting 11.
Across town at the Milanelo training grounds his compatriot Pato does not face these struggles as he is now considered a sure starter for Milan in all their games. The 20 year old also earned his first cap for Brazil’s national senior side in early August scoring one of their 2 goals.
Barcelona’s Bojan is also one to watch. Although he rarely starts, his presence when he does come on cannot fail to be noticed. Struggling for a place against established players like Villa, Pedro and Messi is not easy but the 20 year old is primed for success if he stays with the Catalans.
With the European season underway, it will be exciting to see if these players live up to to the expectations placed on them.
Photo credit: from ScROs