50 Best Teenage Footballers in the World Right Now
The future of football looks to be in good hands when one looks at the amount of talented teenagers making their name throughout the world.
We are looking at teenagers, which means they all have to be between the ages of 13-19 and, since that is the case, some players who just made it to age 20 will not be on this list. No exceptions.
Also, we are looking at players who will still be 19 at least by the start of most seasons.
Some of these teenagers are well on their way, while the progress of others has been a bit slower, but they all have plenty of potential. Players who had lots of hype but faltered a bit are still included as it can be harder for them to adapt to situations compared to their experienced colleagues.
A list like this can be never-ending but we really tried to find the best, or in some cases the most highly regarded, 50 teenagers in World Football. If you feel any are missing, add in you comments below.
In no particular order, here is the list. Enjoy!
The strong interest in Luke Shaw from the likes of Chelsea show just how highly rated the Southampton defender is.
John Flanagan is another young British defender who has some first-team experience for his side with 15 appearances to his name.
The right-back has a lot of competition in the form of Martin Kelly and Glen Johnson but if he continues to improve, it will only be a matter of time before he becomes a full-time starter for the Reds.
Raphael Varane, far right in your picture, put in some solid performances for Real Madrid when he was used last season. The French youngster rang up 15 appearances in all and added two goals in the process
Varane is an extremely talented defender with good height and certainly has a bright future.
Stephan El Shaarawy
Stephan El Shaarawy is in line to be AC Milan's next star and really came on during the second part of the season.
The young attacker has a lot of competition in the form of Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Alexandre Pato and Robinho but is sure to see playing time last season after 23 appearances last season.
Juan Agudelo's stock has dropped a little in past months but he is still a talented prospect for club and country.
He has already played for the US National team a few times, and the youngster's strikes against South Africa and Argentina showed the talent at his disposal.
Nationality: Ivory Coast
Coulibaly is highly rated in his home country and may be a future star for the both his English side and the national team.
Matija Nastasić racked up 27 appearances in all competitions last year for Fiorentina.
The young Serbian defender's performances reportedly caught the attention of Arsene Wenger, but it is unlikely Fiorentina will let such a prospect go.
Hoffenheim's German striker Kevin Volland spent last season on loan at TSV 1860 Munich, scoring 20 goals in 32 appearances for the Bundesliga II squad.
Last season he scored six goals and had four assists in 24 appearances. Volland will be looking to translate those skills into Germany's top division and has a pretty good platform to build on.
Ezekiel Fryers is reportedly set for a move to Tottenham this summer. The young defender made a few appearances for Manchester United's first team last season and was solid enough to attract Tottenham boss Andre Villas-Boas' attention.
Manchester City beat Barcelona to sign Denis Suarez last summer, and that sort of interest shows just how highly rated the young Spanish midfielder is.
Suarez made one appearance for the team last season in the Carling Cup, but much is expected for the City prospect.
Manchester United beat out a lot of competition to sign Crewe Alexandra's Nick Powell. The youngster had an impressive season in League Two, racking up 16 goals and eight assists in 45 appearances.
With Sir Alex Ferguson set to play a major role in his development, Powell could be a major star in the future.
Rafa "Rafinha" Alcantara
Nationality: Brazil/Spain dual
Rafa Alcantara, or Rafinha, is the younger brother of Barcelona's burgeoning star Thiago Alcantara. Rafinha made a few appearances for Barcelona in the 2011/12 season but spent the majority of his time in the Segunda division with "Barcelona B."
The youngster has great potential and is set to follow in the footsteps of his brother.
He netted his first goal for the club in October to further enhance his reputation.
There was a lot of hype surrounding Connor Wickham during his time at Ipswich Town, but the youngster had a disappointing debut season with Sunderland in the Premier League.
Wickham has been a regular in the English youth setup and still has plenty of time to fulfill his potential, especially with a manager like Martin O'Neill to work with for the time being.
Romelu Lukaku is another player who had a disappointing debut season, but with the amount of talent the young Belgian has, it's only a matter of time before he returns to the form that had so many clubs interested in his services.
Lukaku is a powerful young attacker in the mold of his idol Didier Drogba and certainly has a bright future in front of him.
Paul Pogba recently moved from Manchester United to Juventus after making a few appearances for the Red Devils' first team last season.
The young French midfielder has been described on the United website as powerful, skilful and creative, attributes which he showed during his few appearances last season.
Chelsea's Josh McEachran has had to face a lot of tough competition at his club but has the talent to break through if given the chance.
The young creative midfielder has plenty of talent, and despite a somewhat unsuccessful loan at Swansea last season, he still has much to offer.
Nationality: Jamaica/England dual
Raheem Sterling really set things alight last season with his performances for Liverpool's youth squad and his five-goal haul against Southend United stood out.
Sterling's senior team debut for Liverpool came against Wigan in the Premier League last season, and he may be in line for more appearances next year.
Mateo Kovacic has already made over 30 appearances for Dinamo Zagreb and been a regular in Croatia's national setup at the youth levels.
The young attacking midfielder has plenty of talent and could be the perfect replacement for Luka Modric when he is ready to step down in the national side.
Ahmed Musa's impressive performances at Dutch club VVV-Venlo earned him a move to CSKA Moscow at the start of the year.
The young Nigerian attacker has bags of pace as well as skill and already has 14 appearances with the Super Eagles, Nigeria's national team.
Bayern Munich has produced a number of great talents in recent years, and Emre Can is one of those who is next in line.
The young midfielder received plenty of praise from Munich boss Jupp Heynckes (via Goal.com):
He's very talented, but he still has much to learn. Between what he is accustomed to and what we do here, they are different worlds.
[Can has] great potential. If he is willing to learn, then he can make his way. As a young player today, you have to be obsessed with football.
Malaga has recently started a project that saw them bring in a number of top players. They already have a gem waiting in the wings with young striker Juanmi, however.
Manuel Pellegrini is a good coach and will be critical in the highly rated youngster's development.
Luc Castaignos' 2010/11 performances with Feyenoord attracted a lot of attention across Europe, and he eventually signed for Inter.
The player is reportedly already on his way out of the club and will have to make sure he moves to the right club to fulfill his potential.
Andy Polo is Peru's brightest prospect and with good reason. He made his full-team debut at the age of 16 and the youngster's skills, namely pace and finishing, attracted attention across Europe. He was linked to a variety of top clubs.
According to Football-Italia.net, he will sign for Genoa, and Italian football fans can look forward to seeing him strut his stuff.
Nationality: France/Spain Dual
There will be a lot of pressure on Enzo Zidane considering his parentage, but the player has the talent to overcome it.
He was invited to train with the Real Madrid first team last year, and signs point to a really solid career for this youngster.
Moroccan starlet Zakaria Labyad currently plays for Sporting after starting his career with PSV.
Labyad had 10 goals and four assists in 40 appearances last season and has the ability to play on the wing or as an attacking midfielder.
According to Real Madrid's website, Rodriguez is "a competitive forward who scores many goals from outside the box. He is also fast and powerful."
Jese Rodriguez is one of Real Madrid's bright young prospects, and fans will hope that he is one of the few to break through to the senior squad.
Nationality: Philippines/France dual
Alphonse Areola is the only goalkeeper on this list, though admittedly there could be more, and the young PSG goalkeeper has a bright future in the game.
Iker Muniain's talents are well known to all of Spain and Europe after a very good season with Athletic Bilbao. Muniain has skill on the ball, pace and great movement.
The young attacker has already made over 100 appearances for Bilbao's first team and is slowly making his way into the Spain setup.
Ryo Miyaichi was impressive during his loan spell at Bolton and before then during his time at Feyenoord. The Japanese winger has pace and skills in abundance and will look to hone those skills even further when he returns to Arsenal.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain's meteoric rise continued with some good moments at the recently concluded Euro 2012.
Oxlade-Chamberlain is not lacking in confidence and showed that time and again with Arsenal last season. He ended the season with 26 appearances and four goals as well as two assists in all competitions.
Gerard Deulofeu is one of the many future stars at Barcelona. Like many up-and-comers, speed and dribbling are a major part of the young winger's game, and he has a chance to really hone those skills while working with the likes of Lionel Messi and company.
Nationality: Italy/ Lebanese Moroccan descent
If you haven't heard this name before, you probably will not forget it after. This Goal.com article presents basically all you need to know, for now, about this young wonderkid. Below are a few highlights:
It took a reported €500,000 for AC Milan to fight off esteemed competition to sign 14-year-old Hachim Mastour...
In January 2012, he took part in the Memorial Ielasi tournament with Inter and proved just how talented he is, scoring five goals including one in the final against Roma...
Juventus, Barcelona, Real Madrid and Manchester City (who also offered accommodation for the player's family) began to hound Dario Paolillo, Mastour's representative and the son of famous agent Gaetano Paolillo, who has Kaka among his affiliated players...
The technical quality of this little phenomenon is undeniable. The way in which he can caress and control the ball at speed, and then protect it from the opposition, speaks of a player with skills far above his years, and brings to mind Juan Roman Riquelme.
While many folks have probably yet to see this youngster play, the amount of competition for his signature signifies the incredible talent this player is believed to possess.
Lucas Moura, better known as Lucas, has been linked to a lot of top European clubs (via footballtransferleague.co.uk), and the reasons are obvious. Lucas has an huge amount of potential and is one of Brazil's best prospects.
Juan Iturbe is another South American talent who is highly rated. These talents can have tough seasons, as was the case for Iturbe at Porto last year, but their potential does not get lost over night.
Whether Iturbe moves on or stays at Porto, he will begin to show the kind of skills that had clubs trying to get him in the first place.
Georgia's Jano Ananidze has been a part of Spartak Moscow's first-team setup since 2009. He is one of the up-and-coming playmakers in the world game and will soon begin to really make his mark on a bigger stage.
Khouma Babacar is a talented Senegalese striker, with power being one of the main parts of his game. Babacar has yet to hit the heights that are expected of him but could be a real force if he is developed properly.
Juventus signed Ajax wonderkid Ouasim Bouy in January. The former Ajax midfielder had yet to play a game for the first team, yet the Italian club was sufficiently impressed with his skills at the youth level to get him before all others.
Alvaro Morata is another player within the Real Madrid youth setup who will be hoping to make his mark at the club despite all the quality in front of him.
Real Madrid's website calls him "quick and skillful. He is a good dribbler and always showcases character. He has been the top scorer of all the team's he's been on."
Nationality: Netherlands/Morocco dual
Adam Maher had a breakout season in the Eredivisie with 11 goals in 36 games from midfield. The youngster has logged significant playing time with Dutch side AZ Alkmaar over the past two seasons and will only get better if that continues.
Partizan Belgrade's Lazar Markovic is a great prospect, according to Sky Sports Scout:
Easy on the eye, and fleet of foot, Markovic is a constant menace in the final third—where he can run at defenders or pick apart a defence with a pass, at will.
Last season was his first full season with the first team, and the youngster has attracted attention from teams like Chelsea
Jean Marie Dongou
Jean Marie Dongou is another bright prospect in the Barcelona youth setup, and the Cameroonian youngster could be one of the next players to break through at the Nou Camp.
Jetro Willems had a good season with PSV that put him on the radar of a number of top clubs, but like the rest of the Netherlands squad, his stock probably fell a little after Euro 2012.
Willems was still linked to a move to Manchester United after his Euro 2012 exit, which shows how highly the Dutch youngster is rated.