Here are the top 20 young footballers poised to be breakout stars in 2013.
The keyword being "star," as this article will attempt to project the top 20 footballers 20 years or younger who will become stars in their respective leagues.
Before you read on, you need to understand the selection criteria for this list.
Footballers like Adam Maher, Bernd Leno, Christian Eriksen, Erik Lamela, Filip Duricic, Iker Muniain, Isco, Marc-André ter Stegen, Mario Götze and Stephan El Shaarawy, etc. are already stars.
The premise of the article is to predict up-and-coming footballers who will attain that status in 2013.
Only footballers based in Europe aged 20 or younger will be considered.
Why have this prerequisite? I don’t possess the expansive scouting knowledge of a Porto scout to write extensively about footballers from Africa, CONCACAF and South America.
There will be some glaring European omissions like Alen Halilovic, Dennis Praet, Imoh Ezekiel, Joel Pohjanpalo, Lazar Markovic, Mateo Kovacic, Tom Ince, Valon Berisha and Wilfried Zaha, etc. I simply haven’t watched them enough to form opinions that would be worth reading.
So, if there is a player you believe should be on the list who isn't, chances are I don’t know enough about the player in question.
Feel free to comment below with your own suggestions of European-based footballers aged 20 or younger right now who are candidates to be breakout stars next year.