World Football: 15 Young Stars to Watch
Here is a list of 15 young stars who you should keep an eye on in the upcoming months. This list is by no means stationary.
I chose these players because they are likely on the brink of stardom.
That being said, there are a lot of players who are not on the list but very well could be. I simply chose to narrow this slideshow down to 15 players.
However if there are players you think belong on here, let me know. It was a difficult task sifting through all the great up-and-coming talent and I know many good ones slipped by.
Here are the 15 I chose for you to keep an eye on.
Here are the basics on Antoine Griezmann. He's young. He's French. And he currently plays for Real Sociedad.
Griezmann escaped the eye of many French scouts when he was younger because he played in Spain. It wasn't until 2010 that he was capped at the French Under-19 level. He rose through the ranks and should be called up to the French senior national team when he is available.
Griezmann is currently suspended from being a part of any French national teams until December 31st 2013 because he broke curfew with a few other players in October 2012.
However, he is a talent and you should be keeping your eye on him even if it is only during La Liga season.
Though primarily a left winger, Griezmann can also play striker. His goal scoring is up this year and he continues to improve.
Look for him on May 29th when Sociedad gets a visit from Real Madrid. If he can play well against Mourinho's men, Griezmann could be in for an interesting summer.
Surely you've heard of Lucas Piazon by now.
The young Brazilian chose to join Chelsea in 2011 even though a host of other European giants were after him.
Piazon is primarily a forward but is sometimes used in the attacking midfielder spot. He has been likened to his fellow Brazilian Kaka on numerous occasions.
Piazon has not gotten much opportunities since arriving at Chelsea especially since the arrival of Eden Hazard and Oscar.
The Blues sent the young star to Malaga on loan earlier this year and he has apparently taken a liking to Spanish football.
Chelsea most likely will not allow Piazon to stay on at Malaga. When he gets back to London, hopefully he will see an increased role at the club. If not, then maybe a move out of a big club like Chelsea will suit his career well.
Mattia De Sciglio
Mattia De Sciglio currently plays for AC Milan.
The 20-year-old Italian was brought up through Milan's youth system and eventually became a member of the senior squad in 2011.
De Sciglio primarily plays fullback but can occasionally play on the left side.
This season, De Sciglio has been a regular for Massimiliano Allegri and even earned a call up to Italy.
He made his senior team debut in Italy's friendly against Brazil on March 21st.
Expect to see a lot more of De Sciglio in the upcoming months as more of AC Milan games are broadcasted. While most will be tuning in to see stars Mario Balotelli and Stephan El Shaarawy, you can see De Sciglio and decide for yourself whether he is the future of Italy's back line.
A few years ago, Iker Muniain was one of the brightest young stars playing the game. But it seems that his star has diminished a bit.
Once thought to be Spain's answer to Lionel Messi, Muniain is barely spoken about anymore. But his talent hasn't disappeared.
Muniain plays for Athletic Bilbao, a team that captured a lot of people's attention last season. Because of Muniain's form, he earned a call up to the Spanish National Team and even played for the Olympic team in London 2012.
We all remember what happened to that Spanish squad. The team did not click and were kicked out of the Olympics rather embarrassingly. That seemed to be the start of Muniain's troubles.
So far this season, the forward has only scored one goal in his 26 games played.
You must be asking yourself why the heck this guy is even on this list. Frankly I question it sometimes as well, but Muniain has proven himself before and surely he will again.
Once he is back in form and playing up to his full potential, Muniain very well could be a star.
Alvaro Morata is the young forward you sometimes see coming into Real Madrid's matches late on.
Morata is the future of not only Real Madrid but Spain as well. I know that this is a lot to put on a player so young, but I truly believe that this guy is destined for greatness.
Perhaps it's Karim Benzema and Gonzalo Higuain's not-so-stellar form this season but Morata has played well almost every time he has been called on by Jose Mourinho.
Maybe it's a combination of Morata's age and Benzema and Higuain's reputation that keeps Morata mostly on the bench but the kid deserves more opportunities, especially with Spain.
If there is one area that the Spanish are a tad weak in, it's the striker position. I'm not saying that Morata should be a starter, but he would be a nice addition to the bench.
Morata will be a great player in the near future once he starts getting more opportunities.
Denis Suarez joined Manchester City from Celta Vigo in 2011. City claims that it fought off competition from Barcelona in order to sign the young Spanish midfielder.
Suarez has rarely featured for City over these past two years. Of course, this is not very surprising.
Manchester City is filled with a lot of talent and simply cannot play all of its players. Young players find it even more difficult to break through to the first team so it's no wonder that Suarez has only featured once this season in a Capitol One Cup match.
Suarez has been touted as the future replacement of David Silva but we haven't seen much of the kid. Silva is a great player but should Suarez get more opportunities, either with City or out on loan, we will see just how good he can be.
In the little that I have seen Suarez play, he seems to be a good playmaker. I believe that once he gets more experience, he could be a future star.
Tottenham Hotspur has apparently been looking at German winger Patrick Herrman for a few months now. Long before Hermann made headlines after he was called up to Joachim Low's Germany squad for World Cup qualifiers this month, Hermann was capturing the attention of not only Tottenham but Inter Milan as well.
Although Hermann rejected the rumors linking him to the Spurs and Inter, the attention likely will not stop.
The German youngster plays for Borussia Moenchengladbach in Germany. So far this season, he has played 25 matches, scored six goals and assisted on four more.
The past three seasons has seen him play in more than 70 matches for his German side. Now that he is on Low's radar, it's possible we may see a lot more of him.
This summer's UEFA European Under-21 Football Championship in Israel will allow fans to see Hermann and determine whether he is as good as Tottenham and Inter think he is.
I don't believe he's the next Marco Reus but he has a bright future.
Nathaniel Chalobah is a Chelsea academy graduate who is currently on loan at Watford in the Championship.
Chalobah can play both defender and midfielder. While at Watford, he is mostly playing a defensive midfield position.
London Evening Standard's Simon Johnson believes that Chalobah could be Chelsea's answer for the future. He pointed out that the young player has proven himself at Watford and only needs a few chances at Chelsea to show that he is the real deal.
Chalobah has captained the England Under-19 team. He has also been a regular call-up for Stuart Pearce's England Under-21 team since November 2012.
Chalobah is very young (still only 18 years old). But he has shown a lot of potential. Should he get his chances when he gets back to Chelsea, he could be a star in the making.
Manchester United fans know of Nick Powell.
The 19-year old joined the Red Devils in 2012 after a stellar career at Crewe Alexandra.
Powell has been widely touted as the natural successor to Paul Scholes.
After Powell scored a beautiful goal on his debut for United, fans have been excited about his capabilities.
It probably will not be for another year or so until we see Powell become a regular first-teamer for Sir Alex Ferguson, but the youngster should be ready once his name starts to be called more often.
Powell has been producing and playing well for United's Under-21 Reserve side. If Paul Scholes does return for another season, Powell may be sent out on loan.
However, Powell is very versatile and can play up front as well as in the midfield. Ferguson will give him the opportunities and Powell will do well to capitalize on them.
You may not know who Lorenzo Insigne is yet but it shouldn't be too long before you do.
The 21-year-old currently plays for Napoli. After Ezequiel Lavezzi left the Azzurri in 2012, Insigne was tipped to succeed him.
Although he stands at only 5'4," Insigne has made a big impact on Walter Mazzarri's squad. He may not score a lot of goals but is creative and keeps defenses guessing.
This summer Insigne will get his chance to test his talents against some of the other members of this list when the Under-21 Euros roll around. Then perhaps we will see if he is deserving of his "new Messi" title.
James Rodriguez has been considered one of the best young players for a few years now.
The Colombian currently plays in Portugal for FC Porto. In the 17 games that he has played so far, Rodriguez has scored eight goals. It is this form that has teams across Europe very interested in obtaining his signature.
One team that seems to be particularly interested is Manchester United. United scouted Rodriguez as recently as late February. Some fans think that he can partner well up front with Robin Van Persie and Wayne Rooney.
Rodriguez is already an instrumental part of Colombia's bid for the World Cup in 2014. Should Colombia successfully make it to the tournament and have a nice run, Rodriguez may end up in a different football shirt fairly soon.
Jetro Willems plays for PSV Eindhoven in the Netherlands. Willems was called up to the Dutch National Team in 2012 and represented the team at the 2012 Euros.
Willems is a strong defender and has caught the eye of many European squads. Arsenal is said to be looking at the young star.
However, since adding Nacho Monreal Arsene Wenger may not be as interested as he once was.
Willems is a very physical and strong defender. A number of teams can use him on their left sides.
However, Willems only recently joined PSV and may not be looking for a new team just yet. Should he get into a team that provides more exposure, Willems' star may rise.
Connor Wickham could very well be the future of England's national team. The natural striker has been a prolific goal scorer for England's youth teams.
Wickham joined Sunderland in 2011 from Ipswich Town. This past season saw a dip in form for Wickham and he was sent out on loan to Sheffield Wednesday. The loan was only for one month. Wickham is currently back at Sunderland.
The striker has represented England at different youth levels throughout the years. Most recently he has been a part of Stuart Pearce's Under-21 setup.
Wickham should be a part of Pearce's team that will be heading to Israel for the U21 Euros this year. This may provide him with some exposure.
Wickham must also prove himself at Sunderland. He has been underwhelming so far but he has the potential to be a good player for both club and country.
Karim Rekik is well-known by Manchester City fans. The Dutch youth player of Tunisian descent is currently on loan at Blackburn Rovers from the Premier League champions.
Rekik joined City in 2011 but has found it difficult to break into the first team. This is unfortunate because the teenager has shown a lot of promise while out on loan.
Perhaps if Rekik gains enough experience on his loan spells, Roberto Mancini (or whoever else) will give him a chance to prove himself.
City has recently been more interested in buying and using players who have already made a name for themselves. Perhaps The Citizens should consider using its youth players.
Aside from Rekik, there are a number of other young players who can make a difference for Mancini. He should consider them. They are the future of Manchester City.
Okay so most people know who Julian Draxler is by now. But he is not as well known as some of his other German counterparts like Mario Goetze or Marco Reus.
However, Draxler is a star in his own right. The young German has been a strong player for Schalke ever since his debut at 17 years old.
Draxler was not a starter for the Royal Blues until Lewis Holtby left for Tottenham in the January transfer window. With Holtby gone, Draxler was given his chance. And he has not disappointed.
With his accomplishments at Schalke, Draxler has been given opportunities at the international level. Joachim Low called up Draxler to his provisional German squad for the European championship in 2012 but the youngster did not make the final team.
However, since Euros Draxler has been consistently called up by Low. He hasn't had many opportunities but he has a lot of potential.
Draxler is on the brink of stardom. He is a few good starts away from becoming the next big thing in German football and football overall.
He very well could be the best player on this list.