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With the unfulfilled careers of Johnnier Montaño and Hugo Rodallega—both at one point were the best in their age group—you should always be skeptical.
That said, here are my top three Colombian youngsters playing in Europe who have world-class upside.
1. Luis Muriel, CF, Udinese, Age: 22
After a frustrating experience on loan at Udinese's feeder club Granada, Muriel blossomed under Serse Cosmi as a Lecce loanee.
Sure, Luis' seven goals in 29 games seems average, but the way he played took your breath away.
You thought: "hang on, this kid is special."
The Colombian blew past defenders with ease, could take over a game by himself and there were shades of Ronaldo in his movement.
Just ask Simon Kjær and Gabriel Heinze, who were torn to shreds when Muriel led Lecce to a 4-2 win over Roma.
Now back with Udinese, Luis has eight goals in 17 league games, but those are slightly misleading numbers.
In 12 Serie A starts, he has scored eight goals, which represents Muriel's true value.
Should he make the transition into a prolific goal-scorer next season, then Colombia could potentially have four strikers in the European Golden Shoe standings (Radamel Falcao, Jackson Martínez and Carlos Bacca being the other three).
2. James Rodríguez, WF, Porto, Age: 21
James drifts past opposing defenders, he has an eye for goals and possesses the creativity to produce shots for his teammates.
What you love about him is his steely determination to impact a game.
In a nine-minute spell vs. Beira Mar, he scored once and registered a brace of assists.
Like Muriel, Rodríguez has yet to play out one full season as a starter without injury or spending a significant portion of his minutes on the bench.
His durability is a concern but should he be able to start weekly for an entire season, he'll justify the hype.
He's mainly a wide forward but his playmaking is so elite that he could turn into a world-class central attacking midfielder.
3. Juan Quintero, CAM, Pescara, Age: 20
South American football correspondent Tim Vickery was impressed with the Colombian's displays at the South American Youth Championship (via SBS The World Game):
The outstanding one is Colombian playmaker Juan Fernando Quintero.
With a wonderful left foot, full of ideas, able to organise a push and run short game and rip opposing defences open with his long passes, Quintero is an old fashioned number 10 in the best tradition.
Juan has actually gotten progressively worse for Pescara: hasn't scored in Serie A since last September and is on a seven-game stretch without an assist in league-play.
Now, there's a logical reason why he hasn't carried on his U-20 Sudamericano form for Pescara.
Pescara is on an eight-game losing streak, morale is low, they're destined for relegation and he's probably spent more time wondering where his next destination is as opposed to leaving everything on the field for the Delfini.