10 of the Best Footballers in the World You Haven't Heard Of Yet
The footballing world is getting smaller all the time.
Where once most lovers of the sport would be only vaguely aware of what was happening outside of their own leagues, nowadays your average fan has a much wider knowledge of the game.
With 24-hour sports channels and the plethora of information available on the world wide web, it is never long before the names of bright young prospects get bounced around the globe, purchased in Pro Evolution Soccer teams and linked with big clubs.
While the likes of Ricardo Centurion of Racing Club and Bruma of Sporting are already on the radar despite their tender years, here are 10 exciting talents who you may not have heard of yet.
A star of Ghana's U-20 side, Assifuah was the top scorer at the recent FIFA U-20 Championship held in Turkey, with six goals.
Quick and nimble with a small, powerful frame, the 20-year-old is dangerous when he's lurking in the box or dropping back to receive the ball and drive towards goal.
He has the fancy footwork and passing sense of a playmaker and the killer instinct and lethal shot of a top-class striker.
Nationality: New Zealander
Club: VfB Stuttgart
After shining for Wellington Phoenix and Melbourne Victory in the A-League, the New Zealander of Chilean descent capped his stint in the Australian league by winning both the Johnny Warren Medal (for player of the season) and Young Footballer of the Year at the end of the 2012/13 campaign.
Rojas earned a transfer to the Bundesliga with Stuttgart, where he will embark on what promises to be a long and successful European career.
Rapid, skillful and buzzing with energy, the winger/attacking midfielder makes a habit of harassing opposition defenses with his constant movement and creativity.
Having already registered five senior caps for Egypt, Ramy Rabia is one of the most promising young defensive midfielders in world football.
Also capable of playing as a center-back, the Al-Ahly man is a rugged tackler who is comfortable on the ball and adept at instigating attacking movements, like a young Javier Mascherano.
Add in an imposing physical presence, leadership qualities and aerial ability, and Rabia looks a highly valuable footballer.
The very essence of a box-to-box player, Pizarro has the physicality and elegance to make him a complete midfield package.
With his head-held-high running style while in possession and ability to rapidly cover ground in a defensive capacity, he is the type of player that teammates look to at key moments of a match for inspiration, despite his relatively young age.
A true midfield engine who should shine in Mexico following his recent move to Tigres from Lanus.
An ambidextrous Brazilian who can dance with the ball at his feet and score truckloads of goals? Yuri Mamute ticks all the boxes when it comes to traits that you would want in a striker.
With a low center of gravity and speed to burn, the teenager from Porto Alegre promises to cause nightmares for defenders for many years to come.
This explosive striker or right-sided attacking player was introduced to Italian football in 2011 by Internazionale, where he only played a handful of games.
Having now settled at Atalanta after a couple of loan spells, he will be looking to establish himself as a consistent attacking force on the peninsula.
His aggression has gotten him to trouble off the pitch in the form of several clashes with teammates, but it also serves him well when he is honing in on goal with lethal intent.
Club: Universidad de Chile
A crucial component of the strong La U side over the past few seasons, it is surprising that this South American jewel has not yet crossed the pond to European football.
A Chilean international with 14 caps to his name, Aranguiz is a polyfunctional midfielder who has similar attributes to countrymen Arturo Vidal and David Pizarro.
Though he will run all match for his team, he is also a foot-on-the ball director of play when need be, making him an important focal point in the center of the field for his teammates.
Club: Kashima Antlers
An intelligent central midfielder who usually sits deep and spreads passes around the field, Shibasaki was named player of the year in the J-League in 2012.
As well as shielding the defense, he can drive his team forward, release teammates with incisive passing and score goals himself.
Shibasaki oozes class and would be a great acquisition for any side in need of a midfield general.
This Genoa product came to the fore last season while on loan at Pescara, making 29 league appearances and earning a recall to the Grifone upon the Abruzzo club's relegation.
Perin offers some hope for Italian fans that when the legendary Gianluigi Buffon eventually retires, there will be an adequate replacement ready to step into his shoes. His development over the next couple of seasons will be keenly observed.
Boasting incredible reflexes and a habit of flinging himself athletically at anything that moves in the box, Perin will be nothing if not an entertaining keeper to watch throughout his career.
This powerful midfielder can dominate the center of the pitch though his presence alone.
Though he shows plenty of graft for the side, he also offers a touch of flair going forward.
With bags of experience and a determined attitude, Arouca has an outside chance of making Brazil's World Cup squad in 2014.