10 Teenagers Ready to Make Their Mark on the World
One of the joys of football is that due to its immense global popularity, there is never a shortage of up-and-coming talent emerging from one corner of the planet or another.
With the richest clubs boasting extensive scouting networks, gifted players are being identified and signed up at ever-younger ages.
Here are 10 footballers who have already caused a minor stir before they have even hit their 20s.
If they can continue along the same path, most, if not all of them could one day be considered stars of the world game.
10. Alvaro Vadillo
At the age of 16 years, 11 months and 16 days, Alvaro Vadillo became the second youngest player ever to take the pitch in the Spanish first division when he started for Real Betis against Granada CF.
The flashy, light-framed winger plays like a young Angel Di Maria; he is quick and elusive and enjoys showing off his fancy footwork whenever the opportunity presents itself.
If he can put on a bit of beef and become more discerning about when he reaches into his bag of tricks, Vadillo is destined to become a top-notch player.
9. Daniel De Silva
Making his A-League debut at just 15, attacking midfielder Daniel De Silva could be playing at the highest level in Europe before he even reaches his 20th birthday.
He was a shining light in Australia's modest U20 World Cup campaign in Turkey this year, displaying all the skills of an experienced Italian trequartista or Argentine enganche.
The way De Silva controlled the match against a highly fancied Colombia side was particularly impressive.
8. Nathaniel Chalobah
Charlie Crowhurst/Getty Images
Chelsea (on loan at Nottingham Forrest)/England
England has never been a nation afraid to promote its players into the limelight at an early age if they show signs of promise.
In some cases, such as Wayne Rooney, they embrace the pressure and go on to become celebrated internationals, while others burn out or fade away without ever living up to their potential.
Whether Nathaniel Chalobah fulfills his talent or not will depend on his temperament, among other things, but he certainly has the natural gifts to become a regular England international.
Tall and powerful, the Sierra Leone-born player can perform a number of roles in midfield or defense.
7. Stipe Perica
Chelsea (on loan at NAC Breda)/Croatia
I told you the richest clubs lap up all the young talent, didn't I? Another kid with plenty of promise who is owned by Chelsea, Stipe Perica has been loaned out to NAC Breda so as to further his development.
The striker stands at 6'4" and, though he is still somewhat lanky, could one day be a formidable battering ram up front for the Croatian national team.
6. Luis Gil
Real Salt Lake/USA
Already a veteran of 70-plus MLS games, Luis Gil is the classiest midfielder produced in the United States for quite some time.
Combining speed and physicality with European-style playmaking abilities, this Californian could be trying his luck in the Old Continent sooner rather than later.
5. Giovanni Simeone
Photo courtesy of fifa.com
He may not have made much of an impression in the handful of Primera games he has appeared in thus far, but Giovanni Simeone has long been touted as a future star by his mentors at the prestigious River Plate academy.
The elegant forward is a very different type of player to his father, Argentina legend Diego Simeone, but certain traits, such as a competitive nature and strong self-belief, have been handed down.
Simeone junior is an intelligent and skillful front man, capable of bringing his teammates into the attack with smart passes, or scoring goals on his own.
4. Bryan Rabello
This pocket-sized dynamo first appeared in Chile's top flight at the age of 15, meaning he's already in his fourth year as a professional.
Now with Sevilla, Bryan Rabello is a compact and elusive attacking midfielder who is equally adept at driving his side forward with a weaving dribble or putting his foot on the ball and scheming about his next pass.
An impressive tally of five goals at the recent U20 World Cup earned Bruma a move to Turkish giants Galatasaray, where he has since broken into the first team on several occasions.
Capable of playing on either flank, the zippy winger has the inventiveness and ball control to make defenders look foolish.
Much is expected of this exciting prodigy, and the signs are good that he is set to deliver.
2. Kerim Frei
Though he didn't always show the best of his game at Fulham, Kerim Frei is clearly an attacking midfielder with vast potential.
The wily wide man came up through the ranks of the Swiss system but switched allegiances to Turkey and now represents them at senior level.
With his galloping stride and superb close control, he is able to consistently burst past markers to devastating effect.
1. Lucas Ocampos
The best word to sum up Lucas Ocampos' game is "explosive."
The former River Plate prodigy now plies his trade with Monaco in the French first division, and it is easy to forget he is still in his teens when watching him play.
Powerful and incredibly pacy, he is comfortable roaring along the flanks, cutting in, or even leading the line as a No. 9.
A goalscorer and chance creator, Ocampos plays with the swagger of someone who knows he could be great.