UEFA Champions League 2011/12: 7 Unknown Talents to Watch
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With the likes of Otelul Galati and Viktoria Plzen making their debut in the lucrative UEFA Champions League for the 2011/12 season, there are plenty of unknown talents waiting to shine in Europe's premier club competition.
KRC Genk are also a fairly new team in the tournament, having only played in the group stages once, back in the 2002/03 season.
Add to that the likes of Trabzonspor making another rare appearance due to the Fenerbahce incident, and you have many relatively unknown talents ready to make shockwaves across Europe.
So, here are seven hidden gems to keep an eye on in this season's Champions League.
KRC Genk striker Jelle Vossen is rapidly turning into one of Belgium's hottest properties after enjoying a hugely prolific campaign in the Jupiler League last season.
The 22-year-old netted 20 goals for his club in 2010/11, and was a virtual ever-present, as he helped Genk win their first league title in nine years.
A player with superb natural finishing ability, Vossen's importance for Genk was clear, as he contributed 25 percent of all goals his team scored last season.
The talented forward is also experienced on the international stage, having scored two goals in eight caps for Belgium.
Valued at £9million, scouts from many clubs will be keeping an eye on Vossen in this season's UEFA Champions League, with Serie A side Fiorentina and Premier League clubs Aston Villa and Everton said to be interested in the striker.
Another player who impressed in Belgium's top-flight last season, Ivan Perisic is rapidly turning into one of his home country's (Croatia) top talents.
Snapped up by Borussia Dortmund this summer for £4.5million, 22-year-old Perisic scored 22 goals and made 10 assists for Club Brugge in 2010/11 and did it all from midfield, becoming the Jupiler League Player of the Year along the way.
Wanted by Tottenham Hotspur back in May, the playmaker's sensational form has seen him establish himself as a key player for Croatia alongside Luka Modric, and has also seen him be viewed by Dortmund boss Jurgen Klopp as the perfect replacement for Nuri Sahin, who left for La Liga giants Real Madrid.
Click here to see all his 22 goals from last season.
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After failing to win the league in the 2009/10 season, Olympiakos needed a new player who could create magic in the penalty area and fire Erythrolefki back to where they belong, as top dogs in Greek football.
And when they signed Kevin Mirallas on a season-long loan from Ligue 1 side St Etienne, a player who had scored just three league goals from 53 games for the French side, the fans weren't best pleased.
With pressure on him, the 23-year-old silenced his doubters, scoring 14 goals from 26 league matches (second to Djibril Cisse in the Greek Superleague) whilst also proving his versatility, playing mainly as a right winger or in the playmaker role.
Already an experienced international with four goals from 22 caps for Belgium (how many great players are they producing at the moment!?), Mirallas could be set for a big move next summer if he does well in this season's Champions League.
A player dubbed as the next big thing, 26-year-old Burak Yilmaz never really lived up to his hype, until now.
The Trabzonspor star scored an incredible 23 goals last season from the right wing, and also chipped in with four assists.
He then repaid the faith shown in him after his recall to the Turkey team by scoring in the 1-1 draw with Belgium in a Euro 2012 qualifier back in June.
Playing in a Cristiano Ronaldo type of role, Yilmaz will be Trabzonspor's main threat as they look to create an upset in the UEFA Champions League this season.
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He impressed against England at Wembley and has been linked with a £10million move to Arsenal, Bayern Munich, Juventus and Liverpool this summer.
Nineteen-year-old FC Basel and Switzerland star Xherdan Shaqiri is rapidly turning into one of the best young playmakers in Europe, having been highly influential for Basel last season as they won the Swiss Super League.
He scored five goals for his club last season and made a plethora of assists as his team scored 76 goals to finish first and again qualify for the Champions League.
A repeat performance of last season, and it won't be long before Shaqiri is gracing one of the top leagues in Europe, and quite possibly, at one of Europe's biggest clubs.
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Heralded with Steven Pienaar-like status in South Africa, 21-year-old playmaker Thulani Serero made a £2million switch to Ajax this summer from the Eredivisie side's feeder club Ajax Cape Town.
And having made his professional debut three seasons ago, Serero really made a name for himself last season, scoring 10 spectacular goals in 28 games from midfield as he won the Premier Soccer League Footballer of the Year and Player's Player of the Year.
His notorious ability for scoring from long-range, as well as his brilliant tactical movement, great pace and phenomenal bursts of acceleration saw the athletic Serero also establish himself as a key player for Bafana Bafana.
A player with the potential to be truly great, Thulani Serero is definitely a player to watch for Ajax in Europe's biggest club competition this season.
Said to have been set for a £15million switch to Arsenal, 19-year-old Dinamo Zagreb right-back Sime Vrsaljko is one of Croatia's best young players.
Already a full international having made his debut for Croatia against Czech Republic in February, Vrsaljko isn't your typical full-back.
Standing at six feet tall, he has much better strength than most his age, and also has great crossing ability, along with Gareth Bale-like pace.
A player also on the radar of Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur, Vrsaljko will no doubt have scouts from across Europe's elite watching his games this season, and especially on a stage as big as the UEFA Champions League.