Highlighting the Top 25 Potential Successors To Iker Casillas

Andy Gray@@TheRealAndyGrayContributor IIJanuary 12, 2011

Highlighting The Top 25 Potential Successors To Iker Casillas

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    MADRID, SPAIN - OCTOBER 19:  Iker Casillas of Real Madrid urges on his side during the UEFA Champions League Group G match between Real Madrid and AC Milan at Estadio Santiago Bernabeu on October 19, 2010 in Madrid, Spain.  (Photo by Denis Doyle/Getty Ima
    Denis Doyle/Getty Images

    Everyone has their own opinion when it comes to who is the best player in the world.

    Most people will say Lionel Messi, although some will plump for the mercurial Cristiano Ronaldo, while others will be torn between the indomitable pairing of Xavi and Andres Iniesta.

    However, when it comes to goalkeepers, more often than not you will find that opinion is far less divided.

    While if you ask the question 'who is the world's best goalkeeper?' some will rave about Buffon and others will praise Julio Cesar and respect Edwin van der Sar, nine times out of ten the answer will be the same.

    Iker Casillas

    The 29-year-old Real Madrid goalkeeper has made over 400 appearances for the club and has made a remarkable 116 outings for Spain, breaking into the team at the age of just 19.

    His talents have been rewarded regularly and last year he added the World Cup and the Golden Glove to his CV.

    Yet to reach 30, Casillas is likely to add to his appearances, caps and honours before he hangs up his gloves, breaking all kinds of records in the process, but who is going to be the next young goalkeeper to break through as the world's top stopper?

Joe Hart

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    STOKE ON TRENT, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 27:  Joe Hart of Manchester City celebrates Micah Richards goal during the Barclays Premier League match between Stoke City and Manchester City at Britannia Stadium on November 27, 2010 in Stoke on Trent, England.  (Phot
    Clive Mason/Getty Images

    Joe Hart has enjoyed a meteoric rise to prominence in the last year, and at the age of just 23, he is expected to quickly become one of the biggest goalkeeping assets on the planet.

    The man from Shrewsbury signed for Manchester City in 2006 and made his debut under Sven Goran Eriksson in 2007 and made an instant impression.

    However, when City signed Shay Given, Hart was dropped to the bench and found opportunities hard to come by.

    Despite the setback, the Shropshire stopper moved to Birmingham City on loan for the 2009/10 season and performed superbly, proving to be one of the main factors in the club's stellar season, earning a place in England's World Cup squad.

    On his return to City this season he displaced Shay Given and has now established himself as England's number one and looks set for stardom.

Igor Akinfeev

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    MILAN, ITALY - MARCH 31:  Igor Akinfeev of CSKA Moscow looks on during the the UEFA Champions League Quarter Finals, First Leg match between FC Internazionale Milano and CSKA Moscow at Giuseppe Meazza Stadium on March 31, 2010 in Milan, Italy.  (Photo by
    Valerio Pennicino/Getty Images

    The Russian international goalkeeper has attracted interest from a number of top clubs thanks to some impressive performances for both CSKA Moscow and the national team.

    Despite being only 24, he has already made almost 200 appearances for his club and earned 46 caps for his country.

    He broke into the CSKA starting line up at just 17 and has been the number one ever since, providing the foundations on which the club's success has been built and now holding the captain's armband.

    Already he has a UEFA Cup and two league title medals in his trophy cabinet and has been named the best goalkeeper in the Soviet Union.

    He has plenty of Champions League experience already and at one stage went 362 minutes without conceding a goal on the European stage.

    There were questions about Akinfeev's tendancy to conceded goals through his legs but having sorted the issue he is now set to become one of the world's best.

Wojciech Szczesny

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    MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 13:  Wojciech Szczesny of Arsenal looks on during the Barclays Premier League match between Manchester United and Arsenal at Old Trafford on December 13, 2010 in Manchester, England.  (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)
    Alex Livesey/Getty Images

    The goalkeeper set to be the bane of every commentators life for the next ten years has made an impressive start to life in an Arsenal shirt having recently returned to the club from a loan.

    Poland born Szczesny is a 20-year-old with a big future according to Arsene Wenger and has already taken his place between the posts on a handful of occasions this year.

    He made his debut in a League Cup game in 2009 but spent last season on loan to Brentford in order to gain first team experience.

    He returned to the Emirates in the summer and became Arsenal's Carling Cup goalkeeper, keeping a clean sheet away at Newcastle before making his Premier League debut against Manchester United. Despite a 1-0 defeat, the young Pole made a good account for himself including a wonderful save from Wayne Rooney's lob.

    Arsenal will be hoping he develops better than previous goalkeeping prospects at the club.

Manuel Neuer

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    DURBAN, SOUTH AFRICA - JULY 07:  Manuel Neuer of Germany directs his defence during the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa Semi Final match between Germany and Spain at Durban Stadium on July 7, 2010 in Durban, South Africa.  (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Ima
    Clive Mason/Getty Images

    The big stopper was a member of the youthful Germany side that reached the semi-finals of the World Cup last year and earned plenty of praise, attracting interest from all of Europe's top clubs including Manchester United.

    At 24 years of age Neuer is still developing as a prospect but shows every sign of being one of the best on the planet and has already cemented his place as his nation's number one, earning 15 caps to date.

    After a number of impressive performances last year, Neuer was nominated for the UEFA team of the year although he didn't make the final list.

    So far the only medal in his cabinet is a 2005 German League Cup medal but it won't be long before he bags a big time move and starts raking in the prizes.

Tim Krul

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    NEWCASTLE UPON TYNE, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 11:  Tim Krul of Newcastle United gestures during the Barclays Premier League match between Newcastle United and Liverpool at St James' Park on December 11, 2010 in Newcastle, England.  (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty
    Mark Thompson/Getty Images

    Not many had heard of the Dutchman before this season, not even many Newcastle fans knew his name, but he has been installed as the club's first choice in recent months.

    Following the departure of Shay Given and the injury to Steve Harper, the Toon Army were left without a recognised number one and so Krul was given the call up.

    He has produced a string of impressive performances that have helped propel newly promoted Newcastle into the top half of the Premier League.

    Krul joined the club in 2006 but has only made ten appearances, most of which have been this season, and has had to endure a number of loan spells including trips to Falkirk in the SPL and Carlisle United.

    He has been described as an excellent reserve but Krul will be hoping to establish himself as the club's number one as soon as possible and force his way into the national side.

Guillermo Ochoa

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    KANSAS CITY, MO - SEPTEMBER 16: Goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa #1 of Club América looks on during the Mexican First Division 'Clásico Nacional' match against Chivas de Guadalajara at Arrowhead Stadium on September 16, 2009 in Kansas City, Missouri.  Chivas de
    Jamie Squire/Getty Images

    Mexican goalkeeper Ochoa may only be 25 but he has already earned 41 caps for his country and has been to two World Cups.

    It is somewhat surprising that Ochoa has not attracted more interest from the European leagues, with the flamboyant shot stopper plying his trade at Club America since 2004 making ll over 200 appearances since the age of 18.

    He is already starting to accumulate an impressive trophy cabinet but if he is going to establish himself as one of the top keepers on the planet, he is going to have to make the move into one of the big leagues sooner rather than later.

Hugo Lloris

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    LYON, FRANCE - AUGUST 07:  Hugo Lloris of Olympique Lyonnais in action during the Ligue 1 match between Olympique Lyonnais and AS Monaco FC at Gerland Stadium on August 7, 2010 in Lyon, France.  (Photo by Valerio Pennicino/Getty Images)
    Valerio Pennicino/Getty Images

    The Lyon goalkeeper joined the club in 2008 from Nice and has gone from strength to strength ever since, establishing himself as the club's number one even at the young age of 23.

    In his two years at the club he has made 71 appearances and earned himself an International call up which has seen him become France's number one.

    His sublime performances helped France reach the World Cup finals, although they were overshawoed by Thierry Henry's infamous handball.

    Despite a disappointing campaign in South Africa, Lloris' reputation is still well and truly in tact and the agile and dependable stopper is now lookin forward to a Champions League knockout tie with Real Madrid and Iker Casillas.

David De Gea

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    MADRID, SPAIN - DECEMBER 01:  Goalkeeper David de Gea of Atletico Madrid looks on during the Europea League match between Atletico Madrid and Aris Thessaloniki at the Vicente Calderon Stadium on December 1, 2010 in Madrid, Spain.  (Photo by Jasper Juinen/
    Jasper Juinen/Getty Images

    At just 20-years-old, De Gea looks to have a huge future ahead of him and could turn out to be the natural successor to Iker Casillas in the Spanish national team.

    Last season was a big year for the youngster as he broke into the Atletico Madrid first team, playing in their UEFA Europa League winning run and earned a call up to the provisional 30 man Spain squad ahead of the World Cup.

    A number of Europe's top clubs have shown interest and it is unlikely to be long before he lands a big money move as well as taking over as Spain's number one.

Sergio Romero

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    JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA - JUNE 27: Sergio Romero of Argentina in action during the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa Round of Sixteen match between Argentina and Mexico at Soccer City Stadium on June 27, 2010 in Johannesburg, South Africa.  (Photo by Do
    Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

    Argentina's World Cup number one is still only 23 years of age, but has bags of experience and potential.

    The AZ Alkmaar goalkeeper was one of the main reasons for his side's league title in the 2008/09 season in the Eredivisie and was selected by the enigmatic Diego Maradona to stand between the posts in South Africa, where Argentina reached the Quarter-finals.

    Despite shipping four goals in that game, Romero made a good name for himself in the tournament and the passionate goalkeeper is sure to be eyed up by a number of clubs in the summer.

Lukasz Fabianski

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    BRAGA, PORTUGAL - NOVEMBER 23:  Lukasz Fabianski of Arsenal looks on during the UEFA Champions League Group H match between SC Braga and Arsenal at Estadio Municipal de Braga on November 23, 2010 in Braga, Portugal. SC Braga won the match 2-0.  (Photo by
    David Ramos/Getty Images

    Despite acquiring the moniker 'Flappyhandski' in recent years, the other young Pole at the Emirates Stadium is starting to find his feet and has now become Arsenal's first choice goalkeeper.

    Having signed from Legia Warsaw in 2007, Fabianski found chances hard to come by and had to settle for appearing in the Carling Cup.

    He started the season as the number two behind Manuel Almunia but has since forced his way into the starting line up, earning plenty of praise from his manager in the process.

    Wenger believes Fabianski has what it takes to be one of the best in the league. Only time will tell if he can justify his manager's faith in him, especially with fellow Pole Szczesny champing at the bit to get involved.

Fernando Muslera

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    PARMA, ITALY - NOVEMBER 21:  Fernando Muslera, goalkeeper of Lazio looks on during the Serie A match between Parma and Lazio at Stadio Ennio Tardini on November 21, 2010 in Parma, Italy.  (Photo by Dino Panato/Getty Images)
    Dino Panato/Getty Images

    Muslera is another member of this young list who currently holds the number one jersey for his country despite being just 24 years old.

    Despite difficult start to his career in Serie A with Lazio, Muslera was sensational in South Africa as his Uruguay team exceeded expectations to reach the semi-final stages. He even saved two penalties in the quarter final shoot out against Ghana to set up a tie Holland.

    His shot stopping is his best asset, as was evident from his 32 saves throughout the tournament, more than any other goalkeeper.

Sergio Asenjo

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    MADRID, SPAIN - NOVEMBER 03:  Sergio Asenjo of Atletico Madrid speaks to his defence during Champions League Group D match between Atletico Madrid and Chelsea at the Vicente Calderon Stadium on November 3, 2009 in Madrid, Spain.  (Photo by Shaun Botterill
    Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

    Currently on loan at Malaga, Asenjo is only 21-years-old with bags of potential.

    Officially an Atletico Madrid goalkeeper, he joined Malaga this month to find regular first team football and continue to build on his obvious talent.

    He made his first appearance for the club in a 1-1 draw with Athletic Bilbao this week and will be hoping to remain inbetween the posts for the remainder of the season.

    He has only made 15 appearances for parent club Atletico but the club holds him in high regard and see him as the long term solution to their goalkeeping hopes.

    The Spaniard is likely to be among the next crop of talented Spanish goalkeepers set to make decision making difficult for future bosses.

Fraser Forster

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    NORWICH, ENGLAND - APRIL 24:  Norwich City goalkeeper Fraser Forster during the Coca Cola League One match between Norwich City and Gillingham at Carrow Road on April 24, 2010 in Norwich, England. (Photo by Jed Leicester/Getty Images)
    Jed Leicester/Getty Images

    Another one from the class of young Newcastle goalkeepers with bags of potential, Forster has spent the majority of his time club hopping on loan moves.

    Currently playing for Celtic in the SPL, Forster has also spent time at Norwich, Stockport and Bristol Rovers since 2008.

    This season he has made 17 appearances for the hoops, keeping a clean sheet on his debut against Motherwell in a 1-0 win.

    Neil Lennon has spoken very highly of the big goalkeeper and Newcastle's reluctance to let him leave the club other than on loan shows that he is in the Toon Army's vision for the future.

Dean Bouzanis

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    MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - MAY 14:  Dean Bouzanis of the Come Play XI makes a save during the Kevin Muscat Testimonial match between Melbourne Victory and the Come Play XI Squad at AAMI Park on May 14, 2010 in Melbourne, Australia.  (Photo by Mark Dadswell/Ge
    Mark Dadswell/Getty Images

    The 20-year-old Australian was brought to Liverpool by Rafa Benitez in 2007 with the Spanish manager describing him as the best young goalkeeper in the world.

    He has yet to make his first team bow for the Merseysiders though and spent last season on loan to Accrington Stanley (who are they?) in League Two where he made 19 appearances.

    He has represented Australia at all levels except for the first team and will be hoping to make an impression at Anfield sooner rather than later in order to justify the praise lavished on him as a 17-year-old.

Kasper Schmeichel

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    CARDIFF, WALES - JANUARY 04:  Leeds goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel in action during the npower Championship game between Cardiff City and Leeds United at Cardiff City stadium on January 4, 2011 in Cardiff, Wales.  (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)
    Stu Forster/Getty Images

    Kasper Schmeichel will always be faced with one of the toughest tasks in football...keeping up with his old man.

    The son of arguably Manchester United's best ever goalkeeper Peter Schmeichel, Kasper was always going to be compared to his dad, especially considering the obvious physical similarities.

    The 24-year-old Dane started promisingly and after a few loan spells he made his Manchester City debut in 2007 against West Ham United and not long after he kept a clean sheet against Manchester United and saved a Robin Van Persie penalty against Arsenal.

    Despite the bright start, playing in City's first seven games of the season, he lost his place to Joe Hart and never came back.

    Many were surprised when he dropped down to League Two with Notts County but having recently secured a move to Leeds he is definitely back on the up.

    His imposing presence and excellent reflexes mean he is expected to go far and don't forget, his father was relatively unknown before signing for United aged 28. Kasper is miles ahead.

Juan Pablo Carrizo

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    BUENOS AIRES, ARGENTINA - FEBRUARY 10:  Juan Pablo Carrizo, goalkeeper of River Plate gives instructions during the Primera Division closing season match between River Plate and Gimnasia de Jujuy at the Estadio Monumental on February 10, 2008 in Buenos Ai
    Julian Finney/Getty Images

    Another South American on the list, Carrizo is also the oldest name in the top 25. However, his recent rise to prominence makes it difficult to leave him out of the reckoning.

    After a successful stint with River Plate, the young goalkeeper earned a move to Serie A with Lazio where he made 23 starts before losing his place.

    As negative as this sounds he did in fact lose his place to Uruguayan Fernando Muslera so it's not the most embarassing situation ever.

    He is now back at River Plate on loan where he has made 19 appearances this season.

    He also has a respectable 10 caps for the Argentinian national side.

    Despite maybe not showing the same promise as some others on the list, one big break could turn his fortunes around and back in his favour.

Renan Brito Soares

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    Renan is a 25-year-old Brazilian stopper who plays for Valencia but is on loan at Internacional in his native Brazil.

    He made his competitive debut at the age of 20, keeping a clean sheet for Internacional in a 1-0 win against Juventude.

    A string of impressive performances from the flamboyant 'keeper earned him a move to La Liga where he was taken on by Valencia once again keeping a clean sheet on his debut in a 3-0 win over Real Mallorca.

    He established himself as the club's number one and looked to be growing into one of the league's top goalkeepers before an unfortunate groin injury saw him replaced by veteran stopper Cesar Sanchez.

    Having failed to break back into the team on his return thanks to fine form from the old man, Soares has been sent out on loan to recapture his form.

    Although things don't look great right now, if he can get back to the form he displayed last year, he will be up there with the best of them.

Rene Adler

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    LEVERKUSEN, GERMANY - MARCH 06:  Rene Adler of Leverkusen gestures during the UEFA  League Round of 16, first leg match between Bayer Leverkusen and Hamburger SV at the bayArena on March 6, 2008 in Leverkusen, Germany. The match ends 1-0.  (Photo by Patri
    Patrik Stollarz/Getty Images

    The big German international is currently plying his trade at Bayer Leverkusen and until recently was the national team's number one choice.

    He made his debut for Bayer in the absence of the injured Hans Jorg Butt and produced a scintillating performance, making a series of world class saves and keeping a clean sheet in a 1-0 upset victory against Schalke.

    Voted the best Bundesliga goalkeeper in 2008, Adler was Germany's number one choice throughout qualifying for the 2010 World Cup and was expected to step between the posts in South Africa before a serious rib injury ruled him out.

    In his absence Manuel Neuer has been in excellent form and German coach Joachim Low has a real selection headache on his hands. Although I'm sure he isn't complaining.

Steve Mandanda

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    PARIS - APRIL 01:  France goalkeeper Steve Mandanda in action during the group 7 FIFA2010 World Cup Qualifier between France and Lithuania at Saint Denis, Stade de France on April 1, 2009  in Paris, France.  (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)
    Stu Forster/Getty Images

    The Congolese born keeper would be the first name on the team sheet for a number of countries at International level, he has just been unfortunate to be in the same era as Hugo Lloris.

    Mandanda is just 25 years old but is already captain of Marseille and has made 13 international starts despite the good form of Lloris.

    He became a fixture at club level after seizing his opportunity following an injury to the club's number one choice Cedric Carrasso.

    Having started the qualifying campaign for the 2010 World Cup as France's number one, Mandanda was eventually dropped behind the emerging Lloris and was used as a squad player at the tournament finals in South Africa.

    He shows a lot of promise though and is considered the best emerging African-born stopper.

Oscar Ustari

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    GETAFE, SPAIN - MARCH 13: Oscar Ustari of Getafe celebrates his team's second goal during the La Liga match between Getafe and Mallorca at Coliseum Alfonso Perez on March 13, 2010 in Getafe, Spain. (Photo by Angel Martinez/Getty Images)
    Angel Martinez/Getty Images

    Another Argentinian prodigy, Ustari is just 24-years-old although his progress has been slower than many expected.

    He made his professional debut aged just 19 when playing for Independiente and was part of the winning Argentinian Under 20 World Cup team in 2005 as well as the winning Olympic team in 2008.

    His performances saw him earn a move to La Liga with Getafe but he has found first team opportunities hard to come by and has this season made just three appearances as he plays back up to Jordi Codina.

    Ustari though has the skills to impress and and improve.

    As everyone knows, goalkeepers don't hit their peak until their 30s, so this guy has plenty of time to catch up with the rest.

Rhys Taylor

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    LONDON - APRIL 03:  Rhys Taylor of Chelsea points instructions during the FA Youth Cup final first leg match between Chelsea and Manchester City at Stamford Bridge on April 3, 2008 in London, England.  (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)
    Julian Finney/Getty Images

    Wales' under-21 goalkeeper has yet to make an appearance for his parent club Chelsea, but he has been described as one to watch for the future by club coaches.

    He is currently on loan to League Two side Crewe Alexandra where he has been their first choice goalkeeper this season, making 22 appearances so far.

    Taylor kept a clean sheet on his debut and the agile goalie has earned rave reviews during his spell with the club.

    Having established himself with the Wales youth setup, first team manager Bryan Flynn has identified Taylor as one for the future and described him as one of the countries most promising talents.

Rui Patricio

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    LISBON, PORTUGAL - AUGUST 22:  Rui Patricio of Sporting Lisbon in action during the Portuguese Liga football match between Sporting Lisbon and Maritimo at Alvalade Stadium on August 22, 2010 in Lisbon, Portugal. (Photo by Patricia De Melo Moreira/EuroFoot
    EuroFootball/Getty Images

    Sporting Lisbon's number one stopper has made huge strides despite being just 22-years-old and has already made an appearance for Portugal.

    Patricio was originally a striker but was spotted during an appearance in goal which earned him a contract at Sporting and his debut couldn't have gone much better. 

    He kept a clean sheet in a 1-0 away win against Maritimo and even saved a penalty kick 15 minutes from time to preserve the three points for his side.

    Rui has since made 80 appearances for the Lisbon club and is no the undisputed number one between the sticks.

    He recently made his debut for the national side, keeping another clean sheer in their surprise 4-0 win against World Champions Spain and he is expected to become the country's top dog for years to come.

Alphonse Areola

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    Alphonse Areola is relatively unknown to all those outside of the Football Manager game love in. However this 16-year-old prodigy is expected to be one of the best goalkeepers of the next generation.

    The coaches at PSG have high hopes for the youngster and he has been earmarked as a future international phenomenom.

    His progress remains to be seen though as at such a young age it is impossible to know how he will adapt, with many prodigies falling at the wayside after high profile teenage years.

    Despite his young age he is quick and agile although has been prone to the odd howler, with many likening him to Fabian Barthez. Although that's never a bad thing.

Matej Delac

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    The Croation keeper is on the books at Chelsea along with fellow prodigy Rhys Taylor, although he is slightly younger, clocking in at just 18 years old.

    He made 28 appearances in the Croation league for Inter Zapresic, making his debut at just 16, saving a penalty and keeping a clean sheet. It also made him the youngest player to ever feature in the league, particularly impressive for a goalkeeper.

    He has yet to start for Chelsea but is currently out on loan at Vitesse in the Belgian league.

    Delac has penned a five year contract at the Stamford Bridge club which shows the confidence that they have in the youngster and his impressive potential.

    The Croation also became the youngest player to be called up for his country when he was named in the squad for the 2010 World Cup qualifiers with England and Belarus but did not make an appearance. 

Vicenzo Fiorillo

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    PADOVA, ITALY - JANUARY 23:  The goal keeper of Reggina Vincenzo Fiorillo gestures during the Serie B match between Padova and Reggina at Stadio Euganeo on January 23, 2010 in Padova, Italy.  (Photo by Dino Panato/Getty Images)
    Dino Panato/Getty Images

    The 20-year-old has enormous potential but has yet to firmly establish himself in the starting eleven of any of his clubs.

    Fiorillo was part of the first ever Sampdoria Primavera squad to win the Primavera Cup when he played a huge role, saving two of four Atalanta penalties in a penalty shootout decider.

    Currently signed for Sampdoria, he made his first team debut against Reggina, the club he is now playing for on loan.

    He has made five appearances for Reggina this season and has established himself as first choice in Italy's under-21 squad.

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