FUTURE OF THE GAME

Don Balon’s list of the 100 best young players in the world

You’ll be hearing a lot about this man in the next 20 or so years

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Don Balon is a Spanish football magazine with a good line in fate-tempting articles predicting the next generation of world superstars.

Of course, speculating on the potential of young players is a risky business, as the BBC found out in that internet-infamous Why England will win Euro 2008 article, but Don Balon stake their reputation on having a cultured eye for talent

This year’s list, featuring players born on or after 01/01/1989, is after the jump; along with a lineup from 2001 for an idea of how impressively accurate the prescient Spaniards have been in the past.

Have they missed anyone? Spot a player who doesn’t deserve to be included? Leave your thoughts below.

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Dominic Adiyiah (Reggina)
Toby Alderweireld (Ajax)
Hamdan Al Kamali (Al Wahda)
Jano Ananidze (Spartak Moscow)
Andre Ayew (Marseille)
Khouma Babacar (Fiorentina)
Holger Badstuber (Bayern)
Gareth Bale (Tottenham)
Mario Balotelli (Manchester City)
Ben Sahar (Hapoel Tel Aviv)

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Bojan (FC Barcelone)
Bo-Kyung Kim (Oita Trinita)
Ryad Boudebouz (Sochaux)
Dedryck Boyata (Manchester City)
Breno (Bayern)
Sergio Canales (Real Madrid)
Mehdi Carcela-Gonzalez (Standard)
Luc Castaignos (Feyenoord)
Diego Contento (Bayern)
Phillippe Coutinho (Internazionale)

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David De Gea (Atlético de Madrid)
Alvaro Domínguez (Atlético Madrid)
Giovanni dos Santos (Tottenham)
Douglas Costa (Shakhtar)
Alan Dzagoev (CSKA Moscow)
Gueïda Fofana (Le Havre)
Paulo Henrique (Santos)
Giuliano (Internacional)
Maxime Gonalons (Lyon)
Mario Götze (Dortmund)

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Antoine Griezmann (Real Sociedad)
Eden Hazard (Lille)
Jordan Henderson (Sunderland)
Markus Henriksen (Rosenborg)
Abel Hernández (Palermo)
Ander Herrera (Zaragoza)
Lewis Holtby (Mainz)
James Rodriguez (Porto)
Stefan Jovetic (Fiorentina)
Vaclav Kadlec (Sparta Prague)

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Shinji Kagawa (Dortmund)
Gael Kakuta (Chelsea)
Alan Kardec (Benfica)
Simon Kjaer (Wolfsburg)
Maksim Koval (Dinamo Kiev)
Ismail Köybasi (Besiktas)
Toni Kroos (Bayern)
Manuel Lanzini (River Plate)
Adem Ljajic (Fiorentina)
Dejan Lovren (Lyon)

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Romelu Lukaku (Anderlecht)
Lukman Haruma (Monaco)
Federico Macheda (Manchester United)
Guido Marilungo (Sampdoria)
Marko Marin (Werder Bremen)
Emmanuel Mayuka (Young Boys)
Thomas Müller (Bayern)
Iker Muniain (Athletic Bilbao)
Marc Muniesa (Barcelona)
Ezequiel Muñoz (Palermo)

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Yann Mvila (Rennes)
Tomas Necid (CSKA Moscou)
Neymar (Santos)
Sotiris Ninis (Panathinaikos)
Nikolas N’Koulou (Monaco)
Javier Pastore (Palermo)
Alexandre Pato (Milan)
Pablo Piatti (Almería)
Miralem Pjanic (Lyon)
Rafael (Manchester United)

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Yaroslav Rakytskiy (Shakhtar)
Diego Renan (Cruzeiro)
Marco Reus (Mönchengladbach)
Emmanuel Rivière (Saint-Etienne)
Jack Rodwell (Everton)
José Rondón (Málaga)
Victor Ruiz (Espanyol)
Mamadou Sakho (PSG)
Davide Santon (Internazionale)
Georgy Shennikov (CSKA Moscow)

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Xherdan Shaqiri (Basel)
Harmeet Singh (Vålerenga)
Moussa Sissoko (Toulouse)
Robin Soder (Göteborg)
Miroslav Stoch (Fenerbahçe)
Yannis Tafer (Toulouse)
Thiago (Barcelona)
Lacina Traoré (Cluj)
Ricky Van Wolfswinkel (Utrecht)
Carlos Vela (Arsenal)

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Jelle Vossen (Genk)
Ante Vukusic (Hadjuk Split)
Theo Walcott (Arsenal)
Vladimir Weiss (Rangers)
Georginio Wijnaldum (Feyenoord)
Jack Wilshere (Arsenal)
Danny Wilson (Liverpool)
Siyanda Xulu (Mamelodi Sundowns)
Andriy Yarmolenko (Dinamo Kiev)
Sercan Yildirim (Bursaspor)

Don Balon’s 2001 list

1. Djibril Cisse (STR, Auxerre)

2. Andres D'Allesandro (AM, River Plate)

3. Leandro Bonfim (AM, Vitoria/PSV Eindhoven)

4. Fernando Jose Torres (STR, Atletico Madrid)

5. Jermaine Pennant (R/WNG, Arsenal)

6. Rafael Van der Vaart (C/MF, Ajax)

7. Florent Sinama-Pongolle (STR, Le Havre/Liverpool)

8. Piotr Trochowski (AM, FC Bayern Munich)

9. Anthony Le Tallec (AM/CFWD, Le Havre/Liverpool)

10. Mourad Meghni (AM, Bologna)

11. Pedro Mantorras (STR, Benfica Lisbon)

12. David Odonkor (FWD, Borussia Dortmund)

13. Darren Fletcher (C/MF, Manchester United)

14. John Welsh (C/DM, Liverpool)

15. Kim Kallstrom (CM, BK Hacken)

16. Philippe Mexes (CB, Auxerre)

17. Johnny Heitinga (CB, Ajax)

18. Juan Andreu Melli (CM, Real Betis)

19. Baldo Di Gregorio (CB, Eintract Frankfurt)

20. Andres Iniesta (AM, Barcelona)

21. Milan Baros (STR, Liverpool)

22. Marius Niculae (STR, Sporting Lisbon)

23. Fabricio Coloccini (CB, Milan/on loan to Alaves)

24. Ricardo Bernardo Quaresma (L/WNG, Sporting Lisbon)

25. Maicon (RWB, Cruzeiro)

26. Hugo Viana (CM, Sporting Lisbon)

27. Arjen Robben (L/WNG, Groningen/PSV Eindhoven)

28. Julio Colombo (CB, Montpellier)

29. Gregory Vignal (LB, Liverpool)

30. Jermaine DeFoe (STR, West Ham United)

31. Gareth Barry (LB, Aston Villa)

32. Marat Izmailov (AM/FWD, Lokomotiv Moscow)

33. Hassan Yebda (DM, Auxerre)

34. Leandro Romagnoli (AM, San Lorenzo)

35. Zlatan Ibrahimovic (CFWD, Ajax)

36. Dean Ashton (CFWD, Crewe Alexandria)

37. Ednilson (AM, Benfica Lisbon)

38. Chris Kirkland (GK, Liverpool)

39. Emilliano S. Dudar (CB, Velez Sarsfield)

40. Helder Postiga (STR, Porto)

41. Ahmed 'Mido' Hossam (STR/LWNG, Ajax)

42. Joaquin Sanchez (L/WNG, Real Betis)

43. Diego Ribas (AM, Santos)

44. Jay Lucas (CFWD, Southampton)

45. Niko Kranjcar (AM/CFWD, Dinamo Zagreb)

46. Christian Petereit (RB/CB, Schalke 04)

47. Ewerthon (STR/FWD, Borussia Dortmund)

48. Gael Givet (CB/LB, Monaco)

49. Francesco Lodi (AM, Empoli/Parma)

50. Massimo Donati (DM, AC Milan)

51. Gatti Ribeiro (RWB, Blooming)

52. Jeremie Aliadiere (STR, Arsenal)

53. Francesco Tarantino (LB/CB, Athletic Bilbao)

54. Lourenco Da Silva (FWD/LWNG, Sporting Lisbon)

55. Alexander Ludwig (L/WNG, Werder Bremen)

56. Landon Donovan (STR, San Jose Earthquakes)

57. Ricardo Costa (CB, FC Porto)

58. Filip Trojan (L/WNG, Schalke 04)

59. Carlos Martins (CM, Sporting Lisbon)

60. Serhat Akin (STR, Fenerbahce)

61. Johnnier Montano (AM/FWD, Parma-on loan to Verona)

62. Mark Fotheringham (C/MF, Celtic)

63. Rubinho (GK, Corinthians)

64. Michael Chopra (STR, Newcastle)

65. Edward Johnson (STR, Dallas Burn)

66. Johnny Van Beukering (STR, Vitesse)

67. Santino Quaranta (STR, DC United)

68. Andreas Hinkel (RB/RWB, Stuttgart)

69. Bojan Djrodjic (L/WNG, Manchester United)

70. Matteo Brighi (CM, Juventus)

71. Cherno Samba (CFWD, Millwall)

72. Hassan Ahamada (LWNG/STR, Nantes)

73. Theo Janssen (LM, Vitesse)

74. Derik Boateng (AM, Panathinaikos)

75. Mauro Rosales (R/WNG, Newell's Old Boys)

76. Dulee Johnson (STR, BK Hacken)

77. Fernando Macedo Nano (L/WNG, Barcelona)

78. Michael Essien (D/MF, Bastia)

79. Andres Oliveira (STR/FWD, Perth Glory)

80. Candido Costa (AM, Porto)

81. Tuomas Aho (CB, My-Pa)

82. Dimitar Berbatov (STR, Bayer Leverkusen)

83. Thijs Houwing (CFWD, Twente)

84. Labinot Harbuzi (AM, Malmo FF)

85. Michael Zepek (CM, Bayer Leverkusen)

86. Mika Vayrynen (AM, FC Jokerit)

87. Ramon Calliste (STR, Manchester United)

88. Christoph Preuss (RWB, Eintract Frankfurt)

89. Keith Kelly (CM, PSG)

90. Aldo Jara (FWD, Cerro Portano)

91. Kieran Richardson (L/WNG, Manchester United)

92. Leonardo Santiago (L/WNG, Feyenoord)

93. Shaun Maloney(STR, Celtic)

94. Azar Karadas (CFWD/CB, Brann Bergen)

95. Kaka (AM, Sao Paulo)

96. Benjamin Auer (CFWD, Borussia M'Gladbach)

97. Daniyel Cimen (LB/CB, Eintract Frankfurt)

98. Erdal Kilicaslan (CFWD, Bayern Munich)

99. David Prutton (D/MF, Nottingham Forest)

100. Alexander Hleb (AM, Stuttgart)


21 responses so far
  • auld super // November 2, 2010 at 12:42 pm

    3 Barcelona players ? What about Jefferen and Dos Santos. Stupid list yall.

  • Daryl // November 2, 2010 at 12:44 pm

    Copy, paste into FM Scoutlist…… I win

  • Darren // November 2, 2010 at 1:16 pm

    Wow, they really got the 2001 list nailed. Ramon Calliste and Bojan Djordic …

  • Jesper Lægreid // November 2, 2010 at 1:42 pm

    Marc Albrighton?

  • braheyes // November 2, 2010 at 2:02 pm

    @auld super: Dos Santos is on the list…

  • Kris // November 2, 2010 at 2:07 pm

    Jonjo Shelvey. How the fuck is Jonjo Shelvey not on this list? I’ve watched him for Liverpool this season and also the reserves, and if Danny Wilson makes the list Shelvey should absolutely be there. Born in ’92, he’s the most exciting teenager Liverpool have had for years.

  • blake // November 2, 2010 at 2:39 pm

    Aaron Ramsey (Arsenal)
    Phil Jones (Blackburn)

  • Darren // November 2, 2010 at 3:00 pm

    I wouldn’t have said that Macheda and Rafael were the best two of the current crop of nippers at Old Trafford.

    Magnus Eikrem, Paul Pogba, John Cofie, Ravel Morrison, Davide Petrucci and Joshua King are all up there. Macheda is still dining out on his goal against Villa – yes, he had a bad season with injuries last year but has ranged between woeful and abject this season.

  • Didrik // November 2, 2010 at 4:44 pm

    I think the list from 2001 was good.. They had mistakes ofcourse, but also alot of good players there. lol, dont be so negative. They cant always have right.. But i will say that i miss some players here. Ramsey is deffinetly one of them. Btw im from Norway and i can see that Henriksen and Singh is here both from my country, i agree with Henriksen as one of the best in norway (of the youth). But miss Joshua king and maybe Eikrem. Also Pogba, Petrucci and Morrison from Manchester. Also Lukaku most be the best 93 player, i wil bet he will be one of the best in the world soon. Not many years until it will happen! I also miss Fabio. And to you Kris; Wilson deserves a place her, he is serriously good and i wil bet that he will reach the top..

  • Didrik // November 2, 2010 at 4:50 pm

    also Alex Smithies, Mamadou Sakho, Joe Mattock, Davide Santon, Daniel Opare, Kyle Naughton, Moussa Sissoko, Fabian Delph, Iker Muniain, Nathan Delfouneso, David N’Gog, Chris Wood, Mads Stokkelien and Ryder Matos.. Maybe some of them allready are here, but i did not see them. lol

  • mr3000 // November 2, 2010 at 5:25 pm

    Connor wickham!

  • Andrew // November 2, 2010 at 6:15 pm

    Jay Emmanuel-Thomas.
    Gabriel Obertan.
    Aaron Ramsey (HOW COULD YOU OVERLOOK RAMBO!!!)
    Mamadou Sakho
    Daniel Pacheco is also a huge oversite.
    Also strange that you see Walcott, Mueller, Pato and Rafael. Considering that they have all sort of made it.

  • trent // November 2, 2010 at 6:48 pm

    Adam Johnson?

  • Didrik // November 3, 2010 at 8:33 pm

    andrew… u say that Walcott, Mueller, Pato and Rafael allready have made it.. well then i have to say what have that with this list to do? serriously.. its a top 100 for the BEST YOUNG players. Born 89 and younger.. Walcott, Mueller, Pato and Rafael are young and the point of them allready made it is just another way to say that they are one of the best young players. lol. And Rafael have only played ca 30 matches in 3 seasons, so he have NOT made it 100% yet.. I get a little frustrated when i see what u write, cause it dont give any sence at all cause Ramsey have played about the same number of matches in 3 seasons, so if rafael have made it ramsey have to? AND Ramsey have much more competion on he’s possision then Rafael. Rafael playes on manchesters weak side as a RB and Arsenal which Ramsey playes for have alot stronger CM players then Manchester have of RB players. And Sakho have also made it.. he have played ca 80 matches in 4 seasons for PSG which is a GOOD club so.. Obertan and Rafael is also about the same so yea.. Do more reasersh and watch more of the players before u say anything

  • catorce // November 5, 2010 at 8:11 pm

    You know, there is a little pea named JAVIER HERNANDEZ

  • B // November 9, 2010 at 10:06 am

    Ravel Morrison, remember that name

  • julia // November 10, 2010 at 1:45 am

    Neymar and Paulo Henrique (more known as ‘Ganso’) are amazing players! :) I’ve watched them playing for Santos and they have a lot of talent.

  • Josh // November 15, 2010 at 1:38 am

    how can you seriously not have marc albrighton and nathan delfuneso?

  • fred // November 20, 2010 at 6:20 am

    fully overlooked AAROM RAMSAY, but didnt mind too much after i saw the 2001 list. lmao

  • Micheal // January 6, 2011 at 11:31 pm

    WHY THE FUCK ISNT DOS SANTOS OR WALCOT THEIR :L

  • Jumar // June 21, 2011 at 1:16 pm

    ter Stegen-N.Jorgensen-L.Piazon-Monrose-Sturridge-Welbeck-Obi-Destro-Paloschi-deLaet-Iturbe… & many many others
    best young manager is A. Villas-Boas )))

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