Every season, there are always a few youngsters who burst onto the scene and send the fans’ pulses racing.
By normal standards, however, this season has seen more than its fair share of young players starring for their teams, with AS Monaco’s Kylian Mbappe leading a talented crop of wonderkids who are all coming into their own at the same time.
Copa90 put together a list of the ten best young stars to have breakthrough seasons this year, with Mbappe, Moussa Dembele, and Timo Werner just a few in a stellar list.
If these players all kick on and achieve consistency, football’s future is in safe hands.
The teenage son of former Ajax and Barcelona striker Patrick Kluivert scored his first top flight goal for Ajax on Sunday in a 1-1 draw against Excelsior.
At just 17-years and 318 days Justin Kluivert beat his father’s mark as the now Paris Saint Germain director of football was 18-years and 58-days when he bagged his first league goal for Ajax.
The younger man, who bears a strong resemblance to his father, has played for the Netherlands at various age groups as a flying right winger and was promoted into the Ajax first team squad in the New Year.
Kluivert senior came to public attention in the 1995 Champions League final when he came off the bench to score the winner against AC Milan.
He remains the youngest player to have scored in the Champions League final at 18-years, 10-months and 23-days.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic is 35 years old. While most strikers tend to fade out at this stage of their careers, Zlatan has been defying the odds.
The forward has not only led Manchester United’s charge in this season’s competitions with goals upfront, but has also been among the top assist makers.
According to this OptaJoe stat, Zlatan has provided 17 assists in European competition since August 2011; Only Cristiano Ronaldo (20) has provided more. This, is inclusive of his (Zlatan’s) days at Paris Saint Germain as well.
This proves that the veteran’s presence on the pitch has been invaluable to the sides he has played for, despite him getting older.
Its almost like Zlatan once said: “The older I get, the better – like the wine. You like wine?”. He is indeed proving it.
17 - Zlatan Ibrahimovic has provided 17 assists in European competition since Aug 2011; only Cristiano Ronaldo (20) has provided more. Flick— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) March 16, 2017