South American Youth Championship: Past star names
Lionel Messi, Ronaldinho, Carlos Tevez and Neymar have all starred in the South American Under 20 championships
The South American Under-20 Championships are currently taking place in Argentina where some of the future superstars of world football will be hoping to impress the watching world.
The competition has been the setting for a number of the world’s current best players to make statements about their quality and potential – this is not always realised though.
2013 sees Argentina host the tournament but it has not been happy occasion for the hosts as they have crashed out in the group stages, while holders Brazil have to win their final game against Peru if they want to avoid the same fate.
GMF have taken a look back at previous tournaments and picked out a few of the names that have shone, giving viewers then a taste of what was to come from them.
A two-time world player of the year, Ronaldinho was part of a Brazil side that could only come third in 1999. But those watching at the time could already see the potential of the man that would make the move to PSG two years from then and go on to win all their was to win in the game with Barcelona and the senior Brazil side.
Carlos Tevez, Pablo Zabaleta & Javier Mascherano
The 2003 edition was held in Uruguay and the victorious Argentina side at the time had a number of future stars within their ranks. Premier League champions Tevez and Zabaleta were both prominent members, while Barcelona and former Liverpool favourite Mascherano was outstanding having never made a club first team appearance at the time.
Mascherano’s Camp Nou teammate Dani Alves was also there with the Brazil team that finished runners up.
The man that is now widely considered the world’s best player arrived on the scene in the 2005 with a squad that was full of talent but could not convert it into glory and came third. Ezequiel Lavezzi was also there, while Pablos Zabaleta made his second competition.
The eventual winners were hosts Colombia and they also had the top scorer within their ranks in the form of Fulham forward Hugo Rodallega, who reached an astonishing tally of 11 goals – more than double that of Messi.
The Napoli striker that has been linked with a number of premier League sides was the star of the 2007 tournament in Paraguay, but his seven goals could not propel Uruguay further than third place.
Brazil eventually win their ninth title that year, with Tottenham and Chelsea target Willian one of the stars of the team, along with Alexandre Pato and current Liverpool star Lucas Leiva captaining the side.
Brazil won their 11th title in the last competition hosted by Peru in 2011 and the current darling of Brazilian football was the undoubted star of the show. Neymar finished top scorer with nine goals in a squad that contained Chelsea star Oscar, new PSG signing and former Manchester United target Lucas Moura.