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The 10 best teenagers on Football Manager 2008 - Where are they now?

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If you’re a football fan under the age of 35, chances are you grew up playing Football Manager (FM) - or Championship Manager (CM) as it used to be known.

There have been many examples of players who are known primarily because of the video game.

The likes of Tonton Zola Moukoko, Cherno Samba and Freddy Adu were incredible on various versions of the game but amounted to little in real life.

On the flip side, there were players who rose to prominence thanks to the game and then become superstars for real.

Carlos Tevez, Sergio Ramos, Javier Mascherano and a few others first came to our attention on FM/CM.

But which young players were touted as the stars of tomorrow on Football Manager 2008?

Thanks to FourFourTwo, we can reveal which 10 teenagers were rated as the best in the game. But what are they up to now? Let’s take a closer look…

10. Micah Richards

Many people thought Micah Richards would be Manchester City and England’s first-choice right-back for years to come back in 2008.

Stuart Pearce even said of the defender, months before Football Manager 2008 was released, that he “would love to see Micah stay, captain the club, maybe be here for 10 years and carry the club on his back if he can”.

However, Richards failed to fulfil his immense potential and, following a brief loan spell with Fiorentina during the 20014-15 campaign, now spends his time doing, well, very little.

Although contracted by Aston Villa, the 30-year-old hasn’t played a minute of competitive football for the Championship outfit since October 2016.

FBL-ENG-PR-ASTON VILLA-CHELSEA

9. Marcelo

This is more like it, FM.

Marcelo had only just joined Real Madrid when FM 2008 hit the shelves, but they were certain that the Brazilian left-back had the potential to become a superstar.

A decade on and it’s safe to say they were spot on. Has there been a better left-back in world football over the past 10 years?

FBL-EUR-C1-LIVERPOOL-REAL MADRID

8. Marek Hamsik

The makers of FM probably didn’t expect that Marek Hamsik would still be a Napoli player in 2018 but here we are.

The Slovakia international has enjoyed a fine career with the Italian outfit, scoring 120 goals in 501 matches, and will be remembered fondly by fans at the Stadio San Paolo long after he retires.

But maybe he could have achieved more had he joined a bigger club when he had the opportunity to do so.

ACF Fiorentina v SSC Napoli - Serie A

7. Zdravko Kuzmanović

Not a name that the wider football public are familiar with, Zdravko Kuzmanović has still enjoyed a half-decent career.

On Fiorentina’s books when FM 2008 came out, the former Serbia international went on to play for Stuttgart and Inter Milan before joining FC Basel, where he still plies his trade today.

Not one of Football Manager’s better shouts, this.

FBL-ESP-LIGA-MALAGA-KUZMANOVIC

6. Jonathan de Guzmán

Another player tipped for big things during his early career, Jonathan de Guzmán never quite hit the lofty heights expected of him.

But he has still played for clubs in several of Europe’s top leagues, including Villarreal in Spain, Swansea City in England and Napoli in Italy.

The 30-year-old, who has been capped 14 times by the Netherlands, now plays for Eintracht Frankfurt in the Bundesliga.

FBL-ENG-PR-SWANSEA-MAN CITY

5. Ismail Aissati

Football Manager were not alone in thinking Ismail Aissati was a potential future world beater.

In 2007, prestigious football magazine World Soccer named the Moroccan attacking midfielder second on their top 50 list of the world’s most exciting teenager footballers.

Sadly, though, the 29-year-old failed to live up to the promise he showed as a youngster.

He currently plays for Denizlispor, who compete in the second tier of Turkish football.

PFC CSKA Moscow v FC Terek Grozny - Russian Premier League

4. Anderson

Anderson looked exceptional when he burst onto the scene with Gremio and then FC Porto in the mid-2000s.

He then sealed a move to Manchester United in 2007, where he spent eight years which were blighted by various injury problems.

The Brazilian made just 181 appearances for the Red Devils during that time but left Old Trafford with a host of silverware, including four Premier League and one UEFA Champions League winners’ medals.

Sadly, his career has spiralled since leaving United and the 29-year-old now finds himself without a club after being released by relegated Internacional back in January.

Internacional v Cruzeiro - Series A 2016

3. Sergio Aguero

FM 2008 got this one spot on - although there was little doubt at this point that Sergio Aguero was going to be top class.

The Argentine forward netted 27 goals for Atletico Madrid during the 2007-08 season, at the age of just 19, and was soon courting the attention of Europe’s big guns.

He stayed loyal to Atleti, though, until Manchester City lured him to England in 2011.

Aguero, who netted arguably the most famous goal in Premier League history to win Man City their first league title in 2012, has scored 199 goals in 292 appearances for the Citizens.

He also boasts 39 goals in 89 appearances for Argentina.

Manchester City v Leicester City - Premier League

2. Alexandre Pato

Alexandre Pato looked like a phenomenon when FM 2008 was released, so it’s no surprise the game’s developers rated him so highly.

But the 28-year-old is another player whose career has disappointed.

It looked like it might happen for him when he first joined AC Milan but six years after joining the Italian giants he found himself back in Brazil with Corinthians.

Pato has spent the last two years playing for Tianjin Quanjian in the Chinese Super League.

Tianjin Quanjian v Guangzhou Evergrande - AFC Champions League Round Of 16 1st Leg

1. Karim Benzema

Yep, the best teenager on 2008’s version of Football Manager was Karim Benzema.

Not a bad shout, by any means, although he didn’t quite become the new Ronaldo that people optimistically predicted back in 2008.

Benzema has scored 192 goals in 413 games for Real Madrid since 2009 but has very much played second-fiddle to Cristiano Ronaldo, who loved playing alongside the Frenchman, during that time.

FBL-EUR-C1-LIVERPOOL-REAL MADRID

Topics:
Football
Javier Mascherano
Jonathan de Guzman
Marcelo
Marek Hamsik
Sergio Ramos
Karim Benzema
England Football
Real Madrid
Sergio Aguero
Micah Richards
Manchester City
Manchester United

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