Football fans across the globe try to identify future stars every season, and with Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo close to the end of their careers, the hunt is on more than ever to find the next best talent.
Competitions like the Champions League are great as it gives young stars the opportunity to showcase their skill and potential to the hundreds of millions of football fans who watch.
The likes of Erling Haaland, Ansu Fati and Phil Foden are just a few of the exciting players who have produced great quality this year and there are many others who have shown that they are here to entertain spectators and become world class in the future.
Find out who ranks as the best young star of 2021 below:
10: Sandro Tonali
The Italian defensive midfielder might have swept under the radar, but there is no doubting the potential and quality that he possesses. Sandro Tonali has shone in the Serie A for AC Milan and his impact has helped them become a side battling for Champions League qualification this campaign.
The 20-year-old started to cement himself into the Italy squad in late 2020, and his performances in 2021 should give him a great chance of starting at the European Championships this summer.
9: Mason Greenwood
Manchester United fans love to see talent emerge from their academy, and Mason Greenwood has managed to do this. He was the first player since Michael Owen in 1997-98 to score 10+ goals in a Premier League season aged 18 or under and only the third in history, with Robbie Fowler also managing 10 in 1993-94. This shows that the 19-year-old forward has an exciting career ahead of him.
Gareth Southgate will be keeping an eye on the player when he features for the U21 England side this summer in the Euro’s.
8: Jadon Sancho
Jadon Sancho was heavily linked to Man United in the summer but ended up staying at Bundesliga side Borussia Dortmund. Following the German side acquiring him from Manchester City when he was in their academy, the Englishman hasn’t looked back.
He was fourth in the Golden Boy award in 2020 and has continued to shine for Dortmund this campaign. With the winger only 20 and already making a name for himself in a top division, it is frightening to think of the potential he possesses and England fans will be hoping he will feature in the Premier League in the future.
7: Eduardo Camavinga
Eduardo Camavinga is only 18, but has already made over 70 appearances for Ligue 1 side Rennes, which include some games in the Champions League.
The defensive midfielder has already been linked to some big sides like Paris Saint-Germain and Real Madrid due to his very impressive performances, and it would not be a shock to see him become an ever-present in the squad of current World Cup holders France.
6: Ansu Fati
The 18-year-old winger has cemented himself into the squad of four-time Champions League winners FC Barcelona and seems to have a lot of weight on his shoulders as many seem to believe he will follow in the footsteps of Lionel Messi.
He has already scored for the Spanish national side and has produced great talent in front of millions during the Champions League.
5: Youssoufa Moukoko
Youssoufa Moukoko is probably the most interesting name on this list due to the fact that he is only 16 years old. The forward made his debut in late 2020 and has now become a key player in the Borussia Dortmund side in 2021.
With him playing senior football at such a young age, it is exciting to think about the potential he has and if he continues his good form, there is no doubt that he will be a player to watch for many seasons to come. He most recently became the youngest player ever to earn a call-up for the Germany U21 side.
4: Phil Foden
Many were worried about Phil Foden when he emerged from the Manchester City academy as they thought Pep Guardiola would not give him the minutes he needed. However, the Spanish manager has shown why he is seen as one of the best coaches in the sport as Phil Foden has become a delight to watch and an essential player for not just the Man City side, but also for the Three Lions.
3: Bukayo Saka
The emergence of Bukayo Saka has excited fans of Arsenal massively, and it is easy to see how much the club and Mikel Arteta rate him as he was given the number 7 shirt this season. This is a number that has been worn by many Gunners legends including Robert Pires.
Unlike many of the players in this list, the Englishman offers great versatility, and has played on the wing, in the midfield and at left-back. The 19-year-old looks to have a great career ahead of him and is already one of the first names on the team sheet at the North London side.
2: Alphonso Davies
Despite David Alaba still being at Bayern Munich, many probably wondered how he would be replaced until the emergence of Canadian full-back Alphonso Davies.
The 20-year-old has become the main left-back in the side, a move which has seen Alaba play elsewhere, and his quality down the left-flank has been a huge reason as to why Bayern won all four available titles last season, including the Champions League.
1: Erling Haaland
The quality of Dortmund's Erling Haaland has seen him become one of the best strikers on the planet. He seems to be constantly scoring and has already had a huge impact in the Champions League. He is 20 years-old, and it is crazy to think how many goals he might have scored by the end of his career.
The Norwegian also won the Golden Boy award in 2020, and this highlights that many believe he is the best young football star currently. It would be no shock to see him win such an award again.
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