Over the years, there have been many talents in world football that were dubbed to be the next Pele, Maradona, Messi, but never seemed to live up to their potential.
Some have played well, but never developed into the player that we all envisioned. Others we’ve never heard of again. But this label of being “one for the future,” can be a very dangerous title. With it comes expectations, and at such a young age, it can be too much to handle.
In 2005, one starlet from Brazil made the move from Santos to the mighty Real Madrid that would almost definitely catapult him to becoming one of the world’s best players. At the age of 19, he already scored 47 goals in 110 games.
Unfortunately Robson de Souza, otherwise known as Robinho, failed to make the impact that everyone thought he would. Scoring a disappointing 25 goals in over 100 matches at Madrid, Robinho fell out of the pecking order, which forced a quick fire move to Manchester City on the last day of the transfer window.
While at City, Robinho was unluckily hampered by injuries despite playing well, which saw him leave City to only go back to Santos. Now he plays his football at Milan where he has finally found a stable place to get consistent playing time. Robinho was once considered to be the “Future of Football,” but he was unable to live up to his potential. This “cycle” repeats itself more than people realise, as the once dubbed “players of the generation,” seem to fade in the shadows as their careers go on.
There is one player who is currently on loan at Everton from Barcelona that has caught the eye of many in Europe. That young superstar is Gerard Deulofeu. Born in Spain, Deulofeu was brought into Barcelona’s academy at age nine.
Scoring 27 goals in only 68 appearances for the B-team in La Liga’s second division, Deulofeu was finally given a chance for first team football this season. Everton quickly snatched up the 19 year old on loan for the season, as they saw how much potential the young Spaniard has.
In just 11 games for Everton he already has two goals, in which most of his appearances are ten minute cameos. He scored a vital goal in the 85th minute at the Emirates to give Everton a well-deserved point against league leaders Arsenal. So with Deulofeu exceeding his expectations at the moment, can we truly classify him the “Future of Football?”
For the past two years I have seen Deulofeu grow and mature. From experiencing first hand his senior debut in Miami against C.D. Guadalajara, to Deulofeu owning the European Under-19 Championships in 2012 alongside Jesé Rodriguez, Deulofeu has brought his play to a new level. His pace is a constant threat to opposing defences, as he has the ability to burst past the last man with ease.
He also is an extremely skilled dribbler, leaving the opposition in the dust with his magical touch. As we saw at the Emirates recently, he also has a cannon of a right foot, which goes unnoticed due to his strengths in other areas. For such a young player, Deulofeu possesses the talent that others dream they had. Should he keep up his recent form, Deulofeu should find himself back at the Nou Camp in no time alongside the one and only Lionel Messi.
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