World Soccer’s ‘Top 50 Most Exciting Teenage Footballers’ from 2007

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World Soccer is arguably the best football magazine on the market.

It’s been going since 1960 and regularly features content from some of the best football writers including Brian Glanville, Sid Lowe and Tim Vickery.

But even the most well-respected football journalists struggle to predict the future - football is so popular partly because of its unpredictability - and World Soccer’s list of the ‘Top 50 Most Exciting Teenage Footballers’ looks very wide of the mark almost a decade later.


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It’s not a list completely full of terrible predictions. Gareth Bale is number six on the list, Karim Benzema 15th, while Ivan Rakitic is at 45.

But there are some bad calls - very bad calls. Particularly for the footballers at number one and two on the list.

50. Ever Banega | Boca Juniors

Where is he now?

The Argentina international signed for Inter this summer.

49. Gregory van der Wiel | AFC Ajax

Where is he now?

The Dutch full-back joined Fenerbahce from Paris Saint-Germain this summer.

48. Theo Walcott | Arsenal

Where is he now?

Still at Arsenal - although some fans would prefer he wasn’t.

47. Carlos Vela | Arsenal

Where is he now?

Real Sociedad, where he’s been for the past four years.

46. Abdou Razack Traore | Rosenborg BK

Where is he now?

Back at Karabukspor following a loan spell at Konyaspor.

45. Ivan Rakitic | Schalke 04

Where is he now?


44. Marek Suchy | Slavia Prague

Where is he now?

FC Basel. He’s also a Czech Republic international.

43. Sergio Tejera | Chelsea

Where is he now?

Gimnastic in the Spanish second division.

42. Alexis Sanchez | Udinese

Where is he now?

Arsenal, following a spell with Barcelona.

41. Micah Richards | Manchester City

Where is he now?

With Aston Villa in the Championship.

40. Henri Saivet | Bordeaux

Where is he now?

Newcastle United.

39. Renato Augusto | Flamengo

Where is he now?

Playing for Beijing Guoan in the lucrative Chinese Super League.

38. Andrea Russotto | AC Bellinzona

Where is he now?

The former Italy Under-23 international is with Catania.

37. Mesut Ozil | Schalke

Where is he now?

Arsenal, following a spell with Real Madrid.

36. Nikolay Mihaylov | Liverpool

Where is he now?

His last club was Mersin İdmanyurdu during the 2014-15 season.

35. Fran Merida | Arsenal

Where is he now?

Osasuna, who have just returned to La Liga.

34. Daniel Opare | Ashanti Gold SC

Where is he now?

FC Augsburg. He was signed by Real Madrid Castilla in 2008.

33. Aaron Niguez | Valencia

Where is he now?

Braga in Portugal. His younger brother is the Atletico Madrid star, Saul Niguez.

32. Ransford Osei | Medeama SC

Where is he now?

RoPS in Finland. He had a spell at FC Santa Claus earlier this year.

31. Cristian Nazarit | America de Cali

Where is he now?

Deportivo Pasto.

30. Sapol Mani | Maranatha FC

Where is he now?

Dacia Chișinău in Moldova.

29. Lulinha | Corinthians

Where is he now?

Pohang Steelers in South Korea.

28. Juan Mata | Valencia

Where is he now?

Manchester United.

27. Toni Kroos | Bayern Munich

Where is he now?

Real Madrid.

26. Kerlon | Cruzeiro

Where is he now?

The Brazilian famous for the ‘seal dribble’ is now with Vila Nova.

25. Rabiu Ibrahim | Sporting Lisbon

Where is he now?

AS Trenčín in Slovakia.

24. Nour Hadhria | Club Africain

Where is he now?

AS Marsa in Tunisia.

23. Lorenzo De Silvestri | Lazio

Where is he now?


22. Damian Ismodes | Club Sporting Cristal

Where is he now?

Deportivo Municipal in Peru.

21. Guilherme | Cruzeiro

Where is he now?


20. Marouane Fellaini | Standard Liege

Where is he now?

Manchester United.

19. Fabio Coentrao | Benfica

Where is he now?

Real Madrid - although he isn’t the team’s first-choice left-back.

18. Kermit Erasmus | SuperSport United

Where is he now?

Rennes in France.

17. Fabio da Silva | Manchester United

Where is he now?

Cardiff City.

16. Dumitru Copil | Hearts

Where is he now?

UTA Arad in Romania.

15. Karim Benzema | Lyon

Where is he now?

Real Madrid.

14. Macauley Chrisantus | Abuja

Where is he now?

CF Reus Deportiu in Spain.

13. Franco Di Santo | Audax Italiano

Where is he now?

Schalke 04, following spells with Chelsea, Wigan and Werder Bremen.

12. Diego Buonanotte | River Plate

Where is he now?

The sole survivor of a car crash which killed three of his friends in December 2009.

Now plies his trade for Universidad Católica.

11. Angel di Maria | Benfica

Where is he now?

Paris Saint-Germain.

10. Gerardo Bruna | Liverpool

It looked as if Liverpool had snapped up a potential world beater when they managed to sign Real Madrid youngster Gerardo Bruno in 2007.

However, the Argentine winger failed to live up to the hype.

He now plays for Ottawa Fury after spending last season with Accrington Stanley.

9. Breno Borges | Sao Paulo

Breno was tipped to become one of the world’s best centre-backs after he was signed by Bayern Munich in 2008.

But it didn’t work out for the Brazilian, who ended up serving three years in prison for burning down his own house.

Now back at Sao Paulo and trying to rebuild his career.

8. Bojan Krkic | Barcelona

Bojan Krkic scored over 900 goals for the Barcelona youth teams, so it’s no surprise that so much was expected from the diminutive forward when he broke into the first team.

Unfortunately, Bojan failed to score goals on a consistent basis and was eventually sold to AS Roma in 2011.

The Catalan now plies his trade for Stoke City, where he appears to be enjoying his football again following several tough years.

7. Sergio Aguero | Atletico Madrid

It was already clear that Sergio Aguero was special in 2007.

The Argentina international is arguably one of the best forwards of the current generation.

6. Gareth Bale | Tottenham

Good shout, World Soccer.

Gareth Bale became the most expensive footballer of all time when he joined Real Madrid from Tottenham in 2013.

The Welshman has since won the Champions League twice.

5. Giovani dos Santos | Barcelona

Big things were expected from Giovani dos Santos when he broke into the Barcelona first team during the 2007-08 campaign.

But it never quite happened for the Mexican at the Camp Nou.

The 27-year-old has, though, still managed to enjoy a half-decent career. He currently plays alongside Steven Gerrard for LA Galaxy.

4. Anderson | Manchester United

Sir Alex Ferguson’s brother Martin, who worked for many years as Manchester United’s chief scout, spotted Anderson in Brazil and described him as a player with the potential to become even better than Wayne Rooney.

Although he showed glimpses of quality at Old Trafford, that prediction turned out to be hilariously wide of the mark.

3. Alexandre Pato | AC Milan

Alexandre Pato was regarded as the next great hope of Brazilian football back in 2007.

Now 26, his career hasn’t taken off in the way many expected it would.

Villarreal have now taken a chance on the forward ahead of the 2016-17 campaign.

2. Ismail Aissati | PSV Eindhoven

Ismail Aissati was at PSV Eindhoven, and also playing for the Netherlands Under-21s, when he was named by World Soccer as the second most exciting teenager on the planet.

The attacking midfielder went on to join Ajax in 2008, where he flattered to deceive, before moving to Antalyaspor four years later.

He now plays for Alanyaspor in Turkey.

1. Sadick Adams | Atletico Madrid

Sadick who?

Don’t worry: you’re not alone for asking that question.

The Ghanian forward caught the eye of Atletico Madrid at the Under-17 World Cup in 2007 and appeared to have a big career ahead of him.

Sadly, it didn’t pan out for Adams, who now plies his trade for Al-Nahda in the Saudi Professional League.

World Soccer's 'Top 50 most exciting teenage footballers'

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