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-   -   * Soccer prospects rankings by leagues * (http://hfboards.hockeysfuture.com/showthread.php?t=89635)

helicecopter 07-07-2004 10:31 AM

**Soccer prospects rankings by leagues**
 
Post here your list! (whichever European league you're covering)


here are the rules and some suggestions:

-The list should be intended as the order you would follow if you had to draft all these players (just like an NHL GM) assuming you will be able to use them for the next ten years.
You can/should take everything into consideration:
of course age, position (one position can be more important than another in someone's opinion), potential, present skills, head (brain)...
so the list should not be based (only) on who you think are the best now or just for the next year.

-to determine which 'prospects' are eligible i would suggest three options to the authors:
a)- Like we have been used to do, use a 1985 cut off until the end of the present season (Summer 2008)
b)- Use an under23 limit.. meaning that with reference to the date you're posting your list, all the players ranked need to not be 23 yrs old yet.
c)- Use a cut-off year that automatically assures no player can be older than 23 during the year in which you're posting your list: this means 2006 would be the cut off for the lists posted in 2008, and so on.

Choose what you prefer, just make clear on top of your list which criterion you chose.
Each player that played last year in a European league and respects that criterion is considered a 'prospects' eligible for the list of that particular country.

-if the prospect played less than 20 games (since joining it) in the last league where he has been playing, then he will be eligible ALSO for the league's list where he used to play before.
There is one exception to this rule:
if the player left for a foreign country before turning 18 and spent abroad at least three full seasons, he won't be eligible for his native land's lists no matter how many games he has played in the foreign leagues since joining (even if less than 20)


-The lists can be as long as you want and should provide some descriptions of the players, from two adjectives to full reports, depending on your knowledge, will, time and..ehm..faith in the readers!

-informations required in the list:
birth date*, position, nationality, team.
Some further infos could help, especially for the countries we will have less lists (Portugal,Spain..):
next team if it's going to change, height, weight (even if this one is rarely reliable).
Also, it could help specify how much closely you have been following that league.

*if writing the birthdate you use numbers for months, follow this standard: day/month/year .


During the next step everyone who posted a list will be asked to compile his overall top 50 ranking ( 50 it's just a try, we will decide later, and keep in mind that descriptions won't be necessary there..)

A further and last step will occur later when we will merge (with a weighted method to be decided) all the overall lists to come up with the ultimate HFboard soccer prospects ranking.



and now, i'm waiting for your lists!! :allears:

ParisSaintGermain 07-07-2004 05:22 PM

ITALY
- List of 15 players + 1 Wild card-


1- Kaka, Attacking Midfielder, Brasil, AC Milan -22/04/1982

He has got it all: pace, vision, finishing and influence in crucial games. A smart and educated guy, he could well become the face of football for the next 10 years.

2- Adriano, Striker, Brasil, Inter-February 17 1982

Powerhouse striker, he has all the attributes to finish top scorer in any leagues in Europe. Deadly on set pieces as well. Will he stay healthy?

3- Antonio Cassano, Striker, Italy, AS Roma-12/07/1982

Horrific attitude but the rest is just pure talent. Creativity, cool in front of the goal, he can unlock defences. He has great instincts, his movement off the ball is generally spot on. Could be the next Italian star player.

4- Alberto Gilardino, Striker, Italy, Parma-7/5/1982

He has impressed us all this season. A tremendous finisher, he works hard and provide good link up play. Was sent to the under 21 championships instead of the Euro and he didn’t say a thing: Great attitude.

5- Obefani Martins, Striker, Nigeria, Inter, October 28 1984

Excellent technique, electric pace but can he be consistent? He has already had issues with his national team, hopefully this will not be recurrent in his career.

6- Daniele De Rossi, Midfielder, Italy, AS Roma-24/07/1983

Great worker in midfield, he is also an excellent passer. He is one of the main reason why Roma will let Emerson go.

7- Valeri Bojinov, Striker, Bulgaria, Lecce, 15/02/1986:

Has played at the Euro and the future looks tremendous for this very young Bulgaria. He has good pace and he fights hard but will he manage to make the breakthrough while playing in the tough Serie A?

8- Gaetano D’Agostino, Attacking Midfielder, Italy, AS Roma-06/03/1982

He is a very elegant player, improving steadily. Clever, he knows what to do with the ball even if I wish he took more risks. Should be interesting to see what Prandelli will make of him.

9- Marco Donadel, Midfielder, Italy, Milan, on loan to Sampdoria, 21/04/1983:

He is another outstanding young player who played last year for Parma. A key member of the under21 which won the euro a month ago, he has excellent upside with his versatility. I expect him to play a lot next season in an intriguing Sampdoria.

10- Christian Obodo, Defensive Midfielder, Nigeria, Perugia, 11/05/84:

Incredibly physical for his age, he has had solid games for Perugia this season. Has a lot to learn but he looked good in front of his defence.

11- Cesare Bovo, Central Defender, Lecce, Italy, 14/01/1983:

A sound defender, he has improved a lot during this season. He has kept the defence tight for Italy under 21. I have read that he is also a leader.

12- Carlo Zotti, Goalkeeper, Italy, AS Roma, 09/03/1982:

I haven’t been particulary amazed by him but he looked solid when he played for Roma during the season.

13- Konan, Striker, Ivory Coast, Lecce, 05/01/1983

Appeared as a substitute a few times last season, he is a speedy striker. He is involved in building attacking movement so he isn’t so often in the box. But he looks clever.

14- Mirko Vucinic, Striker, Serbia&Montenegro, Lecce, 01/10/1983:

Lecce has got such an intriguing crop of young players. Vucinic is an enigmatic one. A make or break player striker, not a very hard worker. Needs to score to be noticed.

15- Diamoutene Souleymane, Fullback, Mali, Perugia, 30/01/83

His great pace and physical presence allowed him to play with Perugia this season, but he is very young and prone to mistakes. He needs to improve his positioning but Italy is the best place for it.

Wild Card- Mourad Meghni, Attacking Midfielder, France, Bologna, 16/04/1984

Tipped by so many in France as the next Zidane, he has such an upside that he could be at least 7th on this list. A marvellous technician, with intriguing passing skills, he has to mature physically and his football sense must develop. Poor finisher but game breaking talent. He could also be a bust.

Edit: Donadel belongs to Milan and will be on loan to Sampdoria next season.

Juni 07-08-2004 10:36 AM

OK guys, I don't post here often but I've put together a list anyway (hopefully I haven't missed something that would stop me participating )

Covering the FA Barclays Premiership (England) as it's where I'm based and watch most of, but tbh I could probably do a few other leagues if I had the time.

ENGLAND

1. Wayne Rooney (24-10-1986, SC, England, Everton)
- Has it all, and has now proven his talent at international level. Pace, strength, power, a pure goalscorer, and creative. Expected to leave Everton sooner rather than later for a potential British transfer record.

2. Cristiano Ronaldo (5-2-1985, R/LW, Portugal, Man Utd)
- Has matured from the trickster who made his debut for Man Utd into a dependable yet almost unplayable winger capable of putting in that cross which could break a game. Starting to show more bravery, as shown by his recent flurry of headed goals.

3. Jose Antonio Reyes (1-9-1983, FC, Spain, Arsenal)
- The future of Spanish football. A wonderful dribbler, a wicked left foot, and a tough player who gives his all. Arsenal paid good money for the kid from Seville, and started to get reward at the back end of last season.

4. Jermaine Defoe (7-10-1982, SC, England, Tottenham)
- Many people called for his inclusion in England's Euro squad, with good reason. Just seems to score goals wherever he goes, despite his diminutive size. Very quick, has a great shot, and will be an Englanf regular.

5. Florent Sinama-Pongolle (20-10-1984, FC, France, Liverpool)
- Just ranked above his cousin after making more of an impact on the Premiership in his first season. Amazingly fast, strong for his small size, and scores goals. Voted Player of the Half Season in his final year in France.

6. Anthony Le Tallec (3-10-1984, AMC/L, France, Liverpool)
- More creative than his cousin, but no less talented. Can make things happen. Impressed in first season abroad, showed glimpses of what he can do. Under new manager Rafa Benítez, should shine.

7. Darren Fletcher (1-2-1984, MR, Scotland, Man Utd)
- Solid and dependable midfielder who has had problems with injuries but has recovered and has even captained the Scottish national team. Has loads of energy, comfortable in possession, and has a scoring touch.

8. James Milner (4-1-1986, AMC/FC, England, Newcastle)
- Youngest scorer in Premiership when he scored at Sunderland barely 16. Just made £3.5m move to Newcastle, where his pedigree should show.

9. Jon Stead (7-4-1983, SC, England, Blackburn)
- Kept Blackburn up with half a dozen goals after jumping three divisions from Huddersfield to Blackburn. Lanky, but deceptive, and gets into goalscoring positions.

10. Jeremie Aliadiere [i](30-3-1983, SC, France, Arsenal)[/b]
- From the fabled Clairfontaine French Football Academy, he's a pure goalscorer. Had injury problems blight his progress, but is capable of going on to score lots more for Arsenal and France. Slightly arrogant, but it comes across as an attribute.

11. Darren Ambrose (29-2-1984, MC, England, Newcastle)
- Impressed as he made the jump from Division One to Premiership. Energetic midfielder, versatile too. Can play as an anchor but likes to get forward and create.

12. Hélder Postiga (2-8-1982, SC, Portugal, Tottenham)
- Has a good goalscoring record but hasn't had a chance in a transitional Spurs season. With a new manager and a high profile goal at Euro 2004, Hélder could have a new lease of life and score the goals I know he can.

13. Chris Eagles (19-11-1985, MR, England, Man Utd)
- A surprise choice perhaps, but the right winger who is yet to see League action (played in Cup) is a potential star on the right wing. Is the future of Man Utd and perhaps England.

14. Liam Ridgewell (21-7-1984, DC, England, Aston Villa)
- Composed and assured centre back who made strides into the first team last season. Since David O'Leary likes young players, he should progress well this coming season. Can also play midfield.

15. Glen Johnson (23-8-1984, DR, England, Chelsea)
- Started amazingly at Chelsea - a rock at right back, winning tackles, getting forward, scoring, and making England debut. Got injured and started to fade. If he improves slightly defensively he'll be the complete package before long.

Wildcard

Cesc Fabregas (4-5-1987, MC, Spain, Arsenal)
- So young, yet so impressive. Very small, but a new Guardiola perhaps in that he sits and dictates the play. Barcelona produce these players like they're going out of fashion. Guardiola ---> Xavi ---> Iniesta ---> Cesc. Arsenal stole him and will reap the benefits.

Evilo 07-08-2004 03:13 PM

Here is my list. I couldn't cut more so I made a 45 players list.
When no nationality is noted, that means the guy is french.
If he's a foreigner, then his nationality is written.

FRENCH LEAGUE

1- Phillipe Mexes, AS Roma, D, 30/03/1982
Filled with energy, Mexes is a marvelous defenseman. He's excellent defensively, good with the header, and his passing is great. He can also score quite a few goals a year. Simply a wonderful prospect.

2- Nilmar, Brazil, Lyon, ST, 17/07/84
Now we know why he's supposed to be the next best thing in Brazil. First game, he comes up as a sub at the 76th minute, and he scores two goals to give Lyon the victory in Rennes. And two pure striker type of goals. Definitely a future star.

3- Anthony Le Tallec, St Etienne (on loan from Liverpool), ST, 03/10/84
Talent at its best. Has amazing techinque but even better vision. He’s aware of everything, had a pretty good shot, and it tall enough not to be pushed around. I expect great things from him.

4- Eduardo Costa, Brazil, Marseille, MF, 23/09/82
Defensive midfielder is probably already the best midfielder in France apart from Rothen (now that Giuly is gone). He is never tired, and has great offensive upside. His shot is simply a rocket.

5- Petr Cech, Czech Republic, Chelsea, G, 20/05/82
Big, rather agile, he's excellent at using his big frame and at stopping penalties.

6- Florent Sinama Pongolle, Liverpool, ST, 20/10/84
Great feel for the goal, a true striker. Lacks some physical tools, but his talent should get him a star status.

7- Kim Kallstrom, Sweden, Rennes, MF, 24/08/82
Great vision and a knack for amazing passes. He had a very average EC for his talent. Is also excellent on free kicks.

8- Hatem Ben Arfa, Lyon, ST, 07/03/87
Is making a huge impact for a guy his age. Hasn't scored yet, but he can already hurt defenses thanks to his dribbling ability. A future star no matter what.

9- Gaël Clichy, Arsenal, D, 26/07/85
Left back will take Ashley Cole’s spot sooner or later.

10- Franck Ribery, Metz, MF, 01/04/83
THE player of the beginning of the year. He was playing in the third division last year and emerged this year as a star player. He's a small player with great technique and superb awareness. Not only can he pass everywhere, but he can dribble a defense by himself and turn a game around in one single action. He's not physically strong (1,70m, 60kg) and that might be where his biggest difficulty is.

11- Rio Mavuba, Bordeaux, MF, 08/03/84
Another Tigana according to Domenech, Rio was born on a boat people in the middle of the ocean. A great story, Rio's upside is so big that his future seems much brighter than his past.

12- Jérémy Mathieu, Sochaux, MF, 29/10/83
Sochaux midfielder is one of the most complete player in the league. He’s excellent defensively, and his offensive game is very good as well. He has a great shot and is a guy that will sacrifice for the team.

13- Jérémie Aliadière, Arsenal, ST, 30/03/83
With Wiltord gone and Bergkamp nearing retirement, Aliadière should see more time and he WILL produce.

14- Marouane Chamakh, Marocco, Bordeaux, ST, 10/01/84
Was very effective. Isn’t an awfully talented striker but he positions himself nicely and is deadly in the box.

15- Modeste M’Bami, Cameroon, PSG, MF, 09/10/82
Untiring defensive midfielder from PSG. Very effective and good passing skills.

16- Jérémy Menez, Sochaux, ST, 30/11/84
Another great striker coming up but this time for Sochaux.

17- Ludovic Butelle, Valencia, G, 13/04/83
Metz goalie was so poised so young that Valencia booked him last year.

18- Jaouad Zairi, Marocco, Sochaux, MF/ST, 14/04/82
You think Cristiano Ronaldo can dribble ? Try this guy. He’s just as amazing, but loses less balls. Of course the rest of his game isn’t good enough right now to say he’s the next star. His shot could be better. But he’s explosive as a winger, and is basically “ungardable”.

19- Pablo Francia, Argentina, Bordeaux, MF, 03/12/84
Argentinian midfielder proved stellar this year for Bordeaux. Great shot.

20- Charles Itandje, Lens, G, 02/11/82
Has amazing moves, including his now famous dance before penalties. Can be the best goalie in the world for a game and a pretty bad one in the following game. Needs to find consistency.

21- Albert Reira, Spain, Bordeaux, MF, 15/04/82
Spanish midfielder teamed up with Francia for a very effective one-two punch.

22- Nicolas Karlamoff, Valencia, MF, 20/01/83
A guy that should soon crack the Valencia lineup is something to be aware of.

23- Choukie Ben Saada, Bastia, ST, 01/07/84
Bastia striker has already made his mark in the french league.... for two years already. Great technique, but he has to make his game more simple.

24- Bryan Bergougnoux, Lyon, ST, 12/01/83
Lyon must lick their chops with this guy and Ben Arfa coming up. When France won the Toulon tournament, Bergougnoux scored 4 of his team’s 5 goals.

25- Bartholomew Ogbeche, Nigeria, PSG, ST, 01/10/84
Was called “Superman without kryptonite” by Fernandez two years ago. Has not progressed much since, but the talent is there and undoubtable.

26- Nabil Taider, Toulouse, MF, 26/05/83
Excellent offensive midfielder, and can sure shoot the free kicks. His upside is quite big.

27- Jaroslav Plasil, Czech Republic, Monaco, MF, 05/01/82
“Can do kid” Plasil was a good surprise for Monaco this year. Was effective coming off the bench to finish games because of his passing skills. Is pretty good at “keeping the ball”.

28- Samir Nasri, Marseille, ST, 26/06/87
Is supposed to be a great technical striker/offensive midfielder.

29- Landry Bonnefoi, Juventus, G, 20/09/83
Future star goalie for Juventus.

30- Michael Essien, Ghana, Lyon, MF, 09/06/82
Was known in Bastia for his amazing shot, and good defensive midfield skills. Suffered a bad injury that prevented him to show his stuff in Lyon.

31- Jacques Faty, Rennes, D, 25/02/84
Called “the next Desailly”, Faty is a solid stay at home defenseman.

32- Hossam Ahmed Mido, Egypt, AS Roma, ST, 23/02/83
Mido should be sold by Marseille because mostly of his bad temper. Too bad because the big guy sure has talent.

33- John Utaka, Nigeria, Lens, ST, 08/01/82
Plenty of skills, but so far no consistency. But look out, he can really score.

34- Gilles Yapi Yapo, Ivory Coast, Nantes, MF, 30/01/82
The guy is small, doesn’t have the most powerful shot, doesn’t have the Zidane type of skill, but he can do it all. He has a huge heart, is excellent in ball control and steals balls from opponents all game long.

35- Florent Chaigneau, Rennes, G, 21/03/84
Rennes only bought Cech and Isaksson until this guy is ready to carry the load. During Cech’s injury this year, he proved already that he’s not far from the big show. He put up a “Best” type of save. He also had a miserable game though, and that was probably enough for the Rennes management to seek another goalie for the immediate future.

36- Hassan Yebda, Auxerre, MF, 14/05/84
Great skills for Roux’s protégé. Should see time this year.

37- Mathieu Flamini, Arsenal, MF, 07/03/84
Was a pleasent surprise this year for Marseille. Went from unkown to unquestionnable starter. Not overly skilled, but excellent at taking balls from opponents.

38- Rudy Haddad, PSG, MF, 05/05/85
Big potential with good scoring touch.

39- Mathieu Moreau, Inter Milan, G, 22/02/83
Former Nantes goalie was blocked by Landreau.

40- Stephen Drouin, Nantes, D, 27/01/84
Excellent defenseman once again for Nantes.

41- Jérémy Toulalan, Nantes, MF, 10/09/83
Another Nantes diamond. Has ALL the tools.

42- Emmanuel Adebayor, Togo, Monaco, ST, 26/02/84
“Albatros” has all the tools. Strong, good headers, powerful shot, etc... Can he find the toolbox?

43- Lorik Cana, Albania, PSG, MF, 27/07/83
Was rock solid this year for PSG and gained a starter spot on a deep team.

44- Mickael Fabre, Sedan, G, 15/07/84
Another Nantes goalie playing in Italy. Just came back to Sedan though. We'll see how he fares in Ligue 2.

45- Jérémy Berthod, Lyon, D, 24/04/84
Was not the best this year in his debut. But still, a 20 year old guy being a regular on Lyon, french champions, is impressive, especially at left back.

46- Habib Bamogo, Marseille, ST, 08/05/82
Scored a lot in Montpellier and that rewarded a transfer to Marseille. We’ll learn more about his potential this year.

47- Yoann Folly, Southempton, MF, 6/6/85
Former St Etienne midfield has bright future. But maybe staying in St Etienne would have helped his development.

48- Grégory Lacombe, Monaco, MF, 11/01/82
Tiny offensive midfielder is in the true spirit of the “10” of old time. Is very small, but has great passing skills and good free kicks.

49- Luigi Glombard, Nantes, ST, 21/08/84
Great potential for another Nantes prospect.

50- Jérémy Gavanon, Marseille, G, 20/09/83
Barthez’s backup will carry the load as soon as Fabien retires.

51- Matt Moussilou, Lille, ST, 01/02/82
Came out of nowhere this year to score goal after goal. We’ll see if that was fluke next year.

52- Yann Gourcuff, Rennes, MF, 11/07/86
Son of Christian, the coach. Is touted as the next boss for Rennes’ midfield. Has great awareness, which would be expected from Gourcuff’s son.

53- Alexander Farnerud, Sweden, Strasbourg, MF, 10/05/84
Has talent, but he’ll have to show more than an amazing shot once a year to prove his worth. Still a question mark.

54- David Bellion, Manchester United, ST, 27/11/82
Young ManU forward is multi-talented.

55- Emerse Fae, Nantes, MF, 24/01/84
Tough defensive midfielder with high potential.

56- Achille Emana, Cameroon, Toulouse, ST, 05/06/82
Bulldozer this year for Toulouse. We’ll learn more next year.

57- Souleymane Camara, Senegal, Monaco, ST, 22/12/82
Was great for Monaco two years ago but was burried this year. Expected to rebound next season.

58- Jean-Michel Badiane, PSG, D, 09/05/83
Good shot and otherwise Desailly type of defense.

59- Sébastien Grax, Monaco, ST, 23/06/84
And the rich get richer. A great prospect playing as striker or offensive midfielder. Good technique.

60- Jimmy Briand, Rennes, ST, 02/08/85
Rennes hopes to have the final piece of the puzzle here (Chaigneau, Faty, Kallstrom-Gourcuff and Briand are the core of the future for Rennes). Good finishing touch for Briand.

61- Yohann Pelé, Le Mans, G, 04/11/82
Is capable from the best and worst. He was the starter for a struggling team last season, but in League 2 this year he should prove his worth.

62- Léandre Griffit, Southampton, MF, 21/05/84
Creative offensive midfielder.

63- Hamed Namouchi, Glasgow Rangers, MF, 14/02/84
Another Zidane clone, especially since he comes from Cannes.

64- Samir Bertin d'Avesnes, Comores, Bastia, ST 15/04/86
I heard he had very good finishing skills. Haven’t seen him in person though.

65- Michael Ciani, Charleroi, D, 06/04/84
Solid defenseman.

66- Carl Medjani, Liverpool, D, 15/05/85
Tough physical player. Good at headers.

67- Franck Songo’o, Barcelona, MF, 14/05/87
Son of goalie Jacques, he’s a two way defensive midfielder.

68- Guillaume Valmy, Inter, D, 12/03/87
Too small right now, but has time to grow.

My wild card is :
Claudiu Keseru, Roumania, Nantes, ST, ?-?-86
This guy is my wild card because even though his potential is through the roof, I'm not sold yet on his ability to reach it. He's a lefty and has a knack for scoring goals. We may see him this year in Nantes so I reserve my judgment until I see him against tougher defensemen.


Missed the cut (81 born) : Penneteau (Bastia), Evra (Monaco), Mendy (PSG), Benachour (PSG), Rocchi (PSG), Isaksson (Rennes), Monsoreau (Sochaux), Tall (Sochaux), Hautcoeur (Le Mans), Mansaré (Montpellier), Puydebois (Lyon), Diarra (Lyon), Akale (Auxerre), Mathis (Auxerre), Cissé (Liverpool), Boumsong (Rangers)...


And many more I’m forgetting…

Naoned 07-12-2004 12:03 PM

FRENCH LEAGUE

1- Petr Cech, Czech Republic, Chelsea, G, 20/05/82
Big talented goalie. Already one of the top ten keepers in the world.

2- Hatem Ben Arfa, Lyon, ST, 07/03/87
The alleged « Next One ». A terrific forward with amazing technique. Always played with older players and always made fun of them. Has to learn he is not alone on the field.

3- Florent Sinama Pongolle, Liverpool, ST, 20/10/84
Very skilled and quick forward. Has to prove he can really compete at the pro level. If he does, he has world star potential. Member of the French sub20 world champion squad.

4 Claudiu Keseru, Romania, Nantes, ST, ?-?-86
Very talented and strong striker, with an excellent shot, good speed. His game has been compared to Hristo Stoitchkov’s one. In Romania, people talk about him as even more talented than Hagi and Mutu.

5- Jacques Faty, Rennes, D, 25/02/84
A leader. This center back is one of the greatest prospects at his position. Tall, strong, mature and gifted. He has it all. Played many games as a defensive midfielder this year. Member of the French sub20 world champion squad.

6- Emerse Fae, Nantes, MF, 24/01/84
Very talented defensive midfielder. Extremely powerful, fast, disciplined. Often compared to Makélélé, but with more offensive upside. Member of the French sub20 world champion squad.

7- Michael Essien, Ghana, Lyon, MF, 09/06/82
A rock. Extremely strong and powerful defensive midfielder, with a terrific shot. Sometimes plays too much tough.

8- Charles Itandje, Lens, G, 02/11/82
Extremely talented keeper. Very tall and dynamic. Has what it takes to become one of the top 3 French goalies... or more. But has to improve his consistency.

9 Anthony Le Tallec, Liverpool, ST, 03/10/84
I didn't see him a lot since he left for Liverpool, but he has many tools to become a really special talent. His heading is really promising for a kid of his age. Has to improve physically, and Liverpool could be very helpful for that. Member of the French sub20 world champion squad.

10- Kim Kallstrom, Sweden, Rennes, MF, 24/08/82
Great vision and a great passing skills. Great shot also. His arrival in Rennes really lit up the team.

11- Gaël Clichy, Arsenal, D, 26/07/85
Promising left back. Complete player with good offensive instincts.

12- Jérémy Menez, Sochaux, ST, 30/11/87
Great talent, but still very young and raw. Younger player to ever sign a professional contract in France.

13- Jérémy Mathieu, Sochaux, MF, 29/10/83
Strong and complete midfielder/left back. Hard working and disciplined. Decent offensive income, scores a few goals. Plays a game that looks like Sylvain Armand’s (PSG).

14- Habib Bamogo, Marseille, ST, 08/05/82
Very talented, but seemed to lack consistency till this year. Proved to be a clutch player and scored alot of goals this year. Has to confirm. Not sure that Marseille is the right place for a player like him, though.

15- Jimmy Briand, Rennes, ST, 02/08/85
Great striker in the making. Always dominated in his age category.

16- Eduardo Costa, Brazil, Bordeaux, MF, 23/09/82
Tough defensive midfielder. Really mature and complete. Needs to leave Bordeaux to improve and compete for a spot in the seleção.

17- Jérémy Toulalan, Nantes, MF, 10/09/83
Extremely talented defensive midfielder. Strong, fast, good technique and excellent passing skills. Plays an offensive minded game. Has to take confidence in his shot. Injury prone.

18- Jérémie Berthod, Lyon, D, 24/04/84
Good left back prospect. Has already seen some action in UEFA Champion’s league. Made a few mistakes this year. A really safe prospect.

19- Jaroslav Plasil, Czech Republic, Monaco, MF, 05/01/82
Delightful technique, good at crosses, untiring midfield. Rather injury prone, by the way.

20- Jérémie Aliadière, Arsenal, ST, 30/03/83
One of the greatest french prospects. Very talented kid. His early departure for Arsenal probably cost him a few games with the pros.

21- Modeste M'Bami, Cameroon, PSG, MF, 09/10/82
Hardworking defensive midfielder. Very powerful, and quite a precise passing game.

22- Gilles Yapi Yapo, Ivory Coast, Nantes, MF, 30/01/82
Promising offensive midfielder. Seems weak and small, but never stops to run. His game looks like Eric Carrière’s. Was quite a disappointment when he arrived in Nantes in January, but still gave many assists.

23- Juan Pablo Francia, Argentina, Bordeaux, MF, 03/12/84
Argentinian midfielder emerged with Pavon’s arrival in Bordeaux. Very talented, good at free kicks.

24- John Utaka, Nigeria, Lens, ST, 08/01/82
Fantastic start when he arrived in Les, but he has struggled last year. Seems to have lost his scoring touch. If he finds it back, he can be the future for Nigeria.

25- Marouane Chamakh, Marocco, Bordeaux, ST, 10/01/84
The man who saved Bordeaux’s season. Great scoring instinct, great physical abilities.

26- Florent Chaigneau, Rennes, G, 21/03/84
Very promising goalie. Very tall, and talented. Needs 2-3 years to mature.

27- Stephen Drouin, Nantes, D, 27/01/84
Very versatile defender. Can play right back, defensive midfield but is better as a center back. Strong and solid. Member of the French sub20 world champion squad.

28- Lorik Cana, Albania, PSG, MF, 27/07/83
Very clever defensive midfield for PSG. Talented, disciplined. Good player, really.

29- Jaouad Zairi, Marocco, Sochaux, MF/ST, 14/04/82
Very talented winger, excellent at dribbling. Not mature enough though. Often plays a « I know I can get past the entire team and score with my butt » game.

30 Steven Thicot Nantes, D, ?/ ?/87
Captain of the French sub 17 european champion team. Physical stay at home d-man, with great leadership.

31- Samir Nasri, Marseille, ST, 26/06/87
Playmaker of the French sub 17 european champion team. Tons of talent.

32- Ludovic Butelle, Valencia, G, 13/04/83
Good goalie prospect. A little overrated I think, but he played a solid season in Metz.

33- Hassan Yebda, Auxerre, MF, 14/05/84
Strong defensive midfielder. A little late compared to his fellow members of the French sub20 world champion squad.

34- Mathieu Flamini, Marseille, MF, 07/03/84
Good defensive midfielder in the making. Definitely overrated because he plays in Marseille, but a real talent there.

35- Albert Riera, Spain, Bordeaux, MF, 15/04/82
Spanish midfielder from Mallorca. Highly touted when he arrived in Bordeaux, he was quite a disappointment but reacted in the winter.

36- Chaouki Ben Saada, Bastia, F, 01/07/84
Very quick forward, great dribbling, and a certain goalscoring touch. Chaouki lacks consistency. Should already have cracked Bastia's eleven. Member of the French sub20 world champion squad.

37- Emmanuel Adebayor, Togo, Monaco, ST, 26/02/84
Talented, but doesn’t know the meaning of « consistency »

38- Yohann Gourcuff, Rennes, MF, 11/07/86
Talented playmaker in the making.

39- Landry Bonnefoi, Juventus, G, 20/09/83
Good goalie prospect. Will have a hard time to crack Juve’s roster. Maybe an Isaksson type of carreer ? (come back in France ?)

40- Bryan Bergougnoux, Lyon, ST, 12/01/83
Good forward prospect from Lyon. Very sharp and motivated.

Edit:
Forgot Mexès.

I'd rank him second. Behind Cech because of his sometimes cocky attitude. But he has all the tools: powerful, clever, fast, good positionning, good technique... he could become one of the best French defender of all times.

ParisSaintGermain 07-25-2004 08:41 AM

FRANCE
- List of 15 players + 1 Wild card-


1- Philippe Mexes, Central Defender, France, AS Roma (Auxerre)-30/03/1982

Already a class defender, he has all the intangibles of all great and decisive defenders in the game. Reminds me of Nesta. Italy should be the right place for him to fully and quickly develop his hability.

2- Modeste MBami, Defensive Midfielder, Cameroon, PSG - 09/10/1982

This guy is a rock in the midfield. Impossible to knock off the ball, MBami is a very hardworking midfield who has also a good passing hability and when he is confident, he can also dribble guys as if they were not there. International player for Cameroon for quite a while, he looks like a can't miss prospect.

3- Kim Kallstrom, Midfielder, Sweden, Rennes - 24/06/1982

Extremely confident with the ball, Kallstrom is a very commited midfieder with great work rate and creativity. A real scoring touch as well, he has shown at the Euro that he is the type of player who can turn his team around.


4- Petr Cech, Goalkeeper, Czech Rep., Chelsea (Rennes) - 20/05/1982

I am amazed by the physical change of this guy. In two years, he has turn into a Perruzzi type of keeper and knowing his stunning goalkeeping hability, he looks set to be one of the best (if not the best) goalie for the next decade.

5- Eduardo Costa, Midfielder, Brazil, Bordeaux - 23/09/1982

Ligue 1 is full of great central midfield prospects. Costa is not the the least intriguing: His adaptation to Europe didn't take too long and his skills on the ball make him quite special. He has already learnt a lot with Bordeaux and this next season should confirm him a dominant and gritty force in France.

6- Mickael Essien, Midfielder, Ghana, Lyon - 08/12/1982

Essien is another solid midfielder who has had a very impressive time when playing with Bastia. Hasn't reached full speed with Lyon as yet and is somewhat untidy at times. But for all the balls he loses, he is able to recover many too.

7- Jeremy Berthod, Leftback, Lyon - 24/04/1984

A natural leader, he is a very feisty left back. Can deliver good cross and is hard on his man.

8- Samir Nasri, Attacking Midfielder, Marseille - 26/06/87

Such a skillful player, he is a younger Meghni, maybe with a bit less technical hability but with a much better scoring touch. He has good vision on the ball and is very enthuisiastic young lad.

9- Mathieu Flamini, Midfielder, Arsenal (Marseille)- 07/03/1984

Flamini is a good prospect: A good defensive midfielder, he is for me somewhat way too shy with the ball. He doesn't take any risks and when he passes the ball, it is rare that it is a forward pass. Works hard, interesting to see what Wenger will make of him.

10- Emerse Fae, Midfielder, Nantes - 24/01/1984

This guy is a genuine contender for best french defensive midfielder prospect. From the great Nantes academy who produces the likes of Deschamps and Desailly, he is a tiredless force who should crack the Nantes line up this season. Great positioning sense, I feel he is ready for having a bigger influence on his senior team.

11- Jimmy Briand, Striker, Rennes - 02/08/85

A very promising striker, this young lad is a true goalscorer and Rennes should offer him the chance to see plenty of top flight action this season. Attention: he is still a bit far away of being a good player and he has still very much to learn.

12- Jeremy Gavanon, Goalkeeper, Marseille - 20/09/1983

Excellent and rather consistent goalkeeper, he is one who can make the difference in a game by pulling a cracking save. Highly focussed player, he looks like knowing what he wants to become and willing to do all the efforts to get there. Barthez should be an interesting mentor for him.

13- Lorik Cana, Defensive Midfielder, Albania, PSG- 27/07/83

This guy spends the game tackling or repositioning himself: A very mature player tactically and one who can really disrupt the opposite midfield. Do the tough, bad and generally unoticeable work and he is already very good at it.

14- Bryan Bergougnoux, Striker, Lyon - 12/01/1983

Reminds me of Jean Pierre Papin: you can't say he is a technical genius with supreme physical hability but he looks like he can always be at the right time at the right place. He isn't scared, he hasn't got doubts, he just do what he feels is right and generally it is.

15- Jacques Faty, Central Defender, Rennes - 25/02/1984

A great central defender prospect, Faty knows what he takes to win. A sound defender with a great physical presence, it may take a few years to see him fully develop but he should be an accomplished player.

Wild Card : Matt Moussilou, Striker, Lille - 01/06/1982

Coming from nowhere, he has spent the second half of last season scoring goal after goal, most of them game winners. A curiosity as a player, he looks able to finish off moves with untidy shots.
As already scored three goals in two Intertoto games thus far: Intriguing guy.

ParisSaintGermain 07-25-2004 09:41 AM

ENGLAND
- List of 15 players + 1 Wild card-


1- Wayne Rooney, Striker, England, Everton - 24/10/1985

At the Euro was a dominant kid playing with the men, he has so much tools in his game that he can really rattle many defenses. But a few questions emerge: Can he cope with the hype? Is England ready to let him some breathing space to grow up and mature or will the tabloids turn him into another Gazza? Can he consistently deliver in a year long basis?
This is all frightening. Good luck Wayne!

2- Cristiano Ronaldo, Winger, Portugal, Man Utd- 05/02/1985

A very skillfull player, he has developped a lot under Ferguson management(who had the great idea to give him a month off during the december/january period). Looked like a bit of a one dimensional player, he is in fact much more than this: Good football sense, he is a battling winger who is very willing to go in the box to use use his surprisingly above average heading hability. Superb crossing touch.


3- Darren Fletcher, Midfielder, Scotland, Man Utd - 01/02/1984

I believe that he is Ferguson's favourite project: a hard working, overmotivated player who has got the skills to make plays. Great leadership hability, he is set to be Scotland's captain for quite a while. I didn't mentioned Roy keane, did I? ;)

4- Jose Reyes, Striker, Spain, Arsenal- 01-09-1983

Natural talent, excellent flair, he looks set to have an impact on the league this season. Is able to do all his moves at pace, including taking decisions which obviously should turn him into a decisive player for Arsenal


5- Jermain Defoe, Striker, England, Tottenham- 07/10/1982

Superb goalscorer, he could be one of those guys who can beat scoring records in the history of the english game: excellent pace, excellent shooting power and accuracy, he is a nightmare to play against.

6- James Milner, Striker, England, Newcastle(Leeds)- 04/01/1986

He may be the guy who could benefit the most from Wayne's Rooney: While Milner is a tremendous prospect, foccused when going forward with sound positioning knowledge despite his young age, he is surely one of the kid who will benefit of having the media not looking at him to much. With Rooney being the media magnet, Milner should enjoy the ever-optimistic support of the Newcastle fans to gain confidence.

7- Glenn Johnson, Rightback, England, Chelsea - 23/08/1984

A pacy fullback, he has shown flashes of brilliance with Chelsea last season after an impressive start of career with West ham. Willing to move forward, he has to improve his defensive positioning and decision taking.

8- Jermaine Jenas, Midfielder, England, Newcastle - 18/02/1983

Jenas is already a good player, hardworking and committed. He is somewhat inconsistent and injury prone which is a concern. I am unsure if he has reached his best or if he has much more in the tank...

9- Gael Clichy, Leftback, France, Arsenal - 26/07/1985

Surprisingly confident last season when taking the place of ashley Cole, he has shown good agression, good defending hability and has demonstrated some attacking flair on the Arsenal left flank. Considering his age, He looks like a tremendous prospects really.

10- Francesc Fabregas, Attacking Midfielder, Spain, Arsenal - 04/05/1987

He looked marvelous when playing with players of the same generation and promising when in the line up of Arsenal during the League Cup last season.
He understand very well how plays develop during games and can find the unmarked man with ease. Is able to create spaces in defenses, he should become an international star player.

11- James McFadden, Striker, Scotland, Everton - 14/04/1983

Gritty striker, he has had a bit of a slow start with everton after being transfered but he should be more efficient next season. A bit of an untidy player, he compensate by his great drive.

12- Anthony Le Tallec, Attacking Midfielder, France - 3/10/1984

A hardworking prospect with much to learn, he is able to run at the defenses with the hability to make the crucial last pass. Obviously he still plays a lot of wasted passes but the skills and the vision are there. Benitez's management should help his development.
The concern right now is that he isn't very strong physically yet and he can be knocked off the ball way too easily at times.

13- Darren Ambrose, Versatile Midfielder, England, Newcastle - 29/02/1984

A very versatile and useful player, he is an unflashy though effective. A young guy, he is learning steadily and his presence on the pitch should become more felt as his development continue.

14- Kieran Richardson, Forward, England, Man Utd - 21/10/1984

He did play a few Champions League games two years ago and his record in the Man Utd youth team is magnificient. A bright forward with good skills and well used pace, he can also score a lot of goals.

15- Filipe Oliveira, Forward, Portugal, Chelsea- 27/05/1984

Has been in the Chelsea ranks for quite sometime and has always looked very good playing with guys of the same age. I feel that he will benefit a lot for Mourinho 's arrival at the club.

Wild Card: Wayne Routledge, Att. Midfielder, England, Crystal Palace -07/01/1985

A fast fast fast and small small small attacking midfielder who can create damages in any defense. He is electric and can deliver good passes, good crosses etc. I can't wait to see how he will feature in the Premier League.

SwissPatRangers 07-26-2004 09:45 AM

French list
 
Hi, first don't worry, I'm working on my Swiss prospect list. But I had to overcome my disappointment after the U 19 Swiss national team elimination.

I must congratulate you for you french lists. I think these are very good lists.

But I'm a little surprised not to see some names.

Here are a few names I would have add:

1985 :

Guillaume Plessis, Lens, defensive midfielder : comparisons with Patrick Vieira are not exaggerated. If he can improve on his regularity, he could be a big surprise this year.

Saïd Khitter, Lens, forward : small size but good speed, he is a good finisher.

Kevin Lejeune: Auxerre, winger : has a lot of speed, is unpredictable, difficult for a defender to defend on him. Should definitely have minutes on the field with Auxerre this year.

Jonathan Bru, Rennes, midfielder : very elegant player, has already played with Rennes, is intruiging, boom or bust this year ? Lack of regularity.

1986 :

Geoffrey Jourdren, goaltender, Montpellier : one of the best young goaltenders in France. I like him a lot. Is very quick to dive, recovers well, is really good with his hands.

Younes Kaboul, central defender, Auxerre : who says Jean-Alain Boumsong? He has the same style, is very aggressive, has a good positioning, really impressive.

Franck Dja Djedje, forward, PSG : was really impressive with the U 18 French national team. He is still a project. Has already played a few games with PSG. Has a lot of athletic power, can accelerate, and I like very much his hold of the ball, he makes the difference on one touch, this is why he can move on so quickly.

1987 :

I like the names you put on your list. Ben Harfa and Menez will play in la Ligue 1 this year and it will be bery interesting to see what they bring. Thicot, Nasri are two excellent players. Two other names are interesting : El Mourabet and Ducasse

mole 07-26-2004 06:51 PM

Alright, for the Danish list.. This is slightly rushed as I'm heading away on holiday.. I'll add comments for the lower guys later..

First of all, I'll disclaim this list by admitting it is a rather weak crop of prospects. The cutoff date of 1.1.82 instead of 1.7.81 excluded at least 7 prospects who would have made the top end of this list, among them Esbjerg's Jan Kristiansen & Tommy Bechmann (now Bochum), FCM's technical Egyptian (and possibly soon Danish) striker Mohamed Zidan and Stephan Andersen, the goalie who moved to Charlton this summer. As such, with few of these prospects really standing out, I've found it very hard to decide their rankings, and have left off a few names other might have put in there. Well, I did my best. :P


1. Thomas Kahlenberg, 21, Brøndby.
The central midfielder who has come through the ranks at Brøndby takes the top spot on this list by some way.
Since his debut in the national league late in 2001-02 he has been a key member of Brøndby's ambitious team, coached by the legendary Michael Laudrup.
Laudrup himself has been key to the young midfielder's development, and Thomas has now flourished and become possibly the top central midfielder in the league, displaying great two-way ability and scary playmaking vision. Also netted an impressive 11 times.
He debut'ed for the national team last year and was in the squad for Euro 2004. With the current system and the lack of central offensive talent, Kahlenberg could be put into the attacking midfielder role on the national team in a few years' time.

2. Jesper Bech, 22, FC Copenhagen.
Just 5 months ago, only the most hardcore of FC Copenhagen (FCK) fans had heard of this young forward, who had been in contention for the first team for just a few months due to injuries and suspension. Yet when he made his league debut in early April and played 9 games through to the end of the season in late May, he quickly became the name on everybody's lips.
Through those fatal 9 games, in which his team overtook Brøndby in the standings to eventually capture their second straight championship, Bech played a total of 705 minutes and accounted for no less than 7 goals. And not just dozy tap-ins or garbage pickups. Real beauts, almost every single one of them.
He is a technically gifted player with an incredible ability to score from long range, and with both feet. He can be used anywhere on the top half of the field, and although FCK have preferred to play him as a striker, he is equally useful in midfield.
It remains to be seen whether he can carry the form over to this season, but with an assist in the first game of the season he's off to a good start.

3. Lasse Qvist, 17, PSV Eindhoven.
This young striker made headlines when he in early 2004 scored in his 10th U17 national team game in a row, and brought himself to a total of 18 goals in 19 matches. Days later he was awarded a prize as the top Danish U-17 talent.
Soon he had suitors all over Europe and, according to the rumours, every single Seria A team had offered him a contract. However, he chose to go to Frank Arnesen's PSV, and signed for the club in early March.
Placing such a young player so high on this list may seem unorthodox or even downright dumb, but with the amount of hype sorrounding him, he has earned it. He's somewhat of a known name in Denmark, and his development will be watched closely.

4. Dennis Cagara, 19, Hertha BSC.
Dennis made his debut in the danish league for Brøndby, the team he'd played for all his life, at the young age of 17. He impressed many from his position at left back, and soon caught the eye of scouts from bigger clubs around the continent.
In January 2004 the youngster, who has Filipino roots, signed for Berlin-based Hertha, and joined up with the main squad for the second half of the season. He managed to feature in 8 games during that spell, and in the meantime has featured for the Danish U-21 and U-20 teams, even scoring once for the former.
His strenghts are his pace and natural instincts for going forward, while his physical play still lacks slightly. However, as the only proven left-footed Danish left back behind Niclas Jensen, he could soon find himself in contention for the senior national team, and many predict a good future for him there.

5. Mads Timm, 19, Manchester United.
Mads Timm became a household name amongst Danish football fans when he in the summer of 2001, just 16 years old, moved on a free transfer from OB to giants Manchester United.
A year later he signed his first professional contract with the club, and got his first team debut as a sub in a 3-0 loss at Maccabi Haifa in the 2002-03 Champions' League.
He has since been loaned out to Belgian and Norwegian sides without much success, but refused to give up on his United dream a year ago, despite having the option to leave the club on a free.
He was later awarded with a big contract this spring, and the young striker, who has also been a regular on the U-18 national team, remains a big hope for the future of Danish football.

6. Jeppe Curth, 20, Feeyenoord Rotterdam.
Curth is another offensive phenom who made the move abroad very early in his career. Jeppe came from the ambitious Farum system, a sort of regional capital for talent.
Reports on his progress haven't come by often, but generally the notion is that he is another hugely talented prospect who is making great strides in his development in Holland, and he rounds out the clear cut top 6 that I feel seperates itself from the rest of the pack.
Before the Euro 2004 squad traveled to Portugal, several youngsters including Cagara (who couldn't make it) and Curth were invited to come train with them, a clear acknowledgement of his talent and the hopes for his future.

7. Jakob Poulsen, 21, Esbjerg.
The right-sided youngster impressed many last season, starting all 33 league games for the overachieving Esbjerg side, and playing more minutes than any other player born '82 or later in the league.
He naturally favours right back, but was also used at right midfield at times, making good use of his effortless passing, energetic approach and good instincts for the game. He may not have top 10 talent of the listed prospects, but is a hard worker and already arguably the best at his position in the league.

8. Michael Krohn-Dehli, 21, RKC Waalwijk (formerly Ajax).
The right winger is another youngster who wasn't a well-known prospect in his native country before moving out of it - only Michael still isn't.
He is said to be very strong on the ball and shows confidence and creativity in his offensive play, but may not be the most complete player out there. He was part of the Ajax Reserves (Jong) team that won their championship last season.
Is now with a less profile club where he will hopefully get the necessary playing time to make him a good top flight player. Was also one of the invitees for the pre-Euro 2004 training.

9. Johan Absalonsen, 18, Brøndby.
Absalonsen is a very exciting young winger who has been a part of the Brøndby first team for over a year. He's making a name for himself as a good passer with good speed, excellent ball control and pin-point accurate crosses.
A full 90 minutes a week is still hard to come by for Johan in a strong Brøndby side, but he continues to develop under Michael Laudrup and will most likely soon be considered an impact player in the domestic league.

10. Morten "Duncan" Rasmussen, 19, AGF.
"Duncan" has been surrounded by a lot of hype since he made a name for himself as a dominant striker in the annual grade school competition (for 14-16-year-olds) and when he came through the ranks for local team AGF much was expected for him.
Judging him this early in his career wouldn't be fair to him, of course, but he has so far not become the prolific striker that AGF had hoped. He remains a promising talent, though, and is expected to become a top striker in the danish league, putting his strength and powerful finishing to good use.

11. Sebastian Svärd, 21, Arsenal.
Sebastian was visited by a certain Mr. Wenger four years ago while playing for FC Copenhagen's talent development system (KB) and convinced to make the switch to Arsenal.
Last season was his first real taste of first-team football as he spent periods on loan at FC Copenhagen and Stoke City, the latter spell going MUCH better. He now fancies himself for a chance at breaking into the Arsenal first team squad for the upcoming season, but is so far yet to feature in any league games.
Could have a future as a strong tackling midfielder, but Premier League potential? Not a certainty.

12. Morten Bergvold, 20, FC Copenhagen.
Bergvold has not had much playing time in his time with FC Copenhagen but has made the best of it, showing great passing creativity and an excellent work rate from any position in midfield.
The recent acqusitions of Magne Hoseth and Tobias Linderoth may heavily cut back on his playing time, but he remains a prospect worth following.
Did however just sign a contract extension, keeping him at the club until 2007.

13. Leon Andreasen, 21, AGF.
Leon is a strong and composed central defender who has been very loyal to the club he joined at age 16. He's a full-time regular for the first team and also plays for the U-21 national team pretty much every game. Also has a surprising nose for goal, both through powerful headers and rockets from the edge of the area.

14. Jonas Kamper, 21, Brøndby.
Jonas is natural right winger who has been a highly coveted and well-renowned talent for many years. He holds the danish record for most junior national team games (currently 67).
He posesses incredible speed and a knack for finding teammates with well-placed crosses or through balls, but is not much of a finisher on his own, and can appear doubtful in his decisions at times.
Fun fact: Looks just like NY Islanders prospect Frans Nielsen (except for the hair).

15. Michael Jakobsen, 18, PSV Eindhoven.
Moved to PSV last summer after being awarded the U-17 talent award earlier in the year. Is a smart central defender who reads the game well, and his mature game has already earned him his first appearance for PSV's first team.

16. Mikkel Thygesen, 19, FC Midtjylland.
Much-hailed central midfielder who moved from his childhood club FREM this summer as they were demoted. Now plies his trade for a FC Midtjylland team full of talent, where he supplements dangerous forwards Frank Kristensen and Mohamed Zidan (an amazing talent on his own, but '81 born) and looks very comfortable all over the pitch.

17. Mads Beierholm, 19, Vejle BK.
Mads is a hard-working defensive midfielder, a great talent and a regular on the danish youth teams.
Was heavily hyped when he made his league debut in the top flight for Vejle at age 16 a few years back. When they were demoted a season ago, he decided to stay with them rather than take up several offers from Italy, and is now one of the strongest players in the second-best danish league.

18. Kevin Stuhr-Ellegaard, 21, Manchester City.
The tall 'prettyboy' goalie left Farum for Man City 3 years back as a much-touted goalie who'd received plenty of hype for his performances for the national youth teams.
Last season was cast into first team action when injuries sidelined David Seaman and Nicky Weaver, and it wasn't the best start Kevin could have hoped for. Ended up losing most of his games in the Premier League and Cups and City signed David James and Arni Arason to step in ahead of him.
This season has hoped to be loaned out to get some regular playing time, but so far this hasn't happened.

19. Niki Zimling, 19, Brøndby.
A hard-working all-round midfielder that Brøndby snatched from the FCK youth systems, Niki has been a well-known name among danish football fans since appearing (amongst others with Kasper Lorentzen and Mads Timm) in a documentary on danish youth football a few years back. Was perceived as a huge talent but his stock has since dropped and he has struggled to make the BIF first team on a regular basis.

20. Rasmus Würtz, 20, AaB.
Very similar to Beierholm, but slightly more tough in his tackling. Has been a regular with AaB for a while now, and is often among their best players on any given match day.


Joker: Kasper Schmeichel, 18, Manchester City.
The name rings a bell, no? Kasper is still very young, especially for a goalie, but has been hyped as a future hope in net for Denmark. He has a huge name to live up to, though, and this could prove to be a barrier in his development.

Joker: Danilo Arrieta, 17, AGF (formerly AGF (? - 2002) & Valencia (2002-2004)).
Nick-named "The Chilean Michael Laudrup", this young forward has heaps of talent, but failed to adjust with Spanish giants Valencia and has now returned to his original club, AGF. One to watch for the future, but he's still very young.


Other interesting names: Mikkel Bischoff (Man City), Christian Traoré (FC Copenhagen), Kasper Lorentzen (Brøndby), William Kvist Jørgensen (FC Copenhagen), Jacob 'Taz' Sørensen (AaB).

Sampe 07-29-2004 05:06 PM

I'm finally done with the Finnish list, which only features 10 players + a wild card as the best Finnish talents have usually spent years abroad by the age of 22 and the depth here isn't that huge. Moreover, and due to the reasons I just mentioned, the players are quite a bit younger on my list. I decided to value potential over current abilities, although I naturally tried to take the players' progress into consideration.

And now, without further ado, the list. Nothing spectacular, no new Maradonas or even Litmanens, but some pretty good talents:

1. Alexei Eremenko Jr
Born: 24.3.1983 -- Position: AMC -- Nationality: Finland -- Height: 183 cm -- Team: HJK->Lecce

The son of a still active Veikkausliiga legend Alexei Eremenko; moved to Finland along with his family in 1991 and obtained Finnish citizenship in 2003. Was relatively hyped throughout his junior career but showed only glimpses of his potential until this year when he finally started to dominate the Finnish Veikkausliiga. Is already close to a starting spot in the national team and widely considered the heir apparent to Jari Litmanen, although no one expects him to fully replace Finland's greatest ever footballer. Was transferred to Lecce a few weeks ago for a modest price of ~ 250 000 euros - a bargain like most Nordic talents.

Eremenko Jr is a fairly typical #10: flashy, creative, attacking minded and good in dead ball situations. He also has a decent shot from long range. Weaknesses include lack of speed, inconsistent work rate and a hot temper. Needs to get rid of some extra weight and improve his 1st touch. The much faster tempo in Serie A might prove to be a problem at first.

2. Niklas Moisander
Born: 29.9.1985 -- Position: DL -- Nationality: Finland -- Height: 181 cm -- Team: Ajax

Joined Ajax in the summer of 2003 along with his brother Henrik (a goalkeeper). The twins were supposed to play for the U19 team, but were quickly promoted to the reserves after impressing in their very first practice. That was the good news - the bad news came in October when Niklas injured his left knee and was sidelined for months. After reinjuring the knee in a bizarre accident he ended up missing the rest of the 2003/04 season.

I've never seen Moisander play (apart from a 3-second highlight...based on that he reads the game well and has an accurate left foot ;)), but last year he was considered the biggest Finnish talent since Mikael Forssell. The injury was a major setback of course, but barring a miracle the Finnish national team should finally get themselves a decent if not excellent full back.

3. Kasper Hämäläinen
Born: 8.8.1986 -- Position: MC -- Nationality: Finland -- Height: 184 cm -- Team: TPS

Was completely unknown before the U-17 World Championships last year, but received plenty of hype after being Finland's most consistent player in the tournament. Was invited to training camps by Ajax, Udinese and AS Roma (twice) and made his breakthrough in the Veikkausliiga this year, impressing in just about every game. Was unfortunate to broke his leg in late May but should hopefully recover well before the Veikkausliiga season 2004 ends.

Hämäläinen is a hardworking, skilled, smart and explosive 2-way midfielder who can also play on the wings as he has done for TPS this season. Needs to add more muscle to his 70-kg frame and make faster decisions with the ball. Whether he can reach the levels of Teemu Tainio or Mika Väyrynen in the future remains to be seen, but so far so good.

4. Tim Sparv
Born: 20.2.1987 -- Position: MC/ML -- Nationality: Finland -- Height: ??? cm -- Team: Southampton

Never seen him. Joined Southampton in late August 2003 and spent most of the last season playing for the Saints' U17 team. A smallish left-sided midfielder with lots of skill from what I've heard.

5. Roman Eremenko
Born: 19.3.1987 -- Position: AMC -- Nationality: Finland -- Height: 180 cm -- Team: FF Jaro

Never seen him either. Is said to be a fairly similar player to his older brother and, according to some, perhaps even more talented. Has yet to make his Veikkausliiga debut though. Plays for the same club as his father.

6. Joona Toivio
Born: 10.3.1988 -- Position: DC/DMC -- Nationality: Finland -- Height: ??? cm -- Team: HJK

Never seen him. Has been one of the standout players of his age group in Finland for quite a few years now. Was first checked out by Ajax at the age of 14 and just recently received an invitation to be tested by Manchester United. A skilled defensive player and exceptionally smart and mature for his age. Being in the best club in Finland has its drawbacks - Toivio hasn't played for the 1st team just yet.

7. Pekka Lagerblom
Born: 19.10.1982 -- Position: DMC -- Nationality: Finland -- Height: 180 cm -- Team: Werder Bremen

Spent his junior career in Mika Väyrynen's shadow but had a surprisingly convincing debut for the eventual Bundesliga champions Werder Bremen last season. Went on to play in a few more games for them and should be getting more playing time in 2004/05.

An all-round defensive midfielder with no major strengths or weaknesses apart from a good work rate. Already close to making the national team's subs bench, but edging out Tainio or Väyrynen will be a very difficult if not impossible task.

8. Ville Taulo
Born: 14.8.1985 -- Position: DC/MC -- Nationality: Finland -- Height: 184 cm -- Team: FC Lahti

Never seen him. A former midfielder who was turned into a centre back and earned a starting spot at the heart of FC Lahti's defense last year, at the age of 17. Has done etremely well in all sorts of technique competitions in Finland (then again so did Aki Riihilahti...) so should have plenty of skill for a defender.

9. Aapo Kiljunen
Born: 24.1.1986 -- Position: GK -- Nationality: Finland -- Height: 187 cm -- Team: MyPa

Like Kasper Hämäläinen, Kiljunen first earned fame in the 2003 U-17 World Championships with his calm presence and quickness in one-on-one situations. After being unquestionably Finland's MVP in the first two games, however, he was completely humiliated - along with the rest of the team - in the 9-1 defeat (no, it's not a typo) against Colombia.

Although Kiljunen is big enough for a goalkeeper and probably the best Finnish shot stopper since the magnificent Antti Niemi, he is still raw and has a truck load of weaknesses to fix. Somewhat of long shot, but at least the upside is there.

10. Eero Korte
Born: 20.9.1987 -- Position: D/M -- Nationality: Finland -- Height: 178 cm -- Team: FC Lahti

Never seen him. From what I've heard though, he's another defensive player with a soft touch - which applies to both the ball *and* his opponents. Debuted for FC Lahti in April and participated in Chelsea's training camp a few days later.


Wild card:

Ümit Menekse
Born: 13.2.1986 -- Position: AMC -- Nationality: Finland -- Height: ??? cm -- Team: HJK

A Turkish-born playmaker who moved to Finland at the age of 2 (or 4; I'm not so sure about it) - a home made product that is. Was used as a sub in the U-17 tournament and made a good impact with his flair, passing and heading. Has played in the Finnish 3rd tier men's league this year. Extremely slow, but makes that up with his creativity. A long shot.

SwissPatRangers 07-30-2004 09:34 AM

Swiss prospects
 
Here is my list for Swiss prospects. There are only players who are born between 1982 and 1987 and who are Swiss eligible. The most important players who are too old to be included are Marco Streller, Daniel Gygax and André Muff.

This is always difficult to establish a standing. I know that if I had to make another list in two weeks, there would be a few differences. The top 5 is pretty obvious.After that, it's obviously more controversial. And I must admit that I'm surely influenced by the recent U 19 European Championship.

01. Johan Vonlanthen 01.02.1986 PSV Eindhoven Forward

A pretty obvious choice. Vonlanthen is so skilled, he is the youngest player who has ever scored in an European Championship. Not a lot of size but a lot of quickness, and is so bright when he gets the ball, he has the ability to create a lot of danger because his skills enable him to make every movement with speed. He can really accelerate when he has the ball.


02. Davide Chiumento 22.11.1984 Juventus Turin Midfielder

When I think of him, the first thing is his incredible vision. He understands the game better than other players and he has an excellent feeling to make the good choice. His quality to find a player makes the players around him better. His passing is really excellent. And he protects the ball very well, with his centre of gravity very low.

03. Johan Djourou 18.01.1987 Arsenal Midfielder

All the people who watch him play can't help comparing him to Patrick Vieira. Was instrumental in the semi-final against Turkey in the U 19 Euro. Has a lot of size, his maturity physically is impressive, plays simple, makes the good choices very often, is able to bring danger when he has the ball because he has a very good acceleration on the first meters and it enables him to cross the first opposing definding line.


04. Tranquillo Barnetta 11.05.1985 Hanovre Left-back or midfielder

A very complete player. Knows how to defend, ability to eliminate an opponent 1 on 1, plays very well on a wing. He has a very good shot, and he likes to score from distant range.

05. Reto Ziegler 16.01.1986 GC/Tottenham Left-back or midfielder

Reto Ziegler is an excellent left foot player. He has been heavily scouted for four years. I know that four years ago, french teams were interested in him. Is very good in small rooms, can eliminate a player when he has the ball with ease, thanks to his technical qualities, especially the flipper. It's very difficult for an opponent to take the ball from him when he makes the flipper because he does it very quickly. He defends well. He is very clever. But he must mature physically. If he does it, he'll be a heck of a player.

06. Stefan Lichtsteiner 16.01.1984 GC Right-back

Lichtsteiner is another player who plays really well when he plays on the wing. A lot of enthusiasm, a good speed, he can nevertheless still improve on his technical abilities. Sometimes, he loses two many ball in one game. But he is a competitor. But he must absolutely avoid to be booked because he gets angry. Four things are the basis of football : technique, tactics, physical condition and mental qualities. He can improve in nearly every aspect. But it's interesting. He has a lot of room to improve. He should soon leave GC because a lot of french and german teams are interested in him.

07. Steve Von Bergen 10.06.1983 Neuchâtel Xamax Central defender or right-back

It can surprise a few people that Von Bergen is so high. But I watch him play very often, and he often impresses him. He is a complete defender, he can play full-back or central defender, he is the boss, he speaks a lot to help his teammates, has always a very good positioning. He can just improve on his passing. Sometimes, he has a lack of precision. But this is less and less the case. Will be one of the leaders for the U 21 Swiss team this year.

08. Fabrizio Zambrella 01.03.1986 Brescia Midfielder

Two months ago, I would have ranked him better. But he had a poor showing at the U 19 Euro, and he must confirm his qualities now with Brescia. I hope he won't suffer from the sophomore jinx. Because he had a career year with Servette. Is very skilled, has an excellent vision on the field and is able to score goals.


09. Valon Behrami 19.04.1985 Cagliari Right-back

Valon Behrami is an excellent player who plays extremely well on the right wing. Is a very offensive right-back with a lot of versatility. But sometimes he makes the wrong choices, and loses too many balls in one game. But he has a lot of room for improvement. Definitely a good possibility for him to play soon for the Swiss national team because we lack good right-backs actually. He could be challenged for this spot by Lichtsteiner, Degen and Barnetta.

10. Marc Lütolf 24.06.1987 GC Midfielder

My first wild-card. Marc Lütolf is not well known actually. But it could change soon. He has not a lot of size but he so skilled, he has eyes behind his back, has impressive technical abilities. He is the captain of the U 18 GC team, and he impresses me. Can create danger just with his passing qualities. He is a central midfielder and if you don't know what to do with the ball, just give it to him. You are sure he'll use it properly. His opponents are impressed by him, too. He is with the 86 generation with the Swiss national team (the new U 19 Swiss team). I'm really high on him.

11. Philipp Degen 15.02.1983 FC Basel Right-back

Was able to secure a spot with FC Basel. It tells the story. A very good right-back, likes to crash into the opposing defense, has a lot of heart, is not shy, he defends well and his passing has improved. Must be more constant. But a really interesting player.

12. Veroljub Salatic 14.11.1985 GC Central defender

Was impressive with the U 19 Swiss team at the Euro. A lot of serenity, a lot of calmness, he is an excellent central defender. Has an excellent air game, can score on the corners, especially with his header. His quality for the first pass when his team recuperates the ball is interesting and it enables his team to go quickly on the opposing goal.

13. Philippe Senderos 14.02.1985 Arsenal Central defender

Has he lost a year ? It's the question he will have to answer next year. Was injured for most part of the year and it slowed his evolution very much. Is a central defender who likes to compete, who likes physical game, and he has very good mental abilities. Was the captain of the U 17 Swiss national team two years ago when it won the Euro championship. This year will be very important.

14. Blerim Dzemaili 12.04.1986 FC Zürich Midfielder

He came from nowhere this year (with exaggeration). He was central defender with the U 18 Swiss national team and finally he secures a spot with the U 19 team as a defensive midfielder. He is a regular with FC Zürich at 18. It's impressive. Has a good agressivity, has good passing skills. It will be interesting to see his improvement this year.

15. Guilherme Afonso 15.11.1985 FC Twente Forward

A big forward. His principal qualities are his play when he is back to the opposing goal and his play without the ball. Likes to go up deep. It's difficult for the defender to defend on him because he uses his body very well. Has a good protection of the ball. Must improve on his last gesture.

16. Sandro Burki 16.09.1985 Young Boys Midfielder

Maybe he made the wrong choice two years ago when he left Switzerland for Bayern München. It slowed his progression. Is a very good midfielder, a sort of metronome. He has excellent passing skills and a good vision. A little too soft, he must grow up physically.

17. Goran Antic 04.07.1985 Forward

He is a pure goal-scorer. He is very good from close range. Plays well back to the opposing goal. Can execute things very quickly, is able to find a good position to strike. He has no team actually. But he is on a trial with Neuchâtel Xamax. I really hope it will work for him. He must grow up physically.

18. Arnaud Bühler 17.01.1985 Aarau Left-back or midfielder

"Left Back to the future" ? He is a good player. He understands the game very well, plays well on the left wing, he is a left foot player. A lot of complicity with Ziegler with the U 19 Swiss team, and it shows he understands every tactical aspect of the game. Signed with Liverpool two years ago, but nobody knows if he'll rejoin the big club in the future.

19. Alain Rochat 01.02.1983 Young Boys Left-back or midfielder

Can play defensive midfielder or left-back. The only knock on him is his lack of size and power. But he has excellent qualities, techinically gifted.

20. Antonio Aiello 17.10.1987 GC Forward

My second wild-card. A very good forward, likes to score. Has good speed, is able to play as a pivot, it could be one of the stories this year. He should make waves around him.

21. Roland Schwegler 03.02.1982 GC Central Defender

Too many injuries slowed him down a lot. Is an excellent central defender. Is very smart. A lot of elegance.

22. Patrick Baumann 08.01.1982 Neuchâtel Xamax Midfielder

Three years ago, he would have been a top 5. But had difficulties to confirm the hype around him. Coachs of foreign juniors national teams were impressed by him a few years ago. But he disappared a little from the radar, lost his spot with Thun and the U 21 national team. But he had a coach in Thun who was not able to take advantage of his skills. Because he is so skilled. He is a number 10 who is better than other players technically, who has an excellent vision, ... This year will be boom or bust

23. Davide Calla 06.10.1984 Servette Midfielder

Has improved a lot last year. A good midfielder. Did he make the right choice by signing with Servette ? Only time will tell. Good skills.

24. Rijat Shala 26.09.1983 GC Full-back, midfielder, ...

OH my God! One of the brightest prospects in Swiss football two years ago. But his improvement was nearly non-existent. And his position on the field is another problem. Is he right-back? Midfielder?

25. David Degen 15.02.1983 FC Basel Midfielder

His minutes on the field are much less important than his twin. Has difficulties to secure a spot with Basel. But he has skills, too. Is a midfielder. A lot of versatility, wants to improve. But there are a lot of midfielders in Basel.

26. Henri Siqueira-Barras 15.01.1985 GC Central defender

I could have ranked him higher. I really like him. A central defender with very good technical skills, but his easiness can have a nasty effect, to do too many things on the field and lose balls in the defensive zone.

27. Xavier Margairaz 07.01.1984 Midfielder

A left foot player with good skills. Has an excellent shot, is very elegant, but a little slow. And he was often injured last year.

28. Alem Abdi 21.10. 1986 FC Zürich Midfielder

A good midfielder who has a bright future. Should have a lot of minutes this year with FC Zürich.

29. Steven Lang 03.09.1987 FC Basel Midfielder

A future star ? Yes if he has the opportunity to show his skills, which are obvious and great. Basel snatched him from Team Jura two years ago. A brillant midfielder. I could have ranked him higher.

30. Marco Wölfli 22.08.1982 Young Boys Goalkeeper

A goalkeeper. Difficult to compare goalkeepers with players. Is very good in his goal, has really good lateral movements, but he must improve a lot his game with his feet, and his passing skills.

31. Thierno Bah 05.10.1982 Servette Midfielder

Not a good year for him. He was often injured. Defensive midfielder with good speed, must be more constant.

32. Kim Jaggy 14.11.1982 GC Left-back or central defender

Same story. He was often injured. He has a lot of vivacity, very interesting physically, he must improve on his positioning. He plays left-back or central defender. Boom or bust this year

33. Leonel Romero 28.01.1987 GC Midfielder

A good midfielder from GC. Has a lot of room for improvement.

34. Claudio Megna 06.10.1986 FC Basel Right-back

A right-back for FC Basel. Must be more constant. Has good speed.

35. Sven König 03.09.1985 Aarau Goalkeeper

Goalkeeper for the U 19 National team. Had a solid tournament until ... the semi-final. Two goals allowed on free-kicks. He must stop the second-one. He doesn't make the two small steps that a goalkeeper has to. Very good with his feet.

helicecopter 07-30-2004 11:56 AM

ITALIAN TOP 85

1- Kaka Izecson Ricardo- attacking midfielder, Brasil, Milan- 22/04/1982
God blessed talent.
Kaka literally took apart the Italian league in his first season as a 22yrs old like only Ronaldo in his best days did for what i can remember( to tell the truth Ronaldo did even better) .
He possesses outstanding acceleration, i've never seen a midfielder with similar pace with the ball. This, combined with his marvellous and lethal shot, is what truly separates him from the rest.
When Kaka goes towards the net, if the defender confronts him he gets burned, if he concedes him some room, the Brasilian can score with ease by 20 metres or more.
This combo makes him very difficult to stop on those situations. I think his perfect position is in the middle behind two forwards like he played the most with Milan. So far with Brasil he has been usually used too far from the net to show his true value.
Of course, there is more.
Izecson is a very clever player and man, showing flawless attitude, and possesses powerfull legs. He can turn wonderfully burning the defender behind him with superb first touches to then fly away, obviously has very good technique, can also attack the space without the ball and make great passes.
To find some lacks in his game i have to think about the comparisons recently made with Platini and Cruijff; it seems he doesn't possess the long outstanding passes of the first and leadership qualities of the latter, but with his talent and head i would not be surprised if he will learn both in the future.

2-Adriano Leite Ribeiro- center forward, Brasil, Inter- 17/2/82
The guy is an absolute BEAST. He has unbelievable power in his body, so much that frequently you see charging defensemen flying away off his shoulder while he keep running with the ball on his feet. Adriano is a center forward endowed with great running progression who needs some room to fully use his cylinder capacity (that's why it would have been better if Vieri was sold), but in the last two seasons he has significantly improved his technical skills, adding good dribbling skills to his running and power to become more of a threat in 1 on 1 situations.
Since this is an hockey site, think about a young Eric Lindros with less passing skills for comparison.
He also possesses a good nose for the net and is a strong header, even if should improve his jumping.
And now, since i've not started to do it yet, let's talk about his best asset!
Adriano has a DEVASTATING shot. I've never seen a more powerfull shooter in my whole life.
His left-leg is going to terrorize keepers for many years. He can protect the ball with his strong body, turn to the left side and deliver missiles towards the net. He should perfect this movement and use it more. With Mancini he now has the right coach to benefit from proper offensive game by his team and could outscore everyone else. He just needs to take care of his weight for the future and hope the serious muscular injury he suffered last year (and that opened the door for Gilardino's explosion) will never come back.

Note: his recent performance in 'Copa America' didn't count making this ranking, he was stacked at #2 in my mind way before he made his country realize how good he is.

3- Antonio Cassano- striker, Italy, Roma- 12/7/82
The greatest talent to grow in Italy in many years, Cassano is finally delivering with some concistency his outstanding instincts and skills. His crazy head overcame a good test in Portugal, but it's in situations where he is already confortable that it must go on working properly..hopefully it will happen under new coach Prandelli, who looks specialized with youngsters and who has always been the only one able to make play headcase Morfeo as he can.
For MORE by me on Cassano see http://www.hfboards.com/showthread.p...2&page=1&pp=40

4- Alberto Gilardino- center forward, Italy, Parma- 5/7/82
Still unknown where he will play next year (i fear Juventus), the perfect place would be Roma with his former coach and especially with Totti and Cassano behind him and no others serious contenders for the center forward position.
Hopefully that trio will play together anyway constituting for years the attack of Italian national team. His past season has been unreal, will that be his standard?
His capability to make the most possible out of any ball he receives during a game let me be optimistic.
For MORE by me on Gilardino see
http://www.hfboards.com/showthread.php?t=63911

5- Obafemi Martins- striker, Nigeria, Inter- 28/10/1984
This Nigerian is a true r-o-c-k-e-t! Everytime there is a vacant ball in the space the opposite defense is in trouble. For that reason he can be devastating acting as center forward in counter attacking situations, relying also on an already good endurance. Overall he is better suited for a second forward position, in fact he is short and not a good header. This year his ball control and technique looked much improved (even if they will never be his forte) and he is starting to be effective attacking drawn up defenses too. Another of his assets is he can shoot with both feet.
Oh, and personally i like his attitude.
Where he has to improve is his passing, or better, his vision; in fact the guy can deliver good passes, but the problem is he usually is so aiming towards the net that he can't realize (or care) if there is someone completely open in front of the net.
All in all, another can't miss prospect, which is something pretty obvious to say since he already is a great striker.

6- Daniele De Rossi- central midfielder, Italy, Roma- 24/7/83
De Rossi is at #6 only because i still don't see him as a completely sure thing.
Talking about his upside..well, think about a much more skilled version of Roy Keane!
This guy is the more promising Italian midfielder in a long time. His first appearances this year have been literally outstanding. Unfortunately he soon started suffering from groin problems which sidelined him for most of the season. What he showed before is enough be excited.
He plays as defensive midfielder, but that's only good to explain his position, he is much more.
From day one with the big club he showed personality and even leadership. He has very good vision, possesses an outstanding long pass, is sound technically, is great joining the offensive rush and is a lethal scorer especially in clutch situations (i can't remember such a young midfielder so good at finishing), i think what separates him from most players is how determined and resolute he is, doing what it takes at the right moment. Has tremendous shot from the distance and can score with his head too.
What worries me a little bit is his pace without the ball. As a def. midfielder sometimes he was beaten too easily in 1 on 1 situation and had to resort often to fouls, getting booked very often.
Then again, the physical problems he had this year could be the reason for that.
Next season he should be a regular starter since Emerson has gone, even if Roma is purchasing Perrotta.


* These are clearly the top 6 prospects in Italy right now. I would be very surprised to see Italian lists with a different top 6 and in fact PSG had the same six names on top of his ranking.
After that, there is a huge drop off, i would say in terms of certanties more than in terms of potential. (even if considering sure anything related with Cassano sounds weird) *


7- Riccardo Montolivo- offensive midfielder, Italy, Atalanta- 18/1/85
Montolivo is the new name of Italian soccer coming off this past season.
Joining the big club off the outstanding juvenile programs of Atalanta in the last part of 2003, he has never looked back since, becoming a regular right away on a team strongly chasing promotion (and eventually taking it) despite his body still looks better suited for Junior competitions with his 65kgs distributed on 181cms.
Fact is, Montolivo is still way too soft and sometimes disappear from the play for too long for a midfielder, but with his instincts and his talent he supplied his team with the necessary offensive creativity, outshining for the role Alex Pinardi, another brilliant talent.
Montolivo's right foot is simply a sweetie, he is a classy passer and can join the offensive rush as well as igniting it.
Anyway, i've definitely seen not enough of his game as i still don't know what to think of his running. A couple of times he looked slow, another one showed some quickness...
Surely he is still green athletically, but in that department (physical) it looks like he is quickly improving, it's really promising that recently he is showing more energy and very good dynamism!

8- Valeri Bojinov-striker, Bulgaria, Lecce- 15/02/1986
If i can remember correctly, Bojinov started out in serieA with Lecce at the whopping age of 15 while regularly playing with the primavera team. Being so precocious, he is ahead of Montolivo as for development but probably not as for upside.
After a couple of seasons of stints with the big club he has just enjoyed his breakthrough season.
Moreover he was outstanding in a stretch of five or six games around mid season, when he looked like a better version of Saviola provided of extra power in his legs. After that period he was back on earth, flirting with inconsistency like all other young forwards of Lecce (aside from Chevanton, of course) and being invisible at times, going down too easily.
What's special with Bojinov is his quickness, especially while turning. One moment the defender is on his back, an instant later, if Valeri is on his game, he is turned, running with the ball, using his great agility. He has surprising strenght in his legs for his age and frame as well good scoring instincts in the box. As a header he is penalized by his stature and must improve his shot accuracy.
Next year he should benefit from Zeman presence on the bench.

9- Gianpaolo Pazzini- striker, Italy, Atalanta- 8/2/1984
Pazzini is a name well known by the experts, considered a top prospect by some years by now.
Growing up as a center forward, he has reached 180cms but never got a further growth, so is a bit on the small side to play that role at top level; anyway he is a top header who compensate his not great stature with brilliant elevation and Jordanesque sospension capability.
Pazzini is agile, turns well, has good positioning, nose for the net and can finish; a brave and definitely complete striker. He is probably ahead of where Gilardino was at the same age (even if Gila started out before in serieA, at 17), he could be one day that kind of player, even if that huge final step is not guaranteed at all, of course.

10- G. Luis Jimenez- offensive midfielder, Chile, Ternana- 17/6/84
This diminutive funambulist enjoyed his breakthrough year with Ternana this past season, adding with 9 goals in 34 games a scoring dimension to his set of tricky plays.
A creative and entertaining player, Jimenez possesses an outstanding first touch, which is probably his main asset imo.
His sweet right foot can deliver good passes and shots as well, and the left foot is surprisingly sound and properly used; the main flaw is maybe that sometimes he overplays the ball in tight situations.
To play the ball that way even in physical engagements would requests more strenght in his body even for such a smart player.
Adding some speed along this eventual athletical improvement ( still possible for a 20yrs old with a green looking structure) could mean adding star dimension to this gifted prospect.


* another drop here, many of the following players are very talented but offer few certanties.
I had many problems making the rankings from #11 through #20 and then from #21 to # 40-45...
advice: there is more distance in my mind between #6 and #7, or between #9 and #14 than between #11 and #20 or even #40 *


11- Alessio Cerci -striker, Italy, Roma- 23/7/87
I'm taking some risks in making a just 17yrs old my 11th selection but the fact is i feel like this guy has more chances to be a star than the other left players. Of course a player this age has many uncertanties to overcome to develop into a true player, nonethless a star.
Those related with Cerci could be:
a lack of further growth, being as strong as he is phisically could mean he has already almost completed his physical development at 17.
being already treated like a star in his hometown could hamper developing a proper attitude..
But so far, he has been superb and often decisive with Roma's primavera as an underager, has already started out in serie A, has shown pure talent and technique that combined with his strength, acceleration and pace constitute an amazing mix.

12- Mourad Meghni -offensive midfielder, France, Bologna- 16/04/84
The Algerian born French is probably the biggest enigma of this list.
For what Meghni has accomplished so far, probably he would deserve a lower position;
For what he can do when he touches the ball, he should deserve to be higher, even if it's definitely more what has been said about his supposed capabilities than what he has been able to show on the big stage.
He failed to become a starter for Bologna year after year with different coaches and his last season has been quite alarming. After impressing in some of the few games played the previous season, he opened the year with a denouncement for group theft that spread doubts about his associates and apparently hurted his status in the team's depth chart. Reappearing after some months, he experienced his annual muscle sprain that sidelined him for a couple more months. When finally found some room in the last part of the seasons he failed to make an impact.
But the fact is, he is still so young and blessed with pure, rare talent.
The guy has superb technique, unusual dribbling skills, can throw with mocking easiness a perfect long pass. On the downside, he looks a bit slow to be consistently effective in 1vs1 situations, is weak (hopefully just unripe) phisically, can miss with equal casualness by metres an easier pass.
I would say phyisical and agonistic presence are still completely lacking in his game at this point.
His first step is kinda slow at the moment, be it because of an athletical matter or a lack of determination.
On an encouraging note, i would say Pirlo some years ago showed the same kind of lacks.
Mourad can still become a star, but could easily be a bust.

13- Isah Eliakwu -striker, Nigeria, Inter- 25/10/85
Nationality, team, size (172cm for 73kg), colour, moment of birth and more importantly speed. All this particulars make inevitably to think about Martins. Eliakwu possesses good shot outside of the penalty area too and despite scoring 38goals in the 39games this year, he is supposed to be more than a pure scorer. After this outstanding season with Inter junior squad he should be ready to play and contribute for a senior team (*edit:loaned to Ascoli,serieB) next year.
It will be interesting to see how he will react when stronger opposition will/should force him to rely less on one on one battles (speed races).

14- Ignazio Abate- midfielder, Italy, Milan- 12/11/86
About this exciting lateral midfielder i've listened comments made by two or three of the main characters in Milan staff that force me to put him this high even if with his age he is still a project. That means he could be a bust as well becoming the 'new Donadoni' as suggested by some.
Anyway he has already started out with the big team in Italian cup and even in the Champions league despite his green body.
*edit: just loaned to Napoli (serieC).

15- Sulley Muntari - central midfielder, Ghana, Udinese- 27/8/84
This black guy has made a name for himself playing so young almost as a regular for a decent team in serieA, showing the potential to become a very complete midfielder.
First of all he runs a lot. Second, he has good technique for a defensive midfielder.
Then he has a powerfull shot, can do long passes and has good 1 on 1 skills. Of course, something is still lacking. The most important thing is improving his decision making, sometimes he makes very risky unnecessary plays, or he shoots from 45 metres without any reason. Consistency is not still there as well and i'm not sure about how good his head is, but fact is last season he delivered a couple of games where he left me saying: wow!

16- Ianis Zicu - striker, Romenia, Inter- 23/10/83
This guy has been the one i felt less confortable with while choosing the proper position in my rankings. Loaned by Inter to Parma along the Adriano deal, he came from Romenia with the label of 'new Adrian Mutu'. Unfortunately he failed to gain much room in a succeeding team and was a bit disappointing when playing. That said, his technical skills are evident and he definitely possesses a wicked left foot. He is not slow, but didn't look particularly speedy either. In Romenia they say he will be a star, in Italy they are more suspicious..but even Mutu took a year before starting delivering his best..

17- David Chiumiento- striker, Italy/Switzerland, Juventus- 22/11/84
Chiumiento is a juggler.
He has great technique, unusual dribbling skills, is able to keep balls which would be prohibitive for most players, is a good finisher and has very good continuity for a creative second forward.
I don't know about his passing. Also, he is quick but his pace or acceleration are good enough to make the difference at top level for a 1 on 1 specialist?
Given the team and his peculiarities the comparison with Del Piero is inevitable; he could be that kind of player, even if Alex as an 18yrs old was not still playing with juveniles and usually true stars strikers, barring injuries, are already playing in the big show at 19. Chiumiento will play on loan for Siena next season where he will find a good coach for youngsters in Gigi Simoni.

18- Alberto Aquilani-defensive midfielder, Italy, Roma- 7/7/84
After a good season with Triestina (serieB) he is back to Roma, but i guess he will be loaned again to another serieA team.* He seems to have a good head for the game, improving athletically and getting stronger like it seems, he should develop into a reliable central mid who can play the ball and join the offense.
*edit: will stay in Roma!

19- Giorgio Chiellini -defender, Italy, Fiorentina/Juventus- 14/8/84
Just acquired from Livorno where he experienced a breakthrough year contributing to a miracle season ended with an unespected promotion, Chiellini is a rising raw prospect that Juventus could loan for this year to another serieA team.
His main asset is his physic. He is big, strong and with very good run progression.
His limit is definitely his poor technique.
Used to play as a lateral defender or even as a lateral midfielder, he will have to improve his foot sensibility and kicking coordination to contribute offensively and succeed at top level in that position. That's why i wouldn't be surprised to see him develop into a central defender, where he has already played sometimes, as he is a good header and strong on the back of the striker.
On the other hand, that would mean to not make full use of his great energy.
*edit: Foirentina acquired him in co-ownership on August 31st

20- Axel Konan - striker, Ivory Coast, Lecce- 5/1/83
For what this second forward has showed in some games this year, he should be much higher. For example in Turin he mocked Juventus defense and scored two absolute beauties.With his talented left leg Konan is sometimes capable of outstanding shots from the distance and wonderfull one-timers with rare cohordination; the guy possesses also good dribbling skills and very good pace.
The main problem is i think he doesn't even know the existence of the word 'consistency'. He can do the most difficult things with ease and then disappear for games. His performances are disorienting by years now.
Should improve his movements and ball protection, show some grit and score some garbage goals once in a while instead of only few highlight reel ones!
I don't know precisely why, but at the moment i can't figure out this guy as a main character of next years European soccer; probably i feel like his attitude is better suited for mid-quality realities, like a medium team of the French league where the pressure is not so strong to deliver his talent in every game.

21- Mirko Vucinic- striker, Serbia, Lecce- 1/10/83
On the contrary the reason why Vucinic is not higher on this list is perfectly clear.
After a few games of a promising season, last year he suffered an ACL injury. Doctors decided it didn't required surgery and after three months of rehab he was back to play 10 minutes before reinjuring the same knee in the same self-made fashion. A few months more of rehab and he was back: this time it went better, he was able to play some games before reinjuring the same knee for the third time in a row and finally undergoing surgery! That really sucks.
This year he is supposed to be the starter as center forward for Lecce after Chevanton sale, but that question mark about his knee will fade away only with true games..
From a technical standpoint, he is a complete package: has good pace, he is tall and can score with his head (poor as for head assists anyway), he is a good dribbler and possesses sound technique and shot.
He needs to work harder and improve his consistency as well his agonistical presence, but injuries definitely worsened the situation in that department.

22-Christian Obodo - central midfielder, Nigeria, Fiorentina- 11/5/84
The age when he started out (16 ) makes me wonder if the birthdate is correct, anyway he is a regular by two season for Perugia in serieA and has never looked out of place.
A well built geometrical midfielder used to play in front of his defense and to take it simple, this past year showed some offensive upside too, letting sense more potential than in the past.
Just acquired by resurgent 'viola', it will be interesting to see how he will react with more competition in a more demanding reality.

23- Federico Agliardi- keeper, Italy, Brescia- 2/11/1983
With two keepers ready to battle for the starter spot in Brescia, the odd man out was the winner in the end. Taking advantage of Castellazzi and Srnicek struggles early in the past season, Agliardi (189cm) got his chance to play and became a regular with his steady play. This unspectacular keeper is in my mind the more promising youngster for the role at the moment. I think he should become a reliable goalie, using more of his unexploited potential.
I'd like to see him coming out more and improve his feet play.

24- Luigi Della Rocca- striker, Italy, Bologna- 2/9/84
A bit of a homer pick here. After his last season could be surprising to see him ahead of many more known prospects, but i like his potential and i can't forget the couple of clutch goals he scored in great fashion something like two years ago for Bologna. This year Mazzone choose to acquire Albanian hard worker Tare and Della Rocca was loaned and lost on Catania and Atalanta depth charts.
Luigi is a good header in the box with his 185cms and possesses a dangerous left shot.
He can also keep high long passes from rears, has good strenght and goal scoring instincts, must get quicker.
I don't know why he has played so little in the last two season, there might be something wrong i ignore (just injuries?) and he could be a bust, of course; but fact is, i wouldn't rule out star dimension for his future yet.
*edit:loaned to Pisa (serieC)

25- Marco Borriello- striker, Italy, Milan-18/6/82
The upcoming season looks like the typical make or break year for this promising forward.
Borriello apparently has all the tools to be a very good striker, but his performances along the last couple of seasons have been completely disorienting. Used to warm the bench for Milan, when playing he has often looked soft; a couple of times he seemed to be the real deal, just to be back to his lack of fire status the next games.
A stylish header with sound technique, he doesn't show clear flaws in his game.
Next year he will play for Reggina, where curiously there are already two other center forward like Bonazzoli and Dionigi; add that Borriello just got meniscus surgery and you can see the start is not so encouraging, but new coach Mazzarri did miracles last year for Livorno displaying an offensive system that could be perfect to give the proper confidence to this young striker, the skills are definitely there.

26- Gaetano D’Agostino- inside left, Italy, Roma- 6/3/1982
Technically impeccable, well built body, gifted left foot, good vision and passing.
Despite these skills and his elegance i can't see D'agostino become a star player as an offensive midfielder, where he have been used so far. He lacks acceleration and change of pace and more scoring to be decisive at top level in that position. He should try to move back some metres to be the director in the middle. With his physic he has the chance to develop decent defensive play even if to think of him playing in the position of a defensive midfielder is definitely a reach at the moment.
It's interesting to see where Prandelli will try him, with the system he employed last year (4-2-3-1) it seems to me D'agostino won't have many chances to shine and anyway, on paper on his team there are other players ahead of him in the charts.

27- Nicola Pozzi-striker, Italy, Milan- 30/6/86
I like this young forward acquired by Milan in January. The guy was playing with men in Cesena (serieC) where he scored 4 times in 17 appearances as a 17yrs old when Milan took out 2 milions to buy him.
Pozzi is a quick center forward (without the body to play that position in the big show right now) who likes flirting with the off-side line (a la Inzaghi), is great attacking the space behind defensive line without the ball and excels in hooking up long passes from midfielders. Obviously needs to get bigger/stronger.
*edit: just loaned to Napoli (serieC).

28- Mauricio Pinilla- striker, Chile, Inter- 04/02/1984
Coming off an awful season where he struggled to play on loan with both Chievo and Celta Vigo, i've still faith in his qualities. With his 187cms Pinilla is very dangerous in the box; that's definitely his best asset, but is not motionless outside of it.
Probably he will never reach star dimension but i think in the future he will be a reliable scorer for years, maybe starting as soon as next year with Sporting Lisbona.

29- Cesare Bovo- central defender, Italy, Roma- 14/1/83
Coming off a very good second half of last season with Lecce, this guy suddenly switched from underrated to overrated status in my mind.
He has good personality, is a very good header, dangerous offensively on corners and even on free kicks, can play the ball better than how defenders usually do because of his past as midfielder and shows very sound positioning.
So why i think he is overrated?
Because he is slow. Playing on a defensive team that lack could be hidden more, but on a big club, where defenders leave much room behind, this could be lethal.
Of course positioning can minimize problems, but i really wouldn't be confortable with him exposed in 1 on 1 situations against the big guys. His changes of direction is where he struggles more, imo. I think he has to improve his quickness in that department to have a chance to develop into a top defender. He could play with Parma next year.

30- Giandomenico Mesto- lateral midfielder, Italy, Reggina- 25/5/82
He has experienced a very good second half of last season becoming a regular starter for Reggina and contributing to U21 European title.
An energetic lateral midfielder, Mesto possesses great running progression, is strong beyond his age and is a good crosser. He could improve his ball control, his technique is not with the bests and he has limited dribbling skills at the moment; for that reason he seems better suited to play that role on a minor team, where he finds space to attack behind his opposite leftback. He has showed good defensive attitude and could be effective on 3-5-2 system or even, who knows, as a defensive mdifielder in the future.

31- Felipe Dal Belo- defender, Brasil, Udinese- 31/07/84
This is an interesting prospect. In the few appearances he made recently, even if still raw, he showed some potential. Tall, with decent pace and above average ball control and poise for a defender, can play as central back as well leftback. As far as he is still a project at the moment, he has a chance to be a starter next year for Udinese.

32- Inacio Pia´- striker, Brasil, Atalanta- 22/03/82.
This guy could fly but sadly his wings are regularly broken. With his 67kg distributed on a 179cm frame, Pia´ looks as light as a sparrow and what's worse, his muscles seem to be as fragile as glass. For a couple of year his development and his great speed have been hampered but recurrent muscle (thigh) sprains. This past season he looked a bit stronger and despite a couple of more muscle injuries he was able to play 35 games ( missing 11) with Ascoli (serieB) and finally enjoy some success. A true talent, Pia´ must improve his finishing ability and his composure around the net along with his shot to become a consistent scorer. His play without the ball and positioning could still be better, as well as his first touch; he should take more care of it to be able to turn faster to then run with the ball, where he excels thanks to his amazing speed and fakes.
He needs good coaching(teaching) and HEALTH to have a good chance to be one day the star he was once supposed to become. For next year he is back with Atalanta and should stay there to take his chances in serieA. IF he stays healthy, you should see him in some highlights..

33- R.Alfonso Delgado - striker, Spain, Lazio- 7/5/86
Very difficult to say where he belongs. Despite being so young, in the past he started with the big guys without looking out of place at all and displaying crystal talent.
After a full season with Lazio's primavera he could see more action with the big team this year considering the financial troubles Lazio is currently facing.
A starring second forward in the making or just an early bloomer?

34- Giovanni Pasquale- leftback, Italy, Inter- 5/1/82
Coming off an awful season with Inter, but who is not on that team? The year before he did well showing he can play on the big stage, last season let see all his present defensive limits.
He has good pace with the ball and is a very good crosser, still a solid prospect in a role where Italian competition is very thin, but must improve drastically defensively.

35- Ruben Olivera- offensive midfielder, Uruguay, Juventus- 5/4/1983
Some time has passed now since when he was surprisingly acquired by Juventus, but Olivera is still a pretty misterious object. Last season, despite it was clear he would have not find any room, he refused several loans to minor Italian teams before ending up with Athletic Madrid just to warm a different bench. Back with Juventus this year, hopefully he will better set up his head and enjoy a place where going to play. Anyway, even if his attitude so far looks well suited for a big bust, i still think he has all the opportunities to become a good player.
In fact he has good pace with the ball, pretty good technique and could develop into a good lateral midfielder who is good cutting towards center and penalty box; think about Ljundberg for what i mean as for position and as for what he lacks to be there: grit, attitude, strenght, endurance, scoring resoluteness.

36- Ibrahim Razak-midfielder, Ghana, Empoli?- 18/4/83
The mistery. I'm still not ready to give up on this guy.
After watching him a couple of time two years ago, i thought of a very promising defensive midfielder in the making, with good offensive skills and great athletical attributes. Great potential there.
Then came a season in the second league in France (Saint Etienne) before coming back to Empoli, apparently ready to make some impact.
Some injury troubles sidelined him at the beginning of the season and then......he DISAPPEARED! No where to be found. I don't know if he played any games last year, where he will play the next one and if he is still Empoli's property or not.

37- Marco Donadel- defensive midfielder, Italy, Sampdoria- 21/4/83
Much more ready than many propects already picked by me, he would probably be higher if this list was stricly related with present capabilities.
What i doubt is his upside. He is a complete defensive midfielder but i'm not sure he will ever be much better than what he is now.
Also, he makes too many unnecessary fouls.
One good chance to take a step towards proving me wrong will come next season. Just acquired by Sampdoria (joint ownership?) he will play alongside experienced Volpi and for a demanding coach (Novellino) who could help him to gain more personality.

38- Marco Amelia- goalkeeper, Italy, Livorno- 2/4/82
Had a very disappointing year in my book. Despite ending up winning European title as the starting keeper of the U21 national team, failed to meet expectations in his first season in serieA. Was replaced as Lecce starter early in the season and was loaned to Parma to serve as a back up of Frey.
Has size (188cms), talent, explosiveness, is capable of amazing save but is unreliable. After seeing his inconsistency, i've doubts about his head, which is the first thing for a keeper.

39- S.Ayodele Makinwa- striker, Nigeria, Genoa- 26/7/83
Left good impression in his first games with Modena last year. Back in serieB should be a key part for Genoa's battle for promotion (and redention).
Makinwa at 21 is still a raw prospect, but definitely has some tools with his speed and his athletical body (tall 186cms). Better suited at the moment for counter attack he is pretty dangerous in the box too, but must improve his accuracy. If he will improve his technique he will be a very good forward.

40- Arturo Lupoli- striker, Italy, Arsenal- 24/6/87
So young, but worth enough for Arsenal to offer him a strong salary to secure his services for the future.
This second forward dominated his juvenile category last year for Parma together with fellow G.Rossi (#42), but the financial situation prevented Parma to sign him to a professional contract.
Speed, technique, and goal scoring instinct let this entertaining second forward to score a lot of goals for national juveniles too.

41- Christian Ledesma- central midfielder, Argentina, Lecce- 24/9/82
Sound technique, able to do decisive passes, but suspect pace. Even if this was a succesfull season for him, i'm still not sold on his potential to become a solid defensive midfielder like some suggests.
Must improve athletically and defensively.

42-Giuseppe Rossi- striker, Italy, Manchester U.- 1/2/87
Born in the USA and recently acquired by Manchester U. for the same reasons as Lupoli.
A very promising but very young center forward with great technique, cleverness, quickness.

43- Souleymane Diamoutene- defender, Mali, Lucchese- 30/1/83
A positive surprise last season with Perugia, showed explosiveness, determination and great sprint.
To become a top defender more is required..he lacks in terms of malice, positioning and play in the air. For this upcoming season he is expected to play for Lecce.

44- Houssine Kharja- midifelder, Morocco/France, Ternana- 9/11/82
An exciting midfielder comig off a solid season, has good technique.
Still uncertain if he will stay or not with Ternana.
Apparently there are some serieA teams interested.

45- Daniele Corvia- center forward, Italy, Roma- 22/11/1984
A specialist of the penalty box, he has won the scoring title at the primavera level showing the uncanny capability to go on target in every possible way; being 188 cms tall, he can score with his head but he is also pretty quick in the crease. Has already started out both in serieA and Uefa cup.
Must improve his play far from the net.

46- Emanuele Calaio´-striker, Italy, Pescara- 8/1/82
After years spent without finding proper room, playing sparingly for several teams, he has finally made the most of his chance with Pescara (serieB) this past season scoring 21 goals in 43 games.
Calaio´ is a very good header despite not overly tall and possesses a very good left-leg. Maybe he is not physically strong enough to play as center forward at top level and could end up serving as a second forward, anyway i think he has a fair chance to be a regular scorer in serieA in the future.

47- Alessandro Simonetta- Striker, Italy, Roma- 17/3/86
I saw him just one time and that was enough to like this lanky guy. In the future i see him as a talented second forward, he is a good finisher and passer as well, has definitely interesting potential. He wasn't a main character at such a young age for Roma primavera only because of Corvia and Cerci.
Has good agility for his height, should improve his dynamism.

48- Alessandro Rosina- lateral/attacking midfielder, Italy, Parma- 31/1/84
The few times i've seen this speedy small prospect play i've asked to myself: 'why he doesn't play more?'
He has never looked out of place with Parma or U21. No star potential, but with his excellent technique a good player in the making.

49- Alessandro Potenza- defender, Italy, Parma/Inter- 3/8/84
A starter for Parma in the second half of last season, didn't impresse me, but deserve some credit for where he is at such a young age. Can play as central back as well as left back, like he did with Parma so far; he should improve technically to contribute more in that role during ball possession phases.

50- Carlo Zotti- keeper, Italy, Roma- 9/3/82
A sound keeper prospect who didn't play enough games to be properly judged. Must get more confidence.
A probable starter in serie A for the future, but i would be surprised to see him become a star.

51- Andrea Lazzari- midfielder, Italy, Atalanta- 3/12/84
Latest young name to surface on Atalanta's planet.
This 19yrs old reportedly has strong temper and a good head to go along with his talent. He is an eclectic midfielder who goes for the net and seems to have a knack to score.
After his last month i won't be surprised if he will see some serieA action soon.

52- Felice Piccolo- fullback, Italy, Juventus- 27/08/1983
Still property of the team where he grew, he has just be loaned to Reggina to play in serieA in a season that will be the most important of his career so far; in fact considering the actual roster of the Calabrian team, i think there are good chances he will be a starter. Tall and strong, he is a good header and is used to anticipate his man. He has decent potential.

53- Michele Pazienza- defensive midfielder, Italy, Udinese- 5/8/82
Making a BIG jump from Foggia (serie C2, substantially the fourth league) to Udinese, he took advantage of some injuries of his fellows to show he belongs to the big stage. He is an unspectacular player and chose to take it simple in these first appearances, but i think he has the tools to play the ball with more poise after gaining confidence and to be a more complete midfielder. He seems to have good attitude and head for the game, but no star potential.

54- Andrea Alberti- center forward, Italy, Brescia- 15/1/85
A tall center forward with sound technique, made a couple of appearances with the big club, but his status (team) for next year is a question mark. Worth keeping an eye on.

55- Devis Nossa- defender, Italy, Inter- 7/2/85
Fellow-townsman of Giancinto Facchetti, Inter hopes that means something for his future.
His career so far has been encouraging (even if not comparable, of course), with a leadership role on the primavera team. He is a central back with good frame very able in the air who can play also as a right back. Next year he will play for Vicenza (serieB).

56- Christian Maggio- rightback, Italy, Fiorentina- 11/2/82
Has pretty good pace and as a former midfielder can play the ball . I'm curious to see him tested defensively by the big guys, that's where he could fail.

57- Mario Cassano- keeper, Italy, Empoli- 8/10/83
With his 183cms he is a bit on the small side for a keeper. But the main problem is another one; he has been too error prone the last two years when he had his chances and this prevented him to gain the spot as a starter on a team with beatable competition for the role.
That said, he has considerable talent and is capable of amazing saves.

58- Raffaele Palladino- striker, Italy, Juventus- 17/4/84
This guy has some class. Good keeping the ball and shifting it to teammates. He looks like a very complete striker who desperately needs to get bigger and stronger to become more than another good forward in the minors and to have a chance to be a star one day.

59- Hugo Mareco- defender, Paraguay, Brescia- 26/2/84
In the last two seasons there have been serieA games where he looked rock solid in the middle, just to fail completely the next ones. A good header, apparently he needs to gain some quickness.

60- D.Adewale Wahab- defensive midfielder, Nigeria, Roma- 10/4/84
A dynamic, aggressive midfielder successful with primavera, just loaned by Roma to Ternana. The upcoming season will tell us about his potential.

61- Abduoulay Konko- lateral midfielder, France, Juventus- 9/3/84
After a disappointing year he has come back with a strong, promising and successful second half with Juventus' primavera. Could be a dynamic lateral in 3-5-2 system in the future.
Will play next season with Crotone (serieB).

62- Fabio Quagliarella- striker, Italy, Torino- 31/1/83
Coming up strong from serieC after adding some kilograms, he could be the surprise of next year serieB.

63- Riccardo Meggiorini- striker, Italy, Inter- 4/9/85
This quick forward came out of nowhere to be the revelation of the last primavera championship. A late riser, recently called up by the big team.

64- Giuseppe Scurto- defender, Italy, Roma- 5/1/84
Coming up strong after recovering from last season serious ligaments knee injury. Good physic and personality, great dedication and sound head. One of those players that really want to improve and that can go further than where their pure talent would suggest.

65- Damiano Ferronetti- rightback, Italy, Roma- 1/11/84
Ready to contribute for U21, maybe too early to do it for Parma right away. Shows some ingenuousness on some plays and could improve his co-ordination with the ball, but seems to have good athletical tools and has a fair chance to become a solid rightback.

66- Vukasin Poleksic- keeper, Serbia, Lecce- 30/8/82
Personally, i think he should get more credit on his team. The few times he was needed, he showed good talent to me, between the pipes looked good. Don't know him as for exits anyway.

67- Drissa Diarra- midfielder, Mali, Lecce- 7/7/85
Had a key role in the two successive primavera titles Lecce won. Now it's time to prove what he can do at the next level. Tall with good run, is a good passer, could improve in engagements and determination, a midfielder should take less pauses.

68- Mathieu Moreau- keeper, France, Inter- 22/2/83
Finally got his chance, even if in serieC (with Spezia) , but that was enough to prove something and gaining a spot for next season with Ternana and his former coach Verdelli.

69- Massimo Loviso- central midfielder, Italy, Bologna- 9/4/84
Played some games as a starter for Bologna this past season. Not flashy, but he was not out of place. A steady and clever defensive midfielder, decent passer.

70- Onwuachi Benjamin- striker, Nigeria, Juventus- 9/4/84
Scored a lot during this season, dangerous especially from close range with his panther paws. Can he do something else? His speed is something good to start..

71- Antonio Floro Flores- striker, Italy, UFA- 18/06/83
This light second forward is quick , is a good dribbler with some scoring instincts and is around with several senior teams by 4 years now, struggling to become a regular.

72- Filippo Savi- central midfielder, Italy, Parma- 29/1/87
A favourite of Arrigo Sacchi (who has been working for Parma for a couple of years), he has been added to the main team despite being just 17.

73- Matteo Momente´- striker, Italy, Inter- 26/2/87
This green center forward got some moves and has a dangerous left foot. Interesting potential.

74- P.Herman Dellafiore- defender, Argentina, Inter- 2/2/85
Constituted a reliable tandem with Nossa for Inter primavera for years. Regularly practicing with the big guys, not far from getting his chance, but looks a bit undersized to be successful at top level as central back, could develop into a right back. Will he be loaned soon?

75- Rolando Bianchi- striker, Italy, Atalanta- 15/2/83
Another product of Atalanta youth program, this strong forward looked more promising a couple of yeras ago when he started out in serieA without looking out of place. Didn't find much room last year with Cagliari (just promoted in serieA), but should stay there for the upcoming season.
Must improve his technique.

76- Graziano Pellé - striker, Italy, Lecce- 15/7/85
Prolific scorer for two times champion Lecce's Primavera, could take advantage of Vucinic problems to finally get some visibility even if the acquisition of Bjelanovic should make it more difficult.
With his 194cm and almost 90kg he is very dangerous in the crease, his technique must get better, good room for improvement. He makes me think of typical English center forwards of the past.

77- Geraldo Clemente- midfielder, Italy, Juventus- 2/10/84
Complete midfielder who can do it all, showed good leadership with Primavera.

78- Goran Pandev- attacking midfielder/striker, Macedonia, Lazio- 27/7/83
After a successful experience with Inter Primavera in the past where he served and scored as striker,
he was overall disappointing in the first season with men, used for the most as lateral midfielder in the games he played for Ancona. A regular for his national team, despite enjoying a good pre-season with Lazio should have a hard time to become a starter.

79- Daniel Degano- striker, Italy, Parma- 21/9/82
After a very good season in serieB the previous year, his last season started six months later than usual because of injuries and wasn't able to impress after returning.

80- Simone Bentivoglio- central midfielder, Italy, Juventus- 29/5/85
A solid, eclectic player in the middle but also likes to join the offensive rush, great shot.

81- Domenico Germinale- stirker, Italy, Inter- 3/6/87
Gifted and fairless, this second forward should constitute the attack of Primavera for Inter together with Momente´. It will be interesting to see if this season they will be able to keep promises.

82- John Mensah- defender, Ghana, Chievo- 29/11/82
Used to play as rightback when coming off the bench in serieA, at the Olympics once again played as central defender and once again looked less shy playing for his country. With the national team he shows some potential, needs to get shrewder and someone that trusts him more to finally play more games.

83- Alade Adeshina- striker, Nigeria, Ternana- 4/4/83
An athletical forward that can play in central position as well as on the side, he can use both feet and sometimes beat defenders off ardour. Looked more promising when 17yrs old.

84- Dino Marino- central midfielder, Italy, Inter- 23/5/85
He likes to organize the play, has some creativity and despite being small and thin is a good tackler.

85- Andrea Mantovani-defender, Italy, Torino- 22/6/84
A versatile defender and a strong header with good anticipation. Could be a regular this year in serieB.


Wildcard- Fabrizio Grillo- leftback, Italy, Roma- 2/2/87
Former member of Lazio's juveniles, was stolen by Roma but suffered so young two torn ACL in a row that sidelined him for two years. Will speed, personality and technique be enough for this unlucky youngster to overcome his injuries and become what his great potential suggested?



Others worth mention: Mirante(K,Juve), Bonnefoi(K,Juve),Aubameyang(M,Milan), Rosato(K,Lecce), Ronaldo Vanin(offM, Torino), Fragiello (S,Bologna), Rullo(LB,Lecce), Barbieri(offM,Milan), Lodi(M,Empoli) M.Rebecchi(M,Inter/Parma), A.Sorrentino(S,Parma), Papa Waigo(S,Verona?), A.Nocerino(M,Napoli), Bonanni(M,Vicenza), Paro(M,Chievo/Juventus), Gastaldello(D,Chievo/Juventus),Terzi(LB, Bologna), Aliyu(S,Standard Liege/Mons), Beati(M, Inter), Pepe(S, Piacenza),
Mattioli(S, Lecce), Volpato(S,Juventus), Esposito(D,Lecce), Grieco(S,Parma), Job(S,Sampdoria), Jadid(offM,Brescia).

Ajacied 07-31-2004 09:59 AM

DUTCH LEAGUE

The Dutch league, or the "Holland Casino Ere Divisie" for the more advanced soccer fan among us, isn't exactly known as a deep and competitive league. There are only 3 teams that can cause some damage in Europe, being Ajax, PSV and Feyenoord. However, don't let the lack of competitiveness fool you in terms of talent walking around. This very same league has brought the world some of the world's finest talent, featuring the names such as Cruijff, van Basten, Gullit, Romario, Ronaldo, Koeman, Rijkaard, Bergkamp, Kluivert, van Nistelrooy, Stam, van der Sar, Davids, Seedorf, Chivu, etc.. And this years group seems to have a boat load of potential as well. Here are the next kids in line, and as usual, Ajax is leading the way:

01) Rafael van der Vaart - AJAX - Creative Midfielder - Dutch - 11/02/1983)

The Dutch sensation made a rather unexpected dissapointing debute at the past European Championship, while that’s somewhat understandable considering his competition and age, most still expected him to cause a bigger impact. Said to be the Dutch next best thing and best player to come out of Holland since Marco van Basten. I fact, some even like to compare the two with eachother. Surely he is not as good nor will he ever, and despite that both played different positions, they both have their simularities. Rafael's quick decision making game and the way how he combines his playmaking and goal scoring reminds some of Marco, as well as the injury frequency that seemed to plague both. His offensive awareness often makes him a step ahead of the rest. Rafael needs to work on his consistency and needs to be even more smarter to avoid all those nasty tackles and hard fouls the opponents keep harassing him with. But, in general, Rafael is a slick playmaker, he has an immensely deep skillset. He has already scored his fair share of breathtaking goals, in particular the mule kick or how about the one he scored two days ago in a friendly where he kicked the ball up, had it balancing on his head while running through the defense before attempting a shot (LINK). These are just some example's that stand out, but it does show a glimpse of Rafeal’s creativity. Furthermore, Rafael van der Vaart is an extremely all-round player, I think his only real weaknesses are consistency, controlling his temper and just like everyone else these days, he tends to fall down relatively easy. Lead Ajax to the CL QF’s in 2001 at just 19 years of age, Rafael has the potential to be a top 10 player someday and perhaps be among the top 3 at his position. One of the world’s most hottest commodities at the moment, Rafael apparantly tends to lean towards Spain in the end. But the extremely talented and versatile midfielder has pretty much the choice of where he wants to go.

02) Arjen Robben - PSV/Chelsea - Winger - Dutch - 23/01/1984

Arjen Robben showed he's the real deal during the past European Championship. He's fast, skilled, always aware, always a dangerous threat and extremely quick in his handlings. A difficult player to control, Robben also has a great accurate shot of which he has fooled many goalies with. Arjen Robben has the upside to be among the world's premier wingers, and he will surely be tested with his new side Chelsea playing in the Premier ship next year. Owns a supurb cross thay always seems to find its target, he is also versatile, being able to attack from the left as well as the right flank. I guess when I have to be critical I could say he should improve on his heading, and maybe show a bit more defensive comittment another thing that's been holding him down somewhat were his back-to-back groin injuries he suffered the past two years, but whenever he’s been healthy, he has drawn “ooh’s” and “aah’s” and got pegged a future star. Arjen Robben is already the best winger of his national side and just one of the best Dutch players in general already. That at the age of 20 should say enough about his potential.

03) Wesley Sneijder - AJAX - Controlling/attacking midfielder - Dutch - 09/06/1984

Wesley Sneijder pretty much came out of nowhere to emerge as one the top players of his age group. Sneijder plays a quick controling game and always manages to make it going at the pace he wants it to go, which is pretty darn fast. Extremely accurate in his passes, Sneijder loves to join the attack as well as being defensively accountable. Wesley easily has the biggest shot among all the prospects I've listed, as about 65% of his goals came from a range of 16/25 meters. They are hard, suprising, accurate and nearly impossible to stop, he rarely misses the target. His only knock against him should be his size, but due to his fast style, his awareness and feisty game, it has hardly been a problem so far. Some fans like to believe Wesley is the better player between him and Rafael van der Vaart, and you can certainly make a good case for him as Wesley is coming of a better year. We’ll see what the future holds, but the Dutch future on midfield looks extremely bright with these two on the squad..

04) John Heitinga - AJAX - Two-way defender - Dutch - 15/11/1983

Johnny was one of the nation's top youngsters when he made his Ajax debute at the age of 17/18 two years ago. He then got injured and needed a year of recovery, making most fans forgetting about him. However, Heitinga came back extremely, extremely strong. He's had a wonderful season with Ajax and is once again viewed upon as an emerging star defenseman. John is the type of defender the Dutch haven't had in a long time. His offensive game is already top notch and plays a reliable game in his own end. Heitinga plays a mature game way beyond his age. A huge reason why this defense didn’t fold when Chivu left.. John is your prototype two-way defender, he's agressive, he's vocal, he's fast and he gives it all every game. Like Rafael and Sneijder, he's already a crucial part of the national team, in particular their defense. Where John is second only to team MVP Jaap Stam among best defenders. Heitinga gets a lot of attention from all over Europe and it's only a matter of time before he leaves Amsterdam.

05) Robin van Persie - Feyenoord/Arsenal - Attacking midfielder/winger - Dutch - 06/08/1983

Arguably the most talented one out of all the ones mentioned here in this post. He can become a world class player strictly based on his skillset. He has a crazy technique, he is fast, is a supurb playmaker and on top of it, has a deadly free kick.. Robin has the potential to lead this list but he just hasn't proven as much as those standing above him. This is mainly due to the fact Robin and his (former) coach, Bert van Marwijk, never got along. He never got much playing time, but whenever he did, he just oozed with potential and despite his off-the-pitch problems, was a fan favorite. Robin van Persie is very simular to Christiano Ronaldo in a lot of ways, only where Christiano tends to go back and to deke his opponent out once more, van Persie seems to be more effective. Some question his physical shape because he rarely played (injuries, in the doghouse), so leaving to an English Premier Club (Arsenal), one of many that wanted his services, in a league that relies more on conditioning and physical strenght than anywhere else, could make or break his early years there. If he indeed develops those aspects, Robin could very well find himself passing up a few spots on this list, but untill then, he's still too unproven to be mentioned between those above him.

06) Jordi Hoogstrate - PSV - Defender/Midfielder - Dutch - 02/06/1983

Jordi Hoogstrate started his career for FC Groningen and it only took him 20 games to impress the rest of the competition. PSV quickly signed him to a 5 year contract. Dutch Under 19 international captain who followed Arjen Robben from Groningen to PSV, Hoogstrate was loaned back to Groningen for the 2002/03 season but once PSV got him back in 2003/2004, he wasn’t able to cause much of an impact, mainly because his mental and physcological problems kept him distracted. Once mentioned in the same breath as Wesley Sneijder and Rafael van der Vaart but his off the pitch problems have made that fade away. He’s working on those problems, he has been for the past few years. If he can ever resolve those issue’s, Jordi has a heck of an upside. He’s energetic, quick and leads by example. He then will give Wesley and Rafael a serious run for their money on the national squad. The Dutch are absolutely loaded with quality midfielders for the future.

07) Alex Rodrigo Dias da Costa - PSV - Defender - Brazilian - 17-06-1982

Simply a stud, this Brazilian defender is already an international and has been scouted by several top teams, including Italian side AC Milan to be Paulo Maldini’s eventual replacement. Considered one of the better players of his age group and one of the top foreign players playing in the Holland Casino Ere Divisie. A strong defender, he rarely loses his man and plays with an edge when the game calls for it. Great header, owns a booming shot and is pretty mobile. There aren’t many weaknesses to his game, though from what I know about him, he can lose his temper from time to time, bringing his team in danger. An underrated side of his game is his offensive production, coming of a nine goal season with Santos in his native Brazil. Alex is as close to perfect a defender of his age can be. Also very mature and brings somewhat of a quiet, controlling factor to his team.

08) Danko Lazovic - Feyenoord - Striker - Serbia and Montenegro - 17/05/1983

A striker projected to fill Mateja Kezman’s shoes in the Ere Divisie for the upcoming season. Danko had a rather dissapointing rookie year with Feyenoord. He never managed to be first choice and often had to come off the bench trying to prove himself in only a few minutes. Is said to be a more technical, more all-round version of Mateja, so there’s quite some pressure on him. He’s not very fast, but he doesn’t needs many chances. Reads the offensive aspects of the game well and has the ability to get through one’s defense by skill as well as physical strenght. Not a strong header from what I’ve seen and tends to lose his focuss at times, resulting in inconsistant play. Has a very, very bright future and an interesting upside. But since he’s quite raw and a bit of an open book, it was hard placing him on this list. Probably too high, but we’ll see..

09) Steven Pienaar - AJAX - Midfielder - South Africa - 17/03/1982

A personal favorite of mine, Steven is a product of Ajax’ education system in South Africa. He’d probably start on a lot of teams already, but that’s rather difficult and hard to do when you have Sneijder and van der Vaart ahead of you on the depthchart. Plays with heart and despite his funny way to walk and sprint, is actualy quite fast. Plays a mature game and seems to be one of the vocal leaders on the youngest squad in the world. Always active, with or without the ball, can play every midfield position as well as playing behind the strikers but also likes to tackle and defend agressively. More of a roleplayer than a scorer, Steven Pienaar will likely get more credit whenever he sees regular time on the pitch.

10) Daniel de Ridder - AJAX - Attacking Midfielder/winger - Dutch - 06/03/1984

Ajax fans are estatic to watch him play more often this year, especially after he amazed the crowd by his impressive, though rare play of last year. A skilled forward/midfielder, Daniel de Ridder can also join the attack coming from the right flanks. A fancy, but effective player, Daniel de Ridder is a future international that could move up a spot or two after having a full season under his belt. He owns a deep package of moves and owns an even better cross. A player that likes to create and take the necessary risks rather than the safe, ballposession play. Big things are expected of this kid.

11) Mika Väyrynen - Heereveen - Attacking midfielder - Finnish - 28/12/1981

Talented midfielder is a reliable and mature player in just about every facet of the game. Understands and reads situations very quick, Mika has teams chasing him ever since he turned 17. From Inter Milan to Bayern Munchen to PSV, Ajax and Feyenoord, but he eventually chosed for sub topper Heereveen, saying how Inter Milan would’ve probably loaned him to another team at some point anyway. A huge Finnish talent that has drawn comparisons from Jari Litmanen, he’s expected to be a big part trying to get Heereveen into Europe. It’s only a matter of time before he will head of to a bigger club, though Heereveen has done fairly well in keeping their tressures, at least longer than expected. One of the best foreign talents playing in the Netherlands.

12) Nigel de Jong - AJAX - Defender - Dutch - 30/11/84

Nigel, another Ajacied, is a more modest, smaller version of John Heitinga. What differs him from John is that he still seems to make the occasional rookie error, but aside from that, they are much alike in terms of playing style. He joins the rush quite often but is not as succesfull offensively just yet. He's fast, smart and his competitive attitude makes up for his lack of size. Rumoured to be in the interest of a few English teams as well as Spanish sides Barcalona where he will likely be the replacement of Reiziger. A very promesing defender, Nigel de Jong nearly made the Dutch squad to Portugal, and is considered an essential part for the Dutch future defense. Nigel seems to be yet another young Ajacied who will play his primeyears somewhere else.

13) Maarten Stekelenburg - AJAX - Goalkeeper - Dutch - 22/09/1982

The Dutch future in net. Maarten Stekelenburg is rediculously simular to Holland’s current number one goalkeeper in Edwin van der Sar. He’s around the same height, loves to play allong and is very patience. The depth among this position is very weak at the moment so that will only help Stekelenburg (or not), but he’s pretty much assured the starting spot on the national team when all the veterans retire from international soccer. Also the future in net for Ajax, but he will likely be splitting time with Lobont this year.

14) Johan Vonlanthen - PSV - Striker - Swiss - 01/02/1986

A Colombian born player, Vonlanthen is expected to play along side Vennegoor of Hesselink and help making the loss of 30+ goal scorer Mateja Kezman as minimal as possible. Every big team in Europe was after this kid, from Ajax to Madrid to Bayern Munchen to Inter Milan. But like some others, he too chosed for PSV Eindhoven. Saying how his biggest role model (Ronaldo) experienced his best years, including a breakthrough season there. An extremely skilled player, most might remember this name as the youngest ever to score at an European Championship. Constantly aware and is an entertaining playing to watch due to his combination of speed and technique. He’s very unexperienced and raw as he turned 18 only 6 months ago, but it seems like the sky is the limit for Johan.

15) Salomon Kalou - Feyenoord - Winger - Ivory Coast - 08/05/1985

The little, but more talented brother of Bonavonture Kalou, Salomon posseses a rare package of speed and skill you don’t see them much anymore. He’s as unpredictable as they come, is extremely solid once on the ball as he rarely loses it despite all his antics with it. A simular player like his brother, whom too played for Feyenoord, Salomon is said to be more dangerous and not as floatacious (I’m sure that’s not a word, but you all know what I mean by it). However, like his brother, he tends to shoot first, think later. Resulting in an occasional ego-centric play like he is a pure striker. Expected to be a full time member of Feyenoord this year, especially with van Persie gone to Arsenal. The fans already love him, they have ever since his very, very impressive debute against Ajax.

16) Collins John - Twente/Fullham - Striker - Dutch - 17/10/1985

Collins John had one of the higher goals per started game ratio’s in the Holland Casino Ere Divisie last year (9 goals in 16 games), hence it didn’t take very long before other teams started knocking on Twente’s door. Fullham appared to be the most generous and signed him to a 4 year contract as a replacement for Louis Saha. John appears to be a natural replacement for Saha, equipped with pace, strength and good ability on the ball, he was also reported to have been tracked by Manchester City and Middlesbrough. Still a teenager, so it’s essential for him to get lots of playing time and should eventually make the national team someday.

17) Thomas de Mul - AJAX - Attacking Forward - Belgium - 04/03/1986

Saw him playing for the 3rd time yesterday during the Amsterdam Tournament. And this kid is the real deal. He seems small in stature and has the looks of a 15 year old field hockey player, but don’t let that fool you. Tom de Mul is extremely quick in whatever he does, is always hungry for the ball and is blessed with tenchique. Can play pretty much every forward position due to his speed and accurate cross. Tom de Mul might see some minutes for Ajax this year, be it as a winger or as the 3rd striker behind Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Wesley Sonck, but it’s more likely that Anastasiou will get that role. One of Belgiums brightest stars, if not the brightest, Tom de Mul might very well have star potential and there aren’t many better places for him to realise it playing for Ajax Amsterdam.

18) Leonardo Vitoria de Santiago - Feyenoord - Winger - Brazilian - 03/09/1983

One of Feyenoord’s young studs, Leanardo should be a main core member of the squad starting this year. Your typical Brazilian winger, Leonardo is a flashy winger that loves to cut inside and try to go on a solo-tour before finishing it off on his own special way. This has often lead to some describing him a bit of an ego. But expect him to be much more of a team player under new coach Ruud Gullit. Leonardo has all the talent in the world, he just has to learn how to use it constantly and all at once. Once he realises his full potential, there’s no reason not to think why he won’t make the Brazillian national team someday. Has been in the spotlights of several big spending teams ever since he made his Feyenoord debute, but he loves it in Rotterdam and is good friends with the rest of his countrymen playing in the same league.

19) Rasmus Lindgren - AJAX - Attacking midfielder - Swedish - 29/11/1984)

A young kid that got a chance to play with the big club the past month, and he definitely lived up to the hype as Ajax’ future replacement of Jari Litmanen. He posesses the exact same qualities, in fact, he’s not much different from fellow Scandinavian Mika Väyrynen (see) whom too has drawn comparisons of Jari. Rasmus is a player hard to get off the ball and always finds his way to deliver the ball wherever he wants it to. Loves to set up attacks and always manages to be the open man in order to create plays. When Rafael van der Vaart and Sneijder leave, Ajax has another diamond in the rough with Rasmus at midfield.

20) Nicolea Mitea - AJAX - Winger - Roemanian - 24/03/1985

I’ve always seen Mitea as a Marc Overmars type, though maybe slightly softer in style. But that should give most fans here a better vision of who I’m talking about. A typical Romanian soocer player, Mitea got named talent of the 2003/2004 season after impressing everyone with his rapid footwork, his blazing speed and his unexpected technique. He never stops running. Mitea did try too hard though, he was too bussy trying to impress the coach to justify more playing time rather than playing for the team. But this is perfectly understandable for a kid his age, as he just turned 19. Fans expect big things for this young stud. Said to be one of Ajax’ most sought of commodities of the 2003/2004 season and that’s saying alot considering the talent on the world's youngest squad.

Honorable mention (from best to worst):

- Arouna Koné (Roda JC - African)
- Hedwiges Maduro (AJAX - Dutch)
- Edgar Baretto (NEC - Paraguay)
- Urby Emanuelsson (AJAX - Dutch)
- Anthony Obodai (AJAX - Ghana )

Missing the boat due to age (from best to worst):

- Scherrer Cabelino Andrade Maxwell (AJAX - 27-08-1981)
- Zlatan Ibrahimovic (AJAX - 03-10-1981)
- Thomas Buffel (Feyenoord - 19-02-1981)

Wew.. A total of 15 Ajacieden mentioned, not bad.

Spezza 08-01-2004 03:00 PM

I know I'm not down on any list, but I'll throw this out there to expand your knowledge of the Scottish game.

Its fairly comprehensive. I've also included the upside and downside of each player. I've mainly picked English comparissons as they're more likely to be understood, but sometimes I've not quite been able to do it.

Hope its useful :)

1. James McFadden (14.04.83), Attacking Midfield/Forward, Motherwell, Everton (SCO - 14 caps)

McFadden is a real game breaker, now plying his trade with Everton under the shadow of England phenom Wayne Rooney. He has magnificant control, good range of passing and an excellent shot. Underated physical strength.

He's firmly established himself in the national side and is quite a talismanic and influential figure. He will feature largely in the success Scotland have in the future (he has quite the chemistry with Darren Fletcher). His goal scoring record at the international level is very impressive.

McFadden has a reputation for having a bit of a temper, but this is a by product of the edge he brings to his game.

His move to Everton came as quite a shock last year, it was widley believed he would move to boyhood heroes Celtic. McFadden opted to take the move down to Merseyside rather than wait until the end of the season and opt for a Bosman move.

UPSIDE: Gazza without the baggage, Craig Bellamy
DOWNSIDE: Gazza with the baggage and without the glory.

2. Shaun Maloney (24.1.83), Attacking Midfielder, Forward, Celtic (SCO)

Shaun Maloney is very similar in stature, build and skillset to McFadden. He thrives in the hole or as an out an out striker. Lacks the physical pressense of his Celtic colleagues, but has good footballing smarts. Very pacey player.

Maloney is an expert at set pieces, he makes the ball move like a magic bullet sometimes.

Maloney is currently recovering from a broken leg.

UPSIDE: A more attractive Peter Beardsley, Lubo Moravcik, Del Pierro
DOWNSIDE: Simon Donnely,

3. Andy Webster (23.04.82), Defence, Hearts (SCO - 8 caps)

Webster is a comanding presense at the back for Hearts. Earned International recognition with 8 caps. Still a little raw.

UPSIDE: Sol Campbell
DOWNSIDE: Des Walker after his spell in Italy (you know when he became useless?)

4. Gary Caldwell (12.04.82), Defence, Midfield Hibs (SCO - 8 caps)

Caldwell can play either centre half or as a holding player in midfield. Good distributor of the ball. Strong in the air.

UPSIDE: John Terry
DOWNSIDE: can't think of onw

5. Stephen Pearson (02.10.82), Midfield, Celtic (SCO - 2 caps)

Another product of the Motherwell youth system, Pearson's main asset is his fantastic engine and pace, yet he has the natural ability to finish. Pearson has mainly been deployed on the left side of midfield. But I think he has the ability to be a "box to box" midfielder, supporting the attack with late runs into the box.

Pearson has been rewarded with a taste of International football.

Pearson was signed by Celtic in January.

UPSIDE: Frank Lampard, Paul Scholes (a Scottish comparisson would be Craig Burley)
DOWNSIDE: A burnt out Phil O'Donnel, a Paul Scholes who can't score


6. Craig Gordon (31.12.82), Goalie, Hearts (SCO - 1 cap)

Gordon is rated above Marshall as he's been the 1st choice goalie at Hearts for the entire season and has also gained his first international cap.

UPSIDE: Jim Leighton
DOWNSIDE: Jim Leighton

(I don't think anyone will get that joke - ed)

7. David Marshall (05.03.85), Goalie, Celtic (SCO - 2 u21 caps)

Marshall came to prominence this season in the UEFA cup. Celtic goalie Rob Douglas became involved in an altercation with Javier Saviola in the tunnel at half time, both players were shown a red card. Marshall saw his team to safety for the remaining 45 minutes where he was rarely tested. However, it was in the pressure of the Nou Camp that Marshall showed that he is a goalie of real potential with a string of magnificant saves that any Goalie would be proud of.

Marshall is strong on crosses, he doesn't flap at the ball (with the notable exception of a controversial cup final goal).

Marshall should continue to improve as he matures.

UPSIDE: A Scottish Peter Shilton/Dino Zoff
DOWNSIDE: A more error prone Fabian Barthez

(Jim Leighton joke might have been more apt here)

8. Mark Kerr (02.03.82), Midfielder, Dundee United (SCO)

Forgotten player who adjusted well to his first season in the Premier League. Kerr burst onto the scene with Falkirk last year. Good passer and playmaker, looking to take the next step this season and become a goto player in the league.

Kerr started his career with Falkirk as a 17 year old, Falkirk were controversially denied entry to the SPL on the basis of there ground being a dump. Kerr should have made the move sooner IMHO.

UPSIDE: Mark Wilmots
DOWNSIDE: Can't think of one

9. Chris Burke (02.12.83), Midfielder, Rangers (SCO - 2 u21 caps)

Rangers Midfielder has given the side renewed hope. Good all round footballer.

UPSIDE: Hate to reuse but Gazza
DOWNSIDE: Charlie Miller

10. Craig Beattie (16.01.84), Forward, Celtic (SCO - 4 u21 caps)

Beattie's is an excellent all round player. He's a strong powerful player in the air, he has excellent pace and acceleration and is a very good finisher. Beattie hasn't had much exposure to the first team, but will look to try and fill the void left by Henrik Larsson and the injured Maloney.

His opportunities this year may lessen due to the recent arrival of Henri cammara.

Beattie has already attracted the attention of Tottenham, an offer that was politely declined.

Should grow this season as he becomes a key part of the Scotland under 21s.

UPSIDE: Alan Shearer, Henrik Larsson, Ally McCoist
DOWNSIDE: Paul Dickov (good workrate, not quite the number of goals as expected)

9. Aiden McGeady (18 y/o can't find birthdate), Dominating Midfielder, Celtic (IRE - 1 cap)

Much heralded Celtic player, controversialy opted to play for Ireland instead of his native Scotland. McGeady has a lot of promise and will look to establish himself in the Celtic first team this season. He gained his first cap for Brian Kerr's Ireland in the summer.

Scored a fantastic goal on his debut against Hearts, has good range of passing, good crosser and dribbler of the ball. Likes to take men on, will get the chance to progress at Celtic.

UPSIDE: A right sided Ryan Giggs, Ronaldinho (with baggage)
DOWNSIDE: Ronaldinho's Baggage who doesn't pan out

10. Mark Wilson (05.06.84) - Defender, Midfielder Dundee United (SCO - 4 u21 caps)

Fixture in the Dundee United side, very tidy player, good control and dribbling skills, likes to take on his man, good crosser of the ball. Can play either centre half, right back or in midfield

Will feature in the u-21s drive for success.

UPSIDE: David Robertson, A Didier Agathe who can cross.
DOWNSIDE: Lee Sharpe

11. Ross Wallace (23.05.85), Winger, Celtic - (SCO)

Left sided player is hoping to make an impact with Celtic this season. Wallace has good pace, different style to Celtic colleague McGeady, he doesn't rely on it much to beat players as he can squeeze his excellent deliveries in with very little room.

UPSIDE: A left sided David Beckham with a little less glamour, tabloid exposure and no spice girl, John Collins for you French League followers.
DOWNSIDE: Steve Guppy (although I always liked him!)

12. Gary O'Conner (07.05.83), Pacey Striker, Hibernian - (SCO)

Good pace and good finishing. Not the best in the air.

UPSIDE: Andy Cole
DOWNSIDE: Mark Burchill

13. John Kennedy (18.8.83), Centre Half, Celtic (SCO - 1 cap)

Kennedy is a rock at the back. Excellent header and tackler, good pace.

Kennedy was Seriously injured in his scotland debut against Romania, not expected to feature before the end of the year, possibly next season.

UPSIDE: Paul Elliot
DOWNSIDE: Paul Elliot :( (Note: Elliot had his carrer ruined by a reckless challenge, hence the comparrison)

14. Mark Fotheringham (22.10.83), Midfield, (SCO)

Left Celtic youth team to sign with Dundee as he wanted the chance to play first team football.

UPSIDE: Can't think of one
DOWNSIDE: Can't think of one

Honourable Mentions

Kris Boyd (18.08.83) - Killmarnock (SCO)
David Clarkson (10.09.85) - Motherwell (SCO)

Notable young Scots playing Abroad

Paul Gallacher - Blackburn - Pacey striker called up from U21s to gain his first cap this year.
Darren Fletcher - Man Utd - Captained Scotland


Out due to age:

Liam Miller - Celtic, Man Utd (IRE)

Strizzi 08-02-2004 04:58 AM

Instead of posting my own Swiss list, I'll be a bit lazy and just add a couple of things to SwissPatRanger's one. The reasons are not much time, and the quality of his work. I could hardly provide any added value by just doing it again.

Here are the changes/additions, in the order of how the players are listed in SwissPatRanger's list:

- I'd personally rank Vonlanthen a few spots lower. While he is extremely gifted, I still doubt his drive and determination a bit, and I could imagine guys like Chiumiento and Djourou having more impact over their careers.

- Barnetta can play almost anything except center back, but he's best used on the right side. He's played wing back in the past, but the right side of the midfield is certainly his most natural position. I see him occupying that spot in our national team in the future. His character and attitude are excellent, but putting on a bit more size would not hurt in the Bundesliga grind.

- I hope that the drop of Senderos to 13 is unwarranted, because he was one of the most promising Swiss prospects just a year ago. Time will tell, but his potential was at least top-5 in this list back then...

- If we include players from Lichtenstein (who don't count as foreigners here, but play for a different national team), Peter Jehle (22.01.1982, Liechtenstein) would be the first goalie in the list. Was an early bloomer, and then had to wait a couple of more years because of inconsistencies. Will get the starting job for the Grashoppers Club Zurich this season.


For the rest, I just concur with the other list, and applaud it again.

VanCanuck 08-03-2004 10:30 AM

--Germany--


1. Lukas Podolski (04.06.1985, FW, Germany, Cologne)
- Blessed with terrific peripheral vision and pace, Polish-born Lukas Podolski is also a lethal finisher, averaging more than a goal every other game in his only season in football. Germany's Wayne Rooney
2. Philip Lahm (11.11.1983, DF, Germany, VFB Stuttgart)
- Philipp Lahm is emerging as an outstanding full-back. Elite player
3. Bastian Schweinsteiger (01.08.1984, MD, Germany, Bayern Munich)
- Bastian Schweinsteiger is one of the players that represent the future of German football. Plays similar to Michael Ballack.
4. Piotr Trochowski (22.03.1984FW,Germany, Bayern Munich)
- "He could be the next Thomas Häßler,"coach Hermann Gerland said.
5. Nelson Valdez (28.11.1983 , FW, Paraguay, SV Werder Bremen)
6. Robert Huth (18.08.1984, DF, Germany, FC Chelsea London/England)
7. Jan-Ingwer Callsen-Bracker (23.09.1984, DF, Germany, Bayer Leverkusen)
8. Moritz Volz (21.01.1983, DF, Germany, FC Fulham/England)
9. Lukas Sinkiewicz (09.10.1985, DF, Germany, Cologne)--Elite player
10. Thomas Hitzelsberger (05.04.1982 , DF, Germany, Aston Villa/England)
11. Dennis Cagara (19.02.1985, FW, Denmark, Hertha BSC Berlin)
12. Fabian Lamotte (25.02.1983, DF,Germany, FC Schalke 04)

Trendsetter 08-08-2004 03:11 PM

---- Norway ----



1- Daniel Fredheim Holm, Forward, Norway, Vålerenga – 30/07/1985

This guy is just awesome to watch. He’s got it all: Great technique, pace, shooting and finishing. A very good footballer we expect great things from in the future.

2- Daniel Braaten, Forward, Norway, Rosenborg - 25.05.1982

Daniel Braaten could very well be the next big thing to come out of Norway. His biggest asset is his strength combined with great pace and good technique. Also a good finisher.

3- Thomas Sokolowski, Central midfielder, Norway, FC Lyn - 25.06.1985

“Soko” is a very honest player. Works hard for 90 minutes and is a constant threat due to his strong shooting. Very physical for his age. Originally born in Poland.

4- Christian Grindheim, Midfield/winger, Norway, FK Haugesund - 17.07.1983

Christian plays for 1st division side Haugesund, but would easily improve every club in the Tippeliga. Has got a great pace, pinpoint crossing and is also a great worker.

5- Trond Olsen, Left winger, Norway, Bodø-Glimt - 05.02.1984

Very speedy and is also a great 1 on 1 player. For a counter attacking team (Bodø-Glimt) a player like Olsen is invaluable.

6- Petter Vaagan Moen, Left winger, Norway, Ham-Kam - 05.02.1984

Great at set pieces and attacking down the left side, but needs to add some muscle in order too take the last step up among the elite players in Norway. Awesome left foot combined with great dribbling makes Moen a very intriguing prospect.

7- Jan Kjell Larsen, Goalkeeper, Norway FK Haugesund - 24.06.1983

Tall and solid goalkeeper that will get a lot of playing time in Haugesund. Hardly ever make mistakes, but will have to improve his game on crosses in order to take the next step.

8- Olav Thuelo Johannesen, Right winger, Norway, Sandefjord - 23.02.1984

This guy could very well turn out to be the best of these prospects…or the worst. Extreme qualities when it comes to technique and pace. Thuelo will be a very exciting player to watch in the future.

9- Trond Erik Bertelsen, Defender/midfielder, Norway, FK Haugesund 05.06.1984


Steady defender and one of the leaders in the young Haugesund squad. A safe player that most definitely will be a regular name in Norwegian football for years to come.

10- Kristian Flittie Onstad, Defender, Norway, FC Lyn - 09.05.1984

Like Bertelsen, Flittie Onstad is also a very steady defender. Is known to make great passes from time to time. Needs to get more consistant.

11- Alexander Gabrielsen, Central defender, Norway FK Viking - 18.11.1985

Alexander is a true ”offensive” defender. Has got great creativity with the ball and will often make difficult passes look easy. Need to get more physical and add more strength in order to become a regular feature in the Viking lineup.

12- Lars Iver Strand, Midfielder, Norway, Tromsø IL - 07.05.1983

Lars is a very quick and deceptive player with the ball. Scores a lot of goals from his offensive midfield position.

13- Kristoffer Hæstad, Central midfielder, Norway, IK Start - 09.12.1983

Ever heard of Erik Mykland? Well..Hæstad is the younger version of “Myggen”.
He’s small, he’s smart, and he just love too make clever little plays, just like his mentor.

14- Øyvind Hoås, Striker, Norway, FK Molde - 28.10.1983

In many ways Hoås reminds me of Tore Andre Flo. They are built in the same way, both are tall and both can do the most amazing things with the ball. Like Flo, Hoås lacks consistency..something he will have to work hard on in order to improve.

15- Børre Steenslid, Defender, Norway, Sogndal IL - 25.06.1985

Very solid player with great strength and a great header.

Wildcards:

Per Ciljan Skjelbreid, Midfielder, Norway, Rosenborg - 16.06.1987

Despite his young age Skjelbreid has already made his Tippeliga debut for Rosenborg. Hailed as one of the greatest talents in all of Norway I left him out due to his age, but would still like to mention him here. Very elegant and creative player that plays with lots of confidence and brings out the best of his teammates. (He’d rank about 4th on my list…on potential only)

Jesper Mathisen, Forward, Norway, Start IK - 17.03.1987

Son of former Start legend Svein “Matta” Mathisen, Jesper Mathisen is making a name for himself in football Norway. He is the prototype forward: good header, explosive pace, great technique and awesome finishing skills; He brings everything to the table. Yet to prove himself on the highest level, but we expect great things from this young man in the years to come. Remember his name!

Frolov 6'3 08-19-2004 08:18 AM

1- Arjen Robben (23 January 1984, left wing, The Netherlands, PSV¹)
Ryan Giggs type of player. Speedy winger with excellent vision and great dribbler. Could score between 10-15 goals each season. Robben does also have a fantastic crosspass and is a real difference-maker. He should improve his right leg.

2- Rafael Van der Vaart (11 February 1983, left/attacking midfielder, The Netherlands, Ajax)
Talented midfielder with a scoring touch. Van der Vaart isn't one of the fastest, so he does everything on technique and skill. He's hard to knock off the ball, despite his size. He makes smart passes and has an excellent shot.

3- Wesley Sneijder (9 June 1984, midfielder, The Netherlands, Ajax)
Sneijder is a playmaker and made his international debut in April 2003 vs Portugal. Sneijder's biggest strength is without any doubt that he can kick the ball with both his left and right foot. That's why he's very suitable for the role as playmaker and he posses a dangerous shot from outside the penaly area.

4- Robin van Persie (6 August 1983, left wing/attacking midfielder, The Netherlands, Feyenoord²)
Skillswise the most talented one but needs to work on his work ethic. Van Persie owns an incredible left-leg, which he could use with free-kicks, and has an amazing technique. He's pretty fast but has troubles to find the back of the net. It remains to be seen if he can cope with the enormous pressure.

5- Leonardo di Vitor Santiago (9 March 1983, left wing, Brasil, Feyenoord)
Four years ago the biggest talent that was walking around in the Dutch League. Made his debut at the age of 17 and immediately made an impact on the field. Small flashy player with an enormous acceleration who likes to dribble with the ball and to humiliate his opponents with that typical Brasilian flair. His shot and passing should improve. Off-field problems, including two heavy injuries, have set him back in development and he only played 6 games the past two years.

6- John Heitinga (15 November 1983, central defender, The Netherlands, Ajax)
Heitinga was called to the Ajax first team at the early age of 17. He tore his medial ligament in his left knee and missed the whole season 2002/2003. Heitinga is strong with tackles, decent header, has good vision and an amazing long pass. He doesn't have any perceptible weaknesses regarding skills, although it still happens regularly that he makes a avoidable mistake in a game.

7- Collins John (17 October, striker, The Netherlands. FC Twente³)

8- Steven Pienaar (17 March 1982, right-central midfielder, South-Africa, Ajax)
I never thought he would make it but I was wrong. Small player with excellent ball control and an accurate passer.

9- Nigel de Jong (30 November 1984, rightback/right midfielder, The Netherlands, Ajax)
Nigel de Jong may not be as technical as others but he's known for his hard work. Physical strong with solid passing skills. He's dangerous with corners because he's a good header and he shows up in big games. He's more suited for the role as right back than midfielder because he lacks some speed to act fast

10- Mika Väyrynen (28 December 1981, attacking midfielder, Finland, SC Heerenveen)

11- Maarten Stekelenburg (22 September 1982, goalie, The Netherlands, Ajax)
Hyped as the future goalie of the Dutch team. Tall and athletic and a good line keeper but must improve with high balls. I'm not convinced yet.

12- Salomon Kalou (8 May 1985, winger, Ivory Coast, Feyenoord)

13- Danko Lazovic (17 May 1983, striker, Serbia and Montenegro, Feyenoord)
Fast player with who could turn into a potential scorer. Lazovic is always looking for the goal which quite often results in missing opportunities to pass. Has solid skills but is still very agitated. Danko needs some time to grow.

14- Johan Vonlanthen (1 February 1986, striker, Switserland, PSV)

15- Thomas de Mul (4 March 1986, forward, Belgium, Ajax)

16- Nicolae Mitea (24 march 1985, left wing, Rumania, Ajax)
Mitea is a nice talent. He’s full of speed and has solid skills. His biggest strenght is the audacity to pull off risky moves on defenders. Like so many, he isn’t overly physical and has the bad habit to dissapear in big games

17- Gianni Zuiverloon (30 December 1986, right back, The Netherlands, Feyenoord)

18- Glenn Loovens (22 September 1983, central defender, The Netherlands, Feyenoord)

19- Daniel de Ridder (6 March 1984, right wing, The Netherlands, Ajax)

20- Jordi Hoogstrate (2 June 1983, midfielder, The Netherlands, PSV)

¹ Chelsea 2004/2005
² Arsenal 2004/2005
³ Fulham 2004/2005

helicecopter 08-24-2004 08:25 PM

Here come some integrative comments to my Italian list. These comments were thought just when i compiled my ranking but were not inserted because of lack of time to type them.

As you can see scrolling down the list, the presence of defenders is really weak. The first is #19 Chiellini (still a project and not a pure defender), the next is Bovo at #29. There are just two Italian defenders in the top 45!
The first consideration is that usually defenders take longer to develop and be successfull on the big stage than talented offensive players.
Another thing is that someone could argue that i am biased towards forwards and midfielders.
Even if it is difficult to recognize our unconscious weaknesses, i'm confortable that if that's the case it is only a marginal factor. Maybe i am just not ready to completely trust defenders before they are tested by the strongest competition.
But fact is, prime talent in that role is seriously lacking at the moment in Italy.
One reason is that there are cycles, physiological ups and downs. Also, three promising young defenders are not elegible as '81 born: Bonera, Barzagli and Moretti.
But of course there is more, as this is probably the worst moment in Italian soccer history as for the number of quality defenders. (just think about these days sucking Materazzi is regularly called for the national team while a MUCH BETTER defender like Pietro Vierchowod in his best years never played and had his troubles just to get his caps..)
The main reason is that soccer changed and Italian teams (and so their defenders) had to make the transition to play zone-defense instead of man to man-defense. A new kind of play that privileged a different kind of defender. The old school of Italian defenders, used to play on the man and with the free defender behind, was suddenly not good anymore.
A parallel and consequent problem surfaced along these years especially through the juvenile programs; much less emphasis is put by coaches of the new generation on specifics about man to man defensive situations and that definitely shows up later.
Another parameter to be considered is the use of new more severe rules that for example prevent defenders to make voluntary fouls without being booked. (I could have never played as defender with the present rules :blush: ). This is one thing that definitely goes against the old Italian defensive style.
And to come back to the subject (prospects) there is a sad reason to explain not the lack of depth, but at least the completely lack of young stars in the defensive department.
The hands down best talent to come around in the last ten years for that role died at the age of seventeen in 2001.
Niccolo´ Galli, son of former national team keeper Giovanni Galli, was born on 21/5/83 and after showing great promises as a teen for Fiorentina was acquired by Arsenal (Liam Brady being the reason for that) where he succeeded playing for the junior team. For the 2000/01 season Bologna was (unfortunately) able to gain his services on loan from Arsenal and he joined right away the main team. The guy soon started out in serieA in great fashion. The last defender to make such an impression with the big guys as a 17yrs old was Paolo Maldini. The future looked stellar for this young man until the afternoon of 9th February 2001.
While coming back home after the training with his motor bycicle (too young to have the driving licence), Niccolo´ had an accident due to mysterious reasons. In the fall, his abdomen collided with an unprotected pipe that overhanged from the end of a guardrail (an inquiry for objective responsabilities by the road's managers followed ). Still conscious when succourred by Red Cross, he then died at the hospital because of the internal lesions suffered in the impact with the pipe.
This is the kind of tragedy that leaves without words, i can still somehow feel the shock i experienced remembering the moment when i found out the news.
Outside of the field the guy was known for maturity beyond his age and for his special kindness.
It's just on a side note of this horrible tragedy, but Italy that day lost its next star defender (and me my best youngster in my soccer fantasy pool).
I'm sure today Niccolo´ Galli would have easily been in the top 5 of my list.
Here is a link with some good photos of him.
http://utenti.lycos.it/vecchiaguardia1993/newpage5.html
You won't be forgotten Niccolo´.

And now i have to talk about two guys who are not elegible, but who deserve mention because they are overagers only in terms of birthdate. Fact is, because of injuries both have been able to play so far much less than their age would suggest and i guess for that reason they are still relatively unknown.
Giacomo Cipriani, 28/10/1980, was roommate and close of Niccolo´ Galli when the tragedy happened; despite that blow he was soon able to enjoy some success with Bologna and to apply for a great future, but went down to a knee injury. At first it wasn't considered a major one...well, a year later there were doubts about the possibility for Cipriani to ever play again! He experienced cartilage problems in his knee that were compared to those (ankle) that forced Van Basten to retire. It took two full years for Giacomo to start again in serieB and few more months to enjoy some success in serieA after joining Sampdoria. Cipriani is very complete striker, with good technique, elegance, decent pace, able to collaborate with his teammates, able of good acrobatics in the box, with the ability to score pure beauties with his head. Despite the lost time, it looks like he is back on track to take advantage of his talent; he is back in his hometown Bologna now, hopefully he will have more luck than the first time..

I could not finish my soccer prospect contribution without talking about one of my favourite youngsters, Alex Pinardi.
This guy is another product of Atalanta juveniles and could be compared to Devils' Adrian Foster as for numbers of games usually missed because of health reasons. Despite not suffering a true major injury, Pinardi in the past seemed to not be able to stay healthy for more than three or four games in a row. As for a mocking destiny, in the last season where he had less injuries he didn't play much more because of some disappointing performances, questionable choices by his coach and the emergence of fellow Montolivo in the same role. For these same reasons Alex currently is asking to be traded. Born on 5/9/80, i really hope this will happen since he badly NEEDS to finally play regularly somewhere.
Pinardi is a midfielder who can make my pants wet more easily than anyone else. He is a top notch talent with great vision, cleverness, classy finishing skills and the ability to play it as simple as it needs. Curiously for a young offensive midfielder, i would say one of his flaws is that he doesn't try to do more. Especially last season his lack of confidence was evident. He is not a runner with the ball, but sometimes he just could keep the ball longer waiting for the right play to come up. Aside from stay healthy, he should also improve a lot his agonistical presence and his endurance ; his speed is not bad at all for a midfielder the rare times when he is on top form, but athletically he is maybe the weakest midfielder around in Italian top leagues.
If this guy gets the proper coach and, somehow, the proper physic, he will be a star.
He is more talented than D'agostino, Sculli, Donadel, Blasi and Perrotta put together. I won't be satisfied with him until he will be a regular on the national team, even if at the moment, after the past disappointing season, this could look like a declaration of eternal damnation.

Bubbles 08-25-2004 03:03 AM

Serie A


1. Alberto Gilardino, 7/5/1982

An amazing striker, he scored 23 goals last year, second only to Andriv Shevchenko. He is the brightest Italian youngster in quite some time. Able to operate on his own, he possesses the heading powers of Vieri and the goal poaching abilities of Inzaghi. ( Incidentally, he looks like the clone of Inzaghi and Vieri fused together) Was not taken to EC2004, so goes and scores 5 goals in the u21 EC, and leads Italy to the championship. Currently has 4 goals in the olympics.(as of this post) Will be absolute star at 2006 WC guaranteed.

2. Antonio Cassano, 7/12/1982

Nicknamed the "madman". Why? Because he is. Absolutely crazy bat shiat crazy. But in a good way. His skills as a forward are unmatched. He has amazing pace as well as vision befitting a no. 10. Scored 14 goals last year and has finally pushed out the two other useless strikers at Roma. ( Montella and DelVecchio ) Will only continue to improve and score more. He was among the few decent players for Italy in Euro 2004.

3. Daniele de Rossi, 7/24/1984

An excellent midfielder from the Roma organization, a born and bred Roma from birth. He is already pushing for a spot in the starting 11. Called by former boss Capello as the "future of Roma" He possesses amazing maturity and vision for a person so young. He is in the mode of Totti, and could become an excellent addition to the Italian national team midfield. Steady and confident, he is also an excellent defender and tackles with abandon.

4. Riccardo Montolivo, 01/18/1985

Having helped Atalanta back into Serie A, Montolivo will continue to improve this year. He scored 4 times last year and is still only 19. He possesses great quickness and helped Italy capture the u19 in 2003.

5. Alberto Aquilani, 07/07/1984

Already a player on the Olympic squad, Aquilani is a rising star in Italy. Another Roma primavera product, he has obviously learned the skills of the playmaker Totti. He scored 4 goals while on loan to Triestina in Serie B.

I will have 5 more soon, but it's getting late here. Cheers.

Belgian Fan 08-26-2004 05:16 AM

Finally, here are my Belgian prospect rankings.

First a couple of notes: it’s never easy ranking prospects here in Belgium. The reason is that Belgian players usually don’t distinguish themselves from the rest due to their technical brilliance or flashy dribbling, but Belgium’s strength lies in the tactical awareness and down to earth no nonsense football style.

Two examples: at age 18, Daniel Van Buyten (now one of the top 3 centre backs in Belgium) was still playing his football in the fourth league of Belgium.
Another example: Timmy Simons, probably the best Belgian player of the moment was playing in the third league at age 17. He never played in a high end youth system and only was noticed and brought to the first division on age 18.

But anyway, on to the list.


1. Vincent Kompany

DOB: 10/04/1986
Club: Anderlecht
Nationality: Belgian
Position: Central defender

Not a tough choice to put Vincent on the #1 spot of course. He was playing in the first team of Anderlecht as if he’d been playing there for years at 17 years of age. And he carried that form into the Champions league as well. Is already a full time international and the best defensive prospect (and overall prospect) in many, many years.

He’s got multiple strong points. First of all there’s his impressive physique, at 1.90M and 85 kilo he’s a very strong athlete yet he’s still extremely pacy for a central defender as well. Very strong in the tackle and almost impossible to pass one on one.
But his physique isn’t what makes him so special. Vincent is one of those players who can make everything seem so easy. His incredible technique allows him to get out of tough situations while keeping possession of the ball. He’s got that special flair that only the greats have.
So in short, he looks like a #10 playing in the centre of the defense at times. He’s really incredibly talented. Add to that that he has a good head (you’ll never hear outlandish stories about him and he’s still teachable) and you’ll see why we’re so happy to have him.

There are still flaws in his game though. He’s so talented that he sometimes makes unnecessary mistakes. Making a bad or impossible pass out of the defense, a little mental error in positioning and other small mistakes. He’s so good that he mostly gets away with those little errors in the Belgian league, but he’ll have to ban them from his game if he really wants to reach the top (something he’s truly capable of). I also think he should work a bit on his heading, with his size he should win more air-duels.
He also started the season with a few poorer performances by his standards, but his last two games he really picked up the pace so that’s nothing to worry about…

Projection: star defender for a big European club

2. Jonathan Blondel

DOB: 03/04/1984
Club: Club Brugge
Nationality: Belgian
Position: Attacking Midfielder (left or central)

I had a tough time deciding for the #2 position. The reason is of course that there’s a big gap between Kompany and the rest of the bunch.
Blondel is an extremely talented kid, who doesn’t just use his technique to play football but also puts his heart in. He’s a smallish kid (1.72M for 72 kilos) but he’ll always go for the tackle and wins tackles against bigger and meaner guys on the pitch.
His strengths are his technique, vision, passing and the fact that he puts so much effort in. He’s also pretty dangerous as far as scoring goals is concerned.
He left for England two seasons ago (went to Tottenham) but never made it into the first team. When Bruges picked him up I was anxious to see if he had wasted almost two years (like I feared) but when he came at Bruges he hadn’t lost a step. In fact he was even more tenacious and wanted to proof himself. He played brilliantly to the end of last season and he earned his first international cap as well.

He was always very talented, earning trials with Man Utd and Schalke while still at Mouscron, but he went to Tottenham in stead. When you look at his physique it’s easy to see why he didn’t make it in England. So his weaknesses lie in the physical department, he’s not strong or big and doesn’t have the kind of pace some other smaller kids have.
Another thing is that he’s lost his starting plce in Bruges in the beginning of this season, wich is worrying for his development. But I think he’ll bounce back

Projection: good player for a mid table club in a very good league


3. Kevin Vandenbergh

DOB: 16/05/1983
Club: KRC Genk
Nationality: Belgian
Postion: Striker

If anyone remembers Kevin’s father, the great Erwin Vandenbergh, you’ll immediately know everything you need to know about Kevin. He plays exactly the same style, so he’s really a striker to my liking.

For those who don’t know what that means I’ll explain it a bit. Kevin is one of those strikers that can be invisible for 89 minutes. But when the ball squirms loose in the box in the last minute and someone scores a garbage goal, you can bet your life on it that Kevin was the guy who forced it in. So think Morientes, with better feet but nowhere near as good with the head.

So it’s obvious, his strength is quite simply: goalscoring. Kevin is always at the right place at the right time, and doesn’t miss many chances. He’s also technically gifted though and has become more of an all round player as of late.
To give an example, when I played against him (I marked him) when he was 15 (I knew who he was) I thought I played a pretty good match and that he wasn’t particularly strong or fast. Yet he scored two goals…
The only problem for Kevin is the physical aspect of the game. Unlike his father Kevin does not posses above average speed. He’s not strong either (1,78M, 72 kilos) so that could be a problem if he wants to go up a level and play in a bigger league. In fact, he’s been at Genk for two seasons now but has failed to get a spot in the starting line up (yet he’s scored 25 goals in 49 matches, mostly coming on late as a sub).

So while I put him very high in the rankings, the clock is ticking for Kevin. He must get a regular place in the starting eleven and than we’ll see if he can go on to a higher level. Personally I’m convinced he can, because goalscoring is the most difficult aspect of the game, and he’s great at that.

Projection: 30 goal/season striker in Belgium or top scorer (+/- 20) at a mid table club in a strong league (France, Germany)


4. Marco Né

DOB: 17/07/1983
Club: Beveren
Nationality: Côte d’Ivoire
Position: Central Midfielder

Marco Né is another product from the Ivorian production line of the Académie Marc Guillou. Some great footballers came from there ( Kolo Touré (Arsenal), Yaya Touré (Metallurg Donetsk), Aruna Dindane (Anderlecht), Didier ‘Maestro’ Zokora (St. Etienne) and others will surely follow).
Né is a classy midfielder, who combines great technical abilities with great passing and vision with above average ball winning skills. I think he’s the best of the current lot of Ivorians at Beveren. He plays the game responsibly, but still has that special flair that all the other Ivorians have. He’s the one who can match the players of Anderlecht or Brugge when they play Beveren. In fact he’s so good he usually gets tightly marked in those games, to prevent him from creating chances for his teammates.

The downside of Né if his stature, he’s lanky and lacks a bit of strenght, something wich he’ll need if he wants to succeed in England (Beveren is Arsenal’s feeder club, he’s had a few trials there and Wenger likes him). That’s why I think he’ll go to a ‘weaker’ league (my money’s on France) first in stead of straight to Arsenal and than end up playing for a mid table team in a ‘strong’ league. He’s got the talent and ability to do that.

Projection: Creative yet responsible midfielder for a good club in a strong league


5. Anthony Vanden Borre

DOB: 24/10/1987
Club: Anderlecht
Nationality: Bel
Position: Right Back

Anthony is a bit of the opposite of the previous guys. At 16 years of age, he already has an imposing physique. He stands at 1.80M at 80 kilos and still hasn’t filled out his frame since he’s only 16. He’s very strong, a great tackler and likes to go forward from his right back position. His technical ability is very good for his age, but he doesn’t posses the brilliance of Kompany.
He extremely raw at the moment, needs to work on positioning mostly, but his other skills need to be developed further as well. Last season during an injury crisis he came into the first team of Anderlecht and didn’t look out of place. In fact he was very good, and he got his first international cap as well.
At the moment he’s back on the bench though since Michal Zewlakow has returned to the right back, but he still gets some minutes through substitutions.

There’s one big question mark though with Vanden Borre, wich is the reason why he dropped down to 5th on my rankings. There are questions about his mentality. He’s not as teachable as Kompany and is known to be a bit of a problem kid. Exactly the reason why many people (including myself) criticised the national coach for capping him so early.
His potential is almost unlimited, but he’ll only go as far as his mental strength will allow him to.

Projection: anything from never really breaking through to being a good defenseman for a top European club.


6. Glenn Verbouwhede

DOB: 19/05/1985
Club: Club Brugge
Nationality: Bel
Position: Goalkeeper

This is the first guy on my list who hasn’t yet played in the first team of his club. Glenn is said to be the best goaltending prospect Bruges has ever seen (wich doesn’t mean anything at all in fact, they’ve never really created great goalies).
I haven’t seen much of him (bits and pieces from the U-19 EC), but reports of his ability have been going around for a few years already. Strong on his line and good reflexes – apparently still needs to work on stopping crosses.

The biggest problem would be that he’s in ‘prospect hell’, being Bruges. He’ll have to fight past two other goalies (including Stijn Stijnen, who didn’t make the list because he is one year to old) to get some playing time wich won’t be easy.

Projection: possibly the next in line in the Belgian keeper tradition? Too early to tell probably - we need to see how he does against stronger opposition first


7. Jonathan Walasiak

DOB: 23/10/1982
Club: Standard de Liège
Nationality : Bel
Position : Right Winger

Jonathan really broke through last season for the Rouches. He combines amazing pace with above average dribbling and decent crossing. A flashy player who’s got a good long shot and is a threat scoring goals with his pace and skills. He also got his first call ups for the national team last season.

He isn’t the strongest guy around though, wich is his main negative point. Alsohe struggles at times with a lack of self confidence. But since he’s still young he still has room for progression. But just as Blondel above, Walasiak has also lost his starting place this season, and the arrival of Portugese star Sergio Conceicao probably isn’t good for him either.

Projection: star player in Belgium, solid player in a stronger league.


8. Yaya Touré

DOB: 13/05/1983
Club: Metallurg Donetsk (Beveren until last season – why I ranked him)
Nationality: Côte d’Ivoir
Position: playmaker

Yaya is the brother of Kolo, the centre back of Arsenal. Yaya is an incredibly talented player, very technically gifted, flashy and extremely creative. Kolo said in the past that Yaya is the most talented of the two, and he’s probably right. He was really a thrill to watch at Beveren and many teams were interested in his services. Yet Yaya still has a lot to learn about the European style of football, and I’m not sure if the Ukrainian league (where he decided to go) is the place to be to do that. One last note, he needs to work on his finishing skills.

Projection: flashy player in a good league (Fadiga – like, better mentality)


9. Faris Haroun

DOB: 22/09/1985
Club: KRC Genk
Nationality: Bel
Position: Midfielder

Haroun broke into Genk’s first team last season and was a member of the Belgian U-19 squad this summer. Good technical abilities and defensively responsible. One of the few Belgian youngsters with great raw talent and the ability to do the unexpected. For a midfielder he also has a good eye for goal.
I think he’ll be a full international within two years time and after that we’ll have to see how he continues to develop.


10. Silvio Proto

DOB: 23/05/1983
Club: La Louvière
Nationality : Bel
Position : Goalkeeper

For a few seasons now, Silvio has been the best young goalie in Belgium. He plays at a weaker club and thus gets plenty of chances to show his abilities. He’s got stunning reflexes, is great in one on ones and is decent on crosses. There has been interest from the big clubs for him, but nothing has yet turned out into something concrete. I think he’s got the potential to be a very good international goalkeeper, but he’ll need to move to a bigger club in one or two years to do that..


11. Koen Daerden


DOB: 08/03/1982
Club: Genk
Nationality: Belgian
Position: Left Midfielder

He’s already a very good player (very close to the national team) but I’ve ranked him rather low because I feel he’s almost up to his full potential. A very hard worker with an amazing physical ability (he’ll run down the flank for 90 minutes) a hard shot and decent cross. Not the greatest technical wonder of the world though, wich is exactly why I don’t think he’ll improve much. But he could have a Gert Verheyen type of career, and that’s worth something too.


12. Mohammed Tchité

DOB: 31/01/2004
Club: Standard
Nationality: DR Congo
Position: Striker

Before this season nobody knew about this guy. Yet he’s scored 3 goals in three matches for Standard this season. Very good with his head (despite being only 1.76M) very explosive and a real eye for goal. Still early days, we’ll see how his development continues this season.


13. Jonathan Legear

DOB: 13/04/1987
Club: Anderlecht
Nationality: Bel
Position: midfielder

Still very young, Jonathan hasn’t been able to crack the Anderlecht lineup. That’s not too hard to imagine because the two youngsters who have been able to do that are exceptional talents. Furthermore with the likes of Willhelmsson and Mpenza in front of him he’s got tough competition as well.
A talented technical right midfielder, member of the U-19 squad and from what I’m hearing he’s got a good head to go along with the talent.


14. Sambegou Bangoura

DOB: 31/01/1982
Club: Standard
Nationality: Guinean
Position: Striker

I took a list of all the players in the Belgian first league to have a look at the eligible ones and I must say I was very surprised to see that Mr. Bangoura was still eligible, it seems like he’s been here for years. And that’s true of course, he’s been in the first division since his 17 and has scored almost 50 goals. (of course one has to keep in mind that Africans and Birthdays don’t always mix well).
Bangoura is a strong, big striker (1.82 for 77 kilos – but he plays way bigger) who is a very good header but not too great with his feet. Yet he’s a real natural talent, he only played football for 3 years before coming to play professional in Belgium and he learned with every game. I think he still has some untapped potential left.
However I didn’t rank him too high because he isn’t a real natural goalscorer, and you all know how important that is to me.


15. Emmanual Eboué

DOB: 04/06/1983
Club: Beveren
Nationality: Côte d’Ivoire
Position: Central defender

Yet another member of team Côte d’Ivoire at Beveren. Eboué is a central defender with the skills of a midfielder. He’s on the small side for a central defender (1,78M, 72 kilo’s) but he has great natural strength so it doesn’t bother him too much here in Belgium. He’s really a joy too watch, always looking for a footballing solution an he’ll never just clear the ball in the stands. He’s also pretty good defensively so it’s no miracle he also went on a trial to Arsenal this summer.
I don’t think he’ll be good enough for Arsenal, but he could be a good one in the future, I think the French style of play will suit him the best.


16. Moussa Sanogo

DOB: 16/07/1983
Club: Beveren
Nationality: Côte d’Ivoire
Position: Striker

Yet another Beveren player. Lightning quick and a great dribbler, he really haunts the defenses here in Belgium. Unlike many Africans he does have above average finishing skills. Will need to work on his decision making (not dribbling the same guy twice but passing the ball in stead and stuff like that if he really wants to make in on the big stage. He’s got the skills to do it though.


17. Martin Kolar

DOB: 18/09/1983
Club: Anderlecht
Nationality: Czech
Position: Left Midfielder

If this list was solely based on talent, Martin would most certainly be a lot higher. He’s a great dribbler, he’s got good vision, a decent cross, pace and teamwork skills. He has the ability to do the unexpected and make the defenders look like amateurs. In short, everything he needs to make it at Anderlecht and possibly at a higher level.

But there are two major concerns: Martin is very injury prone and he’s had a lot of mental problems. Last season he hardly played do to his injuries even though he started the season of in great form. And after that he apparently had mental issues and personal problems. This season he started of injured again. So if he wants to make something of his career he’ll need to get healthy again and start playing some matches.


18. Romaric

DOB: 04/06/1983
Club: Beveren
Nationality: Côte d’Ivoir
Position: Attacking midfielder/second striker

Similar story to Martin Kolar, Romaric may be on of the most talented players in the Belgian league. He’s big (1.87M), extremely strong (82 Kilo’s – I’ll get back to that) and has skills, guts and a rocket of a shot. Honestly, his shot might be ‘Roberto-Carlos-hard’. However (just like Roberto Carlos) he has directional problems at times.

But with all his talent he lacks a bit of physical endurance. To make matters worse, he gained almost 10 kilos during the off season (he was up to 90) and then was put on a diet by the coach of Beveren. He was put with the reserves until he had lost the weight. Apparently he almost didn’t eat for a week and dropped 8 kilos in 7 days. Needless to say his performances this season haven’t been exceptional, and he seems to have lost a bit of his strength.

He’s got the talent to make it to a bigger league, but I’m sceptical weather he will achieve that.


19. Logan Bailly

DOB: 27/12/1985
Club: RC Genk
Nationality: Bel
Position: Goalkeeper

Logan played for Genk’s feeder club (Heusden Zolder) last season (who were playing in the first division!) and came in the team when the first keeper was injured. The starting goalie never regained his place. Bailly is a very good prospect IMO, and I possibly put him way too low on the list. He’s big and strong (1.89M, 80 kilo’s) but surprisingly quick and steady. There were more people impressed with him last season as he was also offered a trial over at Liverpool by Gerard Houllier. I put him a bit lower though because he’s behind a pretty good keeper now, and at 19 he should almost start getting some playing time. Still a bright prospect who could turn heads in the future.



20. Thibaut Detal

DOB: 01/01/1985
Club: SC Chareleroi
Nationality: Bel
Postion: Midfielder

Thibaut came in the first team last season and played every game in the first division. He’s a very steady, solid player, great decision making for his age and very good recuperating balls – he’s also got a wicked shot. He’s a hard working, no nonsense midfielder, who plays the game intelligently. He can play either central (preferred) or on the right. Needs to work a bit on his passing and dribbling, but the talent’s there.
I think he could be the next in line after Grégory Dufer, not so offensively gifted, but still a great player and way better defensively.


Guys who missed out:
_Yasin Karaca (Oostende): super talented attacking midfielder, too many attitude questions though and I don’t think he’ll make it
_Aliyou Datti (Bergen): Nigerian striker, came over from AC Milan, good player but hasn’t yet been able to put it together consistently
_Stijn De Smet (Cercle brugge): 19 year old striker, quick, can dribble, eye for goal who started this season well, but I’ll need to see some more of him to judge him.
_Stiven Rivic (Sint Truiden): talented Croatian striker who came over from Schalke due to Mark Wimots – I’ll need to watch him more closely
_Aristide Bancé: towering African striker, don’t think he’ll make it big – lacks overall talent to make it with a bigger team IMO
_Nicolas Lombaerts (Gent): defensive midfielder, U-19 captain, left Bruges to get first team football, will probably get some action this season
_Wim De Decker (Germinal Beerschot): huge defender, hard tackler and already three seasons of first team experience. Lacks the talent to make it to a bigger club IMO (I played with him so I know him well)
_Bram Verbist (Germinal Beerschot): good keeper, but he needs to get some games and is blocked by a better first keeper at the moment.
_’Cadu’(Germinal Beerschot): Brazilian striker with an eye for goal
_Dickson Agyeman (Germinal Beerschot): super quick (but small) winger, still very young and has the talent to go up a level.
_Sebastian Kneissl (Westerlo): loaned from Chelsea (Westerlo is their feeder club), is not in the starting 11 but I’ll keep a close watch on him
_Michael Modubi (Westerlo): super quick South African winger, great skills and very exciting to watch, definitely one for the future (another one who is property of Chelsea)
_Stijn Vangeffelen (Westerlo): typical no-nonsense Belgian defender. Very solid but not too much high end potential I fear
_Joe Keenan (Westerlo): Strong English centre back (another Chelsea man), good leader but hasn’t particularly impressed me, I don’t think he’s the answer to John Terry
_Jeffrey Ntuka (Westerlo): once more a South-African Chelsea man, lightning quick wing back and great dribbler – not yet a member of the starting 11
_Grégory Lorenzy (Mouscron): Nantes product and very solid defender, could make it to a big Belgian club in time.
_Igor de Camargo (Genk): solid Brazilian striker
_Karel Geraerts (Standard): another Bruges product who went elsewhere to get first team action, I’m not sure however if Standard is that place. Solid defensive midfielder, in the Franky van der Elst style
_Hans Cornelis (Club Brugge): good player (right back), high ceiling yet very inconsistent. I think he’ll be an international for Belgium.
_Goran Lovre (Anderlecht): defensively responsible Serbian midfielder with a wicked shot. Not very fast or flashy though, but solid nonetheless.
_Lamine Traoré (Anderlecht): young centre back who is starting to impress me this season in the absence of Hannu Tihinen, still suffers from lapses of concentration though.

Frolov 6'3 10-21-2004 05:35 AM

Some weeks I ranked Salomon Kalou as 12th while he had just played two games in the Dutch league. However, I saw him in some games in the second division and you could see the kid could be the real deal. Well, he didn't dissapoint me. He's even better than his brother (Bonaventura), at least on the scoring department. 8 games played and 9 goals already. He's on the pace for 30 goals and he has just turned 19. For me, he's entering the top 3.

My new top5

1- Arjen Robben
2- Wesley Sneijder
3- Salomon Kalou
4- Nigel de Jong
5- Robin van Persie

Evilo 12-12-2004 06:13 AM

Here is an update as of 12/12/04
The last ranking (dating back from this summer) is between brackets.

FRENCH LEAGUE

1 (1)- Phillipe Mexes, AS Roma, D, 30/03/1982
Filled with energy, Mexes is a marvelous defenseman. He's excellent defensively, good with the header, and his passing is great. He can also score quite a few goals a year. Simply a wonderful prospect.

2 (2)- Nilmar, Brazil, Lyon, ST, 17/07/84
Now we know why he's supposed to be the next best thing in Brazil. First game, he comes up as a sub at the 76th minute, and he scores two goals to give Lyon the victory in Rennes. And two pure striker type of goals. Definitely a future star. A great feel for positionning.

3 (8)- Hatem Ben Arfa, Lyon, ST, 07/03/87
Is making a huge impact for a guy his age. He can already hurt defenses thanks to his dribbling ability. A future star no matter what.

4 (30)- Michael Essien, Ghana, Lyon, MF, 09/06/82
Was known in Bastia for his amazing shot, and good defensive midfield skills. Suffered a bad injury that prevented him to show his stuff in Lyon. He now has developped into a complete midfielder in Lyon. He’s a rock defensively, with effortless tackling skills, and is great in offensive support. He scores regularly now.

5 (5)- Petr Cech, Czech Republic, Chelsea, G, 20/05/82
Big, rather agile, he's excellent at using his big frame and at stopping penalties.

6 (16)- Jérémy Menez, Sochaux, ST, 30/11/87
Another great striker coming up but this time for Sochaux. He has speed to burn, and is accurate in front of the net.

7 (7)- Kim Kallstrom, Sweden, Rennes, MF, 24/08/82
Great vision and a knack for amazing passes. He had a very average EC for his talent. Is also excellent on free kicks.

8 (10)- Franck Ribery, Metz, MF, 01/04/83
THE player of the beginning of the year. He was playing in the third division last year and emerged this year as a star player. He's a small player with great technique and superb awareness. Not only can he pass everywhere, but he can dribble a defense by himself and turn a game around in one single action. He's not physically strong (1,70m, 60kg) and that might be where his biggest difficulty is. He leads the league in assists.

9 (6)- Florent Sinama Pongolle, Liverpool, ST, 20/10/84
Great feel for the goal, a true striker. Lacks some physical tools, but his talent should get him a star status.

10 (11)- Rio Mavuba, Bordeaux, MF, 08/03/84
Another Tigana according to Domenech, Rio was born on a boat people in the middle of the ocean. A great story, Rio's upside is so big that his future seems much brighter than his past. Real Madrid is interested in him.

11 (15)- Modeste M’Bami, Cameroon, PSG, MF, 09/10/82
Untiring defensive midfielder from PSG. Very effective and good passing skills.

12 (4)- Eduardo Costa, Brazil, Marseille, MF, 23/09/82
Defensive midfielder is probably already the best midfielder in France apart from Rothen (now that Giuly is gone). He is never tired, and has great offensive upside. His shot is simply a rocket. A bit disapointing in Marseille, but the whole team is.

13 (Unranked)-Mathieu Bodmer, Lille, MF, 22/11/82
He’s the star in Lille. He makes blind passes look easy. One of the best passers in the league.

14 (9)- Gaël Clichy, Arsenal, D, 26/07/85
Left back will take Ashley Cole’s spot sooner or later.

15 (28)- Samir Nasri, Marseille, ST, 26/06/87
Is supposed to be a great technical striker/offensive midfielder. He has great technique and combativity. He should turn the season around for Marseille pretty soon thanks to a new coach that trusts him.

16 (12)- Jérémy Mathieu, Sochaux, MF, 29/10/83
Sochaux midfielder is one of the most complete player in the league. He’s excellent defensively, and his offensive game is very good as well. He has a great shot and is a guy that will sacrifice for the team. He even plays left back once in a while.

17 (13)- Jérémie Aliadière, Arsenal, ST, 30/03/83
With Wiltord gone and Bergkamp nearing retirement, Aliadière should see more time and he WILL produce. That is, if he can battle injuries.

18 (3)- Anthony Le Tallec, St Etienne (on loan from Liverpool), ST, 03/10/84
Talent at its best. Has amazing techinque but even better vision. He’s aware of everything, has a pretty good shot, and it tall enough not to be pushed around. I expect great things from him. He’s been injured this season after a good start. He has trouble cracking the line up now, since St Etienne has scored the most goal in the league during his injury.

19 (Unranked)- Lucas Perreira, Brazil, Ajaccio, ST, 02/05/82
As of today (12/12/04), he’s tied for the scoring lead. He is excellent with the header, and smart in his positionning.

20 (14)- Marouane Chamakh, Marocco, Bordeaux, ST, 10/01/84
Was very effective. Isn’t an awfully talented striker but he positions himself nicely and is deadly in the box.

21 (24)- Bryan Bergougnoux, Lyon, ST, 12/01/83
Lyon must lick their chops with this guy and Ben Arfa coming up. When France won the Toulon tournament, Bergougnoux scored 4 of his team’s 5 goals.

22 (17)- Ludovic Butelle, Valencia, G, 13/04/83
Metz goalie was so poised so young that Valencia booked him last year.

23 (42)- Emmanuel Adebayor, Togo, Monaco, ST, 26/02/84
“Albatros” has all the tools. Strong, good headers, powerful shot, etc... Can he find the toolbox? He had a huge streak earlier this year that make me think he can find it.

24 (19)- Pablo Francia, Argentina, Bordeaux, MF, 03/12/84
Argentinian midfielder proved stellar this year for Bordeaux. Great shot and great passes.

25 (20)- Charles Itandje, Lens, G, 02/11/82
Has amazing moves, including his now famous dance before penalties. Can be the best goalie in the world for a game and a pretty bad one in the following game. Needs to find consistency.

26 (33)- John Utaka, Nigeria, Lens, ST, 08/01/82
Plenty of skills, but so far no consistency. But look out, he can really score.

27 (50)- Jérémy Gavanon, Marseille, G, 20/09/83
Barthez’s backup will carry the load as soon as Fabien retires.

28 (52)- Yann Gourcuff, Rennes, MF, 11/07/86
Son of Christian, the coach. Is touted as the next boss for Rennes’ midfield. Has great awareness, which would be expected from Gourcuff’s son.

29 (59)- Sébastien Grax, Monaco, ST, 23/06/84
And the rich get richer. A great prospect playing as striker or offensive midfielder. Good technique. He’s among the best scorers in Ligue 2 this year (he was loaned to Troyes).

30 (51)- Matt Moussilou, Lille, ST, 01/02/82
Came out of nowhere this year to score goal after goal. We’ll see if that was fluke next year. Well after a few months, he’s definately not a fluke.

31 (22)- Nicolas Karlamoff, Valencia, MF, 20/01/83
A guy that should soon crack the Valencia lineup is something to be aware of.

32 (45)- Jérémy Berthod, Lyon, D, 24/04/84
A 20 year old guy being a regular on Lyon, french champions, is impressive, especially at left back.

33 (25)- Bartholomew Ogbeche, Nigeria, PSG, ST, 01/10/84
Was called “Superman without kryptonite” by Fernandez two years ago. Has not progressed much since, but the talent is there and undoubtable.

34 (26)- Nabil Taider, Toulouse, MF, 26/05/83
Excellent offensive midfielder, and can sure shoot the free kicks. His upside is quite big.

35 (27)- Jaroslav Plasil, Czech Republic, Monaco, MF, 05/01/82
“Can do kid” Plasil was a good surprise for Monaco this year. Was effective coming off the bench to finish games because of his passing skills. Is pretty good at “keeping the ball”.

36 (34)- Gilles Yapi Yapo, Ivory Coast, Nantes, MF, 30/01/82
The guy is small, doesn’t have the most powerful shot, doesn’t have the Zidane type of skill, but he can do it all. He has a huge heart, is excellent in ball control and steals balls from opponents all game long.

37 (18)- Jaouad Zairi, Marocco, Sochaux, MF/ST, 14/04/82
You think Cristiano Ronaldo can dribble ? Try this guy. He’s just as amazing, but loses less balls. Of course the rest of his game isn’t good enough right now to say he’s the next star. His shot could be better. But he’s explosive as a winger, and is basically “ungardable”.

38 (29)- Landry Bonnefoi, Juventus, G, 20/09/83
Future star goalie for Juventus.

39 (21)- Albert Riera, Spain, Bordeaux, MF, 15/04/82
Spanish midfielder teamed up with Francia for a very effective one-two punch.

40 (40)- Stephen Drouin, Nantes, D, 27/01/84
Excellent defenseman once again for Nantes.

41 (31)- Jacques Faty, Rennes, D, 25/02/84
Called “the next Desailly”, Faty is a solid stay at home defenseman.

42 (32)- Hossam Ahmed Mido, Egypt, AS Roma, ST, 23/02/83
Mido should be sold by Marseille because mostly of his bad temper. Too bad because the big guy sure has talent.

43 (41)- Jérémy Toulalan, Nantes, MF, 10/09/83
Another Nantes diamond. Has ALL the tools.

44 (56)- Achille Emana, Cameroon, Toulouse, ST, 05/06/82
Bulldozer this year for Toulouse.

45 (35)- Florent Chaigneau, Rennes, G, 21/03/84
Rennes only bought Cech and Isaksson until this guy is ready to carry the load. During Cech’s injury this year, he proved already that he’s not far from the big show. He put up a “Banks” type of save. He also had a miserable game though, and that was probably enough for the Rennes management to seek another goalie for the immediate future.

46 (36)- Hassan Yebda, Auxerre, MF, 14/05/84
Great skills for Roux’s protégé. Should see time this year.

47 (37)- Mathieu Flamini, Arsenal, MF, 07/03/84
Was a pleasent surprise this year for Marseille. Went from unkown to unquestionnable starter. Not overly skilled, but excellent at taking balls from opponents.

48 (60)- Jimmy Briand, Rennes, ST, 02/08/85
Rennes hopes to have the final piece of the puzzle here (Chaigneau, Faty, Kallstrom-Gourcuff and Briand are the core of the future for Rennes). Good finishing touch and great speed for Briand.

49 (38)- Rudy Haddad, PSG, MF, 05/05/85
Big potential with good scoring touch.

50 (39)- Mathieu Moreau, Inter Milan, G, 22/02/83
Former Nantes goalie was blocked by Landreau.

51 (Unranked)- Sylvain Idangar, ST, Lyon, 08/03/84
Salim Arrache, ST, Strasbourg, 14/07/82

52 (43)- Lorik Cana, Albania, PSG, MF, 27/07/83
Was rock solid this year for PSG and gained a starter spot on a deep team.

53 (44)- Mickael Fabre, Sedan, G, 15/07/84
Another Nantes goalie playing in Italy. Just came back to Sedan though. We'll see how he fares in Ligue 2.

54 (46)- Habib Bamogo, Marseille, ST, 08/05/82
Scored a lot in Montpellier and that rewarded a transfer to Marseille. We’ll learn more about his potential this year.

55 (47)- Yoann Folly, Southempton, MF, 6/6/85
Former St Etienne midfield has bright future. But maybe staying in St Etienne would have helped his development.

56 (48)- Grégory Lacombe, Monaco, MF, 11/01/82
Tiny offensive midfielder is in the true spirit of the “10” of old time. Is very small, but has great passing skills and good free kicks.

57 (49)- Luigi Glombard, Nantes, ST, 21/08/84
Great potential for another Nantes prospect.

58 (23)- Choukie Ben Saada, Bastia, ST, 01/07/84
Bastia striker has already made his mark in the french league.... for two years already. Great technique, but he has to make his game more simple.

59 (53)- Alexander Farnerud, Sweden, Strasbourg, MF, 10/05/84
Has talent, but he’ll have to show more than an amazing shot once a year to prove his worth. Still a question mark.

60 (54)- David Bellion, Manchester United, ST, 27/11/82
Young ManU forward is multi-talented.

61 (55)- Emerse Fae, Nantes, MF, 24/01/84
Tough defensive midfielder with high potential.

62 (57)- Souleymane Camara, Senegal, Monaco, ST, 22/12/82
Was great for Monaco two years ago but was burried this year. Expected to rebound next season.

63 (58)- Jean-Michel Badiane, PSG, D, 09/05/83
Good shot and otherwise Desailly type of defense.

64 (61)- Yohann Pelé, Le Mans, G, 04/11/82
Is capable from the best and worst. He was the starter for a struggling team last season, but in League 2 this year he should prove his worth.

65 (62)- Léandre Griffit, Southampton, MF, 21/05/84
Creative offensive midfielder.

66 (63)- Hamed Namouchi, Glasgow Rangers, MF, 14/02/84
Another Zidane clone, especially since he comes from Cannes.

67 (64)- Samir Bertin d'Avesnes, Comores, Bastia, ST 15/04/86
I heard he had very good finishing skills. Haven’t seen him in person though.

68 (65)- Michael Ciani, Charleroi, D, 06/04/84
Solid defenseman.

69 (66)- Carl Medjani, Liverpool, D, 15/05/85
Tough physical player. Good at headers.

70 (67)- Franck Songo’o, Barcelona, MF, 14/05/87
Son of goalie Jacques, he’s a two way defensive midfielder.

71 (68)- Guillaume Valmy, Inter, D, 12/03/87
Too small right now, but has time to grow.

My wild card is :
Claudiu Keseru, Roumania, Nantes, ST, ?-?-86
This guy is my wild card because even though his potential is through the roof, I'm not sold yet on his ability to reach it. He's a lefty and has a knack for scoring goals. We may see him this year in Nantes so I reserve my judgment until I see him against tougher defensemen.

Jungle Boy 12-13-2004 12:08 PM

Brazilian league ( I won´t post all the DOB of the players, too much work)

1- Robinho - Santos - Fw
the next super star from Brazil is almost as talented as Ronaldinho, but is more objecitve is always going for the net.

2- Carlito Tevez - Boca Juniors (but he is coming to Corinthians) - Fw
Great player, let´s see what happens once he get out of Carlos Bianchi´s system

3- Dagoberto - Atletico Paranaense - Fw 22/03/1983
Nilmar part 2, same characteristcs. Ricardo Gomes (olympic team coach) didn´t use the 2 together because they have the same game. Was the best player of the Brazilian league this year until he got hurt.

4a- Jo - Corinthians - Striker
4b- Diego Tardeli - São Paulo - Striker 10/05/85
both are very complete, young (18 and 19 ), over 5´11 tall and very skilled and quick players, I think Diego Tardelli has a better potential, but his attitude (always parting, very irresponsible) can make some damage to his career, while Jo is a pretty quite and focused boy (his father guides him a lot) so that´s why Jo is 3a

6 - Chiquinho - Internacional - left winger
he is playing in the same team Nilmar used to. a better version of Serginho (A.C. Milan).

7- Marcelo Matos - São Caetano - def midfielder 10/02/84
Great player, pretty strong I like to compare him to Gilberto Silva (Arsenal) but I think he will be a better player. Right now he is the 3rd best player of this list.

8- JUSSIÊ - 19/09/1983 - Cruzeiro - fwd

very complete foward/ atacking midfielder, reminds me of Julio Batista with less power but a little more technical.

9- Rosinei - Corinthians - defensive midfilder

Good pass and vision a smaller Edu (Arsenal)

10- Renan - São Paulo - def midfielder 29/03/1985
reminds a lot of capitain Dunga.


11- Ibson - Flamengo - atacking midfielder
a very fast a talented midfielder, a great soccer sense, playing for Flamengo hurts him.

12 - André Bahia - Flamengo - defender
Very good defenseman, I like to compare him to Juan but André is stronger, playing for Flamengo also hurts him.

13 - Jadson 05/10/1983 - Atletico Paranaense- Atacking mid fielder
very skilled but small player I don´t know if he could suceed in europe but is playing very well here.

14 - Fernandinho 04/05/19 - Atletico Paranaense - right winger
there was a lot of hype while he was still playing juniors as a atacking midfielder, once he turned pro he couldn´t live for the expectations. Then Levi Culpi moved him to wing and now he is playing really well, reminds me of Sorin (argentinian international) with les defensive skills.

15- Marcelinho 09/01/87 - Grêmio- fwd
He is incredibile talented, very strong for his age, best player to come from Gremio system since Ronaldinho, this was the worst year in Gremio´s history they finished last and were demoted to division 2. those things hurts Marcelo stock but I´m pretty sure that you will hear about this one

16 - Fred 3/10/1983 - Cruzeiro - Striker
a good striker, possesses a great shoot Reminds me Ricardo Oliveira (Valencia)

17 - Wagner 29/01/1985 - Cruzeiro - Atacking mid fielder
Very calm with the ball great soccer sense, seens to never make a spetacular play nor a mistake reminds me of Ricardinho (world champion for Brazil in 2002).

18 - Diego Souza - midfielder - Palmeiras 22/03/84
Very good 2 way player, left midfielder. well ballanced. can attack and defend, good on free kicks

19 - Alceu - defensive midfielder - Palmeiras - 07/05/84
Really strong, reminds me of Mauro Silva (La Coruña) has a very pwerful shot.

20- Betão - defender - Corinthians -
very steady d-man

if I change my mind I´ll edit so don´t be confused next time you see this post there is something different, and feel free to ask anything about those prospects.

Belgian Fan 12-21-2004 02:02 PM

Updated Belgian Prospect Rankings


1. (1) Vincent Kompany

DOB: 10/04/1986
Club: Anderlecht
Nationality: Belgian
Position: Central defender

Back on top form after a somewhat (by his high standards that is) shaky start to the season. So there’s no other way than putting Vincent back on the #1 spot. Incredible class, technique and flair for a defender. Very strong physical tools while still only 18 years of age. Still runs out of position from time to time and makes a bad breakout pass from time to time, nothing worrisome for an 18 years old defender. Will be a world class defender in a year or two, especially if he falls into the hands of a great defensive coach.
Could end up playing as defensive midfielder as well according to some observers, and I somewhat agree with them. His exceptional technical abilities are somewhat wasted playing from the back. Was the only one who showed he could handle the level and speed of play during Anderlecht’s disastrous Champions League campaign. (Wilhelmsson was the other one who didn’t totally suck, but Vincent was more consistent).

2. (10) Silvio Proto

DOB: 23/05/1983
Club: La Louvière
Nationality : Bel
Position : Goalkeeper

Once again being his brilliant self this season. Has finally won his first international Cap and IMO it should be the beginning of a long run in the national team. Had a bit of a dip in form in December after having a great start (along with his team) wich put them near the top of the league for a while in October.


3. (4) Marco Né

DOB: 17/07/1983
Club: Beveren
Nationality: Côte d’Ivoire
Position: Central Midfielder

Is having another very solid season at Beveren, was one of the few guys who didn’t look like a chicken without a head in the disastrous European campaign. He’ll be gone in the summer, possibly to Arsenal (Beveren is their feeder club) but scouts from France and Germany have made the trip to Beveren often times this season as well.

4. (15) Emmanual Eboué

DOB: 04/06/1983
Club: Beveren ->Arsenal
Nationality: Côte d’Ivoire
Position: Central defender

I said I didn’t think he was going to be good enough for Arsenal this summer, but apparently Arsene Wenger thinks differently because his transfer for Arsenal got arranged during October, he’s now officially played his last game for Beveren. Still the same player though, a bit undersized but great natural strength. Another exceptional technical player for a centre back. We’ll see if he does as good as compatriot Kolo Touré at Arsenal.


5. (2) Jonathan Blondel

DOB: 03/04/1984
Club: Club Brugge
Nationality: Belgian
Position: Attacking Midfielder (left or central)

Well, Blondel couldn’t repeat his brilliant form from last season, simply because Nastjah Ceh is blocking him right now at Bruges, and Blondel can’t get into the first team at the moment. Played his first 90 minutes in a long time this weekend and still looked very good. He’s likely to leave Bruges in January to find first team football and I think he’ll be back with a vengeance.


6. (3) Kevin Vandenbergh

DOB: 16/05/1983
Club: KRC Genk
Nationality: Belgian
Postion: Striker

Not been playing enough games for Genk to continue his development. Still scores with his eyes closed though, the lose balls still find their way to Kevin’s feet.


7. (13) Jonathan Legear

DOB: 13/04/1987
Club: Anderlecht
Nationality: Bel
Position: midfielder

This guy is really starting to make some noise. I’ve seen him play a bit more now and I like what I’m seeing. He’s been deployed both as right and left midfielder (he’s pretty much two footed), likes to run at people and has shown the guts to do so even at a higher level. Good crosses as well and a very good work rate for a winger, one to watch for the future, I think he’ll be a good one. He’s been good enough for Anderlecht to put captain Walter Baseggio (who himself has been playing badly so it’s not THAT impressive) on the bench in his favour.
And all of that at 17 years of age..


8. (5) Anthony Vanden Borre

DOB: 24/10/1987
Club: Anderlecht
Nationality: Bel
Position: Right Back

Well I made reservations this summer and some of it has already shown. Has been struggling mightily with his form, but seems to be coming out of his slump right now. Hasn’t been in the lineup too much because of his horrible form. Doesn’t have the same class as Kompany wich clearly shows at times, he’s been loosing balls and making horrible passes from the right back. But like I said, all is not lost, still only 17 and is beginning to look better again.


9. (non ranked) Benjamin ‘Benji’ De Ceulaer

Burst on the scene last year, but I somehow didn’t like him too much. Was employed as a right midfielder, is a really exceptional dribbler and has a very good cross. This season Sint Truiden and coach Wilmots started of like ****. They were near the bottom in October until Wilmots shook things up and De Ceulaer was put in the striker position. And all of a sudden he started to score goals. I think he’ll be off to a bigger club in the summer. Very bright talent, even though I still don’t like him (how can you like someone who’s called ‘Benji’??)

10. (16) Moussa Sanogo

DOB: 16/07/1983
Club: Beveren
Nationality: Côte d’Ivoire
Position: Striker

Continues to dazzle defenses with his breathtaling speed and dribbling AND he knows how to finish. If he can get consistency in his performances he’ll be off to a bigger league as early as next season.


11. (non ranked) Hans Cornelis

DOB: 05/01/1982
Club: Club Brugge
Nationality: Bel.
Position: Right Back/Wing Back

Shown what a good player he can be during Olivier de ****’s absence in October. Above average going forward, has a good cross. Is good and solid defensively. Due to the lack of first team opportunities he hasn’t progressed like he should and he’ll leave Bruges on a Bosman in June. I’m still confident that my prediction of him becoming an international player for Belgium will come true, in 2 or 3 years time. He’ll refuse to be another victim of Trond Sollied’s prospect hell in Bruges (see: Blondel, Verbouwhede, Van Tornhout, Geraerts, Lombaerts, and co)


12. (non ranked) Karel Geraerts
DOB: 05/01/1982
Club: Standard Liège
Position: Defensive Midfielder

Had him just outside of my top 20 this summer. I didn’t think he was going to play (see: Onyewu) but he’s been incredible. Best midfielder for Standard this season and he was inspirational at times. He’s a guy who will run for 90 minutes, close down opponents, make the tackles and do the team’s dirty work. Think Gattuso with less energy and pure venom and a bit more brains (not quality wise, but style wise). Good long range shot as well, scored a few nice goals.


13. (non ranked) Ogushi Onyewu
DOB: 13/05/1982
Club: Standard Liège
Nationality: USA
Position: Central Defense

Didn’t rank him last time for two reasons, I didn’t know he was an 82 born and I didn’t think he was going to be in the lineup following his move from La Louvière.
And I was wrong on both accounts, Onyewu barely fits the criteria for our rankings so I’ll gladly make up to him.
Has been enjoying a very good season at Standard, has been the best defender in a defense wich houses big names like Ivica Dragotinovic (usually a top 3 D in Belgium) and Eric Deflandre. His main strength is his physical power: 1.93M for 91kilos, he’s built like a tank. He’s pretty quick as well and good in the tackle. Couple that with solid positioning and you’ve got a very good defender there. But he’s also solid going forward, especially on corners (obviously with that height) and has scored a few already. Not all positive though since the last few weeks his form has been going downhill and he was one of the main culprits in the 1-7 (seven!) home loss to Atletic Bilbao, in what was supposed to be the game of the season for Standard.
Furthermore I’m nost sure how much better he can get.


14. (9) Faris Haroun

DOB: 22/09/1985
Club: KRC Genk
Nationality: Bel
Position: Midfielder

Been out of the lineup for a long time, just came back in recently and is doing well once again, scoring a few goals. Genk as a whole sucks badly at this point though. Hasn’t regressed though, but the ones above have just improved their credentials.



15. (12) Mohammed Tchité

DOB: 31/01/2004
Club: Standard
Nationality: DR Congo
Position: Striker

Tailed off a bit after a strong and exciting start to the season, but he’s good enough to bounce back. A bit of redundant info perhaps but there is talk of him taking on Belgian nationality and making himself available for the national team.


16. (non ranked) Cadu Carlos da Silva Carlos Eduardo
DOB: 23/03/1982
Club: GBA
Position: Striker

Like I said in the summer, good striker with an eye for goal, is one 8 goals right now, one off the pace of Bosko Balaban. Technically good and not slow. Not sure if he’s really going to improve a lot though.


17. (6) Glenn Verbouwhede

DOB: 19/05/1985
Club: Club Brugge
Nationality: Bel
Position: Goalkeeper

Still an incredible talent, hasn’t played one single minute L

18. (18) Romaric

DOB: 04/06/1983
Club: Beveren
Nationality: Côte d’Ivoir
Position: Attacking midfielder/second striker

Still has a wicked shot, above average physical tools and a bad temper. He’s probably going to leave Beveren soon for another league (France is a possibility).


19. (non ranked) Nicolas Lombaerts
DOB: 20/03/1985
Club: A.A. Gent
Position: Central Defender / Defensive midfielder

Has been an intgral part of Georges Leekens’ renaissance at Gent. Very solid yet very unspectacular, you hardly notice him most of the time. Typical Belgian you could say, will be a good one I think, he has the right Belgian, down to earth mentality to become a very good player in and for Belgium.


20. (non ranked) Izzet Akgül
DOB: 28/01/1982
Club: S.C. Charleroi
Position: Striker

A pure striker, he will shoot for goal from everywhere and one is always surprised how often he hits the target. Has been an important part of Jacky Matthysen (remember that name, he’ll become a great coach some day) Houdini act in Charleroi, wich has changed them from relegation dwellers to European contenders. Will need to prove himself in the second half of the season though.


Other notables (previous position) – no particular order:
_Thibault Detal (20) - Charleroi
Hasn’t been in the lineup a lot at Charleroi, seems to be a victim of the success of the current starting XI there. Stil very young and can bounce back no doubt.
_Martin Kolar (17) - Anderlecht
Hasn’t been playing at all due to injury. If he doesn’t get back soon he’s a goner IMO, too bad because he’s got some skills.
_Logan Bailly (19) - Genk
Out of the lineup as well, young keeper will need some games next season though.
_Stijn De Smet ( ) – Cercle Brugge
In and out of the lineup. Sold striker with good pace and a nice goalscoring touch.
_Stiven Rivic ( ) – Sint-Truiden
not been playing enough
_Bram Verbist ( ) – GBA
Still a talented goalie, needs to be in the first team though. Would be ideally suited for a Dutch Eredivisie team.
_Dickson Agyeman ( ) – GBA
Hasn’t played enough
_Tim Matthijs ( ) – AA Gent
Looked very good when given the chance and is rising up the charts. Good goalscorer and classy striker
_Mustapha Oussalah ( ) – AA Gent
A really nice dribbler, very creative guy who’s been very good this season.
_Moussa Dembele ( ) – GBA
Young Stiker (16/07/1987) who’s made his debut after impressing with the reserves, too arly to tall what type of player he is, I’ll need to watch him more.
_Steven Defour ( ) – RC Genk
Very young striker (15/04/1988!). Hasn’t been in the first team but is making noise with the reserves. Is supposed to be a great talent.
_Fangzhuo Dong ( ) – Royal Antwerp FC (Man Utd)
Chinese prospect (23/01/1985) that cost United a lot of money, that hyped up one. Is doing OK in the second league but is most certainly not setting it alight. It’s hard to follow the second league to get an idea of his abilities so I should probably go and watch ‘den Antwerp’ some time in a nice second division game. I’ll consider the thought :)
_Sebastian Kneissl ( ) – Westerlo (Chelsea)
Not very impressive at all, no way he’ll make it at Chelsea
_Michael Modubi ( ) – Westerlo (Chelsea)
Still in and out of the lineup and very inconsistent. Furthermore the entire Westerlo team has sucked this year as opposed to last year. I don’t think any of the Westerlo guys will be good enough for Chelsea or the Premier League.
_Joe Keenan ( ) – Westerlo (Chelsea)
See above
_Jeffrey Ntuka ( ) – Westerlo
Once again, see above
_Grégory Lorenzy ( ) – Mouscron
Solid yet unspectacular season
_Manaseh Ishiaku ( ) – La Louvière
Very strong striker and a good goalscorer. Looks to be on his way to Club Bruges and should fit in well in their system, possibly another gem here (09/01/1983) who came from the third division after being ‘imported’ from Nigeria.
_Dieter van Tornhout - Club Brugge
Promising young striker (18/03/1985) who is unfortunately another victim of Bruges' prospect hell. Very big lad with amazing aerial skills and very good movement in the box. Looks like a real talent to me even though he only gets very limited minutes right now.
_Anatoly Guerk - Anderlecht
This kid's been in Belgium for a long time, and there have been whispers that he's one of the best prospects in Belgium. However he's already 20 years of age (20/11/1984) and still hasn't made a run at a place in the starting XI. From what I hear his attitude doesn't match his potential. He came on as a sub once or twice though this season and in one match in particular he showed why he's so highly regarded, scoring a goal and creating one in 20 minutes when Anderlecht was trailing by 1 goal.

Dropped:
I lost these guys because they are almost to old for the list and have been around long enough for me to consider them almost completely developed:
_Jonathan Walasiak (7) – Horrible loss of form and confidence, no longer a member of the starting 11 and will have to improve
_Yaya Touré (8) – Playing in Donetsk now, I can’t follow his progress anymore obviously
_Koen Daerden (11) – not enjoying the best of seasons, is still a member of the red devils though.
_Sambegou Bangoura (14) – Still a very good striker, great header and very strong.
_Aliyou Datti (non ranked) – Started off like a rocket but has gone down since then with the rest of this pitifull team. Still no consistency: 4 goals after 5 games, 7 after 17. He’s not going to become a great player IMO so he’s out of my list J
_Yasin Karaca (non ranked) – He still thinks he’s a superstar while he has problems performing for the worst team in Belgium.
_Aristide Bancé ( ) – not the required upside
_Wim De Decker ( ) – see above
_Stijn Vangeffelen ( ) – see above once more
_Igor de Camargo ( )
_Goran Lovre ( ) – Horrible this season, I doubt he’ll make it at a bigger club
_Lamine Traoré ( ) – not a very good season after an impressive start.


One more thing, there’s two more Belgians making some noise, one is Chelsea fourth Keeper Yves Kalambay and Florent N’Galula M’buy who’s been impressive ever since joining Man Utd from Anderlecht (the thieves!!!!!! :mad: ). Fergie has been positive about him in the press and at 17 years (07/03/1987) he should be considered a big talent by Belgian standards.

Since the question was asked, if I were to rank these two players I think if N'Galula had stayed in Belgium and had been playin gfor Anderlecht at this stage he'd surely gat a top 10 ranking, with Kalambay probably being in the top 20 as well.


And finally, my Wild Card!
Julien Pinelli
DOB : 27/01/1987
Club : La Louvière
Position : Winger
This kid made his debut last week and impressed me a lot (and I only saw the highlights). Very small (1.69, 60 kilos) but of course very quick, great dribbler and good cross with two feet. I’ll be hoping to see more from him in the second half of the season. Could be nothing though :)


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