* Soccer prospects rankings by leagues *
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05-09-2008, 10:07 AM
Join Date: Mar 2002
L1 Top 50 prospects May 2008
In order to describe each player’s potential and chance of reaching it, I put up a mark similar to HF’s ratings :
From 1 to 10 ranks the potential of the player (10 being a Maradona or Pele)
From A to F the chance of reaching it (A being there already)
Next to the rating, you’ll find the player’s ranking a year ago and the name of a pro or former pro, whose style is the closest to the style of the prospect.
You’ll only find on this list players that have at least played one L1 game (so no Saivet, Bourgeois, Delle or other hyped youngsters…).
Main graduates (85 born) :
Gomis, Briand, Gignac, Gigliotti, Mandanda, Maurice-Belay, Taiwo, Perrin, etc....
Main transfered players :
Rodriguez, Bangoura, Moutaouakil and Kaboul.
(1), Lyon, Striker, 87
Rating : 9.5B+, Ronaldo
Talent : A very rare combination of speed, dribbling, power and accuracy around the net, Benzema IS a superstar. Whenever he leaves Lyon and plays for Real, ManU or any other spotlight team, he’ll be a front runner for the Ballon D’Or.
Season : Benzema from August to December was simply the most dominant player I’ve ever seen in L1. After that, he got tired, Fred came back and Perrin put Benzema on the left. He still managed to score at a decent clip, but far from his first 11 games (11 goals).
He is now also a fixture for the NT.
(5), Nice, Goalie, 86
Rating : 9.5B, Buffon
Talent : Lloris has excellent qualities : very very good reflexes, he closes angles very fast and is always aware of everything that happens in the box. He can go out and catch any ball that is in the air. To score on him, shooting near the posts isn’t enough. He’s also extremely calm and poised. On pure talent he’s among the steadiest goalies that L1 ever produced (that includes guys like Barthez, Cech and others). He’s extremely consistant. His only *small* thing to work on is his foot game. It’s good, but rather ordinary.
Season : Lloris was dominant once again, earing his team plenty of points they didn’t deserve and wouldn’t have got with a normal goalie. Nice’s GAA was incredible this season, and much of it is due to Lloris’ talents.
I will make the bet right now that once Lloris moves to a bigger team, under the spotlight, if he keeps the same level (and the scary part is that he’ll probably progress), he’ll be a superstar goalie, acclaimed as top 3 in the world.
Hatem Ben Arfa
(3), Lyon, AM/LW, 87
Rating : 9.5C+, Ronaldinho
Talent : Ben Arfa is most likely the most talented prospect in all of L1, and probably the most talented player in all of L1. He does things that nobody even thinks about doing in training. He has speed, dribbling like few others, a good shot. His weakness right now is both defensively, and mostly mentally (he lacks maturity). He often either tries to do to much and even though his game is based on individual difference, he has to find the right balance.
Season : As soon as he got his chance, he was brilliant. He killed Stuttgart in the CL, he killed PSG at the Parc des Princes with two great goals from both feet, and was simply amazing.
However, he clashed with Perrin over defensive duties and he has been benched ever since, even when he shined in the rare minutes he was seeing (OM game for instance). Perrin has been ridiculed for his unwillingness to use one of his best weapons and there are now strong rumors that Hatem will leave Lyon.
(U), Metz, AM/CM, 90, Luxemburg/Bosnia
Rating : 9 B+, Zidane
Talent : An incredible touch on the ball, Pjanic is loaded with technical talent. Everything seems smooth and easy. He still lacks the goal scoring instinct, and should be more decisive around the net. But his transition game is amazing.
Season : I wasn’t that impressed in the first half of the season, but he not only didn’t cool down in the second half, but he got even better as the season went on. He played on an awful team, so it’s still hard to judge his individual quality, but I believe his upside is so high and his chance of reaching it so good that he takes that 4th spot. Lyon, Barcelona and many other big teams are after him. Lyon seems likely.
(2), OM, AM, 87
Rating : 9B+, Aimar
Talent : Nasri makes every play at full speed. He’s damn fast, has great dribbling skills and is above all a passer. He plays with both feet with ease, and can score some highlight-reels any time. His style is similar to Aimar, but he’s developping some intelligence in the tempo he sets in the games that is reminiscent of the great ZZ.
Season : Injured or bothered by injuries for many games, Nasri’s season was really a tough one. He showed glimpses of his dominant last year self, but he also showed no interest in some other games. He was booed in some games too, and he has signed a new contract that will allow him to move elsewhere every summer. The price is between 16 and 20M and I can’t imagine him staying much more in OM.
(6), Monaco, AM/Striker, 87
Rating : 9C, C. Ronaldo
Talent : Menez is one heck of a talent. He has extremely impressive dribbling skills and now uses them appropriately. He has a very good shot, is very good on free kicks and can play any forward position. His upside is tremendous. His only weakness is consistency.
Season : When he played well, Monaco earned points. When he didn’t, Monaco lost. That was the pain story of the year for Menez. He started well, had a hot streak, and then injured himself. He played injured for a while before being shelfed and since then Monaco has sunk.
He isn’t very happy in Monaco and may leave, either to Italy (Inter?) or Bordeaux (Blanc likes him a lot).
(10), Bordeaux, AM/ST/W, 89
Rating : 9C, Henry/C. Ronaldo/Messi
Talent : Obertan is an incredible talent. The comparisons with pre-Arsenal Henry (the winger) are absolutely valid based on his speed and most of all dribbling ability. Obertan is making L1 defensemen look like pylons every time he plays, and he’s only 18! His weaknesses are obviously his lack of finishing and his defensive work. But he created many goals this year only by his dribbling and one touch passes.
Season : He saw more and more time as the season went on and is now a true weapon for Blanc and Bordeaux.
(4), Auxerre, Goalie, 87
Rating : 9B+, Coupet
Talent : Riou is just a perfect goalie with exceptionnal reflexes and a fearless attitude. He’s very relax, and inspires confidence in his teammates.
Season : As I expected, Riou quickly took the starting job and never looked back (save for an injury). He is already one of the best L1 goalies and makes very few mistakes.
Auxerre fans will testify that he saves a few points by himself, since his defense didn’t exactly shine.
(9), Caen, AM/ST, 96
Rating : 9B-, Wiltord
Talent : Gouffran is exactly like a young Wiltord : he can play any attacking spot (striker, left winger, right wing, AM), has a huge shot, lots of speed and the will to succeed step by step. He is very intelligent, has progressed every year, and his ability to play with both feet very well, and his quality on header make him a very very attractive commodity.
Season : Bothered by his missed transfer to PSG in the early season, Gouffran recovered to be a dominant force for Caen once again. He scored 10 goals and leads his team in assists as well. He refused to join PSG in the winter Mercato but should leave Caen this summer, with plenty of teams interested.
(U), PSG, CB/LB, 90
Rating : 9B, Gallas
Talent : Sakho is a combination of a good footballer, physical freak and born leader. He has a good accurate left foot, has good long passes and is a good tackler. He still has some maturing to do as far as marking and offside trap but he has the makings of a dominant defenseman.
Season : He was very quickly part of the PSG group and quickly played. He was even named captain by Paul Le Guen in a game at Valenciennes. He played well this season, very well even sometimes, but made some rookie mistakes a couple of times. It was good to see a young player emerging from the PSG mess.
(U), Lens (on loan from Lyon), RW/ST, 87
Rating : 8.5B, Henry
Talent : Rémy is a powerful winger, fast and who has a powerful shot. He’s a load to defend. He has a lot of enthousiasm when he plays. He also uses both feet with ease.
Season : Rémy barely saw any time with Lyon and as soon as he was loaned to Lens, he made an impact. He’s become Lens’ main weapon before injurying himself in the Coupe de La Ligue final.
(28), Lens, LW/ST, 88
Rating : 8.5B, Henry/Ribéry
Talent : KMP is a guy I have a soft spot on. Not only is he a great dribbler, but he has that great shot reminiscent of JP Papin, his coach.
Season : He’s been used more and more by his coach and has made an impact every time he has played. To me, he’s highly underrated and has prime talent.
(U), Lille, AM, 91, Belgium
Rating : 9.5D, Messi
Talent : Hazard is one of the world’s prime young talents. He has a great touch, great vision and great dribbling.
Season : He has only played a few minutes, but his upside is so huge that he ranks this high on my list.
(27), St Etienne, DM, 87
Rating : 8.5B, Essien
Talent : Matuidi has developped nicely. He is a good DM with good participation in the offensive game, including a huge shot.
Season : he struggled in his first few months in St Etienne, but has been a force in the last few months, raising expectations, as some people have wondered if he could make the NT.
(19), Nice (on loan from Lyon), AM/CM, 86, Brazil
Rating : 8.5C, Juninho
Talent : Ederson combines a fine touch, nice passing and a great shot. I still think he is overrated (especially since he cost Lyon 15M)
Season : As usual, a season with a few highlight reel goals, but not much else.
(U), Lille, Striker, 87, Belgium
Rating : 8B, Papin
Talent : Mirallas is a good striker who has a great shot. He really has a nose for the goal and has a similar style to Papin.
Season : Not used much for much of the season, he decided to whine in the press, which didn’t go well with Puel.
However, he had his chance later this season and made the most of it.
(U), Monaco, AM/Striker, 89
Rating : 8.5C-, Eto’o
Talent : Bakar is a speedy small forward, with great technique and a lot of activity.
Season : He saw time in Coupe de France action (hattrick) and since then he has seen regular time in L1.
(U), Nancy, AM/Striker, 87
Rating : 8.5C-, Silva
Talent : Malonga is a force for Nancy. He’s fast, has a great shot and his only drawback is his consistency.
Season : He’s been up and down and when he’s on, he’s unstoppable. He’s been a regular on Nancy’s team and has had plenty of playing time.
(U), Le Mans, AM, 87, Côte d’Ivoire
Rating : 8B-, A. Keita
Talent : Gervinho is a guy that could dribble your whole team including the goalie and then put the ball over the goal. Yes, he’s that good and that bad in front of the net. Once he is better in the last play, he’ll be a force.
Season : He started VERY strong and tamed off a bit as the season went on. Still he was one of the best players in the league.
(8), Monaco, AM/Striker, 87
Rating : 8.5C-, Vicente/Henry
Talent : Gakpe is a good dribbler with great passing skills. He needs to work on his consistency and shot.
Season : He hasn’t been very impressive this year, but the talent is here. I expect him to rebound next year, but as of now he isn’t a top 10 prospect in L1.
(U), Sochaux, Striker, 87, Turkey
Rating : 8B, Owen
Talent : Erding is a very quick agile striker who has a nifty touch in front of the goal. He isn’t a great technical or physical player, but he has a nose for the goal.
Season : Erding has become the main offensive weapon for Sochaux, as his 11 L1 goals will testify.
(U), Toulouse, DM, 89
Rating : 8B, Vieira/A. Diarra
Talent : Sissoko is a rock defensively. Great tackling ability, lots of energy and a lot of running too.
Season : From the early season, Sissoko was seen as a starter in Toulouse and he didn’t disappoint. Even when his team was in trouble, he kept on playing well.
(13), PSG, Striker, 89
Rating : 9C-, Trézéguet
Talent : N’Gog is a towering striker, very imposing physically, great with the head, good shot and decent speed. However, he has been disappointing this year.
Season : Very disappointing season for N’Gog, who had his fair share of opportunities and playing time but was either played alone in front with few creativity on his sides or benched and coming up late. Still his potential is great which is why he stays in the top 25.
(33), Lille, CM/DM, 86
Rating : 8B+, Dacourt
Talent : Cabaye is most likely a future NT player. He’s been great, a real force. The only knock I have against him is that I don’t think he has much upside and he lacks consistency. He is a tireless worker and has a great shot. A true leader too.
Season : he has established himself as a key player in Lille. However, one could see that Mavuba had a much deeper impact on Lille in his stay there.
(35), Le Mans, CM/DM, 86
Rating : 7.5B+, Bodmer
Talent : Coutadeur is a two way midfielder who loves to bring the ball upfield. He has good technical ability and nice tackling.
Season : as usual, Mathieu has been consistent and good. He lacks some precision in the last 30 meters though.
(U), Nancy, Winger/Striker, 87
Rating : 8.5D, Wright-Phillips
Talent : Dia is a pinball, highly hyped but IMO way over-hyped. Sure he has amazing speed, but his skills aren’t that impressive and most of all, he just isn’t decisive. Few goals, few assists. Frankly, I expect much more from him.
Season : As usual, he didn’t have any impact this season, or at least not a lot. 1 goal in 29 games doesn’t cut it.
(U), Le Mans, Striker, 86
Rating : 8B, Saha
Talent : Samassa is not a great technical player, but he is a physical specimen and is very powerful.
Season : he has done well with Le Mans and with the U21 selection, but he also needs to score more.
(38), PSG, DM/CB, 86
Rating : 7.5B+, Deschamps
Talent : Digard is the classic pure defensive midfielder who has good passing ability. He can’t score to save his life and is really limited offensively. But his tackling is impressive. He’s very mature.
Season : He became a starter immediately as he arrived at PSG. However, PSG performances were bad (not really his though) and then he was injured or banched and entertained the thought of leaving already in the past winter mercato. He has to rebound either with PSG or elsewhere.
(U), OM, CM/DM, 88, Burkina Faso
Rating : 8.5C-, Vieira
Talent : He’s a very solid player that is physically very strong and has good technical ability. His tackling is his main asset. He really reminds me of Vieira.
Season : Kaboré joined OM in the winter mercato (after rejecting offers from Barca, Inter or Chelsea) and surprisingly saw playing time and made the most of it. He’s now part of the rotation.
(U), Monaco, DM/CB, 86, Senegal
Rating : 8B-, Distin
Talent : Sambou is a strong physical presence with a good kncack on offensive set plays. He is strong in the air as well.
Season : Sambou is seeing more and more time as the season goes on. I expect him to be a full-time starter next season.
(23), PSG, CM, 87
Rating : 7.5B, Tiago
Talent : Chantôme is a solid CM that has some nice passing touch. He is inconsistant and a tad weak physically. Still he is a clear starter and is versatile.
Season : tough to judge an individual on such a messy team, but Chantôme had a solid season. He probably doesn’t have a huge upside, but is a good bet for being a useful player all his career.
(49), Rennes, DM/CB/RB, 86, Cameroon
Rating : 7.5B+, Desailly
Talent : Mbia is a physical beast and is hard to move. He is useful on offensive set plays too. Finally he’s very versatile and can play many positions.
Season : He’s been used everywhere and played well. He’s really established himself as a key player for Rennes.
(46), St Etienne, LW, 87
Rating : 8.5C-, J. Cole
Talent : Payet can dribble and shoot very well. He’s too weak physically and is not consistant.
Season : He struggled a lot with his new team but has been more comfortable in the last two months.
(U), Strasbourg, Striker, 87
Rating : 8B-, Owen
Talent : Gameiro is a speedy striker that has a good nose for the goal and that can create his own opportunities.
Season : Gameiro started strong, and finished strong. It wasn’t a great season by any means, but he showed his quality and was probably Strasbourg’s best player.
(U), Valenciennes, DM, 86, Columbia
Rating : 8B-, A. Diarra
Talent : Sanchez is a strong presence in midfield and has good passing ability.
Season : Sanchez was a started for much of the season and established himself as a key player for VA.
(41), Lens, Winger, 87
Talent : Boukari is a very talented winger with great dribbling ability. He has a lot of work to do on his finish and last pass, but the rest of his game is impressive.
Season : Boukari didn’t play a lot, at least not as much as I expected to. He did pretty well when he had the chance though.
Rating : 8C+, A. Keita
(U), OM, Winger/Striker, 87
Rating : 8.5C-, Anelka/Kanouté
Talent : Grandin has always been a talented individual but a little bit of a heacase. Good physical tools, great dribbling, good shot, good passing. A lot of tools.
Season : After he moved to OM this winter, he saw a few minutes and shined a lot in his first game. He should see more time next year.
(32), Rennes, Winger, 86
Rating : 8C-, Monterrubio
Talent : Marveaux has above all a very impressive and accurate left foot.
Season : Marveaux didn’t have as much impact as I hoped he would. He should become more and more important as many Rennes players should leave.
(U), Rennes, CM, 87
Rating : 7.5B, Tiago
Talent : Lemoine is a great passing CM. A lot of activity.
Season : He came out of nowhere and when Lacombe took the team over, he established the youngster as a full time starter and he hasn’t disappoint.
(U), PSG, Winger/Striker, 87
Rating : 8C-, Anelka
Talent : Arnaud is a fast dribbling and powerful player. He is inconsistent and is not a true finisher. But he he can kill a defense with a run.
Season : One of the most used youngster by Paul Le Guen, especially in Cup games. He is among the leaders of the young guns.
(U), Monaco, CM/AM, 88
Rating : 8.5C, Bodmer
Talent : Martin is the leader of the 88 selection and a real talent. He should soon reach a high spot than 41th is he continues to shine like he has in the few games he’s played in.
Season : Unfortunately, Martin only played 6 games, even though some underachievers kept seeing a lot of playing time. Ricardo needs to realize how good the Monaco youth is. Best academy in my book.
(U), Bordeaux, LB, 86
Rating 7B, Sagnol
Talent : Marange is a poor man’s Sagnol. Solid defenseman, can be useful on offensive crosses.
Season : Marange had a tough season and was relegated to second or even third LB on the depth chart. If he doesn’t rebound soon, he’ll be out of this ranking.
(30), St Etienne CM/DM, 86, Columbia
Rating : 8D, Maniche
Talent : Guarin is a talented CM with a huge shot. A lot of activity, not always focused though. Some bonehead plays.
Season : I thought Guarin had a tough season. I expect more of him.
(20), Strasbourg, CB, 87
Rating : 8.5D-, Blanc
Talent : a solid defenseman with good ball skills. Too many mental mistakes and shaky mental toughness.
Season : Bellaid had a real tough first L1 year. Again, if he doesn’t rebound next year, he’s out of my rankings.
(U), OM, RW, 89, Ghana
Rating : 8D, S. Kalou
Talent : Ayew is a very fast dribbling machine that has a lot of maturity and works well defensively. Still very raw offensively.
Season : He was used a few times and did well (even at the CL level). His brother Jordan is supposed to be much better!
(U), St Etienne, CB, 87
Rating : 8D-, Gallas
Talent : Benalouane is the defenseman of the future in St Etienne. Strong on his man, physical presence. However, a lot of mental mistakes as of now.
Season : he started with a red card. That doesn’t bode well. He was OK after that, but we’ll see more of him next season.
(U), Sochaux, Striker, 86, Slovenia
Rating : 7.5B-, Pauleta
Talent : Birsa is a talented player that really has a nose for the goal. Adequate speed, good technique.
Season : a lot of injuries ruined a promising season for him. I expected more.
(U), Strasbourg, DM/CM, 88
Rating : 8C-, Seedorf
Talent : Othon is IMO the main bright spot with Gameiro for Strasbourg. Very quick and agile, but still strong on the ball, he can play both ways. Perhaps too small (1.63).
Season : he saw limited minutes but did very well.
(37), Caen, Goalie, 87
Rating : 8.5 D-, Barthez
Talent : Costil is still very talented, but he has a tendency to go forward a tad too much. He always makes the first move, which is not good for a goalie. That and he sees himself way too good.
Season : Costil had a tough tough season. Every time he played, he was mishandled. A question mark at this point for someone supposed to be THE goalie of the future for France a few years ago.
(U), Nice, Striker, 88
Rating : 8.5D-, Vieri
Talent : Modeste’s main quality is his first touch and the way he protects the ball. Still too many mistakes in the last pass or shot.
Season : He saw more and more time in the last few months and should see some big time playing time next season.
Last edited by Evilo: 05-12-2008 at
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