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07-30-2004, 12:56 PM
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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

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

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).

Last edited by helicecopter: 09-17-2004 at 09:34 AM.
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