Revisiting Gazzetta’s 2015 list of the 50 best under-20 stars in world football
Spotting a footballer with potential is easy. Spotting a football who will fulfil that potential is much more difficult.
In 2015, Gazzetta Dello Sport published a list of the 50 best players in world football aged under 20, and it must be said they did pretty well.
Obviously, there were a couple of stinkers, and we’ve revisited that list to see which players have lived up to the billing.
50. Jean-Kevin Augustin: The striker could never quite establish himself at PSG and, despite a promising debut campaign, has suffered a similar problem with RB Leipzig this year.
49. Laszlo Benes: Played in Slovakia at the time the list was published before earning a move to Borussia Monchengladbach, but the 21-year-old has just spent the second half of the season on loan in Germany’s second tier.
48. Dani Ceballos: A man in demand this summer, Ceballos earned a move from Real Betis to Real Madrid in 2017 but could be available after a couple of seasons on the fringes.
47. Lee Seung-woo: One appearance for Barcelona B was all Seung-woo had to show for his career at the Nou Camp, and the South Korea international can now be found in Serie B with Hellas Verona.
46. Leon Bailey: Not quite as explosive this season as in 2017-18, but the Bayer Leverkusen flyer – then of Genk – can be justified in his inclusion in this list.
45. Rodrigo Betancur: The midfielder has since left Boca Juniors for Juventus, adapting well to European football while collecting the first two of what you assume will be a few Serie A titles.
44. Renato Sanches: A revelation with Benfica, relegated with Swansea City, a reject at Bayern Munich.
Renato Sanches: "When I moved to Bayern, I thought I was ready for this step. But I was not. Now I feel very well. Germany has become my second home. But that does not change my situation. I want to play more and show that I am a good footballer." [Sport1] pic.twitter.com/9Q5UJDSAiN
— Bayern & Germany (@iMiaSanMia) May 21, 2019
43. Jeisson Vargas: Back on loan with Chilean outfit Universidad Catolica after failing to make a transfer to Bologna work. The 21-year-old is on the books permanently at Montreal Impact. Yeah, doesn’t sound good, does it?
42. Amadou Diawara: While the Guinea international is still establishing himself in Serie A, he has done enough to earn a move from Bologna to Napoli.
41. Olivier Ntcham: On loan at Genoa from Manchester City in 2015, Ntcham has spent the last two seasons at Celtic, where he was reportedly the subject of interest from Porto last summer.
40. Brendan Galloway: Oh, mate.
39. Ousmane Dembele: A year after this was published, Rennes sold Dembele to Borussia Dortmund for €15million. A year after that, Barcelona signed the winger in a deal worth up to €147million.
38. Giovani Lo Celso: Since been included on this list Lo Celso has moved from Rosario Central to PSG to Real Betis and, if reports are to be believed, could be on his way to Tottenham this summer.
37. Andreas Christensen: Considered one of the most promising defenders in Europe during a two-year loan with Borussia Monchengladbach, Christensen returned to Chelsea to feature heavily under Antonio Conte, albeit less so under Maurizio Sarri.
36. Kelechi Iheanacho: Missed out on a Premier League title with Manchester City by joining Leicester but did his best to win another for Pep Guardiola’s side with a glaring miss in the crunch game against the Foxes this season.
35. Viktor Kovalenko: Still at Shakhtar Donetsk with 20 Ukraine caps to his name.
34. Alban Lafont: One of a number of hot prospects making us really quite excited about Serie A.
33. Marco Asensio: After returning to Real Madrid from a loan spell with Espanyol, there was a spell in which everything Asensio touched seemed to turn to gold, but the attacker has struggled along with plenty others during a difficult season at the Bernabeu in 2018-19.
32. Milot Rashica: A Vitesse player who wasn’t on loan from Chelsea, Rashica joined Werder Bremen in January 2018 and the Kosovo international has a decent goalscoring record in Bundesliga.
31. Antonio Sanabria: Sometimes gets called Tonny Sanabria, so is definitely a gangster on loan at Genoa from Real Betis.
30. Gedion Zelalem: The only player on this list who was appearing in the Scottish Championship at the time, the former Arsenal midfielder, who was on loan at Rangers, is now in MLS with Sporting Kansas City alongside ex-Liverpool prospect Krisztian Nemeth.
29. Borja Mayoral: Still technically a Real Madrid player, albeit having spent the season on loan at Levante
28. Abdou Diallo: The defender has since left a loan spell at Zulte Waregem and found his way to Borussia Dortmund, establishing himself as a regular in an impressive debut campaign.
— SWAP (@FantastecSwap) May 28, 2019
27. Goncalo Guedes: PSG won the race to sign Guedes in a €30million deal from Benfica, but the midfielder lasted only six months in Paris before being shipped off to Valencia, where he has spent the last two seasons.