7 Under-21 Players Who Are Bona fide Contenders for a Future Ballon d’Or Triumph

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Everyone’s fed up of it by now. Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo have dominated the Ballon d’Or trophy for the last ten years, and at this point it’s a one on one battle between the two of them each year.

Eventually, when they’re done being the best footballers on the planet and are ready to pass on the baton, the likeliest candidate to take the crown currently stands as Paris Saint-Germain’s Neymar.

However, an abundance of young talent is cropping up all over Europe right now, and there seems to be hundreds of under 21’s beginning to stake their claim as the ‘next big thing’.

With that in mind, here’s a delightfully refreshing list of players who will have a really good chance of winning the Ballon d’Or one day:

7. Gianluigi Donnarumma

Granted, no goalkeeper has won the Ballon d’Or since Lev Yashin was crowned in 1963, but Donnarumma looks a force to be reckoned with.

The six foot five 18-year-old has thrust himself into the limelight in the last couple of years, quickly becoming AC Milan’s first choice stopper.

With 83 club appearances already to his name, Donnarumma is the heir to Gianluigi Buffon’s Italian throne. Bearing in mind this man potentially has another 20 years in his locker, just think about how good he could become at this rate.

6. Gabriel Jesus

When someone settles into the Premier League as quickly as Gabriel Jesus did, they deserve to make this list. The Brazilian hasn’t even been in England for a year yet and he’s already established himself as one of the best in the league.

Under Pep Guardiola, the 20-year-old striker has the potential to become one of the most lethal strikers on the planet in the next few years, and is already showing a mental ability that is way beyond his years.

When it comes to potential Ballon d’Or winners, Jesus is definitely the dark horse of the list.

5. Marcus Rashford

There it is! An Englishman was inevitably going to make the list, as is the way of the British, we must place as much pressure on the best young players in the country; because diamonds are made under pressure.

Rashford has bags of pace, and knows how to find the back of the net, not to mention the fact that he’s strangely good at dribbling for and English player. With Jose Mourinho his manager, and learning from the likes of Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Rashford could well become a world class forward.

4. Dele Alli

Next stop on the English bandwagon: Dele Alli.

After a whirlwind couple of years at Tottenham, this season has seen the playmaker stumble a little. However, when he inevitably leaves this patch of poor form, Alli will undoubtedly be one of the best on the planet.

He showed glimpses of his soon-to-be quality when Spurs tore Real Madrid apart, and it may take a move away from Spurs to unlock that, but Alli has an extremely bright future.

3. Marco Asensio

The man that seems to only score outrageously beautiful goals. Asensio burst onto the scene last season for Real Madrid and has been one of the few bright stars in an otherwise underwhelming Los Blancos side this term.

Listen, when you work your way into the best team in Europe as a 20-year-old (he’s now 21), you’ve earned the right to make this list. He has everything desirable in an attacking player – the man can shoot, pass, dribble and words can’t even describe his pace.

He’s also training with Cristiano Ronaldo everyday, so there’s that.

2. Ousmane Dembele

Imagine being 20-years-old and earning yourself a €100m move to Barcelona to play alongside Lionel Messi. Two years ago nobody had heard of Ousmane Dembele, now he’s one of the highest rated young players on the planet.

Blighted by injury so far this season, Dembele now appears to be back in training, ready to make his mark at the Camp Nou – and who knows? Maybe earn a Ballon d’Or or two in the next few years.

1. Kylian Mbappe

This was expected, wasn’t it?

The played expected to rival Neymar once Messi and Ronaldo step aside is his own teammate, Kylian Mbappe. Nobody knew of the 18-year-old until 2017, and he has well and truly erupted.

Mbappe already has all sorts of records pouring out of his ears. In fact, Tuesday night saw him become the youngest ever player to score 10 Champions League goals.

Pace and ferocious finishing ability. Mbappe is destined for greatness.

So there we have it, seven players who can win the Ballon d’Or in the coming years. Surely one of them will!

We all know how these prediction lists tend to go, but these seven players cannot be disputed. Their future is extremely bright!


Source: 90min


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