Five of the best: Young stars set to shine

by Marc Sibbons

Friday, February 4th, 2011

I take a look at five of the best young talents outside English football who are still relatively unknown to the average football fan, but are attracting plenty of interest from major clubs across Europe for their superb performances and early promise.


As his nickname suggests, comparisons to the comic book character are rather accurate. His sheer strength and stocky build add to many impressive attributes the Porto man possesses. Since arriving at Porto in late 2008, the Brazilian has established himself as a firm fans favourite at the Estadio Dragao. His goal scoring record in Portugal has seen him score at total of 46 goals in 106 games whilst providing countless assists for the current league leaders. Although the oldest of the line up in this article at 24 years old, Hulk still has plenty of time to set the world on fire. A move to Man City, Chelsea and Tottenham has been mooted for some time, even though Porto are warding off potential suitors by slapping a hefty £40m price tag on his head.

Romelu Lukaku

The young Belgian International is starting to gather many fans across Europe with his impressive performances for Anderlecht. A total of 33 goals in 79 appearances conveys this quite easily. Already dubbed the ‘new Didier Drogba’ by many in the footballing world, Lukaku’s strength, aerial ability and composure make him one of the hottest prospects in world football. At 17 years old, he is the youngest in the line up but has bags of potential and early promise. A move to a major club in Europe is almost certain in next few years for the tall striker where giants Real Madrid, Chelsea and Barcelona are rumoured to be keeping a close eye on his development in Belgium.


The latest exciting young export from Brazil is Neymar. The young striker has been setting the Brazilian league alight ever since he made his debut at 17 years old in March 2009. A hugely impressive 57 goals in 112 appearances marks his card as being one to look out for in the next 5 years.

Santos are of course reluctant to lose their mercurial forward, stating they would not consider selling him for under 30m euros. This has not deterred major European clubs such as Real Madrid, Man Utd, Juventus, Chelsea and Inter Milan from holding a strong interest in the player dubbed ‘the next Pele’. Some statement from the boy from Brazil.

Having already represented the national side, and even scoring on his debut in a friendly against the USA, Neymar promises to be a major force in the next 10 years when his move to Europe finally materialises.

Javier Pastore

After stamping his authority on Serie A this season, Javier Pastore is certainly one to look out for in the near future. The young Argentine has established himself as a automatic starter at Palermo, with his dribbling and creativity causing opposition defences many problems so far this season. Much of Palermo’s league success this season has been through the playmaker, and at the tender age of 21, he is likely to get even better in the coming years. A move to AC Milan, Chelsea or Man Utd has been on the cards for a while now, but nothing has materialised thus far. Pastore has made 6 appearances for the national side, and promises to be a mainstay for his country for many years to come.

Eden Hazard

Like fellow compatriot Lukaku, Eden Hazard holds the weight of Belgian’s international hopes on his shoulders. The Lille winger is renowned for his electric pace, creativity and technical ability and has even been likened to world stars such as Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi. Some comparison. Hazard has been linked to the likes of Real Madrid, Barcelona, Arsenal and Manchester United so he can’t be doing much wrong! even French legend Zinedine Zidane personally recommended him to Real Madrid’s top scouts as one for the future, crikey!

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  • Big Fidge

    At 24, don’t think Hulk classes as a young talent. And his nickname comes from the fact he looks a bit like Lou Ferrigno, who played the Incredible Hulk in the ’70s series rather than that he is stocky and strong. It’s the equivalent of Rooney having Shrek on his shirt.
    Anyway, the others are very exciting talents. I think Lukaku is destined for the Premier League in the not-too-distant future.

  • Marc Sibbons

    Yeah was debating whether to include Hulk because of his age, but his ability is for all to see. Lukaku looks like a terrific prospect at only 17 years old, could easily see him becoming the new Drogba in the PL. He has all the attributes to be succesful in England thats for sure.

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