On Tuesday, Goal will reveal its list of the world’s 50 best players aged 19 or under and the competition for the No.1 ranking is as fierce as ever
It’s that time of the year again. Time to showcase the future superstars of world football. Time to unveil the winner of NxGn.
Every March, Goal asks experts from across its 43 editions to rate and rank the game’s most exciting teenagers in terms of first-team experience, potential and overall ability with a view to compiling a final, 50-strong list of the most promising players on the planet.
This year’s contenders had to have been born on or after January 1, 2001, and the competition for top spot is as fierce as ever.
Borussia Dortmund star Jadon Sancho claimed last year’s award and there is every chance we could have another English winner in 2020, with Mason Greenwood having become a regular in the Manchester United squad since Ole Gunnar Solskjaer took over on a permanent basis.
The versatile forward has already been handed a new, long-term contract at Old Trafford, after becoming the club’s youngest ever scorer in European competition back in September.
Greenwood, though, is not the only youngster to have made history over the past year.
After scoring just 93 seconds into his Liga debut, Real Madrid‘s Rodrygo became the youngest player to record a perfect hat-trick in the Champions League with his treble against Galatasaray in November.
Barcelona, meanwhile, have a teenager prodigy of their own in Ansu Fati.
Last August, the Masia product became the youngest goalscorer in the Catalan club’s history when he netted against Osasuna at just 16 years and 304 days old.
Fati then scored against Inter in the Champions League in December to usurp Peter Ofori-Quaye as the Champions League’s youngest ever goalscorer.
Elsewhere, Reinier earned himself a €35m (£29m/$39m) move to Madrid on the back of his exploits in Brazil last year with Flamengo, and his former manager Jorge Jesus believes that the Blancos have got themselves a bargain.
Meanwhile, another of the game’s top coaches, Jurgen Klopp, labelled Gabriel Martinelli as “a talent of the century” after watching the Arsenal attacker give his Liverpool backline all sorts of problems in a Carabao Cup clash at Anfield in October.
Takefusa Kubo, of course, has long been touted as ‘The Japanese Messi’ but the former Masia resident was snapped up by Real Madrid last summer and is now enjoying a hugely encouraging loan spell at Mallorca.
Asia also has another top contender this year in the form of South Korea‘s Lee Kang-In, the Valencia academy product who made his international debut in September having been named Player of the Tournament at last summer’s Under-20 World Cup.
Of course, Netherlands is renowned for its youth system, so it’ll be no surprise to learn that the Dutch have at least two potential victors.
Mohamed Ihattaren has already established himself as one of PSV‘s most important players over the past 12 months, while Ryan Gravenberch looks like the next great talent to roll off the production line at Ajax.
Rennes have also established an excellent reputation themselves for nurturing youngsters and the feeling at the Roazhon Park is that Eduardo Camavinga is destined for great things, having become a first-team regular at just 17 years of age.
But will the Angolan-born France midfielder be crowned the winner of NxGn 2020?
And who will finish top of the inaugural list of the female game’s top talent, with SGS Essen’s Lena Oberdof, Jordyn Huitema of Paris Saint-Germain and Barcelona ace Claudia Pina all in the running?
The votes have been cast, the final tallies are now being calculated and the victors will be revealed on Tuesday, March 24 at 12pm GMT (8am ET).
The NxGn 2020 is just days away – don’t miss it!