The next Messis and Ronaldos: Players to watch and look out for in 2017

Predicting the stars of the future has always been something I loved doing.

Having talks with your friends at school to who will be the next great footballer was a fond memory.

Telling people who had no idea about Neymar was when he was at Santos that he will be the next big thing and seeing it become true.

I think my years of playing football manager encouraged this when you’d play football manager 2010 all the way to 2015, 2020 and you watched players elevate and become star players.

To be honest, Football Manager are sometimes spot on with their potential ratings.

I hardly play football manager these days but I have a list of a few players I know about who I believe will be world class in the future.


Regular starters

Now there’s a difference between picking players with potential but hardly get a game at their current club so their progress is being hindered slightly, I’m naming players who play regularly for their respective clubs and can become world class players.

It’s easy to see that Martin Odegaard who is one to watch in 2016, Leroy Sane or Joshua Kimmich but they aren’t starters for their respective teams, with the exception of Kimmich they won’t be starters for their current teams and loan moves away would be a lot more beneficial for their careers at this stage.

Now in this day and age prices have inflated drastically and young players are being bought for more than ever before.

Youtube videos mean nothing, yes I was excited about Kerlon (the seal dribble), I watched videos of Anderson, I believed the hype when Nani was being named the new Cristiano Ronaldo, ‘the next xx’ is probably one of the worst labels a player can have and more times than not they don’t live up to it.


More than one factor to judge

Most times a player is judged by what they can do technically but we all know this isn’t the only factor to be considered world class:

Decision making was one of the biggest flaws Sir Alex Ferguson identified in a young Cristiano Ronaldo and along with his improvements in finishing, passing, crossing etc. Ronaldo has become one to the top two players in the world because he improved on his decision making.

Mental toughness is an intangible that improves naturally with age and experience but by having it at a young age, it can propel your performances and help you stand out when you concede a goal or when the spotlight is on your or the expectations mount as you’re suddenly being bought for £30 million and being paid 60,000 a week.

Consistency at a high level: Seasons have a minimum of 38 games in top flight English football and if you play for one of the top teams it can come close to double that so the ability to perform against different levels of opposition on different days in different weather conditions will be a major indication to who can distance themselves from the other players with ‘potential’

From the list below, this group of players are still teenagers but certainly have the potential to become world class.


Players to watch

Once Ronaldo and Messi are gone and the next batch of Neymar, Hazard, Bale, Kroos, Pogba, Neuer etc have moved on, who will be the next elite group of players coming after them?

A few players I believe will set the footballing world alight in the future are:

Youri Tielemans

Kingsley Coman

Gianluigi Donnarumma

Ruben Neves

Charly Musonda


Who would you pick?


Written by Jonathan Roberts

Follow Jonathan on Twitter @missingstuds

Check out his awesome football blog, Missing Studs Football

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