All over the world, kids (and those who are kids at heart…) are getting their hands on the newly released EA Sports FIFA 17. And thus, Daily Football Blog takes an epic, real-life look at the top 25 under-21 footballers in the world as rated on potential by the in-game career mode!
- Anthony Martial (Manchester United), FIFA 17 Rating: 82, Potential: 90
French winger Martial is the first of four “wonderkids” with a potential rating of 90. A shining light in his first season for United with 11 goals from 36 league games. Hasn’t had the best start to the new season, but is still only 20 and has time on his side. Will no doubt look to recapture the form that saw teammate Michael Carrick declare:
“The amount of ability he’s got is huge,” Carrick told ManUtd.com. “The potential is certainly there. It’s easy to forget the age he is and how little football he’s actually played as well. To have such an impact at this stage, with the expectations based on him and the way he’s dealt with it, has been superb.
- Dele Alli (Tottenham Hotspur), FIFA 17 Rating: 80, Potential: 90
Unless you’ve been living under a proverbial you rock, you’ve heard of Tottenham’s attacking midfielder by now. The young Englishman was described earlier this year as, “the future of English football,“ by ex-Spur David Ginola, capable “of doing things that others can only dream of.” Plucked by Spurs from League One side MK Dons from under the nose of Liverpool, and took the Premier League by storm in his first season. A revelation with 10 goals in the league in 2015/16, and it’s not hard to see why he is so highly rated with highlights like these:
- Renato Sanches (Bayern Munich), FIFA 17 Rating: 78, Potential: 90
Spanish Legend and now Sanches’ team mate at Bayern Munich, Xabi Alonso recently summed up the abilities of young Portuguese midfielder Renato Sanches:
“He’s 18, 19, he’s such a promising player. So far he’s European champions with Portugal. He has so much power, so much energy.“He’s hungry to win things, to improve and I’m looking forward to working with him and to be able to share the midfield and to play together.”
Was head-hunted by Manchester United before settling on a move to Bayern from boyhood club Benfica. The star of Euro 16 looks capable of shining brightly for many years to come.
- Ousmane Dembélé (Bayern Munich), FIFA 17 Rating: 77, FIFA 17 Potential: 90
The second young Frenchman with the top potential rating, Dembélé started his first Bundesliga season with an early goal and a debut call up to the national team. Ligue 1 Young Player Of The Year in 15/16, he showed off some insane dribbling skills in particular during his new club’s pre-season:
Increíble vídeo de los primeros detalles de Dembelé en Dortmund. Camino de triunfar en la élite. pic.twitter.com/E4GTq088dB
— Andrés Onrubia Ramos (@AndiOnrubia) July 17, 2016
- Marco Asensio (Real Madrid), FIFA 17 Rating: 82, Potential: 89
The versatile Asensio made the move from Espanyol to Real Madrid over summer, and has already begun to make an impact with the Spanish giants. Predominantly appearing as an attacking midfielder, he is capable on either the left or central. Made a real impact immediately during Madrid’s pre-season and has carried that form into La Liga. Despite the incredible strength of competition for spots, looks assured of a bright future in Madrid. Not convinced? Then take a look at this wonder strike from the UEFA Super Cup:
- Alen Halilovic (Hamburger SV), FIFA 17 Rating: 79, Potential: 89
At just 20 years of age, Croatian Halilovic is already something of a journeyman having plied his trade in each of Spain, Portugal (on loan at Sporting Dijon) and now Germany. Both the youngest player and goalscorer ever for his national team, hopes are still high for Halilovic with previous team Barcelona believed to hold a buy-back clause should he prosper at his new club.Upon his signing, HSV chairman Dietmar Beiersorfer was full of praise:
“He plays with feeling. He feels situations, he feels the game. Alen trusts and likes to go on his gut feeling. His exceptional talent make him a really exciting player, who the fans will really like watching and will strengthen our team.”
- Kurt Zouma (Chelsea), FIFA 17 Rating: 80, Potential: 89
The first defender to appear in the list, and Chelsea will be hoping Zouma can develop to the point that he can take over the defensive mantle from John Terry in years to come. Made 23 appearances in the Premier League last time out amidst a chaotic season for the Blues, before suffering a severe knee injury in February.Will no doubt take some time to get back to his best upon returning, but has the character traits to do just that and more. Here’s just one tackle that highlights his breakneck speed and incredible timing in the challenge:
- Youri Tielemans (Anderlecht), FIFA 17 Rating: 77, Potential: 89
The young Belgian midfielder is in his 4th season with Anderlecht, already amassing over 100 league appearances at 19. Has attracted significant interest from some of the biggest bigger clubs in Europe, but for the time being seems happy to bide his time at home.Teammate Fabrice N’Kasala offered high praise indeed:
“Thielemans is a no. 8 who can dictate the flow of the game and who has a shot that allows him to score some great goals. He has everything a modern midfielder should have. He’s complete.”
- Jose Gimenez (Atletico Madrid), FIFA 17 Rating: 83, Potential: 88
Already an integral part of his native Uruguay’s national set-up, having appeared in the 2014 World Cup. Centre back Gimenez also became a regular starter for Atletico in 2015. It hasn’t taken long for the likes of rivals Real Madrid and Arsenal to come knocking for the 21-year-old, but Atleti have kept them at bay thus far. Strongly built and feisty of character, he does not hold back and has already taken on and beaten some of the world’s finest forwards:
- Raheem Sterling (Manchester City), FIFA 17 Rating: 82, Potential: 88
It’s easy to forget that Sterling is still only 21, given the massive highs and lows he has already experienced in both his career and through the media. Lost form badly towards the end of 2015/16, but has bounced back with a vengeance after the Euro 16 disaster. There is more than just pace to his game, but this aspect is a sight to behold when racing down the wing. And here are the best bits from his start to the new season:
- Kingsley Coman (Bayern Munich), FIFA 17 Rating: 81, Potential: 88
In the second half of a two-year loan from Juventus, the winger managed 4 goals from 26 appearances for the Bundesliga champions last term. Now also into double figures with the French national team, and is equally adept on either wing. His incredible speed and impressive showings thus far mean it is expected Bayern will make Coman a permanent member of their squad come season’s end. He has set his sights high too, claiming that he wants to become the best player in the world.
- Mauricio Lemos (Las Palmas), FIFA 17 Rating: 80, Potential: 88
Along with the above-mentioned Jose Gimenez, Lemos could potentially be a key figure at the heart of Uruguay’s defence for the next decade. We are yet to see too much of him at senior level for his club (and not at all yet with country), but is highly rated by those in the know. So much so that Barcelona have already moved for him, yet Lemos turned them down:
“I think that the best option was to stay in Las Palmas,” he added.“In football anything can happen, you do not know how much time will have to improve everything. Now I’m only thinking of Las Palmas and playing the season as well as possible.”
- Luke Shaw (Manchester United), FIFA Rating: 80, Potential: 88
Like Raheem Sterling, Shaw too seems to have been around for years. Has been blighted by shocking injuries thus far in his fledgling career, and just needs a good run at consistent football to prove his worth to United and England. Has returned to action under Jose Mourinho, and will only continue to improve as he finds his touch and positional awareness. By way of a reminder, here’s a look at the key stats and abilities that made Shaw such hot property at Southampton before his big move just two season ago:
- Saul Niguez (Atletico Madrid), FIFA Rating: 80, Potential: 88
Another youngster who has caught the eye of many a big club in Europe, defensive midfielder Niguez has very much established a place in Atletico’s best side over the last 18 months. Recently extended his contract until 2021, having not long prior scored this incredible goal in the Champions League Semi Final:
- Julian Brandt (Bayer Leverkusen), FIFA 17 Rating: 79, Potential: 88
Has long been identified as a prodigious talent, even as far back as 2013 when Leverkusen beat out Chelsea for his signature. The winger has now taken the step of making his international debut for Germany following a prolific 2015/16 season, where he scored 18 Bundesliga goals at the impressive rate of 1 every 90 minutes. Brandt is blessed with plenty of tricks and possesses a deadly finish, as evidenced by this clip:
- Angel Correa (Atletico Madrid), FIFA 17 Rating: 79, Potential: 88
Despite a tragic upbringing and the shocking diagnosis of a heart tumour, Angel Correa has defied the odds. Now firmly established in both the Atelico and Argentina squads following his recovery and subsequent to return to action. It is perhaps not surprising to find what is described as the one of the forward’s major strengths :
However, his key attribute that sometimes goes under the radar is his mental strength. The difficult issues Correa has faced throughout his life have turned him into someone who never gives up. His work rate and unceasing tenacity are clear.
- Mahmoud Dahoud (Borussia M’gladbach), FIFA 17 Rating: 79, Potential: 88
Apparently targeted by Liverpool in the summer, Dahoud is a diminutive midfielder who appeared 31 times last time out for Gladbach, chipping in with 5 goals. The first footballer of Syrian origin to appear in the Bundesliga, he is described in glowing terms by Lothar Matthaus, the former German national Captain:
“He has shown here what kind of potential he has. We all know that Gladbach brings through talents who could go on to be world stars.”
SOURCE: AL ARABIYA
- Leroy Sane (Manchester City), FIFA 17 Rating: 79, Potential: 88
Yet another in the proliferation of young Germans amongst this list, the ex-Schalke youth prodigy is a recent arrival at City. Whilst he may struggle to see too much game time as his new club take all before them in 2016/17, Sane is comfortable anywhere across the attacking midfield band of three. Pep Guardiola has long been an admirer, as shown by his comment following this Bundesliga goal last December:
Pep: “Sane is a huge talent, and I can only congratulate Germany to have a talent like him.” pic.twitter.com/pjpYn7xa8c
— Sean (@City_Sean) July 20, 2016
- Jonathan Tah (Bayer Leverkusen), FIFA 17 Rating: 79, Potential: 88
Towering centre-back Tah is (you guessed it!) a German international described by The Independent as, “the future of defending” following his selection in his nation’s Euro 2016 squad.
“He marries that technical skill and awareness with a size and athleticism that is almost unrivalled at the top of the European game. If Germany thought that Jérôme Boateng was the prototype of modern centre-backs, then Tah seems to be the next iteration along.”
SOURCE: THE INDEPENDENT
- Antonio Sanabria (Real Betis), FIFA 17 Rating: 78, Potential: 88
A recent acquisition by Betis, Sanabria managed 11 goals from 30 appearances on loan at Sporting Gijon in 2015/16. His time in Italy never reached great heights, managing only a handful of appearances at both Sassuolo and Roma. But the striker looks set to blossom back in Spain, where the Paraguayan spent his youth career with Barcelona. Sanabria made two appearances in the summer at Copa Centenario, and surely more will follow. According to AETFOOTBALL, his” ability to find space in the box and be able to receive the ball is excellent…he’s an old-fashioned target man looking to play 1-2’s with the players around him.
- Charly Musonda (Real Betis), FIFA 17 Rating: 77, Potential: 88
On loan from Chelsea, Musonda appeared 16 times in La Liga during 2015/16, and is comfortably on track to best that figure this time around. The 19-year-old Belgian has drawn comparisons with the likes of Denilson and Neymar. His own take on the matter? “For me, Neymar is the best player in the world at this time. I like how he expresses himself on the field, but I’m not Neymar and Neymar is not Musonda. We’re different. I have my own style,” TRIBAL FOOTBALL reported.
- Gianluigi Donnarumma (AC Milan), FIFA 17 Rating: 76, Potential: 88
The sole young goalkeeper in the list of the top 25 wonderkids, incredibly at just 17 years old Donnarumma has already appeared for the Italian national team. The legendary ‘keeper Dino Zoff noted to FOOTBALL ITALIA that,
“Donnarumma has great qualities which allow him to play in Serie A at 16-years-old. He seems pre-destined to become a great goalkeeper, and it all depends completely on him.” The heir-apparent to Gianluigi Buffon, here’s just one of no doubt many penalty saves that Donnarumma will pull off in his career:
- Marcus Rashford (Man United), FIFA 17 Rating: 76, Potential: 88
The next great hope for both United and England. Rashford is blessed with all the technical and physical qualities needed to become a truly world-class striker. Even teammate Zlatan Ibrahimovic has labelled Rashford as, “the future of England.” No pressure, Marcus. We know you’ve probably seen a fair bit of him lately, (and if not – shame on you).But we thought this recent goal highlighted a bit of X factor as well as his pace, game awareness and determination:
- Breel Embolo (Schalke), FIFA 17 Rating: 76, Potential: 88
Cameroon-born Swiss striker Embolo moved from his youth team of Basel to the Bundesliga in the close season. Speaking to FourFourTwo, commentator David Lemos outlined the depth and range of Embolo’s abilities:
“He has got pace and power with the ball, but also without it. His ability to recycle possession is amazing and in that respect, he reminds me of N’Golo Kante. He can dictate the tempo of the game and it’s a shame to only use him up front. If he starts focusing all his energy on scoring goals, he will be truly unstoppable. With his intelligence and calmness, he has everything to become an amazing player.”
- Kelechi Iheanacho (Man City), FIFA 17 Rating: 74, Potential: 88
Iheanacho has already proven himself a more than capable understudy to Sergio Aguero at City. Managed 8 league goals in 2015/16, mostly from substitute appearances, and has also started the new season strongly. The Nigerian forward is described by OUTSIDE OF THE BOOT as exhibiting, “creative flair and bursts of energy…a great dribbling ability, which assists to create attacking chances. Playing on either flank, behind the striker, or leading the line himself, the forward has already proved how talented – and versatile – he really is.”
So there it is…our epic analysis of the top 25 wunderkids according to FIFA 17. Hopefully we’ve given you some deeper insight into the best players of tomorrow!