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Since NxGn's introduction in 2016, Goal has profiled the 50 best footballing wonderkids on the planet, with the winner taking home the annual NxGn award.
Some of world football's most prominent household names were among those rewarded for their performances as teenagers, though others have not lived up to the potential they showed as youngsters.
Check out where the stars of 2019 are now while all the other previous NxGn lists can be found below:
- Fati, Pedri, Reyna and now Saka: Arsenal ace adds his name to the list of football's budding superstars
- Defensive rocks Dias and Stones dig Man City out of hole to make it 20 wins in a row after beating West Ham
- Oparanozie misses penalty as Montpellier hold Dijon
- Chelsea's Haaland pursuit casts shadow over Abraham & Giroud's battle for No.9 shirt
|Full NxGn Lists|
|Tielemans, Dembele and 2016's wonderkids|
|Donnarumma, Mbappe & 2017's wonderkids|
|Kluivert, De Ligt and 2018's wonderkids|
|Rodrygo, Greenwood and 2020's wonderkids|
|Oberdorf, James & 2020's female wonderkids|
#50 Christian Fruchtl | Bayern Munich
THEN: A very modern goalkeeper with great feet, Fruchtl had yet to make his senior debut but was considered a top prospect, having impressed Manuel Neuer and Co. after being invited to train with Bayern's first team during their winter break in Qatar in 2016.
NOW: Fruchtl is still waiting for his professional debut but the Germany Under-20 international is Bayern reserves' first-choice shot-stopper.
#49 Takefusa Kubo | FC Tokyo
THEN: Having been signed by Barcelona as a 10-year-old, the outrageously gifted attacker was forced to return to his native Japan in 2016 because of irregularities related to the Catalan club's recruitment of overseas players aged under 18. However, he was excelling in his homeland with FC Tokyo and widely expected to return to La Masia sooner rather than later.
NOW: Much to Barca's disappointment, their former youth team player joined Real Madrid in the summer of 2019 and is now enjoying a productive spell on loan at Mallorca.
#48 Yari Verschaeren | Anderlecht
THEN: Regarded as the latest top talent to roll off the production line at Anderlecht, the cultured attacking midfielder had already appeared in the Europa League for the Belgian outfit.
NOW: Verschaeren's 2019-20 campaign has been interrupted by injury but 'the new Hazard' has become a first-team regular at Lotto Park, while he has also broken into the Belgium squad, netting his first goal in just his second appearance for Roberto Martinez's side.
#47 Juan Miranda | Barcelona
THEN: The versatile left-back had humbly played down his impressive Champions League debut against Tottenham in November by saying that "everything's easier when you've got Lionel Messi by your side" but Barca were growing increasingly confident that they had unearthed Jordi Alba's eventual successor.
NOW: Hopes are still high that Miranda has a long-term future at Camp Nou but he has been sent out on a two-year loan to Schalke, where he is starting to see a little bit more game time of late.
#46 Brenner | Sao Paulo
THEN: The striker with the €50m (£42.7m/$56.8m) buy-out clause was featuring in the NxGn series for the second year in a row, having only enhanced his reputation as one of Brazil's most promising young players.
NOW: Brenner spent the majority of last season on loan at Fluminense but failed to score once. Consequently, the 20-year-old striker has returned to Sao Paulo to continue his development.
#45 Mohammed Ihattaren | PSV
THEN: After helping Netherlands win the 2018 European Under-17 Championship by converting a penalty in all three of his country's shootout victories in England, the attacking midfielder had made his Eredivisie debut for PSV the following January and was regarded as one of the Dutch club's brightest prospects.
NOW: Ihattaren only turned 18 in February but has already locked down a regular starting berth in Eindhoven, which is precisely why the Dutch Football Federation (KNVB) pulled out all the stops to persuade the PSV prodigy to commit his future to Netherlands over Morocco, where his family hails from.
#44 Ante Palaversa | Manchester City
THEN: The all-action midfielder had broken into the Hajduk Split first team, so in order to avoid missing out on a player who was attracting attention from all over Europe, Manchester City signed the Croatian for £7m ($9.1m) and then loaned him back to his hometown club for the remainder of the 2018-19 season.
NOW: Palaversa moved to the Etihad last summer but was promptly sent out on a season-long loan to Jupiler Pro League outfit Oostende, where he has now established himself as the Belgian side's first-choice defensive midfielder.
#43 Gabriel Brazao | Parma
THEN: After being named in the Brazil squad for the November 2018 internationals against Uruguay and Cameroon alongside Alisson and Ederson, the Cruzeiro academy graduate was snapped up by Parma in January 2019, but with a view to a summer switch to Inter.
NOW: The 19-year-old goalkeeper did indeed end up at San Siro, joining Inter for a reported €6m (£5.1m/€6.6m). However, Brazao is now out on a season-long loan at Albacete, though he is spending the majority of his time warming the bench.
#42 Antonio Marin | Dinamo Zagreb
THEN: Before signing his first professional contract with Dinamo Zagreb in October 2017, the two-footed left winger had been courted by clubs such as AC Milan, Manchester City and Paris Saint-Germain. However, his decision to stick with his hometown club was paying off, with Marin featuring three times in the Croatian top flight before his NxGn inclusion.
NOW: Marin made his first start for Dinamo before the 2018-19 season was out and the Croatia Under-21 international has been a regular member of the squad for the majority of the current campaign.
#41 Leonardo Campana | Barcelona SC
THEN: The outstanding player within the most talented crop of youngsters Ecuador has ever produced, Campana had fired his country to a first ever South American Under-20 Championship with a tournament-high six goals, including two in the final against Venezuela.
NOW: The striker has now been capped four times by the senior Ecuador side and, in January, he joined Premier League outfit Wolves on a free transfer from Barcelona SC.
#40 Thiago Almada | Velez Sarsfield
THEN: A skilful and tenacious attacking midfielder, Almada had already debuted and scored for Velez Sarsfield, and locked down a starting spot with Argentina's Under-20s.
NOW: Almada began the 2019-20 season mainly utilised as an impact substitute but is now starting more and more regularly as the 18-year-old continues to show why he is being talked about as the next big thing to come out of Argentina.
#39 Ozan Kabak | Stuttgart
THEN: After attracting the attention of numerous European clubs with his stellar showings at the heart of the Galatasaray defence, Kabak was snapped up by Stuttgart during the January 2019 transfer window for €11m (£9.5m/$12m). He wasted little time in making an impression in the Bundesliga, netting a double against Hannover in March.
NOW: Kabak sensationally moved to Schalke after just six months at Stuttgart as the Gelsenkirchen oufit activated his surprisingly low €15m (£12.9m/$16.5m) buy-out clause. The 19-year-old, who made his Turkey debut last November, is now starting regularly at the back for David Wagner's side.
#38 Amine Gouiri | Lyon
THEN: The Lyon striker's hopes of turning 2018-19 into his breakout season had been decimated by a cruciate ligament injury. However, he was still considered one of France's most promising players, primarily because of his excellent scoring record for his country at under-age level.
NOW: Under-21 international Gouiri is still at Lyon and earning the odd minute of game time, primarily in cup competitions, under Rudi Garcia.
#37 Julian Alvarez | River Plate
THEN: The Argentina Under-19 international was so highly rated by Marcelo Gallardo that the River Plate boss gave the diminutive attacker his Copa Libertadores debut in the second leg of the 2018 final against Boca Juniors.
NOW: Alvarez has since made his first start for River, who have utilised him as a right winger, while he has also broken into the Argentina Under-23s and is in contention to represent his country at the 2020 Olympics.
#36 Sergio Gomez | Borussia Dortmund
THEN: Having prised Andres Iniesta's potential replacement away from Barcelona by activating his €3m (£2.6m/$3.4m) release clause, Dortmund gave Gomez a little taste of Champions League football against Monaco in December 2018.
NOW: Still thriving at under-age level, having helped Spain win the Under-19 European Championship last year. However, despite making his senior debut for Dortmund in 2018, Gomez is now out on loan at Segunda Division outfit Huesca, where he is seeing far more game time.
#35 Lincoln | Flamengo
THEN: Just like his former Flamengo youth team strike partner Vinicius Junior, Lincoln had made his debut for the Rio outfit's senior side at just 16 years of age and was being touted as Brazil's answer to Robert Lewandowski.
NOW: The 19-year-old has long since opened his goal account for Flamengo and even featured off the bench in December's Club World Cup final clash with Liverpool.
#34 Josh Sargent | Werder Bremen
THEN: A young centre-forward apparently in a rush to make a name for himself at the highest level, having already netted in his first outings for both Werder Bremen and the United States.
NOW: The 20-year-old striker is seeing plenty of game time at struggling Bremen, while he is scoring freely for his country, solidifying his reputation as one of America's most promising young players.
#33 Erling Haaland | Red Bull Salzburg
THEN: After making waves in Norway by netting four goals in just 17 minutes for Molde, the son of former Premier League midfielder Alf-Inge had been snapped up by Red Bull Salzburg for just €5m (£4.3m/$5.7m).
NOW: The 19-year-old has become the game's newest striking superstar after netting in his first five Champions League games, racking up eight goals in total, before breaking one Bundesliga record after another following his January transfer to Borussia Dortmund.
#32 Emile Smith Rowe | Arsenal
THEN: Having ignored interest from Barcelona in the summer of 2018 in order to sign a long-term contract with Arsenal, Smith Rowe had broken into the Gunners senior squad, impressing in the Europa League, before being loaned to RB Leipzig until the end of the season.
NOW: The attacking midfielder's time in Germany was blighted by injury problems but he is now seeing plenty of action during a six-month loan to Championship outfit Huddersfield Town.
#31 Rhian Brewster | Liverpool
THEN: The Liverpool striker was only just nearing the end of his 15-month injury nightmare, having suffered an ankle sprain and ligament damage during an Under-23 game against Manchester City in January 2018.
NOW: Brewster made a full recovery from his horrific double-injury and went on to make his full Reds debut in September 2019, four months after being on the bench for the Champions League final against Spurs. The England Under-21 international is now impressing on loan at Swansea and remains regarded as one of Liverpool's most promising young players.
- Pro Shots
#30 Ryan Gravenberch | Ajax
THEN: Regarded as the most exciting player to come out of Ajax’s renowned academy in years, Gravenberch had already usurped Clarence Seedorf as the youngest player ever to represent the club in the Eredivisie before then becoming the Amsterdam outfit's youngest goalscorer.
NOW: Gravenberch is now lining out regularly for the senior team at just 17 and Ronald de Boer is among those that thinks the Paul Pogba-like midfielder is a more promising prospect than Matthijs de Ligt.
#29 Willem Geubbels | Lyon
THEN: Having been signed by Monaco from Lyon for a whopping €20m (£17.4m/$22.7m), the teenager was spending most of his debut season at the Stade Louis II in the treatment room.
NOW: Geubbels' injury issues are not yet behind him but the elegant left winger is expected to return to action soon, which will hopefully allow him to belatedly start showing why Monaco made such an investment in his services.
#28 Lee Kang-in | Valencia
THEN: The exciting and industrious left winger had already lined out in both La Liga and the Copa del Rey for Valencia, and was even on the bench for a Champions League group-stage meeting with Manchester United at Mestalla.
NOW: Lee - who won the Golden Ball as the best player at the 2019 Under-20 World Cup - has established himself as a regular in Valencia's first-team squad and even started his first Champions League game, against Lille, in November.
#27 Abel Ruiz | Barcelona
THEN: Learning his trade with Barca's B team, the 19-year-old was expected to imminently break into the senior squad, not least because of his similarities with star striker Luis Suarez.
NOW: Ruiz made his Barca debut in a Liga clash against Getafe last May but he was allowed to join Braga in January on a six-month loan with an obligation to buy at the end of the season. The forward made a positive start to life in Portugal, scoring on his debut, in a Europa League clash with Rangers.
#26 Jann-Fiete Arp | Hamburg
THEN: Bayern Munich had already agreed a deal with Hamburg to sign striker Arp. The only outstanding issue was whether the first player born in the 21st century to score in the Bundesliga would move to the Allianz Arena in the summer of 2019 or the following year.
NOW: Bayern ultimately decided to take Arp last July but, unfortunately, the 20-year-old striker has yet to feature in the first team, with his progress having been checked by a succession of injuries.
#25 Hamed Junior Traore | Empoli
THEN: At just 18 years of age, Traore was already a regular start for Empoli and Fiorentina had agreed a deal with their fellow Tuscans to sign the versatile attacking midfielder in the summer of 2019 for €12m (£10.4m/$13.6m).
NOW: The move to Fiorentina eventually broke down and Traore instead joined Sassuolo on a two-year loan. It has worked out well for the Ivorian, who has only further enhanced his reputation as one of the best young players in Serie A.
#24 Pietro Pellegri | Monaco
THEN: Pellegri was being plagued by injuries but the Italian striker, who had been signed from Genoa for €25m (£21.7m/$28.4m), had still become the first player born in the 2000s to score in Ligue 1, after netting against Bordeaux in August 2018.
NOW: Pellegri's persistent fitness problems have not subsided at all and he has barely played over the past 12 months, casting further doubts on whether his body is cut out for the rigours of professional football.
#23 Ki-Jana Hoever | Liverpool
THEN: In January 2018, the Dutch defender had become the youngest player ever to represent Liverpool in the FA Cup, at just 16 years, 11 months and 20 days old and impressed all and sundry with his composure and class on the ball.
NOW: The centre-half, who is just as comfortable at right-back, continues to wow everyone at Melwood and was rewarded with a long-term professional contract before the start of the current campaign.
#22 Benoit Badiashile | Monaco
THEN: Still best known for being taken to task by former Monaco boss Thierry Henry for forgetting to tuck his chair back under the table at the end of a Champions League press conference. However, at the Stade Louis II, the defender was considered one of the best prospects to come out of Monaco's famed academy in years.
NOW: The centre-half, who was linked with Valencia during the January transfer window, remains a very raw talent who still makes a lot of mistakes but he is nonetheless drawing comparisons with the likes of fellow Frenchman Samuel Umtiti.
#21 Dominik Szoboszlai | Red Bull Salzburg
THEN: Considered the biggest talent to come out of Hungary in decades, the left midfielder had already made his first appearance and scored his first goal for Red Bull Salzburg.
NOW: Szoboszlai has just gone from strength to strength. He started five of Salzburg's six games in this season's Champions League and has firmly established himself in the Hungary senior squad.
#20 Aurelien Tchouameni | Bordeaux
THEN: A powerful defensive midfielder of deceptive pace, Tchouameni was being linked with Inter and Bayern Munich thanks to his dominant performances for Bordeaux.
NOW: Tchouameni instead joined Monaco, who paid €18m (£15.5m/$20m) for a player who has provoked comparisons with Yaya Toure on account of his nonchalant style.
#19 Agustin Almendra | Boca Juniors
THEN: A regular in the Boca Juniors midfield at the age of 19, Almendra was, as Goal had revealed in December 2018, of interest to both Barcelona and Valencia.
NOW: Almendra may have started in the second leg of the Copa Libertadores semi-final against River Plate last December but he is now on the fringes of Miguel Ángel Russo's Boca squad.
#18 Paulinho | Bayer Leverkusen
THEN: Having joined Bayer Leverkusen for €18.5m (£16m/$21m), the versatile winger was playing regularly in the Bundesliga and had opened his goal account in December 2018, in the Europa League.
NOW: The Brazil Under-23 international has yet to lock down a starting berth at the BayArena but is still considered a top prospect by the German side.
#17 Timothy Weah | Paris Saint-Germain
THEN: The son of Ballon d'Or winner George Weah had started the 2018-19 campaign by netting his first couple of goals for PSG but the United States international had been loaned to Celtic for the remainder of the season.
NOW: Weah failed to convince in Glasgow and found first-team opportunities hard to come by when he returned to the Parc des Princes, resulting in the striker being sold to Lille in the summer of 2019 for €10m (£8.5m/$11m).
#16 Mason Greenwood | Manchester United
THEN: The two-footed forward had already netted for Manchester United's Under-18s, U-19s and U-23s in 2018-19 and was even introduced as a late substitute by Ole Gunnar Solskjaer during the dramatic Champions League win over Paris Saint-Germain at Parc des Princes.
NOW: This season, Greenwood has shown exactly why there was so much hype surrounding his emergence by becoming United's youngest ever goalscorer in European competition with his strike against Astana in September, with the England Under-21 international now being described as "the real deal" by former Red Devils defender Gary Neville.
#15 Eric Garcia | Manchester City
THEN: After impressing Pep Guardiola on Man City's pre-season tour with his maturity and authority in possession, the former La Masia resident had been given his first taste of senior football during the 2018-19 campaign.
NOW: The classy centre-half helped Spain win last summer's Under-19 European Championship in Armenia before making his Premier League debut in September 2019. Still only 19, Garcia is considered one of City's most exciting young talents.
#14 Ethan Ampadu | Chelsea
THEN: The David Luiz-like centre-half was seeing little game time at Chelsea but was so highly rated at Stamford Bridge that the club had rejected a loan bid from Derby County for the full Wales international during the January transfer window.
NOW: The 19-year-old is still on Chelsea's books but is presently enduring a difficult season-long loan at RB Leipzig, for whom he has barely featured this season. Consequently, he is expected to return to Stamford Bridge this summer.
#13 Sofiane Diop | Monaco
THEN: The skilful attacker had featured regularly during the first half of what was a difficult campaign for Monaco, even starting three times in the Champions League, before being dropped to the bench at the start of 2019.
NOW: Diop didn't make the first-team squad for the remainder of last season and has since been sent out on loan to Ligue 2 outfit Sochaux, where he is picking up more precious game time.
#12 Ferran Torres | Valencia
THEN: A two-footed winger similar in style to Marco Asensio, Torres had already had a €100m (£87m/$113m) buy-out clause inserted in his Valencia contract to fend off interest from Real Madrid and Barcelona in a player who had scored his first Liga goal in January 2019.
NOW: Torres is living up to the hype. He is now Valencia's youngest ever Champions League goalscorer and the youngest player ever to make 50 Liga appearances for the club. The teenager is also pushing for a Spain call-up, after starring for his country in last summer's Under-19 European Championship triumph in Armenia.
#11 Ryan Sessegnon | Fulham
THEN: After hitting 15 goals during Fulham's 2017-18 Championship campaign, the 'new Gareth Bale' was finding defences a little more difficult to breeze through in the Premier League but had still become the first player born in the 2000s to score in England's top flight.
NOW: Sessegnon did enough in his debut season in the Premier League to earn himself a £25m ($32m) move to Tottenham last August and although he has yet to lock down a regular starting berth, he is still making history, becoming Spurs' youngest Champions League goalscorer by netting against Bayern Munich in December.
#10 Morgan Gibbs-White | Wolves
THEN: The midfielder was being tipped to do great things by Wolves boss Nuno Espirito Santo, having already made a positive impression at Molineux by racking up an assist in his first Premier League start, against Chelsea, in December 2018.
NOW: Gibbs-White, who featured in England's squad for the 2019 Under-21 European Championship in Italy, scored his first senior goal in a Europa League tie with FC Pyunik but he has seen little game time in the Premier League so far this term.
#9 Moise Kean | Juventus
THEN: Having already made his Italy debut, against USA in November 2018, the explosive striker was just starting to catch fire at Juventus, opening his account for the season in a Coppa Italia clash with Bologna in January before netting a double against Udinese in March.
NOW: Kean went on to score in six consecutive games for club and country before being surprisingly sold to Everton at the end of the season for £23m ($30m). However, it is now looking like a shrewd bit of business by the Bianconeri, as the 19-year-old has struggled terribly to adapt to English football and is being linked with a swift return to his homeland.
#8 Diego Lainez | Real Betis
THEN: The diminutive No.10 had not even locked down a regular starting spot at Club America when Real Betis elected to pay €14m (£12.2m/$15.8m) for his services in January 2019. 'The Mexican Messi' had made a promising start to his career in Spain, though, by netting in a Europa League clash with Rennes.
NOW: The 19-year-old is developing well, having established himself in the Andalusians' senior squad, although is primarily used as a substitute.
#7 Sandro Tonali | Brescia
THEN: The silky-skilled playmaker had yet to make his first appearance in Serie A yet he had already been called up by Italy and was drawing comparisons with Andrea Pirlo on account of his classy displays for Brescia in Serie B.
NOW: Brescia may be struggling back in Italy's top flight but Tonali most certainly is not, proving himself the one highlight in an otherwise gloomy campaign. With the likes of Juventus and Inter tracking him, Tonali will still be in Serie A next season, one way or another.
#6 Alphonso Davies | Bayern Munich
THEN: The Ghana-born Canada international had only just arrived at Bayern Munich, even though his $22m (£17m) transfer from Vancouver Whitecaps had been agreed the summer before. However, the versatile winger had already won over then-coach Niko Kovac, who described Davies as "a diamond in the rough".
NOW: Davies has been a revelation this season, after being converted into an attacking full-back, with his stunning display against Chelsea in the Champions League having made the whole of Europe sit up and take notice.
#5 Rodrygo | Real Madrid
THEN: Real Madrid were hoping that history would repeat itself with the Blancos having returned to Brazil a year after signing Vinicius Junior to snap up his former international team-mate at Under-17 level, Rodrygo, for €40m (£35m/$44.5m).
NOW: Since arriving at the Santiago Bernabeu last summer, the pacy striker has marked his Liga debut with a goal inside 93 seconds and scored a perfect hat-trick on his first Champions League start, with his history-making exploits earning him two Brazil caps.
#4 Phil Foden | Manchester City
THEN: Described by Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola as "a diamond", Foden had become a regular member of one of the strongest squads English football had ever seen and was starting regularly in cup competitions.
NOW: Foden's involvement in the first team has increased incrementally, and he netted seven goals in all competitions in last season's domestic treble-winning campaign. There have been some arguments that he would be better served by a move away from City but he started the Carabao Cup final win over Aston Villa and is seen as a possible replacement for David Silva, who will leave City in the summer.
#3 Callum Hudson-Odoi | Chelsea
THEN: The Chelsea academy product had the world at his feet, having already received his first England call-up. Bayern Munich had also pressed hard to sign the lightning-quick winger during the January transfer window but their £35m ($46m) bid had been rebuffed by the Blues.
NOW: Despite Bayern's continued interest, Hudson-Odoi ultimately committed his future to Chelsea by penning a long-term contract with the club. The England international has had his injury issues over the past 12 months but could well represent his country at Euro 2020.
#2 Vinicius Junior | Real Madrid
THEN: The winger's debut season at Santiago Bernabeu had been interrupted by injury but the Brazilian had already shown why Real Madrid had signed him as a 16-year-old from Flamengo. Indeed, Vinicius had been so impressive, most notably in a Copa del Rey Clasico at Camp Nou, that he had even received his first Selecao call-up.
NOW: After a slow start to the 2019-20 season, Vinicius now has the full support of Zinedine Zidane and is starting regularly. The 19-year-old scored what could be the first of many goals against Barcelona in a crunch Liga clash in Madrid earlier this month.
#1 Jadon Sancho | Borussia Dortmund
THEN: The prodigiously gifted winger was flying high at Signal Iduna Park and had already been capped by England. It was easy to understand why Lothar Matthaus felt that Dortmund paying Manchester City just £8 million ($10.4m) for Sancho was "like winning the lottery".
NOW: The 2019 NxGn winner has firmly established himself as one of the most exciting – and valuable – young players in world football. The 19-year-old is breaking Bundesliga records on a regular basis and is expected to be one of the stars of Euro 2020.