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Tielemans reveals his Zidane inspiration after being crowned Goal's best wonderkid


GOALEXCLUSIVE

Barcelona, Manchester United, Arsenal, Bayern Munich, Chelsea - at one stage or another, pretty much all of Europe's elite have been linked with Anderlecht's fast-rising star Youri Tielemans.

And it's not hard to see why. The 18-year-old, who eased his way to the top of Goal's list of 50 best wonderkids, has been the jewel in the crown for Anderlecht since breaking through to the first team two seasons ago.


IN FULL | The 50 best wonderkids in the world

Tielemans burst onto the scene in Belgium at the age of 16, but unlike most young stars who are gradually eased into the frantic pace of the first team, the midfielder has bulldozed his way into regular contention.

After learning that he topped our list of the world's 50 best wonderkids, Tielemans told Goal: “I'm happy with the prize and I thank the journalists who voted for me, but I'd prefer to win trophies with my club, Anderlecht.

“I've played for Anderlecht since I was five, it is the club of my heart. I'm from this area and it has always been there for me.

“My coaches have taught me a lot and this apprenticeship has still not finished. Anderlecht is the club possible for young players – they fill your gaps and make you better.”

For an 18-year-old, Tielemans appears grounded and despite the pressure of being linked to some of Europe's heavyweights, the midfielder insists he is focused on being a success with Anderlecht.

“School was important,” he said. “My family, my friends, my girlfriend. They've all helped me handle the pressure since I was small.

“I don't feel any more mature than other people my age, I am who I am and I feel good within the team. There are youngsters and there are more experienced players, but we complement each other well.

“Anderlecht helped me become the player I am, but I must progress further. I want to be a champion with Anderlecht.”

When asked to name his role model, Tielemans did not hesitate: "I like the ball and I like to create – I modelled my play on Zinedine Zidane.”