Fati, Camavinga and the NxGn wonderkids to watch in this season's Champions League

Comments()
Champions League NxGn GFX
Goal
As Europe's premier club competition returns, a number of teenage wonderkids are looking to make their mark at the highest level

The Champions League is back for another season as the great and the good of European football begin their journeys towards what they hope will be the final in Istanbul.

While the likes of Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo tend to capture most of the pre-tournament headlines, the competition also offers the opportunity for some of the new stars of the game to showcase their talents to a global audience.

Just last season we saw Erling Haaland stun the world with his goalscoring exploits in Europe, netting 10 goals in eight appearances for Salzburg and Borussia Dortmund as the Norway international announced himself as the game's next great No.9.

Alphonso Davies, too, put in a number of stunning performances as a marauding full-back for eventual champions Bayern Munich in the knockout stages while NxGn 2020 winner Rodrygo became the youngest player to score a Champions League hat-trick in the group stages for Real Madrid.

Goal 50 Revealed: The best 50 players in the world

But which teenager will be this season's breakout star in Europe's premier club competition?  Goal  breaks down 10 potential candidates to follow in the footsteps of Haaland, Davies and Rodrygo...

  1. Jude Bellingham | Borussia Dortmund
    Getty

    Jude Bellingham | Borussia Dortmund

    Some may have laughed when Birmingham City retired Jude Bellingham's No.22 shirt following his departure in the summer, but it was a gesture that further illustrated what a talent the 17-year-old is.

    Despite his lack of experience, England Under-21 international Bellingham is already a fixture in the Dortmund midfield following his €25 million (£23m/$29m) move, with Lucien Favre clearly believing the youngster can help drive the Bundesliga side to success at home and abroad.

  2. Eduardo Camavinga | Rennes
    Getty

    Eduardo Camavinga | Rennes

    Already a veteran of 50 first-team appearances and a goalscorer on his full debut for France, it is clear to see why any potential suitors for Eduardo Camavinga will likely have to pay around €100 million (£91m/$118m) to sign him next summer.

    Camavinga, who does not turn 18 until November, has developed from largely being a defensively-minded midfielder last term to more of a dynamic box-to-box player in 2020-21, and, as such, the teenager who has been compared to Clarence Seedorf will likely feature heavily as Rennes make their first appearance in the competition.

  3. Jeremy Doku | Rennes
    Getty

    Jeremy Doku | Rennes

    Camavinga is not the only young star that Rennes are ready to showcase, either, after the Ligue 1 outfit spent €26 million (£23.5m/$31m) on transfer deadline day to sign Anderlecht winger Jeremy Doku.

    The 18-year-old was previously a target of Liverpool's, with Jurgen Klopp having singled him out as a potential successor to Sadio Mane back in 2018, and after a breakout campaign in his homeland, Doku - who has already played and scored for the Belgium national team - is ready to be unleashed on Europe's top defences.

  4. Ansu Fati | Barcelona
    Getty Images

    Ansu Fati | Barcelona

    This season promises to be huge for Ansu Fati, with the 17-year-old potentially having to prove himself worthy of taking up the mantle at Barcelona from Lionel Messi should the Argentine depart next summer.

    The early signs are good, with Fati having been on fire for club and country in the opening weeks of the campaign, and after becoming the Champions League's youngest-ever goalscorer last season, the Spain international will now look to help lead the Blaugrana to European glory this time around.

  5. Ryan Gravenberch | Ajax
    Getty

    Ryan Gravenberch | Ajax

    Regularly likened to Paul Pogba, 18-year-old Ryan Gravenberch has emerged as the leader of Ajax's midfield in 2020 having been able to translate his dominant performances at youth level into the senior game.

    Tall and elegant with a real eye for a pass, a string of strong performances in the Champions League could be enough to see Gravenberch earn the move away from Amsterdam his agent Mino Raiola has been craving for some time.

  6. Jamal Musiala | Bayern Munich

    Jamal Musiala | Bayern Munich

    Bayern Munich may have the most difficult team in Europe to break into right now, but 17-year-old Jamal Musiala is making a good go of it having caught the eye of Hansi Flick in recent months.

    The youngest player to both debut and score for Bayern in the Bundesliga, the former Chelsea academy star is comfortable playing in any of the three roles behind the striker, with the England youth international having been likened to Dele Alli by those who watch him regularly.

  7. Pedri | Barcelona
    Getty

    Pedri | Barcelona

    If Fati is the Messi, then Pedri may well prove to be the next Andres Iniesta for Barcelona, with the 17-year-old having stepped seamlessly into the Blaugrana first team following his arrival from Las Palmas over the summer.

    Likely to be rotated with Philippe Coutinho as the season moves forward, the playmaking midfielder showcased his incredible vision and quick feet during his first start for his new club against Getafe on Saturday.

  8. Gio Reyna | Borussia Dortmund
    Getty

    Gio Reyna | Borussia Dortmund

    The next great hope of American soccer, 17-year-old Gio Reyna already looks set to take the next step in his career having started the season in superb form for Dortmund.

    The son of ex-Manchester City midfielder Claudio has kicked on from the supporting role he played during the second half of last season, registering four assists in as many Bundesliga games to kick-off the new campaign.

  9. Kays Ruiz-Atil | Paris Saint-Germain
    Getty

    Kays Ruiz-Atil | Paris Saint-Germain

    Injuries and a slew of positive Covid-19 tests meant that 18-year-old playmaker Kays Ruiz-Atil was handed his PSG debut in their opening Ligue 1 match of the campaign, but he impressed Thomas Tuchel enough to be made a permanent member of the first-team squad in the French capital.

    Formerly a star of Barcelona's famed La Masia academy, Ruiz-Atil's slight frame may mean he struggles to impose himself on games at the very highest level, though his ability on the ball has the potential to negate that physical shortcoming.

  10. Lazar Samardzic | RB Leipzig
    Getty

    Lazar Samardzic | RB Leipzig

    For a long time linked with a move to AC Milan or Juventus, it was RB Leipzig who eventually won the race to sign Lazar Samardzic over the summer after promising the 18-year-old a chance to earn first-team minutes straight away.

    The former Hertha Berlin playmaker is already a regular in Julian Nagelsmann's squad, with many in Germany hopeful he can kick on and battle Kai Havertz for a role in the national team.