NXGN: Odegaard, Dembele, Tielemans and 2016's best wonderkids

Tielemans Dembele Odegaard Van de Beek NXGN 2016 GFX
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Goal selected the 50 best talents from around the world born on or after January 1, 1997 - but have they gone on to fulfil their potential?

Since NXGN's introduction in 2016, Goal has profiled the 50 best footballing wonderkids on the planet on an annual basis, with the top-ranked player taking home the NXGN award.

Some of those recognised for the talent as teenagers are now household names, but others have not yet realised their potential.

Check out where the stars of 2016 are now, while all of the other previous NXGN lists can be found below...

Full NXGN Lists
Donnarumma, Mbappe & 2017's wonderkids
Kluivert, De Ligt and 2018's wonderkids
Sancho, Haaland and 2019's wonderkids
Rodrygo, Greenwood and 2020's wonderkids
Oberdorf, James & 2020's female wonderkids
Fati, Camavinga & 2021's wonderkids
Bennison, Tromp & 2021's female wonderkids

  1. Rafik Zekhnini | Odd
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    #50 Rafik Zekhnini | Odd

    THEN: Shone against Borussia Dortmund in a Europa League play-off, registering an assist after just 16 seconds of the first leg in Norway. His performances saw him linked to both Dortmund and Manchester United.

    NOW: Joined Fiorentina in the summer of 2017 but has made just one Serie A appearance for La Viola. Currently on loan in Switzerland with Lausanne, having previously spent time at Rosenborg and FC Twente.

  2. Niklas Dorsch | Bayern Munich
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    #49 Niklas Dorsch | Bayern Munich

    THEN: Tipped as the heir to Bastian Schweinsteiger and Toni Kroos, the midfielder was regarded as the best player within the Bayern academy.

    NOW: Despite scoring on his Bundesliga debut, Dorsch was released by Bayern in 2018 and joined second division side FC Heidenheim on a free transfer. Joined Gent in a deal worth €3.5m (£3m/$4.2m) in the summer of 2020.

  3. Ismail Azzaoui | Wolfsburg
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    #48 Ismail Azzaoui | Wolfsburg

    THEN: A product of Anderlecht's academy, Azzaoui left Tottenham in 2015 in a bid to prove his worth at senior level in Germany.

    NOW: Spent a year out on loan at Willem II in 2017-18, but was then sidelined for a whole season with a knee injury. Eventually left Wolfsburg in the summer of 2020 before joining Dutch side Heracles.

  4. Nicolas Delgadillo | Velez Sarsfield
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    #47 Nicolas Delgadillo | Velez Sarsfield

    THEN: Broke into the Velez first team as a 17-year-old and was being scouted by La Liga giants Real Madrid and Valencia.

    NOW: Currently out on loan from Velez at fellow Primera Division outfit Patronato having previously spent time at San Martin Tucuman.

  5. Thiago Maia | Santos
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    #46 Thiago Maia | Santos

    THEN: At the age of 18, the midfielder was being scouted by a number of Serie A sides after impressing in his native Brazil.

    NOW: Signed for €14m (£12m/$16m) by Lille in the summer of 2017. After a period in the first team, he joined Flamengo on an 18-month loan deal in January 2020.

  6. Steven Bergwijn | PSV
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    #45 Steven Bergwijn | PSV

    THEN: Had left Ajax for PSV and was being touted as the 'new Memphis Depay' after breaking into the first team in Eindhoven.

    NOW: An 11-time Netherlands international, Bergwijn swapped PSV for Tottenham in January 2020 for a fee of £25m ($33m), with the forward now a key squad member in north London.

  7. Bilal Ould-Chikh | Benfica
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    #44 Bilal Ould-Chikh | Benfica

    THEN: Signed by Benfica two days after his 18th birthday, having been likened to Arjen Robben during his rise through the ranks at FC Twente.

    NOW: Released by Benfica in March 2017, he spent time with Utrecht and Denzilispor before joining ADO Den Haag on a free transfer in the summer of 2019.

  8. Lincoln | Gremio
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    #43 Lincoln | Gremio

    THEN: Handed his first-team debut by Luiz Felipe Scolari as a 16-year-old, the attacking midfielder captained Brazil at the Under-17 World Cup in 2015.

    NOW: Spent time on loan at Caykur Rizespor and America Mineiro before joining Portuguese club Santa Clara in 2019.

  9. Aaron Leya Iseka | Anderlecht
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    #42 Aaron Leya Iseka | Anderlecht

    THEN: The younger brother of Michy Batshuayi, striker Leya Iseka was recovering from a serious knee injury having made his Anderlecht debut as a 17-year-old.

    NOW: Struggled during a loan spell at Marseille in 2016-17 before joining Toulouse on a permanent basis in the summer of 2018. Currently on loan with Ligue 1 side Metz.

  10. Dominic Solanke | Chelsea
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    #41 Dominic Solanke | Chelsea

    THEN: The 18-year-old striker was out on loan at Vitesse, having already made his debut for both Chelsea and England Under-21s off the back of starring for the Three Lions as they won the U17 European Championship in 2014.

    NOW: Named Player of the Tournament at the U20 World Cup in 2017 before joining Liverpool and making his senior England debut later that year. Struggled for minutes at Anfield and was sold to Bournemouth for £19m ($24m) deal in January 2019. He failed to make an impact in the Premier League for the Cherries, but has shown improvements since their relegation to the Championship.

  11. Leandrinho | Ponte Preta
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    #40 Leandrinho | Ponte Preta

    THEN: The top scorer at the South American Under-17 Championship with Brazil, the winger was being linked with a move to Serie A or Fenerbahce.

    NOW: Joined Napoli in January 2017 but is yet to make an appearance for the Partenopei. Currently on loan back in Brazil with Red Bull Bragantino, having previously spent time with Atletico Mineiro.

  12. Lee Seung-woo | Barcelona
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    #39 Lee Seung-woo | Barcelona

    THEN: Dubbed the 'Korean Messi', the forward was being tipped for a breakthrough season after seeing his career temporarily halted by Barcelona's transfer ban in the mid-2010s.

    NOW: Lee left Barca for Verona in the summer of 2017 and spent two seasons in Italy before joining Belgian side Sint-Truiden. Made two appearances for South Korea at the 2018 World Cup and is currently on loan in Portugal with Portimonense.

  13. Krystian Bielik | Arsenal
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    #38 Krystian Bielik | Arsenal

    THEN: Signed from Legia Warsaw in 2015, midfielder Bielik had already been given a taste of senior football by Arsene Wenger in north London.

    NOW: After loan spells at Birmingham City, Walsall and Charlton Athletic, the 22-year-old joined Derby County on a permanent basis in August 2019 and made his senior Poland debut a month later. Currently recovering from the second serious knee injury of his young career.

  14. Ousmane Dembele | Rennes
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    #37 Ousmane Dembele | Rennes

    THEN: At the age of 18, he was regarded as the breakout star of the Ligue 1 season, scoring three goals and laying on two assists in his first eight outings for the Rennes first team.

    NOW: Joined Borussia Dortmund in the summer of 2016 for €17m (£13.5m/$19.5m) before making a €105m (£97m/$125m) switch to Barcelona a year later. Has struggled with injuries at Camp Nou, with the 23-year-old at risk of becoming one of the most expensive flops in football history, albeit one with a World Cup winners' medal.

  15. Alban Lafont | Toulouse
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    #36 Alban Lafont | Toulouse

    THENTipped as a future France No.1 after becoming the youngest goalkeeper in Ligue 1 history, making his Toulouse debut as a 16-year-old.

    NOW: Currently in the second season of a two-year loan at Nantes having lost his place as a starter at Fiorentina, who he joined in the summer of 2018. Still to make a senior appearance for his country.

  16. Adalberto Penaranda | Udinese
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    #35 Adalberto Penaranda | Udinese

    THEN: One of the brightest prospects in South American football, the Venezuelan forward joined Udinese in the summer of 2015 before being loaned to Granada, where he broke Lionel Messi's La Liga record as the youngest non-Spaniard to score a brace when netting both goals in a 2-1 win over Levante.

    NOW: Penaranda was moved to Watford by the Pozzo family in 2016 but had to wait three years to make his debut due to work permit issues, spending time out on loan at Granada, Udinese and Malaga. Now out on loan at CSKA Sofia in Bulgaria.

  17. Nikola Vlasic | Hajduk Split
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    #34 Nikola Vlasic | Hajduk Split

    THEN: Having made his senior debut at the age of 16, Vlasic was being compared to Xherdan Shaqiri for his ability with the ball at his feet.

    NOW: Joined Everton in the summer of 2017 but struggled to hold down a regular starting berth at Goodison Park. Was sent to CSKA Moscow on loan a year later, with the highlight of a strong season coming when he scored the winning goal against Real Madrid. The 17-times capped Croatia international made the move to Russia permanent in 2019 before being named Russian Premier League Footballer of the Year for 2020.

  18. Cameron Borthwick-Jackson | Manchester United
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    #33 Cameron Borthwick-Jackson | Manchester United

    THEN: The left-back made his senior United debut under Louis van Gaal in December 2015 and quickly became a regular in the Red Devils' matchday squad.

    NOW: Borthwick-Jackson fell down the pecking order at Old Trafford before spending time out on loan at five different EFL clubs. Joined fourth-tier Oldham Athletic on a free transfer in the summer of 2020.

  19. Rey Manaj | Inter
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    #32 Rey Manaj | Inter

    THEN: Plucked from Cremonese in the summer of 2015, Inter beat off competition from Juventus, Atletico Madrid and Roma to sign the Albanian forward.

    NOW: Having had a loan spell at Pescara cut short due to disciplinary issues, he spent time at Pisa and Granada before being sold to Albacete in the summer of 2018. The Albania international joined Barcelona B in January 2020 where he was given a €50m release clause.

  20. Bartlomiej Dragowski | Jagiellonia Bialystok
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    #31 Bartlomiej Dragowski | Jagiellonia Bialystok

    THEN: Likened to Manuel Neuer, the 18-year-old goalkeeper was being linked with moves to the Premier League having broken into the Poland Under-21s side.

    NOW: Dragowski joined Fiorentina in the summer of 2016 but struggled to break into the first team. Impressed during a loan spell at Empoli in 2019, during which he broke the Serie A record for the most saves in a single game (17 vs Atalanta). Now the undisputed No.1 for La Viola and a Poland international.

  21. Pedro Pereira | Sampdoria
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    #30 Pedro Pereira | Sampdoria

    THEN: Having trained in the academies of both Sporting C.P. and Benfica in his native Portugal, the full-back moved to Sampdoria in 2015 and was already a regular in the Serie A side's matchday squad.

    NOW: Fell out of favour at Sampdoria before returning to Benfica in 2017, but made just a solitary league appearance. Now on loan at Crotone having previously spent time with Genoa and Bristol City.

  22. Borja Mayoral | Real Madrid
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    #29 Borja Mayoral | Real Madrid

    THEN: A prolific goalscorer in Madrid's Castilla team, the teenage striker was being likened to Raul as he made his first steps into senior football at Santiago Bernabeu.

    NOW: Spent the 2016-17 season on loan at Wolfsburg but struggled to impose himself in the Bundesliga. Part of the Madrid squad who won the Champions League in 2018 before spending two seasons with Levante. Now on loan at Roma and on course for the best goal-scoring season of his career.

  23. Luka Jovic | Red Star Belgrade
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    #28 Luka Jovic | Red Star Belgrade

    THEN: Already a relative veteran of over 50 appearances for Red Star, Jovic was being linked with moves to Arsenal and Tottenham having been compared to Radamel Falcao.

    NOW: Joined Benfica in 2016 but struggled to make an impact in Portugal. Moved on a two-year loan to Eintracht Frankfurt and went onto score 27 goals during the 2018-19 campaign. Joined Real Madrid in a deal worth a reported €70m (£62m/$79m) but failed to establish himself in the Spanish capital. Returned to Eintracht on loan in January 2021 where he has rediscovered his form in front of goal.

  24. Reece Oxford | West Ham
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    #27 Reece Oxford | West Ham

    THEN: The youngest player in West Ham history, Oxford made headlines on his Premier League debut as the 16-year-old defender shone in a 2-0 win over Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium.

    NOW: Spent time out on loan at Reading, Borussia Monchengladbach (twice) and Augsburg before joining the latter in a permanent deal in the summer of 2019.

  25. Jeff Reine-Adelaide | Arsenal
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    #26 Jeff Reine-Adelaide | Arsenal

    THEN: Signed by Arsenal in the summer of 2015, midfielder Reine-Adelaide made his debut for the Gunners the following January.

    NOW: Reine-Adelaide never made a Premier League appearance before making a loan move to Angers permanent in 2018. Impressed for the Ligue 1 minnows and was signed by Lyon a year later for €25m (£23m/$28m). Currently recovering from a serious knee injury suffered in February.

  26. Hachim Mastour | AC Milan
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    #25 Hachim Mastour | AC Milan

    THEN: Subject of interest from Barcelona, Real Madrid and Juventus, Mastour rose to fame when appearing in a Red Bull advert alongside Neymar performing a series of skills. Was sent on a two-year loan to Malaga in the summer of 2015 having been named on the Milan bench while just 15. Also already the youngest player to ever represent Morocco.

    NOW: After being sent back from Malaga a year early having made just one appearance, Mastour endured a similarly underwhelming loan spell at PEC Zwolle. Joined boyhood club Reggina in 2019 after a year with Greek side Lamia, and is currently on loan with Serie C outfit Carpi, for whom he scored his first senior goal.

  27. Rolando Mandragora | Genoa
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    #24 Rolando Mandragora | Genoa

    THEN: Made his Serie A debut as 17-year-old in 2014 against Juventus, and just over a year later it was announced the Bianconeri had agreed a deal to sign him at the end of the 2015-16 season, with the 'new Marco Verratti' set to play out the remainder of the season on loan at Pescara.

    NOW: After complications with foot surgery, Mandragora eventually made his Juve debut in April 2017 before being loaned to Crotone the following year. Was sold to Udinese in 2018 where his form saw him capped by Italy and earn a €10.7m return move to Juventus. Currently in the midst of an 18-month loan spell with Torino.

  28. Enes Unal | Manchester City
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    #23 Enes Unal | Manchester City

    THEN: Already the youngest goalscorer in Super Lig history and a full Turkey international by the age of 17, Unal joined City in the summer of 2015 and was immediately sent on loan to Genk.

    NOW: Struggled in Belgium as the striker saw his loan deal cut short before enjoying more fruitful spells at NAC Breda and FC Twente. Joined Villarreal in the summer of 2017 on a permanent basis and spent time with Levante and Real Valladolid before making a €9.5m switch to Getafe ahead of the 2020-21 season.

  29. Sergio Diaz | Cerro Porteno
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    #22 Sergio Diaz | Cerro Porteno

    THEN: Having been likened to Sergio Aguero as he came through the ranks in his native Paraguay, Diaz was being linked with Liverpool and Manchester United after a series of eye-catching performances during his first steps into senior football.

    NOW: Signed by Real Madrid in the summer of 2016 but has yet to make a first-team appearance for the Blancos despite recently turning 23. Currently on loan in Liga MX with Club America after previous stints with Lugo, Corinthians and boyhood club Cerro Porteno.

  30. Abdelhak Nouri | Ajax
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    #21 Abdelhak Nouri | Ajax

    THEN: Regarded as one of the finest talents within Ajax's famed academy, Netherlands Under-19 captain Nouri was being linked with Arsenal and Manchester United despite having never played a first-team match.

    NOW: Nouri collapsed during a pre-season friendly in 2017 after suffering a cardiac arrhythmia. He suffered permanent and severe brain damage following the incident, as a hugely promising career was tragically cut short.

  31. Jean-Kevin Augustin | Paris Saint-Germain
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    #20 Jean-Kevin Augustin | Paris Saint-Germain

    THEN: Rated as highly as Kylian Mbappe as they came through the ranks of French football at a similar time, Augustin was already a regular in PSG's matchday squad despite the presence of Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Edinson Cavani.

    NOW: Augustin joined RB Leipzig in the summer of 2017 in a bid to become a regular starter but fell out of favour as issues over his discipline surfaced. Failed loan spells at Monaco and Leeds United were the precursor to him joining Nantes on a free transfer ahead of the current campaign.

  32. Andrija Balic | Hajduk Split
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    #19 Andrija Balic | Hajduk Split

    THEN: Regarded as a combination of Luka Modric and Ivan Rakitic, Balic was a regular in the Hajduk midfield by the age of 17 and was being linked with a move to Juventus.

    NOW: Joined Udinese in February 2016 but had to wait 16 months to make his debut despite being a regular on the substitutes' bench. Had loan spells at Fortuna Sittard and Perugia before making a temporary switch to Slovakian side Dunajska Streda permanent in the summer of 2020.

  33. Manu Garcia | Manchester City
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    #18 Manu Garcia | Manchester City

    THEN: Signed by City as a 16-year-old, midfielder Garcia spent two years in the club's academy before earning a first call-up to the senior squad, with his first goal coming against Crystal Palace in late 2015.

    NOW: Spent the 2016-17 season on loan at Alaves but failed to make a league appearance. Had more encouraging spells at NAC Breda and Toulouse before re-joining boyhood club Sporting Gijon in a club-record deal in 2019.

  34. Victor Osimhen | Ultimate Strikers Academy
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    #17 Victor Osimhen | Ultimate Strikers Academy

    THEN: Having won the Golden Boot at the Under-17 World Cup with 10 goals, Nigerian forward Osimhen had agreed a deal to join Wolfsburg in January 2017.

    NOW: Osimhen struggled in Germany but fared far better on loan in Belgium with Charleroi, scoring 20 goals during the 2018-19 season. His fine form continued after signing for Lille the following summer, which in turn earned the Nigeria international a move to Napoli in a club-record €50m (£45m/$59m) deal.

  35. Patrick Roberts | Manchester City
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    #16 Patrick Roberts | Manchester City

    THEN: Having made his debut for Fulham as a 17-year-old, Roberts was signed by City in the summer of 2015 and had already made a handful of substitute appearances for the Premier League side.

    NOW: The winger spent two impressive seasons on loan at Celtic, and even scored against City in the Champions League, but has failed to replicate that form in four subsequent loan spells. Currently aiming to resurrect his career at Derby County.

  36. Umar Sadiq | Spezia
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    #15 Umar Sadiq | Spezia

    THEN: Sadiq made an immediate impact during a loan spell at Roma from Spezia during the 2015-16 season, scoring twice either side of the new year despite being just 18.

    NOW: Won a bronze medal with Nigeria at the 2016 Olympics but failed to make a single appearance for Rome thereafter. Instead had six separate spells out on loan, the latter of which earned him a permanent transfer to Partizan. Swapped Serbia for Spain at the start of the 2020-21 campaign, with the 24-year-old having rediscovered his best form for Segunda Division promotion chasers Almeria.

  37. Amadou Diawara | Bologna
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    #14 Amadou Diawara | Bologna

    THEN: Bologna signed the 18-year-old midfielder in the summer of 2015 and he was a regular for the Serie A side despite his lack of experience.

    NOW: Diawara was snapped up by Napoli in August 2016 but struggled to hold down a regular starting berth despite some strong performances. Joined Roma in the summer of 2019 but has seen his game time restricted due to injury issues.

  38. Donny van de Beek | Ajax
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    #13 Donny van de Beek | Ajax

    THEN: Dubbed 'MaraDonny' by Ajax supporters, Van de Beek was a regular in Frank de Boer's side as an 18-year-old after a series of impressive performances in midfield.

    NOW: Van de Beek became a regular under Erik ten Hag in Amsterdam, and earned a place on the 30-man Ballon d'Or shortlist for his role in Ajax's run to the 2019 Champions League semi-finals. The Netherlands international Manchester United in a £35m ($46m) deal in 2020 but has struggled for minutes in his first season at Old Trafford.

  39. Gabriel Jesus | Palmeiras
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    #12 Gabriel Jesus | Palmeiras

    THEN: Likened to Neymar thanks to his electric pace and ability with the ball at his feet, 18-year-old Jesus was being linked with a move to Arsenal, Juventus or Roma.

    NOW: Signed by Manchester City for a reported fee of £27m ($33m) in the summer of 2016, he made a blistering start to life at the Etihad Stadium after he eventually arrived in the following January. Though his scoring rate has slowed he remains a key member of Pep Guardiola's fluid attacking unit. A regular in the Brazil team and helped them win the Copa America in 2019.

  40. Vaclav Cerny | Ajax
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    #11 Vaclav Cerny | Ajax

    THEN: Compared to Arjen Robben and Marc Overmars due to his dribbling ability, Cerny's first steps in the Ajax first team had reportedly led to Czech Republic legend Pavel Nedved encouraging Juventus to sign his compatriot.

    NOW: The winger failed to live up to his performances of late 2015 in Amsterdam, making sporadic appearances for Ajax before leaving for FC Utrecht in the summer of 2019. Is enjoying a true breakout campaign on loan at FC Twente, with his performances earning him a first Czech international cap.

  41. Joe Gomez | Liverpool
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    #10 Joe Gomez | Liverpool

    THEN: Signed from Charlton Athletic in the summer of 2015, Gomez was thrown straight into the Liverpool team before an anterior cruciate ligament  injury picked up in October ruled him out for the remainder of the season.

    NOW: Injuries have continued to plague Gomez during his time at Anfield, though he was a key member of the Reds' squad that won both the Champions League in 2019 and the Premier League just over a year later. A lock in the England squad when he is fit, too.

  42. Malcom | Corinthians
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    #9 Malcom | Corinthians

    THEN: Compared to Robinho, the young Brazilian playmaker had been linked with Juventus and Borussia Dortmund following a series of impressive displays in his homeland.

    NOW: Malcom joined Bordeaux in the summer of 2016 and enjoyed three increasingly strong seasons in Ligue 1. Barcelona dramatically beat Roma to his signature in the summer of 2018, paying a reported fee of €41m (£36.5m/$48m). He failed to make much of an impact at Camp Nou, however, and joined Zenit a year later for a similar fee.

  43. Renato Sanches | Benfica
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    #8 Renato Sanches | Benfica

    THEN: Despite only making his first-team debut in October 2015, Sanches was making waves in Portugal with his physicality in midfield belying the fact that he was just 18 years old.

    NOW: The teenager was named Young Player of the Tournament as Portugal won Euro 2016 and earned a €35m (£31m/$43m) move to Bayern Munich that summer. He struggled to establish himself with the Bavarians, however, and endured a forgettable loan spell with Swansea City during the 2017-18 season. Eventually left Bayern for Lille in the summer of 2019, where he has enjoyed something of a renaissance.

  44. Ante Coric | Dinamo Zagreb
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    #7 Ante Coric | Dinamo Zagreb

    THEN: Having made his senior debut two days after his 17th birthday, Coric was regarded as one of Europe's brightest prospects, with Real Madrid and Chelsea reportedly set to battle it out for his signature.

    NOW: Coric eventually left his homeland in the summer of 2018, joining Roma having helped Dinamo win four Croatian league titles. He has struggled to have much of an impact at Stadio Olimpico, though, and is currently with his third loan club in the shape of Slovenian outfit Olimpija Ljubljana.

  45. Gerson | Roma
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    #6 Gerson | Roma

    THEN: Having made his Fluminense debut as an 18-year-old in 2015, Gerson was signed by Roma in January 2016 as the Serie A side beat Barcelona and Juventus to the Brazilian midfielder.

    NOW: Gerson struggled to reach his potential at Roma and, having spent a year out on loan at Fiorentina, moved back home to join Flamengo in 2019 as he became the most expensive Brazilian player signed by a Brazilian team in history.

  46. Martin Odegaard | Real Madrid
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    #5 Martin Odegaard | Real Madrid

    THEN: Having become the youngest player and goalscorer in the Norwegian top-flight, as well as the youngest player to ever represent Norway, before his 16th birthday, Madrid beat off a host of Europe's biggest clubs to sign Odegaard in January 2015, where he played predominantly for the Castilla team.

    NOW: With first-team opportunities at Santiago Bernabeu limited, Odegaard spent two years in Eredivisie on loan at Heerenveen and Vitesse. Returned to Spain for a two-year spell at Real Sociedad, though his impressive performances saw Madrid recall him a season early. Now on loan at Arsenal after again finding himself down the pecking order in the Spanish capital.

  47. Ruben Neves | Porto
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    #4 Ruben Neves | Porto

    THEN: The youngest league goalscorer in Porto history, the youngest Portuguese player to play in European competition and the youngest player to captain a team in the Champions League – at just 18 Neves was being linked with a host of Europe's top clubs.

    NOW: Neves eventually left Porto in the summer of 2017, though it came as a surprise that he signed for Championship side Wolves despite interest from far bigger clubs. He was named Player of the Season as he helped the Molineux outfit earn promotion in his first campaign in England, and he remains a regular for Nuno Espirito Santo's side, though he was linked with Manchester City in 2019.

  48. Gianluigi Donnarumma | AC Milan
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    #3 Gianluigi Donnarumma | AC Milan

    THEN: A true revelation, Donnarumma broke into the AC Milan first team as a 16-year-old and showed enough in his early months to be regarded as the rightful heir to Gianluigi Buffon's starting spot in the Italy team.

    NOW: Despite persistent reports linking him with a move away from San Siro, Donnarumma remains one of the Rossoneri's most consistent performers. Also the undisputed No.1 at international level for Roberto Mancini's Azzurri.

  49. Breel Embolo | Basel
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    #2 Breel Embolo | Basel

    THEN: Already a full Switzerland international, Embolo was being linked with the likes of Arsenal, Chelsea and Juventus after his devastating speed and unparalleled power helped fire Basel to the Swiss league title in 2015.

    NOW: Having joined Schalke in the summer of 2016, Embolo was forced to sit out almost a year of football after suffering a serious ankle injury three months into his time in Gelsenkirchen. He struggled to find his best form thereafter and the 40-time capped Switzerland international joined Borussia Monchengladbach in June 2019.

  50. Youri Tielemans | Anderlecht
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    #1 Youri Tielemans | Anderlecht

    THEN: A regular in the Anderlecht first team since making his debut as a 16-year-old, Tielemans already had 18 Champions League appearances under his belt by the end of 2015. Juventus were heavily linked with signing the energetic midfielder, with a number of Europe's other biggest clubs also monitoring his progress.

    NOW: Having joined Monaco in the summer of 2017, Tielemans failed to live up to the hype in Ligue 1. A loan move to Leicester City in January 2019 helped get his career back on track, with the Foxes signing him permanently that summer in a deal worth a reported £40m ($50m). Now a regular in the Belgium team, he is regarded as one of the most technically gifted midfielders in the Premier League.