Ranked: The world’s 5 best footballers under 21

Young players offer football clubs and fans a lot of excitement. Players who come through youth academies or join top clubs at a young age are often followed with great enthusiasm.

This past season saw several top young players break through in the football world. Some are now being touted as big money transfers during the offseason while others are seen as the futures of their respective clubs.

Here is a look at the world’s 5 best footballers under 21.

5. Kai Havertz – 19

Kai Havertz became Bayer Leverkusen’s youngest ever player when he debuted in 2016 at the age of 17. Since then, Havertz has been a regular in the German team’s squad. In his first two seasons, the midfielder showed an ability to create goals for others.

However, this past term, Havertz turned into a goal scorer tallying an incredible 20 goals in all competitions from midfield. Havertz’s play enabled Bayer Leverkusen to overcome an indifferent start to the season and to qualify for next season’s Champions League.

4. Jadon Sancho – 19

Jadon Sancho joined Borussia Dortmund in 2017 after failing to break into Manchester City’s first team. The Englishman’s first season at Signal Iduna Park saw him score just one goal in 12 appearances but he did show flashes of creative brilliance posting four assists.

His second season in Germany was a break out year for the 19-year-old. Sancho scored 13 goals and tallied 16 assists. Sancho could be sold for as much as £100 million this summer.

3. Matthijs de Ligt – 19

Matthijs de Ligt’s stock has never been higher than it is right now. It may never reach this level again either. The Ajax centre-back starred for in the Champions League helping the Dutch club reach the semifinals.

Although they ultimately lost to a last second goal from Tottenham Hotspur, De Ligt showed just how good he is. De Light led Ajax to a domestic double this season and top clubs around Europe are lining up for his signature.

2. Trent Alexander-Arnold – 20

Liverpool’s Trent Alexander-Arnold made his first-team debut in 2016 against Tottenham Hotspur, but it wouldn’t be until the next season that he became a household name on Merseyside. Alexander-Arnold unseated Liverpool’s previous right-back, Nathaniel Clyne, for the starting position and hasn’t looked back.

In 2018-19, Alexander-Arnold recorded 12 assists and one goal from the right-back position in the Premier League. His cheeky assist from a corner to set up Divock Origi to score Liverpool’s Champions League semifinal second leg winner against Barcelona will be remembered for decades to come.

1. Kylian Mbappe – 20

Although Kylian Mbappe is yet to power Paris Saint-Germain to the Champions League Final, he has proven himself to be one of the top footballers in the world regardless of age. Mbappe emerged on the football scene at Monaco when the team won Ligue 1 in 2016-17. His Champions League performances against the likes of Borussia Dortmund and Manchester City helped elevate him even more.
Mbappe has not only won three Ligue 1 titles but last July he lifted the World Cup trophy after scoring four goals in seven games. In 2018-19, Mbappe tallied 32 Ligue 1 goals in 28 games to seal his spot as the world’s best player under 21.

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