So it’s no real secret that European soccer is getting younger with each passing year. Those stars who once peaked at their mid-20s are now starting to become influential figures before even turning 20. As the competitive level keeps on rising, so does the quality of young soccer stars among the top European sides.
The UEFA Champions League served it perhaps it’s biggest underdog story in ages last season in Ajax’s rise to the semi-finals. Of course, watching a young side humiliate cocky giants Real Madrid & Juventus definitely felt good. This David vs Goliath tale also showed teenage wonder kids these days can easily outperform the “superior” experienced players.
Matthijs De Ligt overwhelmed strikers like a boss, while even Jadon Sancho dazzled in his first Champions League outing with some splendid performances. Teenage wonder kids are growing in confidence after being exposed to the top-level competition thanks to more encouraging sides.
There are certain teenagers packed with unbelievable ability to outwit the best on their day. So here are five teenage wonderkids you should watch out for in the Champions League.
5. Ferran Torres (Valencia)
Valencia pulled off an unprecedented win at Stamford Bridge against all the odds, but they also did so without promising winger Ferran Torres. The 19-year-old’s the golden jewel to have come out from their academy and is an explosive package moving down the sides.
Not only can Torres burst past defenders to send in inviting crosses from out wide, but is skilfull enough to dance his way past defenders into the box. Having played a big part in Spain’s UEFA European U-19 Championship win earlier this year, he’s been fast-tracked into the senior team.
With the ability to trot his way into scoring beautiful strikes, Torres is like a stick of potential dynamite who can explode to burn Los Ches’ European opponents going forward.
4. Reece James (Chelsea)
So Chelsea are in sixes and sevens when it comes to defending these days. The fact that they’ve already conceded one-third of their complete goals allowed from last season with only six games in shows that with Maurizio Sarri, their defensive organizations also flocked off somewhere.
Their captain Cesar Azpilicueta’s doing them no favours with one mistake after another, allowing Frank Lampard’s side to concede goals like pennies. However, he does have one trump card up his sleeve in young Reece James. The right-back’s pretty stable defensively, but especially dangerous going forward.
The fact that he produced this genius assist in his first start under Lampard proves he’s a special talent. The 19-year-old’s quick going forward, as well as precise with his unique crosses. Even defensively, he can make timely challenges, while also being agile enough to deal with wingers. But, it’s his sizzling ability going forward which makes him a lively threat to watch out for this season.
3. Dominik Szoboszlai (Red Bull Salzburg)
Red Bull Salzburg’s start to their Champions League campaign proves that they won’t go down without a fight. They handed Genk a proper thrashing in the first matchday and even though the talk of the town is Erling Braut Haaland (we’ll talk about him later), but another teenage sensation who bloomed over is Dominik Szoboszlai.
The 6’1 teenager is a combative figure packed with many tricks in his arsenal to cause trouble from midfield. He can easily move past midfielders using his dribbling ability, while his physical attributes make him a hard man to bring down. With a pretty creative eye, Szoboszlai loves marching his team forward with exquisite defence-breaking passes.
The 18-year-old also has a knack for attempting blistering long-shots as well as stylish finishes to top off their attacking moves. Expect him to trouble Liverpool & Napoli with his unpredictable style. Also, watch out for his venomous free-kicks to cause havoc in the next few matchdays.
2. Rodrygo (Real Madrid)
The latest Brazilian sensation to arrive at Real Madrid, the fact that Los Blancos splurged $50 million for a teenager speaks volumes on Rodrygo’s talent. He introduced himself in style against Osasuna, with his wonderful goal two minutes into his debut exemplifying the impactful, confident teenager he is.
The Brazilian’s bound to get even better. However, his knack of taking on defenders, bombing into the box as well as finishing ability already makes him an uncomfortable force to face. However, knowing their relatively weak group(apart from PSG), the 18-year-old will get chances to shine.
Rodrygo’s electric movement, tendency to skip past defenders using his trickery is irresistible enough to goad Zinedine Zidane into unleashing him to torment oppositions in the Champions League this season.
1. Erling Braut Haland (Red Bull Salzburg)
What more can be said of Erling Braut Haland? We here at High Press Soccer are huge fans of the young Norwegian striker who’s proving to be the next big thing in European soccer. Haland is lethal and downright brilliant to watch whenever he ventures forward looking for goals like a predator eyeing his prey.
It’s sometimes hard to believe he’s only 19, as the big, strong centre-forward is absolutely ruthless when handed an opportunity in the final third. By becoming only the second teenager to score a hat-trick in his Champions League debut after Wayne Rooney, we can see him becoming as great a striker as the Englishman.
Haland obviously has a move to a big club on the cards, but he’s not done hunting for goals yet. He’s already netted 17 goals in just 10 appearances on all competitions, but he’s not stopping anytime soon. We, however, can’t be any more excited to see how many splendid strikes this beautiful striker has in store.