Profiles of some of the future's top stars
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Some stars of the future
ARGENTINA- At this point, a young midfielder named Esteban Cambiasso is one of the top prospects for the future. Has excelled in the Real Madrid youth system, and in the preseason he may get the opportunity to play for the first team. Juan Veron of the national team is only 22 and has a brilliant future ahead of him, as does 23-year old Ariel Ortega.
|BRAZIL- In a country so filled with young talent, it is so hard to point out who will be the future, because at any moment, another Ronaldo or Romario may come out of nowhere. There are a few that do stand out though. One is Adailton, 21-year-old striker for Parma. Another is Rodrigo, currently with Flamengo. He is a lefty striker of 22 years, who is known for his dangerous shots and volatile temperament. Many have speculated that he will join Real Madrid. Real has recently also shown interest in Vascoda Gama's left back Felipe, as a possible replacement for Roberto Carlos. Felipe is 21. Real Oviedo of Spain made a long term investment in Fabio Pinto, a 17 year old striker considered one of many top young prospects. He was the best player of the recent U-17 World Championship. Juninho, though 23, seems to have a key part in the Brasilian efforts for 2002 and in Atletico Madrid's plans. He may be the spark that Brasil lacked in a right-sided midfielder. The talent is incredibly abundant- here are some other notables- Alexandre and Dodo (Sao Paulo); Odivam (Vasco da Gama, 19); Dede (Atletico Minas Gerais, 19); Andre and Fabiano (both Internazionale RS, both are 16 years old).|
ITALY- Many of the young Italian prospects have been quickly snapped up to the higher levels. "Pippo" Inzahgi is, at 22, a member of the Azzurri, and is almost certain to be a key factor in Euro2000 and WC 2002. His teammate at Juventus and Italy is 23-year old Alessandro del Piero, who despite a dissapointing WC has a great career ahead of him. 21-year old defender Alessandro Nesta missed the WC due to injury, but at all levels he has show great ability as the eventual successor to the great Ferrara. Goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon made news in the Serie A at only 19 years of age. His great efforts served him during the qualifying playoff with Russia, where he kept Italy alive on the snowy day in Moscow in a 1-0 victory. Midfielder Luigi Di Biagio proved to be a pleasant revelation of the WC, despite missing Italy's last penalty against France.
NIGERIA- Mentioning the future of Nigerian football is incomplete without mentioning the young Kanu of Inter Milan. He led Nigeria to victory in the 1996 Olympics, and at 21 he is looking forward to leading the Africans in 2002. Barcelona has invested in perhaps the 2 most promising Nigerian youngsters. One is Okanawu, a defender for the B team. Most eye-catching though is Haruna Babangida, youngest of the Babangida dynasty of footballing brothers. He has been said to be the best young player that the Barcelona youth trainers have ever seen. At only 17, the striker's potential is almost limitless.
SPAIN- With one of the world's best youth systems, Spain is preparing several young and talented players for the future. Jose Maria Gutierrez, "Guti",19 and Victor Sanchez del Amo, 21, are two notable young midfielders for Real Madrid. Also at Madrid is 22-year old Fernando Morientes, who has excelled in his international career, scoring 6 goals in a mere 4 internation games. He was a revelation of the World Cup for many, scoring 2 great goals in the 6-1 WC thrashing of Bulgaria. Tote, member of the Real Madrid youth system, has been hot lately, and newly promoted 1st division back-up goalie Contreras may vie for a spot in the 1st team and inthe future the national team.Barcelona youth system graduate Ivan De la Peņa is one of Europe's most promising players, and a recent big money signing of Lazio. Also from the Barcelona youth system, Arnau has been very promising as a young keeper in the B team. Van Gaal may plan to use him on the first team this year. Ivan Perez is an U-21 international that practically won the European U-21 championship for Spain this May. He happens to be the little brother of fellow Betis striker Alfonso. Valencia has a true gem in U-18 international Gerard, a Catalunyan forward that joined them from Barcelona last season. He has excelled at the youth international level and will play on loan to Alaves this season.
"Youth Movement" is part of an ongoing report on young players in world football.
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