10 teenage footballers who were meant to rule the world

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ByChris Wheatley
24/11/2014 at 15:27

We've all seen it before. 'X' player gets labelled as the 'next big thing', the 'latest prospect' and the 'world's best youngster', but do these players ever justify the hype they're given?

Here's a selection of 10 teenager footballers who were meant to rule the world, but never quite did...


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Sadick Adams

WHO? Ghana youngster signed by Atletico Madrid after his impressive performances at the 2007 FIFA U17 World Cup where he scored four goals.

WHAT HAPPENED? Contract technicalities meant that the move didn’t go as smoothly as expected. He played 22 games for Atletico’s B side before leaving for Serbian outfit FK Vojvodina in 2009.

WHERE IS HE NOW? Adams, now 24, plays for Al Nahda in The Saudi Professional League.


WHO? Labelled ‘an elegant attacking midfielder who makes the game look easy’, Guilherme made his name known after scoring 28 goals for Cruzeiro in his second season with the Belo Horizonte-based side.

WHAT HAPPENED? He joined Ukrainian side Dynamo Kyiv in a 5 million euro deal which saw striker Kleber move the other way but only stayed for six months after Kyiv re-signed Andriy Shevchenko. Then, a successful loan spell at CSKA Moscow in 2010 helped Guilherme eventually secure a big money move back to Brazil with Atletico Minierio.

WHERE IS HE NOW? Guilherme followed in the footsteps of Robert Pires and David Trezeguet by joining Indian Super League side Kerala Blasters. He's now at Atlético Mineiro.

John Bostock

WHO? In the summer of 2008 Bostock was regarded as one of the hottest prospects in English football and completed a controversial move to Tottenham from Crystal Palace at the age of 16.

WHAT HAPPENED? After five frustrating years at White Hart Lane and loan spells with Brentford, Hull City, Sheffield Wednesday, Swindon Town and Toronto FC he was released in June 2013.

WHERE IS HE NOW? Bostock moved to Belgium that summer and after a two year spell at Royal Antwerp, he now plays for Oud-Heverlee Leuven.

WHO? Then-Liverpool manager Rafa Benitez rated Bouzanis as the “best goalkeeper in the world for his age” when a young Bouzanis was just 16.

WHAT HAPPENED? After spells on loan at Sydney FC and Accrington Stanley he left Liverpool after mutually agreeing to cancel his contract with one year remaining on it. A successful stint with League 2 side Oldham Athletic earned Bouzanis a move to Greek side Aris. He couldn’t break into their team and subsequently joined Carlisle on a free transfer in January this year.

WHERE IS HE NOW? At the end of last season he returned to his hometown and signed with Western Sydney Wanderers.

Ransford Osei

WHO? Osei isanother player who had a terrific 2007 U17 World Cup for Ghana and was scouted by clubs across Europe including Arsenal.

WHAT HAPPENED? He had a trial with Manchester City in 2008, a short spell with Israeli club Maccabi Haifa before being snapped up by Steve McClaren at FC Twente a few months later. Osei returned home in 2012 signing a contract with Ghanaian champions Asante Kotoko.

WHAT IS HE NOW? His deal with Asante expired last December and he’s now a free agent.

Daniel Opare

WHO? Opare, a Ghanian right-back, was once recognised by World Soccer Magazine as one of the 50 most exciting teenagers on the planet in 2007.

WHAT HAPPENED? He hasn’t disappointed. Widely regarded as the best defender at the 2007 FIFA U17 World Cup, Opare has gone onto play 88 games for Belgian side Standard Liege where he lifted the Belgian Cup in 2011.

WHERE IS HE NOW? The 24 year old earned himself a big money move to Porto in the summer after four years in Belgium.

Alberto Paloschi

WHO? He scored on his AC Milan debut at 17 years old after 17 seconds. No pressure then.

WHAT HAPPENED? He struggled to breakthrough at Milan and joined Parma in 2008, scoring 12 goals in his first season at Stadio Ennio Tardini. A protracted move to Genoa which involved third party ownership then followed and in June 2011 Milan bought back Paloschi for 5 million euros.

WHERE IS HE NOW? Milan and Chievo own Paloschi in a co-ownership agreement which will end in 2015, but he has been playing for the latter and scored 12 goals in 34 matches last season.

Macauley Chrisantus

WHO? He first came onto the scene in 2007 with Nigeria at under-17 level scoring an impressive seven goals in the process.

WHAT HAPPENED? Linked with the likes of Manchester United and Tottenham but it was Hamburg who ended up signing him. Out-of-favour at the German top flight side, he was then loaned to second division Bundesliga side Karlsruher SC for two seasons. In 2012 he joined Spanish Segunda Division outfit Las Palmas where he netted 20 times in 67 games.

WHERE IS HE NOW? Chrisantus joined Turkish side Sivasspor last summer.

Ismail Aissati

WHO? PSV slapped at £15m price tag on this skilful starlet after he was named in the all-star squad after impressive performances at the 2006 UEFA Under-21 Championships.

WHAT HAPPENED? He joined Ajax in 2008 but his time there was crippled by injury problem and he was eventually released in at the end of the 2011/12 season. Aissatti signed with Turkish side Antalyaspor in the summer of 2012.

WHERE IS HE NOW? Aissati joined Russian side Terek Grozny for a 3 million euro transfer fee last summer.


WHO? A former Sao Paulo defender linked with every major club in Europe.

WHAT HAPPENED? Breno refused to sign for Real Madrid after they demanded that he went for bone analysis as rumours over his “real age” reportedly came out. He subsequently signed for Bayern Munich in 2007 and made 22 appearances in two ears for the German giants. A loan move to Nurnberg was then cut short after he sustained a cruciate ligament injury.

WHERE IS HE NOW? He was in prison for setting fire to his own apartment and is now a coach for the Bayern Under-23 squad.


Chris Wheatley


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