4. Theo Hernandez, Atletico Madrid

Tuesday May 16th, 2017

Position: Left back

Nationality: French

Age: 19

Theo Hernandez is the prototype of a modern-day fullback who comes from a solid football family. His father, Jean-Francois, played for Marseille and Atletico Madrid, while his brother, Lucas, had a breakout season last year playing at center back for Atletico Madrid, making an appearance in the Champions League final. Theo joined Lucas at Atletico when he was 10, and last summer, after extending his contract through 2021, was loaned out to newly promoted Alaves.

He has been one of its best players in a team that’s comfortably mid-table and will face Barcelona in the Copa del Rey final. Theo Hernandez gets up and down the left flank at speed and can whip in a smart cross, but he does not desert his defensive duties. He has played for France U-20s and his buy-out clause of €24 million does not seem to be putting off suitors this summer. He has been linked with Liverpool, Barcelona and even Real Madrid, which is reportedly prepared to break the "gentleman’s agreement" of not signing each other’s players for Marcelo's potential successor.

What they're saying:

“If Real Madrid ask us about Theo, the answer would be energetic and determined. Theo is our player.”

– Enrique Cerezo, Atletico Madrid president

PREVIOUS: 5. Justin Kluivert, Ajax | NEXT: 3. Ousmane Dembele, Borussia Dortmund

SI Apps
We've Got Apps Too
Get expert analysis, unrivaled access, and the award-winning storytelling only SI can provide - from Peter King, Tom Verducci, Lee Jenkins, Seth Davis, and more - delivered straight to you, along with up-to-the-minute news and live scores.