For every hyped prospect there are ones who fall short, but all of these stars are well on their way to fulfilling the potential they certainly appear to boast.

By 90Min
March 15, 2018

Some young players break through and seem to have the world at their feet, with their pathway towards becoming a footballing great seemingly clear cut. Although it doesn't always work out that way. Freddy Adu springs to mind, and those players that were tipped for world domination spiral into oblivion and fizzle out into the wilderness. 

However, for every Freddy Adu out there, there might be a Cristiano Ronaldo in the pack. Among every over hyped young footballer, a select few actually reach their expected level of stardom and cement themselves as a legend of the beautiful game. 

With that in mind, here are seven current wonder kids tipped to become future legends of the game we all know and love...


Kylian Mbappé

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Some have called him the heir to Thierry Henry's throne due to their Monaco origins and shared nationality, and while Kylian Mbappe is far from the finished article at just 19 years old, you can see why he has been likened to the Arsenal legend. 

Having only made his professional debut in December of 2015, Mbappe has risen to stardom in such a short space of time. His maiden season in the Monaco first team saw him win the Ligue 1 title and make the Champions League semifinals, prompting PSG to shell out a huge £166m for his services. 

A future Ballon d'Or winner you say? Most likely. 


Gianluigi Donnarumma 

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The AC Milan No. 1 has been tipped to follow in the footsteps of the legend that is Gianluigi Buffon and it comes as no surprise why. 

Gianluigi Donnarumma could in fact exceed his Italian compatriot's career achievements seeing as he made his Serie A debut a year before Buffon while making his Italy debut two years before Buffon did. 

With Buffon set to retire soon, Donnarumma is expected to occupy the Italy number one shirt for the next 20 years, as well as possibly inheriting the 40-year-old's Juventus spot if he is to leave Milan as expected. 


Marco Asensio

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Although it seems unfathomable that Xavi and Andres Iniesta could be replaced given their incredible performance levels over the years, there have been a few Spanish youngsters rising through the ranks that could emulate the pair, but none more so than Marco Asensio. 

The Real Madrid maestro has already achieved a lot in the game at just 22 years old, scoring in the Champions League final against Juventus last season as Los Blancos won the Champions League and La Liga. He is also renowned for his ferocious shooting and incisive passing ability; Spain needn't worry when Iniesta finally hangs up his boots. 


Dele Alli

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The former MK Dons man arrived in north London as a relatively unknown quantity despite making a reputation as a goalscoring midfielder at the League One club, and Spurs fan quickly saw him transfer that form to the Premier League. 

Possessing a playing style similar to that of Frank Lampard in the way he arrives late in the box to score, Alli has an exceptional goalscoring record from midfield due to his mature footballing brain. 

At just 21 years old, his record of 33 goals in the Premier League is sure to increase substantially and may see him go on to become a legend of the game. 


Joshua Kimmich

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A versatile player given his ability to play in midfield and full back exceptionally well, Joshua Kimmich has understandably drawn comparisons to the retired Philipp Lahm. 

The 23-year-old possess an excellent reading of the game and is efficient on the ball, while his heavy involvement in the German national team at such a young age can only benefit his progress. 

Bayern Munich fans can rest easy knowing they have the next Philipp Lahm in their ranks. 


Gabriel Jesus

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In the past, Brazil have had an embarrassment of riches to choose from in attack. The likes of Ronaldo, Romario and Pele have carried the flag admirably, but in recent times, the Selecao have had fairly mediocre striking options (looking at you, Fred). 

In that respect, the 20-year-old Manchester City forward could be the next iconic Brazilian for club and country. Jesus has had an excellent start to his career in England and looks set to win his first Premier League title, and if he can add international honors to his belt, legend status could be on the horizon. 


Ryan Sessegnon 

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The youngest player on this list but by no means the least precocious, Ryan Sessegnon has been pulling up trees with Fulham in the Championship since the age of 16 and became the first player born in the 2000s to score in the English leagues. 

Recently, the 17-year-old has moved into a more attacking role, vacating his previous spot at left back, leading many to compare him to Gareth Bale after the Real Madrid and Wales also swapped positions similarly in his career. 

For a player so young to start out as a defender and still have the attacking nous to follow in and score goals as much as he does, the future looks bright for Sessegnon and England. 

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