With both Ronaldo and Messi ageing and declining gradually, football enthusiasts have been mooting several youngsters who will replace the duo in the future.
While some youngsters like Kylian Mbappe, Vinicius Junior, Pedri, Mason Mount, Phil Foden, Jadon Sancho, among others are already establishing themselves at the top, we look at the top 10 young footballers in 2022.
1. Ryan Gravenberch
Ryan Gravenberch is one of the most talented midfielders in Europe, and being just 19 years of age, he cements his place as one of the best youngsters in football right now. The Dutchman is able to carry the ball from deep, and is a good progressive passer of the ball. Although he currently plays for Ajax, he is highly sought after by most of Europe’s elite clubs.
2. Bukayo Saka
Arsenal’s form this season has been inconsistent, and one of the major reasons is the loss of form, and subsequent departure of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.
In the absence of the Gabonese talisman, Bukayo Saka (who has been among the best youngsters in the last few seasons) has bravely stepped up his game to ensure the Gunners are in contention for a return to the UEFA Champions League.
20-years-old Saka has scored 10 goals and contributed 5 assists in 33 matches in all competitions for the Gunners this season.
3. Pablo Gavi
Barcelona might have lost Lionel Messi, but some few youngsters are giving the Blaugranas hope of a brighter future.
Among those young players is 17-year-old Gavi, who has earned comparisons with Xavi Hernandez. Fortunately for the youngster, he is now being coached by Xavi.
Gavi made his international debut for Spain in the UEFA Nations League semifinals against Italy in October 2021, becoming the youngest player to ever represent Spain at senior level.
For Barcelona, Gavi has made 34 appearances, scored 2 goals, and provided 5 assists in all competitions this season.
4. Karim Adeyemi
Karim Adeyemi is one of the most sought-after youngsters in the world at the moment. The 20-year-old has scored an astonishing 19 goals and laid on 4 assists in 36 games in all competitions in 2021/22.
More impressively, he scored 3 goals and made 2 assists in just 8 matches in the UEFA Champions League this season.
Adeyemi was born to a Nigerian father and a Romanian mother in Germany. On the international scene, he opted to represent the country of his birth, and in September 2021, he scored on his debut appearance for Germany.
5. Dominik Szoboszlai
Szoboszlai is a 21-year-old Hungarian midfielder who plays for RB Leipzig. He joined Leipzig from sister club, RB Salzburg in January 2020 for €20m — becoming the most expensive Hungarian footballer in history.
So far, he has more than justified the huge price tag as he has lighted up the Bundesliga in 2021/22 with impressive displays.
Szoboszlai has 8 goals and 7 assists in 31 matches in all competitions this season.
6. Florian Wirtz
Wirtz had been impressing top scouts since he was a child and was eventually snapped up by Bayern Leverkusen in January 2020.
In May 2020, Wirtz became the youngest ever player to play for Leverkusen at just 17 years and 15 days old. The next month, he became the youngest goalscorer in Bundesliga history (until Youssoufa Moukoko broke his record a few months later).
Still just 18, Wirtz has been on fire this season, scoring 10 goals and providing 14 assists in 31 games so far.
He made his senior international debut for Germany in September 2021.
7. Armando Broja
Broja caught the eye with his impressive displays in Chelsea’s various youth teams and made his first-team debut for the Blues at just 18 years old in 2020.
He was loaned to Vitesse last season to gain more playing time at senior level and he impressed well. To test him in the English Premier League, Broja was loaned to Southampton last summer.
On his debut for Southampton, he scored 2 goals, and against Leeds United in October 2021, he became the first-ever Albanian to score in the Premier League.
The 20-year-old has adapted well to the EPL with six goals scored so far.
In all competitions this season, Broja has 9 goals and an assist in 30 matches.
8. Anthony Elanga
In Manchester United’s topsy-turvy 2021/22 season, the emergence of Anthony Elanga has been a shining light. Although the exciting winger made his debut for the Red Devils last season, he has stepped up his game higher this term.
Amid some thrilling displays this season, Elanga has made 18 appearances for United’s senior team, chipping in with 3 crucial goals — the most notable was his equaliser against Athletico Madrid at the Wanda Metropolitano in the first leg of the Champions League round of 16.
9. Jamal Musiala
Musiala’s rise to the top has been rapid since he moved to Bayern Munich from Chelsea a few seasons ago. Still 19 years of age, he has become an integral part of the Bavarians’ first team this season.
Jamal Musiala has scored 6 goals and made 6 assists in 32 matches in all competitions, so far this season. He is also one of the top youngsters to watch in Champions League this season.
10. Josko Gvardiol
RB Leipzig lost centre back duo Dayot Upamecano and Ibrahim Konate to Bayern Munich and Liverpool respectively last summer.
Replacing them was expected to be difficult but Josko Gvardiol has made it look so easy. The 20-year-old Croatian has been impressive since his arrival from Dinamo Zagreb.
Gvardiol has made 35 appearances for a Leipzig in all competitions so far this season, and despite being a centre-back, he has 2 goals and 3 assists.