Another season, another year filled with players going from unnoticeable obscurity to being worth millions upon millions.
But which players are likely to go onto bigger and better things after some extraordinary breakout performances during the 2016-17 season?
1. Kylian Mbappe
This kid can play football, to put it simply.
Whether he’ll be at Monaco next season remains to be seen, seeing as his name continues to be mentioned in the same breath as teams like Real Madrid, but there’s no denying that Mbappe was an incredibly important part of the Les Monégasques Ligue 1 title-winning squad.
With 15 goals and eight assists in 29 appearances at just 18 years of age, there’s no doubting that the Frenchman is destined for greatness.
2. Marco Asensio
Scoring in a Champions League final is no mean feet, but to do it as a 21-year-old youth prospect is truly special.
That’s exactly what Marco Asensio did during the 4-1 win over Juventus in May, netting the final goal after strikes from Cristiano Ronaldo and Casemiro had effectively put the game past their Italian rivals.
It’s always hard to predict just who will come good later in their careers, but with figures like Cristiano Ronaldo, Sergio Ramos and Zinedine Zidane around him the Spain international has every chance of being one of the best in the world.
3. Bernardo Silva
Silva spent three seasons with Monaco, scoring 28 goals in all competitions for the club, but it was the 2016-17 campaign that marked the Portugal international out as a future star.
Manchester City certainly believe in the 22-year-old, splashing out €50m in order to sign him, and it’s no surprise Silva cost an arm and a leg given his exquisite performances over the past year or so.
Forming a menacing attacking combination with Kylian Mbappe, Thomas Lemar and Radamel Falcao, Silva will be hoping to prove he is the real deal next season under Pep Guardiola.
4. Ousmane Dembele
Lightning fast with an eye for a killer pass, Dembele is one of the most exciting players in European football right now.
Although Borussia Dortmund’s season was something of a disappointment, finishing third in the Bundesliga after failing to mount a substantial title bid, the acquisition of Dembele has proved to be one of the club’s success stories over the campaign.
With six goals and 12 assists in 32 league appearances, Dembele finished as Dortmund’s top assister and has been linked with moves to some of Europe’s elite clubs.
5. Andrea Belotti
Once Belotti started scoring, it was as if he couldn’t stop.
The Italy international ended the campaign with 26 Serie A goals, having registered a career-best tally of 12 during the previous season, beating some of the giants of European football with his haul.
Cristiano Ronaldo, Romelu Lukaku, Alexis Sanchez and Gonzalo Higuain are just a few players who had worse campaigns in front of goal in comparison to Belotti, who will most likely leave Torino in the future in pursuit of something greater.
6. Jordan Pickford
England are suddenly blessed with a whole roster of exciting and promising goalkeepers, meaning Jordan Pickford could struggle for international appearances when really he should be commanding a regular spot.
The presence of Stoke shot-stopper Jack Butland and Manchester City outcast Joe Hart means Pickford’s Three Lions opportunities may be limited in the near future, but that didn’t deter Everton from splashing out on the 23-year-old.
Pickford was nominated for the PFA Young Player of the Year award, losing out to Dele Alli, and will continue to develop at Goodison Park.
7. Marco Verratti
We knew the Italy midfielder was good before the campaign, but most had no idea he could dominate games against Europe’s top sides.
Verratti was incredibly influential as PSG thrashed Barcelona 4-0 in their classic last-16 tie in the Champions League, although himself and the rest of the French side were also poor in the return, which they lost 6-1.
Nevertheless, Verratti looks set to join the Catalan side, either this summer or in the future, and many Barcelona fans see him as Andres Iniesta’s successor.
8. Gianluigi Donnarumma
We’re all unsure just where the AC Milan goalkeeper will end up, given that he recently and sensationally rejected a new contract from the Serie A side.
Donnarumma made 30 league appearances during the 2015-16 season but featured in every Serie A match of the campaign just finished, establishing himself as a genuine competitor for Gianluigi Buffon’s Italy jersey.
A move to Real Madrid could be on the cards, as could a switch to Manchester United or Juventus, but regardless the 18-year-old won’t have a shortage of teams queuing up to sign him.
9. Timo Werner
RB Leipzig were the surprise package of European football during the 2016-17 season, alongside Monaco, and one of the men behind their major attacking threat was Timo Werner.
The 21-year-old netted 21 goals and contributed a further five assists as his side finished second only to Bayern Munich in the Bundesliga.
Fans were impressed by his dribbling ability and his threat on the counter attack and the hype surrounding the former Stuttgart forward is entirely justified, having produced some consistently electrifying performances over the past year.
Source : 90MIN