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Ones to watch in 2008


keith
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See article below featured in today's Sun Newspaper.

Tell us something we don't know. I reckon some of us forumers should apply to write for the Sun. Could teach them a thing or two I suspect!

No mention of Vincent Kompany, Kevin Lejeune, Xavier Vilson, Anton Shunin, Hatem Ben Arfa, Mathieu Valbuena, Oleksandr Hladyki, Vincent Muratori, Lucas Vacha.

THE past 12 months have seen the emergence of some of the brightest young talents in world football.

Cristiano Ronaldo, Cesc Fabregas and Lionel Messi transformed themselves into world-class performers during 2007.

Ronaldo, 22, and Messi, 20, were named as runners-up to Kaka in the FIFA World Player of the Year awards and Fabregas, 20, has helped turn Arsenal in to genuine Premier League title contenders.

But who will be the stars of 2008?

SunSport profiles 20 players who are set to make their mark on the beautiful game.

Sergio Aguero, 19, Atletico Madrid, striker

YET another Argentine youngster who has been tagged "the next Maradonna". Aguero joined Atletico aged just 17 in June 2006 from Independiente for a club-record fee of £15.75m. Struggled to cope with the pressure in his debut season but has already scored 12 goals in 22 games this term.

Ever Banega, 19, Boca Juniors, midfielder

CLASSY holding midfielder who has been linked with moves to some of Europe's biggest clubs. Took over the holding role for Boca when Fernando Gago joined Real Madrid last year and formed a strong partnership with Juan Roman Riquelme as the Argentine giants won the Copa Libertadores — South America's answer to the Champions League.

Karim Benzema, 20, Lyon, striker

CAME through the ranks at Lyon and has caught the eye of Arsenal, Real Madrid and Juventus after scoring 12 goals in 16 matches this season. Made his international debut for France in March and has netted three times for Les Bleus in eight games. Arsene Wenger described him as "an immense revelation".

Breno, 18, Bayern Munich, defender

BRAZIL Under-20 skipper who will join the German giants on January 1. Bayern paid Sao Paulo around £8.5million for the skillful central defender. Ex-Brazil and Bayern striker Giovani Elber described Breno as "an absolutely stunning prospect" after he agreed his big-money move.

Macauley Chrisantus, 17, Hamburg, striker

MANCHESTER UNITED, Tottenham, Arsenal, Manchester City were all interested in signing Chrisantus after his exploits at this year's FIFA Under-17 World Cup. The scintillating striker fired seven goals in seven games and was the top scorer as Nigeria won the competition. Joined Hamburg in November 2007.

Denilson, 19, Arsenal, midfielder

BRAZILIAN star who is a regular fixture in the Gunners' youthful Carling Cup sides. Bought from Sao Paulo in August 2006 for £3.4m despite just four starts for the club. All-round midfielder who is comfortable going forward but also a tenacious tackler.

Lorenzo De Silvestri, 19, Lazio, defender

TALENTED full-back who has been tipped as a future Italian international. De Silvestri will be a target for Roma, Juventus and Arsenal in January as he will be available on a Bosman when his contract expires in the summer. Made his Champions League debut in August and has made 12 appearances so far this season.

Franco Di Santo, 18, Chelsea, striker

ARGENTINE wonderkid who will join the Blues in January for £3.4m from Chilian side Audax Italiano. Like Lucas Leiva at Liverpool, he holds an Italian passport and will be able to play for the Blues immediately. May struggle to break into Avram Grant's star-studded team but should earn a few run outs in cup competitions in 2008.

Giovani dos Santos, 18, Barcelona, striker

CAME to prominence in 2005 when he was one of stars of the Mexico team that won the FIFA Under-17 World Cup. Has been a regular feature for Barca this season and has managed to keep Ronaldinho out of the starting XI. Already has four caps for Mexico.

Stevan Jovetic, 18, Partizan Belgrade, striker

A £7m target for Manchester United after becoming the top scorer in the Serbian league with 11 goals. Was named captain of the Montenegro Under-21 side aged just 17 and has already made his full international debut. A creative striker who likes to drop deep and run at defenders. He is also a deadly-accurate finisher.

Bojan Krkic, 17, Barcelona, striker

HAILED as Spain's answer to Lionel Messi by Barca fans after scoring over 800 goals in the Catalan club's youth teams. Broke the record as the youngest ever player to feature in a Champions League match in September 2007. A month later, he became Barcelona's youngest La Liga goalscorer.

Toni Kroos, 17, Bayern Munich, midfielder

NAMED player of the tournament at the 2007 FIFA Under-17 World Cup and has already made his Bundesliga and European debuts for Bayern. A creative, goalscoring midfielder, Kroos shone at youth level for both club and country. Bayern general manager Uli Hoeness has already earmarked him for the revered No10 shirt.

Lucas Leiva, 20, Liverpool, midfielder

SIGNED for the Reds in the summer from Copa Libertadores finalists Gremio after winning the Brazilian Footballer of the Year award. Likened to Steven Gerrard before his move to England, the box-to-box midfielder has already featured heavily in Rafa Benitez's side and should be a key player in 2008.

Lulinha, 17, Corinthians, midfielder

TRANSFER target for Italian champions Inter Milan after starring for Brazil's Under-17 side. Scored 12 goals in seven matches during the South American U-17 Championships before being one of the stars of the 2007 FIFA U-17 World Cup. The tricky attacking midfielder has an eye for goal and is already being touted as the long-term successor to Ronaldinho.

Alexandre Pato, 18, AC Milan, striker

KNOWN as 'the duck', Pato shot to fame when AC Milan shelled out £15m for his services in the summer — despite rules stopping him from playing until January 3. Milan have high hopes for Pato, with president Silvio Berlusconi claiming he expects the youngster to score 30 goals between January and the end of the season. Brazil coach Dunga has dubbed him "the new Ronaldo".

Gerard Pique, 20, Manchester United, defender

RETURNED to United this season after a successful loan spell with Real Zaragoza. The ex-Barcelona youth product showed huge potential during his year in Spain and is expected to feature regularly for the Red Devils in 2008. Has played nine times this season, including the Champions League matches with Roma and Dynamo Kiev.

Ivan Rakitic, 19, Schalke, midfielder

NIKO KRANJCAR and Luka Modric may have ended England's Euro 2008 qualifying hopes but new Three Lions boss Fabio Capello will have to watch out Rakitic in 2008. The Swiss-born attacking midfielder is the latest Croatian star to catch the eye and was snapped up by German champions Schalke in the summer.

Adel Taarabt, 18, Tottenham, midfielder

YOUNG French midfielder who has established himself as a regular member of Spurs' match-day squad. Compared to Zinedine Zidane before his move to North London, the left-footed trickster has already wowed the White Hart Lane faithful with his ambitious runs and long-range strikes.

Carlos Vela, 18, Arsenal, striker

THE Gunners snapped up Vela after he finished top scorer in the FIFA Under-17 World Cup in 2005 — a feat that Cesc Fabregas achieved two years earlier. The Mexican has been on loan in Spain for the past two seasons and will return to North London in January. An exciting prospect who should make his Arsenal debut this term.

Theo Walcott, 18, Arsenal, striker

JOINED the Gunners from Southampton for £5m in January 2006 and shot to fame when he was called up to England's 2006 World Cup squad aged 17. Scored the opening goal in last season's Carling Cup final and is a regular at Under-21 level for the Three Lions. Should return to the Fabio Capello's England squad in 2008.

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Re: Ones to watch in 2008

Carlos Vela' date=' 18, Arsenal, striker [/b']

THE Gunners snapped up Vela after he finished top scorer in the FIFA Under-17 World Cup in 2005 — a feat that Cesc Fabregas achieved two years earlier. The Mexican has been on loan in Spain for the past two seasons and will return to North London in January. An exciting prospect who should make his Arsenal debut this term.

It seems like they got it wrong. The earliest Vela will be at Arsenal is next summer and therefore won't be able to make his debut until next season.

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Re: Ones to watch in 2008

It seems like they got it wrong. The earliest Vela will be at Arsenal is next summer and therefore won't be able to make his debut until next season.

Actually here you are incorrect,the article was right in Jan08 Vela will gain a Spanish passport and will qualify to play for Arsenal..

It will be Wenger's decision to bring him back or not but I can't see it happening..

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