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50 Soccer Stars Who Will Shine At The Olympics

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Guest Atkin
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Football at the Beijing Olympics begins on Thursday 7 August and this year’s tournament looks set to be one of the best yet with a host of international superstars on show in China. The likes of Ronaldinho, Lionel Messi and Robinho have all put their country before their clubs in a united front of national pride. Here are 50 of the top stars who will be giving no less than 100% for their nations as they try to win an elusive gold medal.

50. Samuel Caballero (Honduras)

Age: 33 Position: Defender

The vastly experienced Caballero is required once again to provide leadership for a very inexperienced Honduran side in this year’s Olympics. Caballero has been of huge importance to the national side, with 11 goals in 64 matches from defence and played a vital role in the World Cup qualifiers in both 2002 and 2006. Whereas the majority of the Olympic squad are playing club football in Honduras, Caballero can draw on experience from his time at Udinese in Serie A, Chicago Fire in MLS and current employers Changchun Yatai, the Chinese Super League champions.

49. Takayuki Morimoto (Japan)

Age: 20 Position: Striker

Morimoto has a lot to live up to at this year’s Olympics and visits Beijing with a huge reputation. Whilst at Tokyo Verdy, he held the record for the youngest Japanese player to make his professional debut and the youngest scorer in J. League history. He has been compared to a young Ronaldo for the combination of his size, strength and speed, although a professional record of two goals in 19 appearances for Serie A club Catania would suggest otherwise.

48. Kim Dong-Jin (Korea Republic)

Age: 26 Position: Defender

The versatile Kim is one of Korea Republic’s over-age players and will add some much-needed nous to an inexperienced side. Kim has played for UEFA Cup winners Zenit St Petersburg for the past two seasons following spells at FC Seoul and its predecessor Anyang Cheetahs FC. He usually vies with Tottenham Hotspur defender Lee Young-Pyo for the left-back berth and has won 46 caps for his country, scoring two goals.

47. Ryan Nelsen (New Zealand)

Age: 30 Position: Defender

Since being plucked from obscurity in MLS with DC United by Blackburn Rovers, Nelsen has established himself as one of the top defenders in the Premiership. Now the captain at Ewood Park and having signed a new five-year contract last July, Nelsen will only be available for the first two matches of the Olympics because Blackburn have requested he return to England in order to be available for their opening Premiership match of the 2008/09 season against Everton.

46. Souleymane Bamba (Ivory Coast)

Age: 23 Position: Defender

The Olympics will give Watford fans the chance to see their new defender in action following his switch from Scottish Premier side Dunfermline Athletic. After being released by Paris St. Germain, Bamba has impressed in Scotland due to his committed, no-nonsense style of defending which will see him adapt very well to life in the Championship at Vicarage Road. Expect to see full-blooded tackles as the Ivory Coast attempt to reach the quarter final stage.

45. Dong Fangzhuo (China)

Age: 23 Position: Striker

The Olympics will give Manchester United fans a rare chance to watch striker Dong who has made just three appearances for the Reds since moving from Dalian Shide in a £500,000 transfer in 2004. Despite scoring 34 goals in 70 appearances while on loan at Royal Antwerp, it does not look like the striker has a future at Old Trafford and the tournament could be a fantastic stage to show manager Alex Ferguson and indeed the world, what he can do.

44. Neil Kilkenny (Australia)

Age: 22 Position: Midfielder

Born in England but eligible for Australia due to moving there with his family at a young age, Kilkenny played a vital role for the Olyroos during their Olympic qualification trail. Kilkenny joined Leeds United from Birmingham City in January 2008, initially on loan. He was instrumental on his debut during a 3–0 victory against Northampton Town and was awarded man of the match. The former Arsenal youth team player joined Leeds permanently for a £150,000 fee and signed a three year contract with the League One side.

43. Freddy Adu (USA)

Age: 19 Position: Striker

Adu has struggled to live up to the hype which saw him become the youngest American athlete in more than 100 years to sign a professional sporting contract, when he joined MLS side DC United in 2004. Following further spells in the MLS at Dallas Burn and Real Salt Lake, Adu joined Benfica last season before being loaned out to AS Monaco ahead of this campaign. With no goals in eight senior caps for the USA and drifting from club to club, Adu is in danger of falling of the radar if he does not start to perform as he did when he first burst onto the scene five years ago.

42. Franck Songo’o (Cameroon)

Age: 21 Position: Midfielder

Songo’o was granted a change of nationality by FIFA to enable him to play in the Olympics, having represented France at under-19 level on two occastions. After coming through the youth ranks at Barcelona, Songo’o, son of former Cameroon goalkeeper Jacques, joined Portsmouth in 2005 but has made just three senior appearances to date. Loan spells at Bournemouth, Preston, Crystal Palace and Sheffield Wednesday indicates the winger will be using the tournament this summer as a shop window in order to secure a permament move elsewhere.

41. Ruben Zadkovich (Australia)

Age: 22 Position: Defender

The Olympics will give Derby County fans the chance to see their new signing perform against some of the best attacking players in the world. Zadkovich turned down a move to Championship rivals Crystal Palace in order to sign for the Rams, then rock-bottom of the Premiership in April. The right back had previously had spells in England with Queens Park Rangers and Notts County, before making almost 40 appearances for Sydney FC.

40. Gianni Zuiverloon (Netherlands)

Age: 21 Position: Defender

This will be a good chance for West Bromwich Albion fans to take a look at their new £3.2 million defender, following his switch from Heerenveen this summer. It was reported Zuiverloon turned down other clubs in the Premiership and in Europe to play for the Baggies on the advice of Liverpool forward Ryan Babel. In the European Under-21 Championships last summer, Zuiverloon scored the decisive penalty in a marathon shoot-out against England which sent the Dutch through to the final.

39. Filip Dordevic (Serbia)

Age: 20 Position: Striker

While Serbia have been famed for their Scrooge-like defence over the past few years their best chances of scoring goals could be via striker Dordevic. The uncapped hitman was called up to the national squad in November 2007 for a Euro 2008 Group A qualifier against minnows Kazakhstan, but did not play. However, the former Red Star Belgrade striker has been banging them in at club level. Seven goals in 18 appearances while on loan Nantes helped the club win promotion to Ligue One and secured him a four year contract.

38. Zheng Zhi (China)

Age: 27 Position: Midfielder

The captain of the Chinese national side, the Olympics will be a proud moment for Charlton Athletic midfielder Zheng. He is often regarded as the best Chinese footballer of his generation and was named the fifth best player in the Football League by FourFourTwo magazine. Zheng is best known for his work ethic and ball control skills and will need to be at the top of his game if China are to make any progress in the tournament.

37. Adam Federici (Australia)

Age: 23 Position: Goalkeeper

Competing in the same group as an attack-minded Argentina and Ivory Coast, Australia are set to rely on goalkeeper Federici if they are to have any chance of reaching the knockout stage. Federici shot to fame in February 2007 when he appeared in a “second string” for Premiership newcomers Reading who managed to hold Manchester United to a 1-1 draw in an FA Cup fifth round clash at Old Trafford. Federici made some astounding saves during the game and his performance saw him named the FA Cup “Player of the Round”. However, the award was something of a poisoned chalice and Federici conceded three goals in the first six minutes of the replay and was at fault for two of them. The 2007/08 season saw him make just four appearances for Reading and the Olympics will give him a rare opportunity to shine on the big stage.

36. Hedwiges Maduro (Netherlands)

Age: 23 Position: Midfielder

Since being voted as the brightest emerging talent during his days at Ajax in the 2003/04 season, Maduro’s career appears to have stalled. He played against Argentina for the Netherlands in the 2006 World Cup and despite winning 12 senior caps, he then represented the under-21 side last year in the European Football Championships. Maduro was named in the “UEFA Team of the tournament” after the championships had finished and in January, he made a switch to La Liga strugglers Valencia. The Olympics will be a big tournament for him to force his way into coach Bert van Marwijk’s plans.

35. Peter Odemwingie (Nigeria)

Age: 27 Position: Midfielder

The pacy Uzbekistan-born striker is one of Nigeria’s over-age players and has 23 caps for his country, scoring five goals. A spell at Lille and two goals against AC Milan to send the French side into the knockout stages of the Champions League brought the technically-gifted Odemwingie to the attention of the biggest clubs in Europe. He joined Lokomotiv Moscow for approximately £13 million in 2007.

34. Aleksandar Kolarov (Serbia)

Age: 22 Position: Defender

Kolarov should get the chance to wow the crowds in Beijing with some trademark long range efforts and free kicks. The Lazio left back has been nicknamed the “Serbian Roberto Carlos” and has also drawn comparison to compatriot Sinisa Mihajlovic for his ability from set pieces. Kolarov’s transfer from OFK Beograd was featured on an investigative journalism programme in Serbia which suggested it was part of an initiative by Serbian FA president Zvezdan Terzic, also the former president of OFK, to ensure promising young players joined OFK and then inflate their transfer valuations by giving them playing time at international under 21 level.

33. Evander Sno (Netherlands)

Age: 21 Position: Midfielder

Typically a defensive midfield player, Sno played in nine different positions while on loan at NEC Breda before making a move to Scottish Premier champions Celtic. His versatility has not gone unnoticed and he has played as makeshift forward for the Netherlands under-21 side due to a lack of a genuine striker in the squad. Sno has proved adept in attack, scoring three goals in his last two matches for the Dutch under-21s.

32. Alexandre Song (Cameroon)

Age: 20 Position: Defender

This could be the year centre back Song really makes a name for himself. The former Bastia defender has the chance to shine at the Olympics and will also look top build on the progress he made at Arsenal last season. He broke into the side towards the tail end of the campaign and was chosen ahead of Philippe Senderos who was emotionally shaken by the Gunners’ quarter-final exit from the Champions League. Song has also come on in leaps and bounds for Cameroon and was named in the Africa Cup of Nations Best XI, along with fellow countryman Geremi.

31. Tommaso Rocchi (Italy)

Age: 30 Position: Striker

Rocchi can be best described as a “late bloomer” and did not make an impact in Serie A until he was in his late 20s. Last season saw the former lower league journeyman make his debut in the Champions League and he scored the winning goal for current employers Lazio against Bundesliga outfit Werder Bremen. This season Rocchi scored 14 league goals and has an overall impressive tally of 59 goals in 144 appearances for Lazio since joining from Empoli in 2004. He will provide leadership for the younger members of the Italy side in the Olympics and captained Lazio for most of last season, deputising for the injured Luciano Zauri.

30. Roy Makaay (Netherlands)

Age: 33 Position: Striker

Veteran striker Makaay will have a final swansong at the highest level when he features for the Netherlands at the Olympics. He may have been picked because of a lack of strikers in the under-21 bracket but even at the age of 33, he will still cause defences problems in Beijing. Makaay was at his most fruitful during spells at Deportivo La Coruna in Spain and Bayern Munich in Germany, where he averaged a goal every other match. Even in the twighlight years of his career he is terrorising Dutch defenders with Feyenoord and scored 13 goals in 28 appearances last season.

29. Brad Guzan (USA)

Age: 23 Position: Goalkeeper

The Olympics will give Aston Villa fans their first glimpse of goalkeeper Guzan, a player tracked by manager Martin O’ Neil for some time and who was finally landed for just £600,000 in July. The former Chivas stopper was a £2 million target for Villa back in January but they secured his services for a fraction of the cost this summer because his contract with the MLS would expire in November. The MLS Goalkeeper of the Year will battle it out with fellow countryman Brad Friedel for the number one jersey at Villa Park, following the veteran keeper’s July switch from Blackburn Rovers.

28. Vincent Kompany (Belgium)

Age: 22 Position: Defender

Kompany has been regarded as one of the best young centre backs in Europe since he burst onto the scene with Anderlecht in 2003. However, injuries have blighted his fledgling career and has perhaps prevented him from moving to one of Europe’s larger clubs. He joined Hamburger SV in 2006 to replace fellow countryman Daniel Van Buyten but suffered an achilles injury which ruled him out for the rest of the season after just six appearances. Last season was more encouraging, with him making 22 appearances and scoring one goal for his club

27. Victor Anichebe (Nigeria)

Age: 20 Position: Striker

Anichebe rose to fame last season during Everton’s UEFA Cup run when he had a knack of scoring crucial, late goals after coming on as a substitute. He struck with two minutes remaining against Ukranian opponents Metalist to send the Toffees through to the group stage 4-3 on aggregate and came off the bench again to net Everton’s third goal against Larissa. Goals scored with 88 minutes gone also came against Nuremberg and Brann, both after Anichebe was used as a second-half substitute. He has not scored for his country yet, but the Olympics would be the perfect time to get off the mark.

26. Rafinha (Brazil)

Age: 22 Position: Defender

Rafinha is the first of two Brazilian players from Bundesliga clubs who have decided to participate in the Olympics against the wishes of their employers. The former Cortiba right back was a key figure in Schalke 04’s surprise progress to the quarter finals of last season’s Champions League and he has since been strongly linked with a move to Liverpool. A good showing in Beijing could see Rafinha force his way into Brazil manager Dunga’s plans and play a part in their stuttering World Cup 2010 qualifying campaign.

25. Michael Bradley (USA)

Age: 21 Position: Midfielder

Midfielder Bradley is the latest USA-starlet to be linked with a big-money move to the Premiership. Following a spell in the MLS with the Metrostars, Bradley now plys his trade with Heerenveen and has scored 15 goals in 55 appearances for the Dutch side. Bradley is a creative player and helped unfashionable Heerenveen to a fifth-placed finish in the league and ensured they finished with the strongest goal difference. He has not been short of admirers and even though he has expressed a desire to play in the Bundesliga, the likes of Everton, Middlesbrough and Newcastle United have shown interest. A good tournament could help him seal a move to England.

24. Emiliano Viviano (Italy)

Age: 22 Position: Goalkeeper

Italy are taking two of the most promising young goalkeepers to the Olympics, one of whom is Viviano. At just 22-years-old, he has made 90 appearances for Serie B club Brescia and has also spent time on loan at Cesena. He was the first choice for the under-20 side at the 2005 FIFA World Youth Championships and also featured for the under-21 squad in Euro 2007.

23. Andrea Consigli (Italy)

Age: 21 Position: Goalkeeper

As well as Viviano, Italy are also taking Consigli to Beijing and the Atalanta goalkeeper is perhaps more likely to feature in the side. The 21-year-old is the first choice stopper for the Italy under-21 team and in eligible to play at that level until after the end of the Euro 2009 finals. Despite his tender years he has two full season’s experience behind him, following loan spells at Sambenedettese in Serie C1 and Serie B club Rimini.

22. Javier Mascherano (Argentina)

Age: 24 Position: Midfielder

Mascherano rose to prominence during the World Cup in 2006 and was soon linked with some of Europe’s largest clubs, including Barcelona and Real Madrid. It was a surprise when he eventually joined West Ham United and perhaps even more surprising that he rarely featured in the side. Following a switch to Liverpool, he is now considered to be one of the best defensive midfielders in the world but also has a petulant side. This was evident during Liverpool’s defeat at Manchester United last season when he was booked for a poor tackle on Paul Scholes and was later sent off for protesting a yellow card shown to Fernando Torres. Mascherano had to be pushed from the field of play by Reds captain Steven Gerrard and Xabi Alonso. Manager Rafa Benitez was also forced to leave the dug out and plead with the 36-cap player to leave the field.

21. Antonio Nocerino (Italy)

Age: 23 Position: Midfielder

Nocerino is one of several players in the Olympic squad who are on the fringes of the senior side and will want to impress to add to his one cap against South Africa last year. Despite being just 23 years old, Nocerino has played for seven teams and been involved with co-ownership deals with Genoa, Piacenza and Juventus. After making 32 goalless appearances for Juventus last season, Nocerino joined Serie A rivals Palermo this summer as part of the deal which took striker Amauri to the Stadio Olimpico.

20. Anderson (Brazil)

Age: 20 Position: Midfielder

Anderson is just one of a number of talented, attacking players Brazil are taking to the Olympics but has yet to score for his country and has not hit the back of the net for Manchester United, following his £18 million move from FC Porto last summer. Anderson has suffered with injuries since moving to Old Trafford, but as, United’s second Brazilian player to join the club, he has been infinitely better than the dismal Kleberson. Anderson was brought on as a substitute in the final minute of extra time in the Champions League final and scored United’s sixth penalty in the shootout at sudden death stage. He responded by kicking the ball back into the net and manager Alex Ferguson credits this action with returning the momentum to United.

19. Slobodan Rajkovic (Serbia)

Age: 19 Position: Defender

Chelsea paid a then-world record £3.8 million for a player under the age of 18 when they prised 16-year-old Rajkovic away from Serbia club OFK Beograd. In June 2007, Chelsea loaned Rajkovic to Dutch club PSV Eindhoven as part of the deal surrounding Alex’s move to Stamford Bridge and he will return to the Netherlands this season with a loan spell at FC Twente, managed by former England boss Steve McClaren.

18. Ryan Babel (Netherlands)

Age: 21 Position: Midfielder

Babel has done well in his first season of English football, following a £14 million move from Ajax to Liverpool. While he has not found it easy to feature in Premiership matches, starting just 15 times and making another 15 appearances from the substitutes bench, Babel made a name for himself during the Reds’ exploits in the Champions League. A return of five goals from eight starts and a further five sub appearances was far more productive and he famously scored a last minute goal against Arsenal in the quarter final. In all, Babel scored 10 goals in 48 appearances for Liverpool, which is a decent return and he boasts a similar ratio for the Netherlands, with five goals in 24 senior appearances.

17. Taye Taiwo (Nigeria)

Age: 23 Position: Defender

Like Serbia defender Kolarov, Taiwo is also a fan of long range efforts on goal and his seven goals in 26 appearances for Nigeria is a ratio most strikers would be proud of. The Marseille left back has a rocket shot and is also a competent set-piece taker. He has scored seven goals in almost 100 appearances for the Ligue One side and has been heavily linked with a move to Sunderland this summer. If he puts on a good show in Beijing, Roy Keane may be tempted to increase his speculated £7 million offer for the defender.

16. Riccardo Montolivo (Italy)

Age: 23 Position: Midfielder

The Fiorentina midfielder will want to take his chance at the Olympics to add to his one cap for the senior side, when, like compatriot Nocerino, debuted in the 2-0 friendly victory against South Africa last October. Montolivio has been a regular in the under-21 side, racking up 20 appearances and three goals and has featured in 90 matches for Fiorentina, playing a major role in their resurgence as a force in Italian football. He began the 2007/08 season with a bang scoring a magnificent lob in the 3-1 opening day victory against Empoli.

15. Jozy Altidore (USA)

Age: 18 Position: Striker

First there was Freddy Adu and now there is Jozy Altidore! The 18-year-old striker has been snapped up by La Liga runners-up Villarreal from New York Red Bulls for an American transfer record of £5 million. The fee eclipses the previous record £4 million Rangers paid for Claudio Reyna in 2001. He was previously linked with Real Madrid, Newcastle United and Reading following his spell in the Big Apple which yielded 15 goals in 37 appearances. Altidore has also scored one goal in three senior appearances for the USA.

14. Stephane M’Bia (Cameroon)

Age: 22 Position: Midfielder

M’Bia could be the latest Africa starlet heading to the Premier League if he performs well in Beijing after Everton showed strong interest in him over the summer. The defensive midfielder has made 77 appearances for Rennes over the last three seasons and has scored three goals in 11 appearances for Cameroon. M’Bia was instrumental in Cameroon’s run in the 2008 Africa Cup of Nations and scored twice against Tunisia in the quarter final.

13. Angel Di Maria (Argentina)

Age: 20 Position: Midfielder

Di Maria is one of the brightest young talents in Argentinian football and joined the long-line of South American players leaving their homeland to ply their trade in Europe. After a magnificent showing in the 2007 FIFA U-20 World Cup, the tricky winger left Rosario Central to join Benfica last summer where he was described by club president Luis Fillipe Vieria as the perfect replacement for departing captain Simao Sabrosa. The youngster has also broken into the senior national teams and has one goal in three appearances to his name.

12. Salomon Kalou (Ivory Coast)

Age: 22 Position: Striker

Despite a number of the Ivory Coast squad playing in Europe, they look an inexperienced outfit and the onus will be on Chelsea striker Kalou to perform. Since making his international debut in 2007, Kalou has been at the forefront of the Ivory Coast’s attack. He has scored six goals in eight appearances overall, netting three times during the 2008 Africa Cup of Nations and has been an important figure during his country’s World Cup 2010 qualifiers, scoring the winner in the 1-0 victory against Nigeria. If the Ivory Coast are to join likely qualifiers Argentina in the quarter finals, Kalou must ensure he takes his shooting boots to Beijing.

11. Giuseppe Rossi (Italy)

Age: 21 Position: Striker

Manchester United fans will recognise Rossi from his limited appearances for the Old Traffiord side but the American-born Italian striker is now carving out a new career for himself in La Liga with Villarreal. The young striker failed to make the grade at United and did not impress on loan at Newcastle United either, but a loan move to Serie A side Parma kick started his career. Nine goals in 19 appearances persuaded Villarreal to part with £6.6 million for his services last summer and he repaid their faith in him with 11 goals. Rossi can now look forward to Olympic action and then test himself in the Champions League with Villarreal. Who knows, Manchester United may exercise the clause in his contract to repurchase him at a later time.

10. Royston Drenthe (Netherlands)

Age: 21 Position: Midfielder

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The Olympics will be the perfect stage for Drenthe to showcase his talents after a difficult first season at Real Madrid. He was chosen as “Player of the Tournament” after the 2007 European Under-21 Football Championship which prompted Madrid to secure his transfer from Feyenoord last summer. However, while he made a great start to his career at the Bernabeu, scoring on his debut against Sevilla in the Supercopa de Espana, he found his playing time limited after the emergence of Brazilian left back Marcelo. He has been linked with moves to Serie A club Roma and Portuguese giants Benfica this summer.

9. Alexandre Pato (Brazil)

Age: 18 Position: Striker

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Pato has been a revelation since joining AC Milan from Internacional for a reported £17 million last season. While he has been used sparingly, he has scored nine goals in 18 appearances and has also scored twice in four senior appearances for Brazil. Pato snatched the record as the youngest scorer in the history of official FIFA competitions from the legendary Pele when he scored for Internacional against Al-Ahly Cairo in the 2006 FIFA Club World Cup. He was 17 years and 102 days while Pele was 17 years and 239 days when he scored for Brazil against Wales in the 1958 World Cup.

8. Fernando Gago (Argentina)

Age: 22 Position: Midfielder

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During his three years at Boca Juniors, Gago drew comparisons to Argentina legend Fernando Redondo and was linked with both AC Milan and Barcelona, but opted to join Real Madrid. Gago is known for his gritty displays in defensive midfield but he also possesses outstanding vision and can deliver long range through balls to his attacking team mates. In his second season at the Bernabeu, Gago displayed his true ability and ousted Mahamadou Diarra to make the place in Madrid’s La Liga winning midfield his own and helped the club to a second successive league title in 2008.

7. Jo (Brazil)

Age: 21 Position: Striker

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Jo could be one of the most exciting players in the Premiership this season following his club-record £18 million move from CSKA Moscow to Manchester City. He was prolific in Russia, scoring 30 goals in 50 appearances and City beat off competition from Valencia to secure his signature. While he made his club debut in the UEFA Cup qualifier against Faroe Island minnows EB/Streymur in July, the Olympics will be the first time City fans will be able to take a good look at their new striker.

6. Diego (Brazil)

Age: 23 Position: Midfielder

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Like Rafinha, Diego is jetting off to Beijing against the wishes of his club employers Werder Bremen. The diminutive Brazilian was a key figure in the Werder team which finished as Bundesliga runners-up to Bayern Munich last season and with 26 goals in 60 appearances, it’s no wonder they don’t want him absent for any matches at the start of the season! His sparkling performances in the last season’s Champions League has alerted some of Europe’s super clubs and unsurprisingly, Diego has been heavily linked with a move to Chelsea, where he would be reunited with former Brazil manager Filipe Scolari. A good tournament could see that multi-million pound transfer become a reality.

5. Sergio Aguero (Argentina)

Age: 20 Position: Striker

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Aguero could be the next big thing in world football after a stunning campaign with Atletico Madrid last season. Alongside former manchester United striker Diego Forlan, they were one of them most prolific strike pairings in Europe and Augero finished the season as La Liga’s third-highest goal scorer with 19 goals. He also won the Antonio Puerta Award for the Best La Liga player for the 2007/08 season. Duringhis days in Argentina with Independientem he became the youngest player to debut in the Argentine First Division at only 15 years and 35 days. This broke a previous record set by Argentina legend Diego Maradona.

4. Robinho (Brazil)

Age: 24 Position: Striker

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Robinho is starting to fulfil his early promise after three full seasons at Real Madrid and he could really stamp his authority on the Olympics if he is in the mood. Last season Robinho scored 11 goals and was credited with 14 assists as Madrid romped to the La Liga title and like compatriot Diego, he has been heavily linked with a move to Chelsea this summer. Robinho has not been as prolific for Madrid as he was for Santos, where he plundered 44 goals in 104 appearances, but he has a good record at international level, winning 50 caps and scoring 15 goals. He will play an integral part of a Brazil team which should be a joy to watch in Beijing.

3. Juan Roman Riquelme (Argentina)

Age: 30 Position: Midfielder

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Creative genius gets another chance to shine on the big stage by being named as one of Argentina’s over-age players for their Olympic squad. Now playing in his homeland with a second stint at Boca Juniors, Riquelme will be eager to prove, at 30 years old, he can still cut it at the top after ending a five year spell at La Liga club Villarreal. Despite 36 goals in 102 appearances, Riquelme returned to Bocsa on loan in February 2007 after falling out of favour at the Estadio El Madrigal. He was instrumental in Boca’s winning of the Copa Libertadores, scoring in the first leg of the final against Gremio and adding two more in the second. He also won the award for the Copa Libertadores’ Most Valuable Player. Last summer it was thought Riquelme would join Atletico Madrid for around £6 million but the move fell through and he rejoined Boca on a permanent contract in January 2008

2. Ronaldinho (Brazil)

Age: 28 Position: MidfieldeR

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Ronaldinho will have no better opportunity to prove to the world he is still one of the world’s greats than at the Olympics. As one of Brazil’s over-age players, Ronaldinho will be able to get himself in prime condition before returning to new employers AC Milan who paid £16.6 million to secure his services from Barcelona this summer. For most of his five years at the Nou Camp, Ronaldinho was a revelation and scored 94 goals in 207 games. Among his many achievements and awards, he has twice been named FIFA World Player of the Year, European Footballer of the Year and FIFPro World Player of the Year awards. If he is in the mood and judging by his performance in an Olympic warm-up, where he scored a goal and created another in a 3-0 victory against Singapore, then he will be devastating in Beijing.

1. Lionel Messi (Argentina)

Age: 21 Position: Striker

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Messi will undoubtedly be the player to watch in Beijing. Understandably, Barcelona were not keen on starlet representing Argentina in the Olympics due to the risk of injury. He has suffered with muscle tears in his left thigh four times in the last three seasons and Barca will be wary of a repeat before the La Liga season has even begun. Putting fears of injury aside, there are no words which can describe Messi’s talent and do him justice. The former Newell’s Old Boys youngster is famous for his speed with the ball at his feat, his dribbling ability and lethal finishing. He has drawn comparisons to Argentina legend Diego Maradona, who himself named Messi as his “successor”. Messi has scored nine goals in 29 senior appearances for Argentina and will be confident of racking up more goals and dazzling the crowds at the Olympic games.

Sorry this is a bit late. I have had really bad internet problems.

If there is already a thread similar to this i apologize.

So who do you think will win the tournament?

Which players will stand out?

Feedback and responses much appreciated.

List according to 'soccer advise'.

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Re: 50 Soccer Stars Who Will Shine At The Olympics

Well written, but from another website I assume?

If not I am surprised because you have put the likes of Javier Mascherano and Ryan Babel below a player that won't even play in the Olympics due to injury (Robinho Souza)? :confused: He has been taken out of the team due to injury.

I say Argentina win it with Brazil runners-up or vice versa.

EDIT: Jo is behind Pato and Ronaldinho in pecking order yet he is above Alexandre Pato?

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Guest joe black

Re: 50 Soccer Stars Who Will Shine At The Olympics

Top marks for an interesting post, i would like to see Brazil win it cos of there style of football;):)

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Re: 50 Soccer Stars Who Will Shine At The Olympics

Already kicked off, Brazil and Argie scraped wins, but a win is a win, Messi also scoring a goal.

Glad they have been allowed to stay bt their fellow clubs (Ronnie, Messi, Diego, Rafinha etc), should lead to a good tournament.

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Re: 50 Soccer Stars Who Will Shine At The Olympics

i would like to see States or China to win this, or at least to go to final.. if this happens, we will see a boom of football players and will be good to the modality :)

but Brazil or Argentina will won, Netherlands have some chances :)

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Guest joe black

Re: 50 Soccer Stars Who Will Shine At The Olympics

Anybody know if the games are on TV????;):)

The womans games where on Eurosport!!!!

EDIT

Its ok,the highlights where on Eurosport at 10-15 this morning:rolleyes::mad:

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Re: 50 Soccer Stars Who Will Shine At The Olympics

I'm surprised Giovinco isn't in that list ( or did I miss him?..I wouldn't have picked Nocerino ahead of him )..Italy has a talented young squad ...I think they have a good chance! ;)

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Guest Atkin

Re: 50 Soccer Stars Who Will Shine At The Olympics

Have you noticed that the top 9 players are either Brazilian or Argentinian? :rolleyes:

I'd like to see China win as they are probley one of the underdogs.

Thanks for the rep and replys. :)

Also, has anyone been watching the opening ceremony? :eek:

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Guest Atkin

Re: 50 Soccer Stars Who Will Shine At The Olympics

Sorry m8 would of repped but You must spread some Reputation around before giving it to ntfc.atkin again.

Well... Its the thought that counts. :P

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Re: 50 Soccer Stars Who Will Shine At The Olympics

11. Giuseppe Rossi (Italy)

Age: 21 Position: Striker

Manchester United fans will recognise Rossi from his limited appearances for the Old Traffiord side but the American-born Italian striker is now carving out a new career for himself in La Liga with Villarreal. The young striker failed to make the grade at United and did not impress on loan at Newcastle United either, but a loan move to Serie A side Parma kick started his career. Nine goals in 19 appearances persuaded Villarreal to part with £6.6 million for his services last summer and he repaid their faith in him with 11 goals. Rossi can now look forward to Olympic action and then test himself in the Champions League with Villarreal. Who knows, Manchester United may exercise the clause in his contract to repurchase him at a later time.

already scored a goal in his 1st match ;)

my favorite youth player

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Re: 50 Soccer Stars Who Will Shine At The Olympics

I sadly missed the matches yesterday as I didn't know what station they where being shown on so if somebody could tell me please do.I only really like the olympics because of the football in it.I am looking forward to seeing players like Rossi,Anderson and Dong in the tournament.i do hope that United try and re-sign Rossi as he is a top young striker and has what it takes to be one of the greats in years to come.Anderson has already proved he can play in the best league in the world and I am really looking forward to see him play against some of the worlds top internationals at youth and senior levels.Dong has not made the cut at United but if he does get the chance this season he may take it.I have seen him play games for Royal Antwerp and he was good.

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Re: 50 Soccer Stars Who Will Shine At The Olympics

What time is the football on? Is it on BBC1 like the rest of the olympics? Tbh this the first olympics I've paid any interest in' date=' last time I was 11 and couldn't give a toss who win.[/quote']

The early games start at 10am UK time and the later games at 12.45 in the afternoon UK time. I think some games might be live on Eurosport but i know you could watch any game the other day live through the BBC website.

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Re: 50 Soccer Stars Who Will Shine At The Olympics

. Filip Dordevic (Serbia)

Age: 20 Position: Striker

While Serbia have been famed for their Scrooge-like defence over the past few years their best chances of scoring goals could be via striker Dordevic. The uncapped hitman was called up to the national squad in November 2007 for a Euro 2008 Group A qualifier against minnows Kazakhstan, but did not play. However, the former Red Star Belgrade striker has been banging them in at club level. Seven goals in 18 appearances while on loan Nantes helped the club win promotion to Ligue One and secured him a four year contract.

Nantes didn't let him go to Olympics.

You are right about Slobodan Rajkovic and Kolarov.

Also, Zoran Tosic and Dusan Tadic have been pretty impressive.

Rajkovic scored a goal with his head. Second best of the top 8 highlight. Brazil goal was best :D

He plays CB.

Too bad Kuzmanovic, Sulejmani, and Babovic couldn't come =/

GOOD LUCK TO ALL AT OLYMPCIS

My prediction:

Brazil

Italy

Argentina

=D

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Re: 50 Soccer Stars Who Will Shine At The Olympics

Also, everyone here that wants to watch Olympics.

Go to NBC Olympics website and go to videos.

Download the plug-in. And watch it for free.

Shows all the games. :)

Enjoy!

If you missed it live. You can watch it recorded.

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Re: 50 Soccer Stars Who Will Shine At The Olympics

I know it's very late, but Zadkovich is rated very bad by a lot of Australians. A lot say he is only athletic.

Given they did it before the tournament, I have no idea how Matthew Spiranovic was not in that list. Having the worst coach ever in Football history did not help, but he was brilliant (for those that remember), Adam Federici was also awesome. Matthew Spiranovic was great against Argentina, if his injuries are cut out, I expect him to possibly end up being in a great club.

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