For most people, just knowing the top players in a tournament is fine. However, what about the players who are going to hit it big at the next World Cup? With the growing popularity of Football Manager-type computer games, the public is more informed on footballers than they’ve ever been before.
Fans of the sport are always looking out for the next great star. If it’s to say that they heard of said player first or just to know what a great player was like before they become big. The problem is that many people base their view of a player, on how they played, on a video game. That’s a very tricky and problematic thing to do, since very few ever make it big. If video games produced top talent, then French midfielder Lenny Nangis would be a better player.
Here are seven players who played in Copa whom you all need to know about.
Christian Pulisic (17, USA and Borussia Dortmund, midfielder)
One of the very few young American players to play at a top German club, Christian got significant playing time in the Bundesliga and the UEFA Champions league this past season. He is a scorer, and can play as a number 10, as he did with his club team. The one worry is that US Soccer supporters may latch onto him and hype him to Freddy Adu levels. However, Christian has shown that he has the talent and has played against difficult opponents in the Bundesliga. By the time World Cup 2018 rolls around, he should be a star on the world stage.
Gabriel Barbosa (18, Brazil and Santos, striker)
He already has a nickname (Gabigol), and has scored in the Copa America. Gabigol is considered to be the best to come from Santos since Neymar. He signed his first professional contract with Santos at 16, and reportedly has a $50 million buyout clause.
Gabigol is an out and out two footed striker, and has a great work rate. Unlike some other top young strikers, he is a good passer, and helps out teammates on the pitch when the ball is in the opposite end. It has been rumored that Barcelona already wants him, though they may have to fight off the advances of many other clubs.
Renato Tapia (21, Peru and Feyenoord, defensive midfielder)
Tapia had a failed trial at Liverpool when the doctors didn’t think he’d be big enough to play defense, which he doesn’t anyway. Renato is a tough, physical midfielder who will get stuck in. He can score, but think of him in the same lines of Arturo Vidal. Renato will be a captain for club and country in his career.
Hirving Lozano (20, Mexico and Pachuca, midfielder)
He has already been starting for his club side, and was granted a spot on Mexico for Copa America, playing in their group matches. He is an outstanding winger who already has many European clubs looking at him. Hirving is going to be a right footed inverted winger, with his pace and dribbling ability. He is a creative force, and can score with his powerful left foot. The future is bright for the supposedly cocky young star, and already PSV has bid upwards of 7 million Euros for him.
Adalberto Peñaranda (19, Venezuela and Watford, striker)
He was signed from Udinese in the summer of 2016 and loaned to Granada. He has only scored one goal in fourteen matches for the Spanish side. Adalberto was on the Venezuela Copa America squad. He doesn’t mind physical contact, which isn’t common among young strikers, and will suit him well in the Premier League. He has lightning speed, and can put a cross in with some of the best of them.
Marlos Moreno (19, Colombia and Aletico Nacional, striker)
No one has had more of an ascension into the ranks of wonderkinds than Marlos. In fact, Tim Vickery says that he’s the best young player in South America right now. Most of that is due to his three goals in five matches in the Copa Libertadores, as Nacional has laid waste to any club in front of them. He’s got great movement, decision making, and predatory instincts, while being under 20. Marlos has already made his debut for the Colombian national team, and has all of the top clubs in Europe scouting him. Liverpool has been the most persistent, but it appears he may be heading to Manchester City in a £8 million deal.
Blas Riveros (19, Paraguay and Club Olimpia, defender)
He’s already off to Basel, and has lifted the title in the Paraguayan First Division, and was on the national team, even though he wasn’t selected in any of the matches to play. He’s one of the better young defenders to leave South America in the last two years. The future looks very bright for the young man.