NXGN: Haaland, Foden, Sancho and 2019's best wonderkids

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GOAL selected the 50 best footballing talents from around the world born on or after January 1, 2000 – but how are they getting on now?

Since NXGN's introduction in 2016, GOAL has profiled the 50 best footballing wonderkids on the planet on an annual basis, with the top-ranked player taking home the NXGN award.

Some of those recognised for the talent as teenagers are now household names, but others have not yet realised their potential.

So, ahead of the NXGN 2022 list being revealed on Tuesday, March 22, check out where the stars of 2019 are now, while all of the other previous NXGN lists can be found below...

Every NXGN list

Dembele, Tielemans & 2016's best wonderkids

Mbappe, Donnarumma & 2017's best wonderkids

De Ligt, Kluivert & 2018's best wonderkids

Saka, Rodrygo & 2020's best male wonderkids

Oberdorf, Huitema & 2020's best female wonderkids

Pedri, Ansu Fati & 2021's best male wonderkids

Bennison, Tromp & 2021's best female wonderkids

  1. Christian Fruchtl | Bayern Munich
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    #50 Christian Fruchtl | Bayern Munich

    2019: A modern goalkeeper with great feet, Fruchtl had yet to make his senior debut but was considered a top prospect, having impressed Manuel Neuer & Co. after being invited to train with Bayern's first team during their winter break in Qatar in 2016.

    2020: Fruchtl established himself as Bayern's reserve-team goalkeeper in 2019-20, playing 27 games in the third tier of German football.

    2021: The shot-stopper joined FC Nurnberg in the second division for the 2020-21 season, but did not make a first-team appearance.

    2022: Fruchtl has regularly been on the bench for the Bayern first team this season, but is still waiting for his senior debut.

  2. Takefusa Kubo | FC Tokyo
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    #49 Takefusa Kubo | FC Tokyo

    2019: Having been signed by Barcelona as a 10-year-old, the outrageously gifted attacker was forced to return to his native Japan in 2016 because of irregularities related to the Catalan club's recruitment of overseas players aged under 18. However, he was excelling in his homeland with FC Tokyo, and widely expected to return to La Masia sooner rather than later, only for Real Madrid to swoop in and sign him in the summer of 2019.

    2020: Kubo was one of the young stars of the Spanish season after being loaned to Mallorca, directly contributing to nine goals as they fought against relegation. His form persuaded Villarreal to take him on loan for the following season.

    2021: The forward failed to force his way into Unai Emery's team, and had his loan spell cut short in January 2021, with Madrid instead sending him on loan to Getafe for the remainder of the season, though he struggled to make much of an impact.

    2022: Mallorca's promotion back to La Liga allowed them to make their move and bring Kubo back to the club on loan in 2021-22, with the Japan international's form having improved a little as a result.

  3. Yari Verschaeren | Anderlecht
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    #48 Yari Verschaeren | Anderlecht

    2019: Regarded as the latest top talent to roll off the production line at Anderlecht, Verschaeren had already appeared in the Europa League for the Belgian outfit.

    2020: After making his Belgium debut in September 2019, Verschaeren made 21 league appearances over the course of the 2019-20 campaign.

    2021: A three-month absence with an ankle injury, coupled with an early finish to the season due to Covid-19, meant that Verscharen made just 16 league appearances in 2020-21, though he still managed to score five times.

    2022: Now an established starter, Verscharen has already set personal bests for goals and assists in a single season with two months still to go.

  4. Juan Miranda | Barcelona
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    #47 Juan Miranda | Barcelona

    2019: The versatile left-back had humbly played down his impressive Champions League debut against Tottenham in November by saying that "everything's easier when you've got Lionel Messi by your side", but Barca were growing increasingly confident that they had unearthed Jordi Alba's eventual successor.

    2020: Miranda was sent to Schalke on a two-year loan deal, but made just 11 Bundesliga appearances during his first season in Germany, leading to Barca cutting his stay short after 12 months. He was then sent to Real Betis on loan for 2020-21.

    2021: The defender did enough in Seville to persuade Betis to make the deal permanent in the summer of 2021.

    2022: Miranda has been in and out of the Betis team this season, as he struggles to hold down a place in Manuel Pellegrini's line-up.

  5. Brenner | Sao Paulo
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    #46 Brenner | Sao Paulo

    2019: The striker with the €50m release clause was featuring in the NXGN series for the second year in a row, having only enhanced his reputation as one of Brazil's most promising young players.

    2020: The 2020 season proved to be a breakout campaign for Brenner, as he scored 22 goals in all competitions for Sao Paulo.

    2021: In a shock move, MLS newcomers FC Cincinnati signed Brenner for $13m amid interest from top European clubs. He enjoyed a decent first year in MLS, scoring eight goals.

    2022: Brenner is set to lead the line for Cincinnati again as they continue to establish themselves within MLS.

  6. Mohamed Ihattaren | PSV
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    #45 Mohamed Ihattaren | PSV

    2019: After helping Netherlands win the 2018 European Under-17 Championship by converting a penalty in all three of his country's shootout victories in England, the attacking midfielder had made his Eredivisie debut for PSV the following January and was regarded as one of the Dutch club's brightest prospects.

    2020: Ihattaren confirmed his status as one of Europe's best young playmakers after scoring 10 goals and laying on nine assists in all competitions during 2019-20.

    2021: The attacking midfielder fell out with PSV coach Roger Schmidt at the beginning of the 2020-21 season, and he played just 22 times in the Eredivisie. Further rifts followed, leading to Ihatteren joining Juventus in a €6m deal before he was loaned to Sampdoria.

    2022: Ihattaren never played a game in Serie A, and there were even reports that he would retire after he returned to Netherlands mid-season. He was signed on a year-long loan by Ajax in January 2022, but has failed to impress Erik ten Hag due to his fitness issues.

  7. Ante Palaversa | Manchester City
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    #44 Ante Palaversa | Manchester City

    2019: Palaversa had broken into the Hajduk Split first team, so in order to avoid missing out on a player who was attracting attention from all over Europe, Manchester City signed the Croatian for £7m, and then loaned him back to his hometown club for the remainder of the 2018-19 season.

    2020: The midfielder was loaned to Oostende for the 2019-20 season, but missed the first three months through injury. When Palaversa did return, he made 19 league appearances for the Belgian outfit, before being loaned to Getafe for the following campaign.

    2021: Palaversa played just seven minutes of Liga football and had his stay in Spain cut short in January 2021. He then joined KV Kortrijk on an 18-month loan deal as he returned to Belgium.

    2022: For the first time in his career, Palaversa has become a regular starter in the top flight, though any chance of him making the grade at City has likely gone.

  8. Gabriel Brazao | Parma
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    #43 Gabriel Brazao | Parma

    2019: After being named in the Brazil squad for the November 2018 internationals against Uruguay and Cameroon alongside Alisson and Ederson, the Cruzeiro academy graduate was snapped up by Parma in January 2019, but with a view to a summer switch to Inter.

    2020: Brazao joined Spanish second-division side Albacete on loan for the 2019-20 season, but made just seven appearances for the club. He was then loaned back to Spain to join Real Oviedo.

    2021: Again, Brazao was not first choice, playing just three games over the course of the campaign.

    2022: A cruciate ligament rupture ruled Brazao out for the whole first half of the European season and, in March, he was sent on an 18-month loan to Cruzeiro.

  9. Antonio Marin | Dinamo Zagreb
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    #42 Antonio Marin | Dinamo Zagreb

    2019: Before signing his first professional contract with Dinamo Zagreb in October 2017, Marin had been courted by clubs such as AC Milan, Manchester City and Paris Saint-Germain.

    2020: Marin managed 13 league games during the 2019-20 season, scoring his first senior goal in the process. Ahead of the following campaign, he was loaned to AC Monza in Serie B.

    2021: After making just seven appearances in Italy, Marin cut his stay at Monza short, and joined Lokomotiva for the remainder of the campaign in January 2021.

    2022: Marin is spending the current season on loan at HNK Sibenik, and has emerged as one of the best creative forwards in the Croatian top flight.

  10. Leonardo Campana | Barcelona SC
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    #41 Leonardo Campana | Barcelona SC

    2019: The outstanding player within the most talented crop of youngsters Ecuador has ever produced, Campana had fired his country to a first ever South American Under-20 Championship with a tournament-high six goals, including two in the final against Venezuela.

    2020: Wolves moved to sign Campana in January 2020, and eight months later he was loaned to Famalicao in Portugal.

    2021: Campana made just 10 appearances for Famalicao, before being loaned out again ahead of the following season, joining Grasshoppers Zurich.

    2022: After scoring an own goal on his debut, Campana cut short his stay in Switzerland after six months, and joined Inter Miami on a season-long loan for the 2022 season.

  11. Thiago Almada | Velez Sarsfield
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    #40 Thiago Almada | Velez Sarsfield

    2019: A skilful and tenacious attacking midfielder, Almada had already debuted and scored for Velez Sarsfield, and locked down a starting spot with Argentina's Under-20s.

    2020: Almada grew in stature over the course of the 2020 season, scoring 11 goals in all competitions.

    2021: Another nine goals followed for the playmaker in 2021, as he continued to be linked with a move to either Europe or MLS.

    2022: Atlanta United made Almada the most expensive signing in MLS history, paying $16m in February 2022 to bring him to Georgia.

  12. Ozan Kabak | Stuttgart
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    #39 Ozan Kabak | Stuttgart

    2019: After attracting the attention of numerous European clubs with his stellar showings at the heart of the Galatasaray defence, Kabak was snapped up by Stuttgart during the January 2019 transfer window for €11m. He wasted little time in making an impression in the Bundesliga, netting a double against Hannover just two months later.

    2020: Kabak sensationally moved to Schalke after just six months at Stuttgart, as the Gelsenkirchen outfit activated his surprisingly low €15m release clause. He also made his Turkey debut in November 2019.

    2021: After 18 months at a struggling Schalke, Kabak was signed on loan by Liverpool in January 2021 to help cover for a glut of defensive injuries, but struggled to perform consistently at Anfield. He would return to the Premier League, however, when Norwich City signed him on a year-long loan ahead of the 2021-22 season.

    2022: Though clearly a talent, Kabak has again been far from his best in the English game, and is not a guaranteed starter for Norwich.

  13. Amine Gouiri | Lyon
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    #38 Amine Gouiri | Lyon

    2019: The Lyon striker's hopes of turning 2018-19 into his breakout season had been decimated by a cruciate ligament injury. However, he was still considered one of France's most promising players, primarily because of his excellent scoring record for his country at under-age level.

    2020: Gouri may have returned to full fitness, but he struggled to force his way into the first-team picture, making just five appearances in 2019-20. At the end of the season, he joined Nice in a €7m deal.

    2021: The move did Gouri the world of good, as he scored 16 goals and laid on eight assists in all competitions for Nice.

    2022: Gouri has carried that form into his second season with Nice, and has already reached double figures for goals in 2021-22, leading to him being linked with a move to Paris Saint-Germain.

  14. Julian Alvarez | River Plate
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    #37 Julian Alvarez | River Plate

    2019: The Argentina Under-19 international was so highly rated by Marcelo Gallardo that the River Plate boss gave Alvarez his Copa Libertadores debut in the second leg of the 2018 final against Boca Juniors.

    2020: Alvarez began working his way into the River Plate line-up, scoring eight goals in all competitions.

    2021: The striker exploded during the 2021 season, scoring 25 goals and laying on 17 assists over the course of the campaign, earning Alvarez his Argentina debut in June 2021.

    2022: Alvarez's form convinced Manchester City to pay £14m to sign him in January 2022, though he was immediately loaned back to River Plate for the 2022 Argentine season.

  15.  Sergio Gomez | Borussia Dortmund
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    #36 Sergio Gomez | Borussia Dortmund

    2019: Having prised Andres Iniesta's potential replacement away from Barcelona by activating his €3m release clause, Dortmund gave Gomez a little taste of Champions League football against Monaco in December 2018.

    2020: Having joined Huesca on loan for the 2019-20 campaign, Gomez played the vast majority of their games as they were promoted to La Liga and the Spanish side extended his loan by a further season, as a result.

    2021: The midfielder could not help Huesca avoid relegation back to the Segunda Division. Dortmund then took the decision to sell him, as Anderlecht paid €1.5m to take him to Belgium.

    2022: Having been switched to play left-back, Gomez has been a revelation, recording double figures for assists in 2021-22 while also weighing in with his fair share of goals.

  16. Lincoln | Flamengo
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    #35 Lincoln | Flamengo

    2019: Just like his former Flamengo youth-team strike partner Vinicius Junior, Lincoln had made his debut for the Rio outfit's senior side at just 16 years of age and was being touted as Brazil's answer to Robert Lewandowski.

    2020: The striker managed just three goals during the 2020 season for Flamengo as he struggled to hold down a place in the Brazilian side's line-up.

    2021: Lincoln joined Vissel Kobe in January 2021, but his first season of Japanese football yielded just a single goal.

    2022: The forward has forced his way into the starting XI during the early weeks of the J.League season, though the team have made a disappointing start to the season.

  17. Josh Sargent | Werder Bremen
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    #34 Josh Sargent | Werder Bremen

    2019: Sargent was apparently in a rush to make a name for himself at the highest level, having already netted in his first outings for both Werder Bremen and the United States.

    2020: The striker scored four goals in 28 league appearances for Werder in 2019-20 as they narrowly avoided relegation from the Bundesliga.

    2021: Werder would not be so lucky the following year, as they dropped down to the second tier, with Sargent contributing just five goals to the cause. The USMNT star would not go with them, however, after signing for Norwich City in an £8m deal in August 2021.

    2022: Sargent has appeared in the majority of Norwich's Premier League matches this season, but he has scored just two goals, with both coming against Watford in January.

  18. Erling Haaland | Red Bull Salzburg
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    #33 Erling Haaland | Red Bull Salzburg

    2019: After making waves in Norway for Molde, the son of former Premier League midfielder Alf-Inge Haaland had been snapped up by Red Bull Salzburg for just €5m.

    2020: Haaland exploded during the 2019-20 season, breaking a number of Champions League records as he netted 29 goals in the first half of the campaign for Salzburg before joining Borussia Dortmund for €20m in January 2020. His goalscoring form continued in Germany, where he netted 16 times in his first 18 games.

    2021: The striker confirmed his status as a future Ballon d'Or contender by netting over 40 goals in his first full season at Dortmund, leading to a host of Europe's elite clubs being linked with a move for Haaland.

    2022: Those links continue to intensify ahead of the summer transfer window, with Haaland scoring at more than a goal a game in the Bundesliga this season, despite suffering from some injury problems.

  19. Emile Smith Rowe | Arsenal
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    #32 Emile Smith Rowe | Arsenal

    2019: Having ignored interest from Barcelona in the summer of 2018 in order to sign a long-term contract with Arsenal, Smith Rowe had broken into the Gunners senior squad, impressing in the Europa League, before being loaned to RB Leipzig until the end of the season.

    2020: The attacking midfielder's time in Germany was blighted by injury problems, but he rejuvenated his career on loan at Huddersfield Town in the early months of 2020.

    2021: Smith Rowe was one of the Premier League's breakout stars in 2020-21 as part of an exciting forward line at the Emirates Stadium.

    2022: Now an England international after making his debut in November, Smith Rowe has added goals to his game over the course of the current campaign as Arsenal push for a return to the Champions League.

  20. Rhian Brewster | Liverpool
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    #31 Rhian Brewster | Liverpool

    2019: Brewster was only just nearing the end of his 15-month injury nightmare, having suffered an ankle sprain and ligament damage during an Under-23 game against Manchester City in January 2018. Before that, he had won the Golden Boot as England triumphed at the 2017 Under-17 World Cup.

    2020: With opportunities at Anfield limited, Brewster joined Swansea City on loan in January 2020, for whom he scored 11 goals in 22 appearances. That form convinced Sheffield United to pay £23.5m to sign him on a permanent basis in October 2020.

    2021: Brewster failed to score as the Blades were relegated from the Premier League, amid suggestions that he was struggling with the weight of his hefty price tag.

    2022: The striker has slowly begun to settle at Bramall Lane in his second season, finally scoring his first goals for the club, though a hamstring injury suffered in January has set him back somewhat.

  21. Ryan Gravenberch | Ajax
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    #30 Ryan Gravenberch | Ajax

    2019: Regarded as the most exciting player to come out of Ajax’s renowned academy in years, Gravenberch had already usurped Clarence Seedorf as the youngest player to ever represent the club in the Eredivisie before then becoming the Amsterdam outfit's youngest goalscorer.

    2020: Gravenberch continued to impress when given the opportunity at the Johan Cruyff ArenA, though he only made nine Eredivisie appearances.

    2021: The midfielder maintained his rapid rate of progress, scoring his first Champions League goal as well as three times in the league. Gravenberch's form earned him a first Netherlands cap in March 2021.

    2022: Though not always at his best this season, Gravenberch remains one of the most highly-sought after youngsters in world football, with Bayern Munich having been heavily linked with a move this summer.

  22. Willem Geubbels | Lyon
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    #29 Willem Geubbels | Lyon

    2019: Having been signed by Monaco from Lyon for a whopping €20m, the teenager was spending most of his debut season at the Stade Louis II in the treatment room.

    2020: Forced to undergo knee surgery in the summer of 2019, Geubbels failed to make an appearance over the course of the campaign that followed.

    2021: Geubbels forced himself back into contention after returning to full fitness, and scored his first professional goal early in the 2020-21 season. A broken foot, however, saw him miss over two months of action towards the end of the campaign, and he joined Nantes on loan in the weeks that followed.

    2022: The forward has managed to stay fit so far this term, but has largely had to make do with a substitute's role at Nantes.

  23. Lee Kang-in | Valencia
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    #28 Lee Kang-in | Valencia

    2019: Lee had already lined out in both La Liga and the Copa del Rey for Valencia, and was even on the bench for a Champions League group-stage meeting with Manchester United at Mestalla.

    2020: The attacking midfielder went onto win the Golden Ball at the 2019 Under-20 World Cup, but he struggled to make an impact in La Liga, featuring just 17 times in 2019-20, and mostly off the bench.

    2021: Lee rejected a series of contract renewal offers from Valencia over the course of the 2020-21 season and was placed on the transfer list at the end of the campaign. In the end, he was released in August, allowing Mallorca to sign him on a free.

    2022: After beginning the season as a starter, Lee has fallen down the pecking order a little over the course of the past two months.

  24. Abel Ruiz | Barcelona
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    #27 Abel Ruiz | Barcelona

    2019: Learning his trade with Barcelona's B team, the 19-year-old was expected to imminently break into the senior squad, not least because of his similarities with star striker Luis Suarez.

    2020: Having made just one appearance for the Blaugrana, Ruiz joined Braga on loan in January 2020, before making the move permanent that summer.

    2021: Ruiz shone in his first full season in Portugal, scoring 10 goals and laying on six assists, with seven of those goals coming in Braga's run to win the Portuguese Cup.

    2022: The forward has not quite hit the same heights in 2021-22, struggling to hold down a regular place in the Braga line-up.

  25. Jann-Fiete Arp | Hamburg
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    #26 Jann-Fiete Arp | Hamburg

    2019: Bayern Munich had already agreed a deal with Hamburg to sign striker Arp. The only outstanding issue was whether the first player born in the 21st century to score in the Bundesliga would move to the Allianz Arena in the summer of 2019 or the following year.

    2020: Having opted for the former, Arp did not make a first-team appearance during his first season at the Allianz Arena, instead playing for the club's reserves in the third tier of German football.

    2021: Despite finally making his Bayern debut in the first half of the 2020-21 season, Arp remained part of the reserve-team squad until he was loaned to Holstein Kiel ahead of the following campaign.

    2022: Arp has played regularly in the German second division, albeit mostly from the bench, and he has struggled to find the net thus far.

  26. Hamed Junior Traore | Empoli
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    #25 Hamed Junior Traore | Empoli

    2019: At just 18, Traore was already a regular for Empoli, and Fiorentina had agreed a deal with their fellow Tuscans to sign the versatile attacking midfielder in the summer of 2019 for €12m.

    2020: The move to Fiorentina eventually broke down and Traore instead joined Sassuolo on a two-year loan, the first of which saw him net four times in Serie A.

    2021: An ascending player, Traore added another five goals to his personal tally in 2020-21 before Sassuolo paid €16m to sign him permanently.

    2022: After a slow start to the season, Traore has found form in the early months of 2022, contributing to one of the most exciting attacking units in Italian football.

  27. Pietro Pellegri | Monaco
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    #24 Pietro Pellegri | Monaco

    2019: Pellegri was being plagued by injuries but the Italian striker, who had been signed from Genoa for €25m, had still become the first player born in the 2000s to score in Ligue 1, after netting against Bordeaux in August 2018.

    2020: Having worked himself back to fitness and into first-team contention at the Stade Louis II, Pellegri made his senior Italy debut in November 2020.

    2021: More injury problems hit Pellegri through the second half of the 2020-21 season, at the end of which he was loaned to AC Milan in the hope he could rejuvenate his career back in his homeland.

    2022: Having made just six appearances for the Rossoneri, Pellegri's loan deal at Milan was cut short as injuries again took hold. He is now on loan at Torino for the remainder of the campaign.

  28. Ki-Jana Hoever | Liverpool
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    #23 Ki-Jana Hoever | Liverpool

    2019: In January 2018, Hoever became the youngest ever player to represent Liverpool in the FA Cup, at just 16 years, 11 months and 20 days old, and impressed all and sundry with his composure and class on the ball.

    2020: The defender made just three appearances in 2019-20, all in the domestic cups, with opportunities hard to come by at Anfield. That led him to join Wolves for £9m in the summer of 2020.

    2021: Hoever made his first 12 Premier League appearances at Molineux, acting predominantly as a back-up for Nelson Semedo.

    2022: The ex-Ajax youngster has performed a similar role under Bruno Lage, though the Wolves boss has criticised him for a lack of preparation leading to a recent injury.

  29. Benoit Badiashile | Monaco
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    #22 Benoit Badiashile | Monaco

    2019: Badiashile was best known for being taken to task by former Monaco boss Thierry Henry for forgetting to tuck his chair back under the table at the end of a Champions League press conference. However, at the Stade Louis II, the defender was considered one of the best prospects to come out of Monaco's famed academy in years.

    2020: The centre-back continued to impress in Ligue 1, earning interest from Manchester United during the summer of 2021.

    2021: Badiashile played all-but three league games for Monaco in 2020-21 as they went close to winning the French title under Niko Kovac.

    2022: The 20-year-old has struggled with hamstring injuries over the course of the current campaign, but is still performing well whenever available.

  30. Dominik Szoboszlai | Red Bull Salzburg
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    #21 Dominik Szoboszlai | Red Bull Salzburg

    2019: Considered the biggest talent to come out of Hungary in decades, Szoboszlai had already made his first appearance and scored his first goal for Red Bull Salzburg.

    2020: Szoboszlai took his game to the next level in 2019-20, hitting double figures for goals and assists in all competitions for the Austrian champions.

    2021: The playmaker starred yet again in the first half of 2020-21, leading to interest from Arsenal. RB Leipzig, however, paid €25m to sign him in January 2021, though he missed the rest of the season, and the European championship, with an adductor injury.

    2022: Szoboszlai has settled well in the Bundesliga and has already reached double figures for goal contributions in the German top flight this season.

  31. Aurelien Tchouameni | Bordeaux
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    #20 Aurelien Tchouameni | Bordeaux

    2019: A powerful defensive midfielder of deceptive pace, Tchouameni was being linked with Inter and Bayern Munich thanks to his dominant performances for Bordeaux.

    2020: Tchouameni instead joined Monaco, who paid €18m for his services in January 2020, but he made just three league appearances for his new club before Covid-19 shut down the season early.

    2021: In his first full campaign at Stade Louis II, Tchouameni was named Ligue 1 Young Player of the Year, confirming his status as one of the most promising midfield talents in Europe.

    2022: Tchouameni continues to impress and is now reportedly being tracked by the likes of Chelsea, Juventus and Real Madrid ahead of the summer transfer window.

  32. Agustin Almendra | Boca Juniors
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    #19 Agustin Almendra | Boca Juniors

    2019: A regular in the Boca Juniors midfield at the age of 19, Almendra was, as GOAL had revealed in December 2018, of interest to both Barcelona and Valencia.

    2020: Almendra fell out of favour over the course of the 2020 season, leaving his future at the club in some doubt.

    2021: The midfielder managed to force his way back into contention the following year, making 29 appearances across all competitions.

    2022: The hope that Almendra's career was moving in the right direction again may have been misplaced, with the Argentina Under-20 international struggling for game time this season.

  33. Paulinho | Bayer Leverkusen
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    #18 Paulinho | Bayer Leverkusen

    2019: Having joined Bayer Leverkusen from Vasco da Gama for €18.5m, the versatile winger was playing regularly in the Bundesliga and had opened his goal account in December 2018, in the Europa League.

    2020: Paulinho fell out of favour somewhat the following year, starting just one league game over the course of the campaign.

    2021: A cruciate ligament rupture suffered in pre-season meant that Paulinho made just one appearance, on the final day of the 2020-21 campaign.

    2022: Now back fit, Paulinho has been in and out of the Leverkusen line-up.

  34. Timothy Weah | Paris Saint-Germain
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    #17 Timothy Weah | Paris Saint-Germain

    2019: The son of Ballon d'Or winner George Weah had started the 2018-19 campaign by netting his first couple of goals for PSG, but the United States international had been loaned to Celtic for the remainder of the season.

    2020: Weah was signed for €10m by Lille in the summer of 2019 but his first season at his new club was ruined by injuries, as he made just three Ligue 1 appearances.

    2021: The forward finally got going in 2020-21, with Weah proving an excellent squad player for Christophe Galtier as he guided Lille to the Ligue 1 title.

    2022: Weah has earned more starts in 2021-22, though to call him a regular in the Lille line-up would be overstating it somewhat.

  35. Mason Greenwood | Manchester United
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    #16 Mason Greenwood | Manchester United

    Following Greenwood's inclusion on the NXGN 2019 list, he continued to develop, becoming a key figure in the Manchester United forward line and a full England international.

    In January 2022, Greenwood was suspended "until further notice" by United, after he was arrested on suspicion of rape and assault.

  36. Eric Garcia | Manchester City
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    #15 Eric Garcia | Manchester City

    2019: After impressing Pep Guardiola on Man City's pre-season tour with his maturity and authority in possession, Garcia had been given his first taste of senior football during the 2018-19 campaign.

    2020: Garcia made his Premier League debut at the start of the 2019-20 season and worked his way into the first-team picture, only for it to be revealed in the summer of 2020 that he would not be renewing his contract at the club. He made his senior Spain debut a few weeks later.

    2021: The defender's imminent exit meant he didn't see much game time in 2020-21, though that did not stop him from playing a key role for Spain at Euro 2020. Ahead of the tournament, it was announced that he would be returning to boyhood club Barcelona on a free transfer.

    2022: Garcia has largely been a starter in his first season back in Catalunya and the hope remains that he can become Gerard Pique's long-term replacement.

  37. Ethan Ampadu | Chelsea
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    #14 Ethan Ampadu | Chelsea

    2019: The David Luiz-like centre-half was seeing little game time at Chelsea, but was so highly rated at Stamford Bridge that the club had rejected a loan bid from Derby County for the Wales international during the January transfer window.

    2020: He eventually joined RB Leipzig on loan for the 2019-20 season, but the versatile defender made only seven appearances before a back injury ended his season in February 2020. He returned to England, joining Sheffield United on loan ahead of the new campaign.

    2021: Ampadu enjoyed the best season of his career in terms of appearances, but was unable to help keep the Blades in the Premier League. Another loan move beckoned, as he joined newly-promoted Venezia in Serie A.

    2022: A regular starter for the Italian outfit, Ampadu's club career finally seems to be moving in a positive direction again.

  38. Sofiane Diop | Monaco
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    #13 Sofiane Diop | Monaco

    2019: The skilful attacker had featured regularly during the first half of what was a difficult campaign for Monaco, even starting three times in the Champions League, before being dropped to the bench at the beginning of 2019.

    2020: Having dropped down the pecking order at the Stade Louis II, Diop joined Sochaux on loan for the 2019-20 season, playing 15 times in Ligue 2.

    2021: Diop returned to Monaco a different player, and was one of their star performers as they challenged for the Ligue 1 title in 2020-21, scoring seven goals from his No.10 position.

    2022: The playmaker continues to impress, and is closing in on double figures for both goals and assists for the current campaign.

  39. Ferran Torres | Valencia
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    #12 Ferran Torres | Valencia

    2019: A two-footed winger similar in style to Marco Asensio, Torres had already had a €100m release clause inserted in his Valencia contract to fend off interest from Real Madrid and Barcelona.

    2020: After a true breakout season that saw him play 40 times for Valencia, Torres joined Manchester City in a £21m deal in the summer of 2020, before making his Spain debut a couple of months later.

    2021: Though far from a regular, Torres managed 13 goals in his first season at City, with Pep Guardiola increasingly using him as a central striker.

    2022: Torres became the first signing of the Xavi era at Barcelona, who paid €55m to bring him to Camp Nou, and he has wasted little time in getting up to speed.

  40. Ryan Sessegnon | Fulham
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    #11 Ryan Sessegnon | Fulham

    2019: After hitting 15 goals during Fulham's 2017-18 Championship campaign, the 'new Gareth Bale' was finding defences a little more difficult to breeze through in the Premier League, but had still become the first player born in the 2000s to score in England's top flight.

    2020: Having joined Tottenham for £25m in the summer of 2019, Sessegnon made just 12 appearances in his first season at Spurs, and was loaned to Hoffenheim a year later in a bid to revive his career.

    2021: Injuries in the second half of the campaign meant that Sessegnon's year in the Bundesliga was not as fulfilling as it might have been, but he did manage to get 23 top-flight appearances under his belt.

    2022: After finding himself down the pecking order in north London, Sessegnon was given a new lease of life playing as a wing-back under Antonio Conte, though a recent hamstring injury has stalled his progress.

  41. Morgan Gibbs-White | Wolves
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    #10 Morgan Gibbs-White | Wolves

    2019: Gibbs-White was being tipped to do great things by Wolves boss Nuno Espirito Santo, having already made a positive impression at Molineux by laying on an assist in his first Premier League start, against Chelsea, in December 2018.

    2020: Injuries and a lack of form saw the midfielder drop down the pecking order in 2019-20, as he made just 16 appearances in all competitions, and he was loaned to Swansea City ahead of the following campaign.

    2021: A fractured foot meant that Gibbs-White made just six appearances for the Swans before returning to Wolves, where he managed to play in a handful of games before the season was out. He joined Sheffield United on loan ahead of the 2021-22 season.

    2022: Gibbs-White has been a standout performer at Bramall Lane and should reach double figures for both goals and assists before the Championship season is over.

  42. Moise Kean | Juventus
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    #9 Moise Kean | Juventus

    2019: Having already made his Italy debut, the explosive striker was just starting to catch fire at Juventus, scoring in six consecutive games for club and country.

    2020: Having surprisingly joined Everton in a £27m deal ahead of the 2019-20 season, Kean struggled for the Toffees, scoring just two Premier League goals in 29 appearances. In a bid to revive his career, he joined Paris Saint-Germain on loan in October 2020.

    2021: Playing for a Champions League-level club suited Kean far better, and he scored 17 goals in all competitions for PSG. He then returned to Juventus in the summer of 2021, agreeing a two-year loan deal that will then become a €28m permanent move.

    2022: Kean has found goals harder to come by back in Turin, meaning he has been in and out of Massimiliano Allegri's line-up.

  43. Diego Lainez | Real Betis
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    #8 Diego Lainez | Real Betis

    2019: The diminutive No.10 had not even locked down a regular starting spot at Club America when Real Betis elected to pay €14m for his services in January 2019. 'The Mexican Messi' had made a promising start to his career in Spain, though, by netting in a Europa League clash with Rennes.

    2020: Lainez's first full season in Spain yielded just 18 outings, though he did miss the final three months of the campaign due to an abdominal strain.

    2021: The forward again found himself on the fringe at Betis, making 25 appearances during the 2020-21 campaign. Scored for Mexico in the final of the Concacaf Nations League, though El Tri were beaten by the United States.

    2022: After a knee injury meant he missed the first two months of the season, Lainez has fallen right down the pecking order under Manuel Pellegrini, and has been linked with a move to MLS in recent weeks.

  44. Sandro Tonali | Brescia
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    #7 Sandro Tonali | Brescia

    2019: Tonali had yet to make an appearance in Serie A, but he had already been called up by Italy and was drawing comparisons with Andrea Pirlo on account of his classy displays for Brescia in Serie B.

    2020: Following Brescia's promotion, Tonali was able to prove himself in the top flight over the course of the 2019-20 season, as he provided seven assists for a struggling side. He joined AC Milan on loan ahead of the following campaign, as the Rossoneri paid €10m to get the deal over the line.

    2021: Tonali was in and out of the Milan team during his first campaign at San Siro, but the Italian giants were still willing to pay another €15m to make his move permanent in the summer of 2021.

    2022: A much more permanent fixture in Stefano Pioli's line-up this season, Tonali's fine form earned him a recall to the Italy squad.

  45. Alphonso Davies | Bayern Munich
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    #6 Alphonso Davies | Bayern Munich

    2019: The Ghana-born Canada international had only just arrived at Bayern Munich, even though his €11.3m transfer from Vancouver Whitecaps had been agreed the summer before. However, the versatile winger had already won over coach Niko Kovac, who described Davies as "a diamond in the rough".

    2020: Having previously been a rotational attacker, Davies proved to be a revelation when moved to left-back by Hansi Flick, with his blistering pace and silky skills a key factor in Bayern's treble-winning campaign in 2019-20.

    2021: After missing two months of action with a torn ankle ligament, Davies did not quite hit the same heights in 2020-21, though he was still a permanent fixture in the Bayern line-up.

    2022: Davies was diagnosed with a heart condition in January 2022 and only recently returned to training for the Bundesliga champions.

  46. Rodrygo | Real Madrid
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    #5 Rodrygo | Real Madrid

    2019: Real Madrid were hoping that history would repeat itself, with the Blancos having returned to Brazil a year after signing Vinicius Junior to snap up his former international team-mate at Under-17 level, Rodrygo, for €40m.

    2020: The forward marked his La Liga debut with a goal inside 93 seconds, and scored a perfect hat-trick on his first Champions League start, with his history-making exploits earning him his first Brazil caps and the NXGN 2020 prize.

    2021: Rodrygo was mainly a substitute during the 2020-21 and scored just twice in all competitions.

    2022: Though still largely a rotational piece in Carlo Ancelotti's squad, the Brazilian has put in some key performances so far this season, especially in the Champions League.

  47. Phil Foden | Manchester City
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    #4 Phil Foden | Manchester City

    2019: Described by Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola as "a diamond", Foden had become a member of one of the strongest squads English football had ever seen, and was starting regularly in cup competitions.

    2020: A more consistent contributor in 2019-20, Foden was rewarded for a campaign in which he directly contributed to 17 goals with a first England cap in September 2020.

    2021: The PFA and Premier League Young Player of the Year, Foden became a regular starter for Guardiola in 2020-21, scoring 16 goals in all competitions from a variety of positions.

    2022: Foden continues to go from strength to strength, becoming one of the on-field leaders in a team many believe is the best in world football.

  48. Callum Hudson-Odoi | Chelsea

    #3 Callum Hudson-Odoi | Chelsea

    2019: The Chelsea academy product had the world at his feet, having already received his first England call-up. Bayern Munich had also pressed hard to sign Hudson-Odoi during the January transfer window, but their £35m bid had been rebuffed by the Blues.

    2020: Hudson-Odoi ultimately signed a new long-term contract at Stamford Bridge, but struggled for regular game time under Frank Lampard after recovering from a torn Achilles tendon.

    2021: The winger was again in and out of the Blues team in 2020-21, though did get a run of games playing as a wing-back following Thomas Tuchel's arrival.

    2022: Hudson-Odoi remains on the fringes of the Chelsea line-up, though has impressed at times when given the opportunity to start.

  49. Vinicius Junior | Real Madrid
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    #2 Vinicius Junior | Real Madrid

    2019: The winger's debut season at Santiago Bernabeu had been interrupted by injury, but Vinicius had already shown why Real Madrid had signed him as a 16-year-old from Flamengo. Indeed, he had been so impressive, most notably in a Copa del Rey Clasico at Camp Nou, that he had received his first Brazil call-up.

    2020: Though Vinicius frustrated Madrid fans with his wayward finishing, he continued to grow into a regular contributor for Los Blancos.

    2021: Vinicius played all-but three of Madrid's league games in 2020-21, signalling the trust that Zinedine Zidane had in the forward despite his poor strike rate.

    2022: The Brazil international has finally flourished at Santiago Bernabeu, registering double figures for both goals and assists already this season, having formed a devastating partnership with Karim Benzema.

  50. Jadon Sancho | Borussia Dortmund
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    #1 Jadon Sancho | Borussia Dortmund

    2019: The prodigiously gifted winger was flying high at Signal Iduna Park and had already been capped by England. It was easy to understand why Lothar Matthaus felt that Dortmund paying Manchester City just £8m for Sancho was "like winning the lottery".

    2020: The winger took his game to an even higher level the following campaign, returning 34 direct goal contributions from just 32 Bundesliga appearances as Manchester United tried, and ultimately failed, to sign him that summer.

    2021: After a slow start to the 2020-21 season, Sancho was back to his best during the second half of the campaign, and starred as Dortmund won the DFB-Pokal. United finally got their man, too, paying £73m to bring Sancho to Old Trafford.

    2022: Sancho's first taste of Premier League football has not hit the heights many expected, though his performances have gradually improved as the season has worn on.