Future FIFA World Pro XI 

By: Sean Connolly

With the dominant run of Messi and Ronaldo in soccer coming to a close in the next few years, it’s time to take a look at the new wave a talent that will take soccer into the next generation.  For this we will use the FIFA World Pro XI format of one goalkeeper, four defenders, three midfielders, and three attackers.  We also will have some honorable mentions, players who just missed the cut for one reason or another but who are worth watching for their potential. The players will all be 25 and under so let’s begin!

 

Goalkeeper
David De Gea
National Team: Spain
Club Team: Manchester United
Age: 25
The young Spanish keeper has really proved his worth over the last two years.  With minimal defensive talent around him on the club level, De Gea was nearly the most expensive goalkeeper in the world when his transfer to Real Madrid fell apart at the last minute.  With United’s below average season, De Gea has been one of the Red Devils only bright spots.  Look for Real Madrid to try and acquire his services again this summer with theirimpending transfer ban and a huge spending spree being rumored.

Honorable Mention
Thibaut Courtois
National Team: Belgium
Club Team: Chelsea
Age: 23
Courtois was a major factor in Atlético Madrid’s Champions League final run.  Since his loan spell ended and he returned to Chelsea, they had a championship run in the Premier League last season, but this year has been a total disappointment for them.  Courtois loses out to De Gea due to his much superior defensive talent at Chelsea, but make no mistake – Courtois is an elite goalkeeper in his own right.

 

Defense
Daniel Carvajal
National Team: Spain
Club Team: Real Madrid
Age: 24
Since Carvajal’s return to Real Madrid from Bayer Leverkusen,he has been a stalwart in Real’s defense.  Lacking the usual attacking talent of most elite fullbacks, Carvajal makes his name on defense.  Even with Real Madrid acquiring Danilo, another young fullback with attacking talent, he has beat out the young Brazilian at every turn this season.

Raphael Varane
National Team: France
Club Team: Real Madrid
Age: 22
The young Frenchman has taken over Pepe’s spot as the centreback opposite Sergio Ramos for Real Madrid. He also has been named the captain of the French national team on multiple occasions which is unheard of for a player of only 22.  His elite pace and marking skills made him a no brainier choice for this list.  Real’s president Florentino Perez has even been quoted saying he sees Varane as a future captain in Madrid.

Kurt Zouma
National Team: France
Club Team: Chelsea
Age: 21
This young French player is one of the main reasons Chelsea legend John Terry was not offered another contract at the club.  Zouma has elite pace and athletic ability for his position and has improved the rest of his game drastically since joining Chelsea.  Look for Zouma to really take off next season when he starts full time for Chelsea.

David Alaba
National Team: Austria
Club Team: Bayern Munich
Age: 23
Alaba was probably the biggest snub from this year’s FIFA World Pro XI.  He plays two positions in defense at an elite level and can also go forward in attack well for a defender. Alaba has been rumored to be leaving Bayern but the German Giants would be fools to sell such a crucial piece in a Champions League contending team.

Honorable Mentions
Danilo
National Team: Brazil
Club Team: Real Madrid
Age: 24
If this list had been created last year, Danilo would’ve been a lock for the first 11.  Danilo is an elite attacker from the fullback position.  However, since his big move to Real Madrid, his defense has been exposed a bit.  He still would start for most elite teams in the world. The only problem is he can’t start since Carvajal is playing so well.  With another offseason look for Danilo’s defense to improve and his playtime to increase.

Aymeric Laporte
National Team: France
Club Team: Athletic Bilbao
Age: 21
Laporte is another great young French defender.  He doesn’t have the elite pace of some of the other French defenders, but he still gets the job done at a suburb level.  For you Manchester United fans this is the type of player your team should sign this summer.  Bilbao would sell him for less than it would take to get Varane, and Laporte would immediately improve their back line.

Ricardo Rodriguez
National Team: Sweden
Club Team: Wolfsburg
Age: 23
This is another player who is a much better at the defending aspect of the fullback position than attacking.  Rodriguez has been going up against great wide players in the Bundesliga and has held his own.  Look for him to make a big money move this summer.

 

Midfielders
Mario Gotze
National Team: Germany
Club Team: Bayern Munich
Age: 23
The scorer of the game winning goal in the World Cup final has been having a solid season with Bayern.  Gotze hasn’t looked the same since he left Dortmund though.  While playing with Dortmund, he was an elite attacking force along with Robert Lewandowski and Marco Reus. Even with Lewandowski joining him at Bayern, Gotze hasn’t seen the same form as his Dortmund days.  Look for Gotze to join his former manager at Liverpool this summer.

Paul Pogba
National Team: France
Club Team: Juventus
Age: 22
Pogba rivals Neymar for the best player on this list.  Pogba does it all out of the midfielder position, comparable to a five tool player in baseball.  Pogba has been the glue to Juventus’s team the past two years.  This young Frenchman won’t stay in Italy long though.  Juventus is a much older team in need of money to rebuild their squad, and Pogba has been rumored to be leaving for quite some time.  Look for Manchester City, Chelsea, Barcelona, and Real Madrid to be in a major bidding war for his services this summer.  Look for Pogba to eventually win a Ballon D’or, FIFA’s player of the year award.

James Rodriguez
National Team: Colombia
Club Team: Real Madrid
Age: 24
James introduced himself to world at the last World Cup where he played so well that he got the attention of Real Madrid who bought him after the tournament. James is elite at passing the ball and also can score at a great clip as well.  When James is injured, the Madrid attack just isn’t the same.  Look for James to make a run at a Ballon D’or or two.

Honorable Mentions
Isco
National Team: Spain
Club Team: Real Madrid
Age: 23
This young Spanish player has dazzled Real Madrid fans since his move to Madrid.  Isco doesn’t make the main list because, as great as he is getting the ball into scoring positions, he doesn’t have the finishing quality that you look for in elite players.  Arsenal have been rumored to be interested in this young talent.

Marco Verratti
National Team: Italy
Club Team: PSG
Age: 23
This Italian national has been a major influence in PSG’s success over the past few years.  Verratti is an excellent passer of the ball but lacks the finishing touch that would take him to the next level.  Look for Verratti to be around for a long time like Andrea Pirlo because of his elite passing ability.

Kevin De Bruyne
National Team: Belgium
Club Team: Manchester City
Age: 24
De Bruyne was an afterthought at Chelsea.  Then after a move to Wolfsburg, De Bruyne emerged into one of the best midfielders in the world.  Then, he moved to Manchester City and continued his excellent play.  Unfortunately he had a major injury and will not be able to play for some time.  When he comes back, look for him to resume his excellent play.

 

Attackers
Neymar
National Team: Brazil
Club Team: FC Barcelona
Age: 23
The man to lead soccer into the future.  Neymar was the focus of a major bidding war between Real Madrid and Barcelona.  Barcelona won and haven’t looked back since then.  Neymar has been tabbed as the man to break Messi and Ronaldo’s dominance of the Ballon D’or and, if he avoids injury, he should win the award multiple times.

Anthony Martial
National Team: France
Club Team: Manchester United
Age: 20
When Manchester United bought Martial this summer, many people thought the buy was insane. Martial had always shown flashes of greatness, but his price tag was usually for elite players in their prime.  Martial has played well for the Red Devils and has reminded some of the French legend Thierry Henry.  His price tag is still a bit high, but, if Martial continues to improve, United actually will have bought him for a bargain.

Romelu Lukaku
National Team: Belgium
Club Team: Everton
Age: 22
Lukaku is probably the only reason Everton are even in place to possibly play in European competition.  This young striker is a bull of a man who can score with his head or his wonderful left foot.  Everton may be forced to sell him simply because the offers that will be made could be too big for a small club to pass up.

Honorable Mentions
Harry Kane
National Team: England
Club Team: Tottenham Hotspur
Age: 22
Kane has been a scoring machine for Tottenham.  His play this year has vaulted Spurs into the race for the championship in the Premier League.  This Englishman also has played well for the English national team and look for a strong performance from him this summer in the European Championships.

Eden Hazard
National Team: Belgium
Club Team: Chelsea
Age: 25
Another player who, if this list has been made last year,would’ve been a shoe in for the first 11.  Hazard has had a very disappointing year but a change of scenery will do this young Belgian good since the Chelsea fans seemed to have lost faith in him.

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