Generation Next is our regular feature on Just Football profiling the best young talents in the world. And here’s another to keep an eye on – Atalanta’s bustling midfielder Franck Kessie… Last summer, when Genoa former coach Gian Piero Gasperini made the move to Atalanta, after seven wonderful years spent in Liguria (interjected by spells […]
Each week on Just Football we analyse and praise the star performers from our #JF70 handpicked 70 best young players to watch this season around Europe. So which young talents shone this past week?
#JF70 young talents of the week
UD Las Palmas have been one of the surprise packages in La Liga this season. Though they currently sit in 11th position, the Canary Islanders have wowed many with their impressive and fearless brand of football. They kept up their good run with a win against Valencia last weekend.
At 1-1, and with 57 minutes played, Las Palmas defender Mauricio Lemos struck – literally. The Uruguayan scored a spectacular free-kick to put his side 2-1 up. The goal, his first of the season, was taken with incredible precision, and was placed in a spot where it was impossible for the goalkeeper to make a save.
Lemos hasn’t been a regular for Quique Setién’s side, featuring in just 10 Liga games this season, but he’ll be optimistic – like we are – that he can use his outstanding goal and all round performance against Valencia as a platform to get more minutes on the pitch.
Mauricio Lemos free-kick vs. Valencia. The 21 year old centre back could be playing for Uruguay soon. pic.twitter.com/R1ck0Karfb
— ⭐️🇺🇾 (@UruguayGoals) January 31, 2017
Away at Estoril he bagged another – his second in three games – and assisted the winner, though to be fair, Corona, who got the goal, still had some work to do, as The Dragons snatched a 2-1 win from their hosts.
On a not too convincing day, Andre Silva still stood apart, delivering a Man of the Match performance.
Only Bas Dost (16 goals) has scored more league goals in the Portuguese league than Andre Silva. The Portuguese’s 12 league goals is about one-third of FC Porto’s 37 goals so far, and if they are to win the league, Nuno Espírito Santo will hope his centre forward continues scoring with ease.
Marcos Llorente continued his impressive season for Alaves, playing a starring role in their 0-0 draw with Atletico Madrid at Estadio Mendizorrotza. In doing so he also helped his parent club Real Madrid – who won the next day – increase their points lead on their city rivals.
The midfielder was steady as always, hardly putting foot wrong as the hosts dominated their more illustrious visitors.
He continues to lead the league in numbers of ball recoveries made, and seems on course for a return to Real Madrid if he continues in his great form.
170 – Marcos Llorente has made 170 recoveries in La liga 2016/17, at least 21 more than any other outfield player. Oxygen. pic.twitter.com/8TWZ6Ww1hd
— OptaJose (@OptaJose) January 30, 2017
Kasper Dolberg returned to scoring ways in Ajax’s 3-0 home win over ADO Den Haag last Sunday, thus bringing a halt to an eight-game goal drought.
He certainly didn’t look like a player who had not scored or assisted a goal for more than a month when he played former JF70 player Hakim Ziyech up for Ajax’s opener after just 11 minutes.
Bright and sharp, Dolberg hit the woodwork a minute later, and then with a spectacular overhead kick with Ajax at 2-0 up. But he wasn’t discouraged, and was duly rewarded for his persistence with 15 minutes to play, when he bundled home his side’s third of the game.
— AFC Ajax (English) (@AFCAjax_EN) January 29, 2017
The 19-year-old, who is enjoying a great break-out season, was no doubt the best player on the pitch. Dolberg’s also took his goal tally in Eredivisie to nine, making him Ajax’s joint top league scorer (with Davy Klaassen).
Gelson Martins scored the equaliser for Sporting two weeks ago as they held Maritimo to a 2-2 away from home. Last weekend, he made it two goals in two games, scoring again as Sporting trounced Pacos de Ferreira 4-2 at Estádio José Alvalade.
The 21-year-old winger struck 11 minutes before half time; he beat the offside trap perfectly to pick up a pass from William Carvalho, cheekily chipped the goalkeeper, then applied an easy finish.
A rare goalscorer, as four goals show, but it’s his ability to assist others that has been one of his major tools so far this season. His seven assists so far places him second in the Liga NOS rankings behind Wilson Eduardo (8). Two goals in two games though is a good sign the goals are around the corner.
Gelson Martins, though. Sporting's golden boy with another good game tonight, topped off with an amazing goal. Decent pass from William too. pic.twitter.com/d8SmPiPch0
— Jan Hagen (@PortuBall) January 28, 2017