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 […]
With plenty of football action going on across Europe, our young #JF70 stars were shining everywhere. Which players really caught the eye, though? Deji Faremi picks the best of an impressive bunch.
#JF70 young talents of the week
Andrea Belotti has become the first player to score 20 goals in Serie A this season. 🐓 pic.twitter.com/SfU8ATjTUG
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) March 5, 2017
“I don’t think we can raise the clause now, as we only just signed the contract. Anyway, a foreign club has to come in and put €100m on the table and Belotti has to agree before any sale. I hope no-one comes in with an offer. Of course, if I was negotiating it today, it should be €150 million.”
Those were the words of Torino president Urbano Cairo after his team’s 3-1 win over Palermo at the Olimpico Grande Torino last Sunday. There may have been a bit of exaggeration in that final sentence, but it’s difficult to argue with Cairo’s logic – we had just experienced an eight-minute hat-trick from Andrea Belotti. It was the fastest hat-trick in Serie A since Andriy Shevchenko hit a treble for AC Milan against Perugia back in January 2000.
Palermo were 1-0 ahead until the 73rd minute when Il Gallo started the comeback. First he took advantage of Josip Posavec’s error to head home the equaliser from a corner kick, then he beat the offside trap to connect with Adem Ljajic’s freekick to put Torino ahead. He completed his hat-trick with another header from yet another set piece.
Belotti’s consistency in front of goal has put him ahead of everyone else in the Capocannoniere race with 22 goals (three more than his nearest rival). He also keeps up his run of not going two games without a goal since October.
WATCH: Andrea Belotti completed a hat-trick in just 8 minutes against Palermo. Il Gallo now has 22 Serie A goals this season. pic.twitter.com/Qcia6pfCH9
— Serie A English (@SerieA_English) March 5, 2017
— Poor First Touch (@InvertdWhinger) March 5, 2017
After featuring for only 16 minutes away at Guingamp the previous weekend, Monaco’s wonderkid Kylian Mbappé was back in the starting lineup. He marked it with goals, as he’s done in his three previous starts (in all competitions) prior.
Mbappé set Monaco on their way to a 4-0 win over Nantes. He scored as early as the fourth minute with an instinctive albeit fortunate goal. But it was, again, a testament to his hunger for goals – as well as knack to be at the right place at the right time.
As he did in the first half, he hit the visitors early in the second, connecting with Bernardo Silva’s chip into the box to head Leonardo Jardim’s side into a 3-0 lead with just a minute played.
The 18-year-old has been a more than reliable backup for The Red and Whites. Despite being largely third choice – behind Valère Germain and Radamel Falcao – he’s the club’s joint-second top scorer with nine goals. Eight of those goals have come in nine Ligue 1 starts.
Kylian Mbappé is the youngest player, at 18 years & 2 months, to score 10 Ligue 1 goals in the last 30 seasons. (Opta)
— Get French Football (@GFFN) March 6, 2017
After a few bad games – which also reflected in Dortmund’s results – he’s back spearheading Thomas Tuchel’s attack.
Dembele was arguably the man of the match last Saturday. The Frenchman scored one and assisted another in Dortmund’s 6-2 thrashing of Bayer Leverkusen at the Signal Iduna Park. In the absence of their injured talisman Marco Reus, the French attacker proved he can carry the team’s creative burden.
He has proved he could be the Robin to Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s Batman. Bayer Leverkusen joined his long list of tormented teams as he registered a game-high six shots on the day.
The 19-year-old has already notched six goals and nine assists in the Bundesliga this season. The €15 million Dortmund paid Rennes for his services is looking to be an inspired move.
His double took him to 20 goals in all competitions, making him the first Portuguese to score 20+ goals for Porto since Domingos Paciência. He scored 31 goals the year Silva was born.
It’s an amazing record for the 21-year-old. He’s also the second highest top scorer in the Portuguese league (with 15 goals). but his hunger for more greatness means he’s only seeing this as a minor feat. In an interview before the match against Nacional, he made it clear he would not be happy until Porto win the Liga NOS.
Thankfully for him, Porto have hit great strides at a crucial point of the season. With him, they stand a huge chance – one point behind Benfica – of making his title win a reality.
— FCPGlobal (@FCP_Tube) March 4, 2017
Against Willem II last weekend, he struck an amazing goal which proved to be the winner for his side. Twente were up 1-0 with three minutes left to play in the first half when Unal picked the ball about 25 yards away from goal. Despite being closed down quickly, he made for himself enough space before whacking home an unstoppable strike, packed with speed and power, that went in off the bar.
— Turkish Football (@Turkish_Futbol1) March 4, 2017
The 19-year-old’s 12th Eredivisie goal of the season took him past Colin Kazim-Richards, making him the outright highest scoring Turkish player in a single Eredisivie season.