Champions League: 10 of Europe’s most promising players

We all know Messi, Ronaldo, Aguero, and many of the other established stars in the Champions League this season, but who are the young guns who also hope to impress? Here are ten players looking for their chance to shine:

Jese Rodriguez

Following a storming 2013/14 in which he scored five goals in 23 games for Real Madrid, Jese suffered the agony of a serious cruciate ligament injury which ruled him out for eight months. The forward has now returned to first team action and will hope to return to his form just before the injury in March, when he was on the brink of a Spanish call-up. If he can recapture last season’s magic and Ronaldo, Kroos et al continue to shine it might be worth a wager with BetVernons on the club repeating its success.

Nathan Ake

Chelsea aren’t perhaps known for bringing youngsters through into their Champions League squad, but their youth team is bubbling with promise – and none more so than this distinctive Dutch U-21 international. A former Feyenoord prodigy, Ake helped himself to an assist in the 6-0 destruction of Maribor earlier this season.

Munir El Haddadi

The conclusion of Luis Suarez’ ban was bad news for the 19-year-old Barca forward, who started seven of the club’s first eight games this season before the Uruguayan arrived. Blessed with an audacious dribbling skill and technique, El Haddadi has been cursed with the title of ‘The Next Messi’ and will probably be loaned out come January. Here’s a taster of his skills on YouTube, including a stonker from the halfway line.

Julian Draxler

If any one snippet of football gold sums up Schalke forward Draxler’s magical presence, it’s the spell-binding assist for Raul’s tap-in against Al Sadd. Yes, it’s a testimonial, but the touches and concluding backheel must be seen to be believed. The German international made his debut in the Bundesliga aged just 16, and may be looking for a bigger club soon.

Adrien Rabiot

The French midfielder was seemingly on the verge of moving elsewhere after a lack of first-team action last summer, but signed a new contract extension with Paris St-Germain last month, as ESPN reported. He’ll be hoping his easy passing game can enable him to play more games in what is already a congested midfield roster.

Viktor Fischer

The Ajax ‘wonderkid’ has been linked with a move to Liverpool and other clubs across Europe, but for the moment the Danish international remains a member of the Amsterdam club’s squad. The slight left winger is by no means the finished article and can frustrate, but fans admire his great work ethic and impressive scoring rate.

Raheem Sterling

It almost seems negative to describe him as ‘promising’, but until he wins something, or at least performs consistently across an entire season, then the 19-year-old Liverpool flyer will remain a potential great. The hope is that he fulfils expectations better than the injury haunted Jack Wilshere, who came to prominence at a similar age.

Joel Campbell

Most fans will think that Arsenal’s real issues lurk at the back, but they could do worse than freshening up the attack with Campbell. The Costa Rica international had a fine World Cup but has spent several seasons stagnating across Europe in club football – when will Wenger take a chance on the 22-year-old?

Antoine Griezmann

Another player who enjoyed a strong summer – but one who has flourished for his new club. The French international figured several times for the Ribery-less Les Bleus, earning himself a big-money move from Real Sociedad to Atletico Madrid and already scoring in games against Olympiacos and Malmo.

Juan Fernando Quintero

James Rodriguez wasn’t the only decent Columbian attacker on show in Brazil. The 5ft 6in Porto attacking midfielder Quintero scored the winner against the Ivory Coast and was previously described by former Turkish player Kubilay Turkyilmaz as having the skills “to put himself on a par with Messi”.

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