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Top 10 Best U-21 Youngsters In World Football in 2024

Among the most promising talents in football are those aged 21 or younger. In the dynamic world of football, stars like Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, once seemingly eternal, have now transitioned to less prominent leagues. While players like Kylian Mbappé and Erling Haaland continue to dominate headlines, there are emerging talents on the horizon.

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FILE PHOTO: Soccer Football – Ligue 1 – RC Strasbourg v Paris St Germain – Stade de la Meinau, Strasbourg, France – May 27, 2023 Paris St Germain’s Kylian Mbappe during the warm up before the match REUTERS/Pascal Rossignol

This article presents a compilation of the top 11 young prospects in global football. Each of these eleven players falls within the 21-and-under age bracket, yet they possess tremendous potential for the future.

  1. Who is the most expensive U-21 football player now?

    According to FootballTransfers.com, Jude Bellingham is the most valuable player under 21 in world football, valued at €132.5 million. 

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Read More: Top 5 Players With Highest Market Values in ISL 2023-24

Top U-21 Eleven Best Youngsters In World Football in 2024

10. Warren Zaire-Emery

At only 18 years old, Warren Zaïre-Emery has swiftly carved out a notable reputation for himself. He commands the midfield for a team led by Kylian Mbappé as the primary forward.

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CLAIREFONTAINE-EN-YVELINES, FRANCE – MARCH 18: Warren Zaire Emery looks on as he arrives to a French national team training session part of a preparation for upcoming friendly football matches at Centre National du Football on March 18, 2024 in Clairefontaine-En-Yvelines, France. (Photo by Aurelien Meunier/Getty Images)

Zaïre-Emery has been a regular presence for Paris Saint-Germain in the ongoing Ligue 1 season, contributing two goals and two assists in 22 appearances, which is quite commendable for his age.

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9. Endrick

In July 2024, at the tender age of 16, Real Madrid struck a deal with Sociedade Esportiva Palmeiras to secure the signing of Endrick. Despite being just 17 now, let’s delve into the journey of this forward.

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RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – NOVEMBER 21: Endrick of Brazil reacts during a FIFA World Cup 2026 Qualifier match between Brazil and Argentina at Maracana Stadium on November 21, 2023 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (Photo by Wagner Meier/Getty Images)

When compared to the legendary Pelé, the Brazilian youngster expressed his individuality by stating, “I want to be Endrick, and I don’t care what people talk about.” Additionally, Endrick’s talent caught the attention of athletic brand New Balance, leading to a sponsorship deal with him.

8. Lamine Yamal

From the esteemed La Masia academy to commanding a spot in FC Barcelona’s starting lineup in Spain, Lamine Yamal has made remarkable strides at just 16 years old. A consistent presence in the first team, he has already made 28 appearances in LaLiga during the 2023-24 season.

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Lamine Yamal of FC Barcelona during the UEFA Champions League Round of 16 first leg match between SSC Napoli v FC Barcelona at Stadio Diego Armando Maradona on February 21, 2024 in Rome, Italy. (Photo by Giuseppe Maffia/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

As a winger, Yamal boasts an impressive record with four goals and six assists to his name. With talents like Yamal and the incoming Endrick, the El Clásicos are bound to ignite with their involvement.

7. Eduardo Camavinga

Eduardo Camavinga, a significant figure for Real Madrid, poses as a formidable opponent for Yamal and his teammates in El Clásico encounters. The 21-year-old French international has established himself as a regular in the Real Madrid squad. Having honed his skills in the ranks of the French club Stade Rennais, Camavinga made the move to the Spanish capital in August 2021.

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PAMPLONA, SPAIN – MARCH 16: Eduardo Camavinga of Real Madrid in action during the LaLiga EA Sports match between CA Osasuna and Real Madrid CF at Estadio El Sadar on March 16, 2024 in Pamplona, Spain. (Photo by Juan Manuel Serrano Arce/Getty Images)

Renowned for his left-footed prowess and versatility across various positions, he has already amassed 131 appearances for Los Blancos. Furthermore, Camavinga boasts the prestigious achievement of lifting the UEFA Champions League trophy with Real Madrid during the 2021-22 season.

6. Alejandro Garnacho

Presently, Alejandro Garnacho is on international duty with the Argentina national football team, set to participate in two friendlies against El Salvador and Costa Rica. At the club level, the 19-year-old graces the pitches of Old Trafford, considering Manchester United his home.

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LONDON, ENGLAND – JANUARY 22: Alejandro Garnacho of Manchester United arrives prior to the Premier League match between Arsenal FC and Manchester United at Emirates Stadium on January 22, 2023 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by Ash Donelon/Manchester United via Getty Images)

Despite being born in Madrid, Spain, Garnacho proudly represents the 2022 FIFA World Cup-winning Argentina team on the international stage. Interestingly, rumors suggest that Garnacho harbors aspirations of joining Real Madrid, reminiscent of Cristiano Ronaldo’s similar desire back in 2008.

5. Xavi Simons

At RB Leipzig, the player donning the number 20 jersey is none other than Xavi Simons, who is just 20 years old. Hailing from Amsterdam, the capital of the Netherlands, Simons garnered significant attention as a youngster. Although his early departure from PSG may have posed a setback, Simons has demonstrated resilience, bouncing back with vigor.

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COLOGNE, GERMANY – MARCH 15: Xavi Simons of RB Leipzig looks on during the Bundesliga match between 1. FC Köln and RB Leipzig at RheinEnergieStadion on March 15, 2024 in Cologne, Germany.(Photo by Rene Nijhuis/MB Media/Getty Images)

A year later, PSG reacquired him from PSV Eindhoven. Currently on loan at Leipzig from Les Parisiens, his loan spell is set to conclude this June. Notably, Simons has contributed 7 goals and 11 assists in the Bundesliga thus far.

4. Jamal Musiala

Jamal Musiala, sporting the number 42 jersey, is precisely half that age at 21 years old. Despite his young age, Musiala remains a standout performer for Bayern Munich in the Bundesliga. Throughout this league season, the attacking midfielder has showcased his talents.

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Jamal Musiala of FC Bayern Munich during the UEFA Champions League Round of 16 match between SS Lazio v FC Bayern Munich at Stadio Olimpico Roma on February 14, 2024 in Rome, Italy. (Photo by Giuseppe Maffia/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

He has made 21 appearances, contributing 10 goals and six assists. In the UEFA Champions League, Musiala has also made his mark, being involved in three goals across seven appearances for his team.

3. Florian Wirtz

Yet another rising star from Germany making waves in the top tier of German football this season. Florian Wirtz, a dynamic attacking midfielder, has been a formidable force for any opposing team. At just 20 years old, Wirtz has been a key member of Bayer Leverkusen’s first team since July 2020.

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LEVERKUSEN, GERMANY – MARCH 14: Florian Wirtz of Bayer Leverkusen looks on during the UEFA Europa League 2023/24 round of 16 second leg match between Bayer 04 Leverkusen and Qarabag FK at BayArena on March 14, 2024 in Leverkusen, Germany. (Photo by Lars Baron – UEFA/UEFA via Getty Images) (Photo by Lars Baron – UEFA/UEFA via Getty Images)

Remarkably, of the 66 goals scored by his club in the league thus far, Wirtz has been directly involved in 17 of them, showcasing his significant impact on the team’s performance.

2. Cole Palmer

While Chelsea may be enduring a challenging season in the Premier League, Cole Palmer is certainly not feeling the chill. Despite the Blues languishing in mid-table with only 11 league games remaining, Palmer’s performance has attracted interest from top clubs.

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LONDON, ENGLAND – MARCH 11: Cole Palmer of Chelsea celebrates after the Premier League match between Chelsea FC and Newcastle United at Stamford Bridge on March 11, 2024 in London, England. (Photo by Nigel French/Sportsphoto/Allstar via Getty Images)

Clubs such as Arsenal, Liverpool, and Manchester United are interested in him reportedly. At just 21 years old, Palmer has made a significant impact, providing eight assists in 24 Premier League matches and converting 11 of his shots into goals.

1. Jude Bellingham

Jude Bellingham, already a renowned figure in world football, is making waves at the heart of Spanish football. The Englishman made a splash this season upon joining Real Madrid and swiftly ascended to superstar status at the club. At just 20 years old, Bellingham has emerged as a prolific attacking midfielder, topping the LaLiga goal-scoring charts with an impressive tally of 16 goals.

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MADRID, SPAIN – MARCH 6: Jude Bellingham of Real Madrid during the UEFA Champions League match between Real Madrid v RB Leipzig at the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu on March 6, 2024 in Madrid Spain (Photo by David S. Bustamante/Soccrates Images/Getty Images)

Furthermore, in the UEFA Champions League, he has showcased his prowess with four goals and four assists in just six appearances. With Bellingham’s stellar contributions, could another UEFA Champions League title be on the horizon for Los Blancos?


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