The best Under-21 players in the world right now!


While the Messi/Ronaldo era might slowly be over after 16 years of unparalled dominance, new young blood rises. SportsKindle lists the best under-21 players in the world right now!

The world’s best players are not getting any younger, with C. Ronaldo approaching 37, and L. Messi approaching 34. Although they show no signs of stopping, perhaps it is time, to focus on the newest additions in the world of football, the ones who might explode into the next best in the coming years. While Mbappe or Frenkie De Jong, monsters of players, are too old to be included in the list, they remain the next big prospects in the world. Here is SportsKindle’s list of its 10 best under-21 players (male) in the world right now!

Note: SportsKindle’s list includes a fair deal of forwards and midfielders more than defenders. Why? Because, in recent times, attackers get more playing time than ones who position themselves at the back, more so, because the latters’ tactical awareness and understanding of the game needs depth while players moving forward need more attacking depth.

Counting down from 10, we have:

Giovanni Reyna of Borussia Dortmund looks on during the Bundesliga match between TSG Hoffenheim and Borussia Dortmund at PreZero-Arena on October 17, 2020 in Sinsheim, Germany.

10. Giovanni Reyna, FW:
Club/country: Dortmund / United States
Age: 18

Reyna is an honestly underrated prospect that Dortmund are harnessing this season. One of the best under-21 players in the world, the mentality that Reyna holds, the understanding of the game and the physicality has earned him enough praise to be compared as the best American male football player of all time. He has an excellent passing sense, and plays right off the striker, though he sometimes has been used as a right-winger. What’s more, is that he is an immense team player.

Vinicius Jr.

9. Vinicius Jr., LW:
Club/country: Real Madrid / Brazil
Age: 20

Even though, opinions over his performance polarise a lot, his electric pace remains top-notch. And he does deliver when it comes to matches which matter. Vini Jr. can now look back on 100 official games for Real Madrid having been signed previously from Flamingo on a €46m transfer fee. The only thing that makes him so good, is his unpredictability and trickiness. He cuts across those diagonals and it makes him extremely lethal on the left wing.

Joao Felix

8. Joao Felix, FW:
Club/country: Atletico Madrid / Portugal
Age: 21

2019’s Golden Boy honestly has not been exploited to his fullest strength. Atletico Madrid’s defensive game, and Diego Simeone’s demanding rigour has not seen this boy’s potential. But the sheer fact as to how he operates in the field is a sight to behold. His first touch is absolutely impeccable. Extremely quick, with or without possession, he has a smart sense of combination play. When he’s at his best, he can be a joy to watch!

Jude Bellingham

7. Jude Bellingham, MID:
Club/country: Dortmund / England
Age: 17

Jude Belligham’s close control on the ball, technique and simply even his varied precision passing is what puts him in the list of the best under-21 players. And he is just 17! He even is a box to box midfielder at times with intelligent late runs. He is turning out to be the complete modern no.8 and what’s more, just like Reyna, he’s good at teamwork.


6. Pedri, CAM:
Club/country: Barcelona / Spain
Age: 18

No, Pedri is not a La Masia product, you’re mistaken. He was signed by Barcelona in 2019 from Las Palmas, but kept another year out in loan to the same club. Pedri is a superstar, even if he does not know it yet. He has fit into Barca’s system so well, that it’s extremely astonishing to see not a academy product perform so much better than them, in their own style of play. His style of play is so elegant, he sometimes creates poetries on the field. Weaving in and out, setting Leo Messi up, combining so effortlessly, his vision on-field is perhaps unparalleled in this list of the best under-21 players. Recently, his form has been dropping, but perhaps, Koeman remains responsible.

Matthijs de Ligt

5. Matthijs de Ligt, CB
Club/country: Juventus / Netherlands
Age: 21

2018’s Golden Boy, the youngest ever player to lead Ajax as its captain, Matthijs de Ligt took all the limelight since Ajax defeated Real Madrid at the Bernabeu. And what’s more, even though he did choose Juventus, de Ligt has the power of reading the game better than someone who is 10-12 years senior to him. Boasting a passing completion of 93%, he harnesses a high level of focus as he loses the ball for an avg. of only 1.9 times per game.

Ansu Fati

4. Ansu Fati, FW:
Club/country: Barcelona / Spain
Age: 18
Ansu Fati could have been second on the list, or even the first, if not for his injuries. Fati dominates the left flank mainly, and his sudden turns of pace and unpredictability, the ability to turn defenders inside out is something which does put him at a deserving 4th place. Moreover, by the start of this season, he was already La Liga’s top scorer. Imagine him if he was not injured!

3. Jaden Sancho, FW:
Club/country: Borussia Dortmund / England
Age: 21

Mind you, Sancho plays on both wings. Left and right. And he’s an equal threat on both. He’s excellent in a one vs. one and his agility enables him to get out of tight spots extremely quickly. Currently rumored to be on a move to Manchester United, Sancho has every potential to be a superstar footballer.

Erling Haaland of Borussia Dortmund celebrates with the fans after victory in the Bundesliga match between Borussia Dortmund and Borussia Moenchengladbach at Signal Iduna Park on September 19, 2020 in Dortmund, Germany.

2. Erling Haaland, FW:
Club/country: Borussia Dortmund / Norway
Age: 20

A monster in front of goal unlike any other, Erling Haaland would have just taken the show away if only for the next guy. But nevertheless, 37 goals from 38 games and he has already been this year’s top scorer in the Champion’s League. Add to that, his tactical awareness, finishing, raw power and his pace. My God, his pace! Bullets might just be dodged by him by the looks of it!

the best under-21 players in the world
Phil Foden

1. Phil Foden, CAM:
Club/country: Man City / England
Age: 20

Phil Foden has been pegged as the greatest talent Pep Guardiola has ever seen in a long time. Phil Foden’s understanding of the game, his tactical awareness, his left foot, clutch moments, and movement off the ball is something that perhaps only one guy had before him. That is all that defines Phil Foden. He has been so instrumental in Man City’s triumph this season, delivering masterclasses whenever it was needed off him. SportsKindle believes, he deserves the number one position on our list!


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