Champions League 2018/19 Round of 16: 5 young forwards to watch out for
After a two-month hiatus, European club football's biggest showpiece returns, as the continent's finest resume hostilities in a bid to be crowned the premier club in Europe.
An arduous journey which started way back in September with 32 teams has been cut down to 16 and over the next three weeks, each of these clubs would be putting in their best efforts to make sure their European sojourn continues beyond this stage.
The Round of 16 in this season's UCL consists of the who's who of both established European dynasties such as Real Madrid, Barcelona and Bayern Munich, as well as recent upstarts like Tottenham and PSG, but they would all go into their various clashes with a genuine belief that they could make it into the quarterfinals and beyond.
A lot of the clubs would be pinning their qualification hopes on their established superstars, as they would need them to bring all their acquired experience to the fore to decide the outcome of these crunch fixtures.
However, history has shown us that more often than not, it is the younger players who seize the opportunity to announce themselves on the grandest stage of club football by grabbing the headlines and taking the shine off their more established colleagues.
Goals are required to win these games, and at its most basic, whoever scores more goals in these knockout fixtures progressed, with other factors such as away goals coming into play. Hence the clubs would need their star forwards to step up to the plate.
While this round of 16 has no shortage of superstar attackers who have banged in goals for fun over the years such as Luis Suarez, Robert Lewandowski, Karim Benzema, Sergio Aguero, Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo but to name a few, there are also a couple of 'greenhorns' who are as good as any in finding the back of the net but lacking in experience compared to the aforementioned names. These are the subject of this piece.
In this piece, we shall be taking a look at the top five young forwards aged 21 and under taking part in this season's UCL round of 16 fixtures.
#5 Justin Kluivert - 19 years (AS Roma)
The son of legendary former Ajax, Barcelona and Netherlands striker Patrick Kluivert, Justin always had his work cut out for him owing to the lasting legacy his father left during his playing days.
Very rarely do sons of great footballers go on to achieve fame, as they more often than not struggle to live up to their father's legacies. However, the younger Kluivert appears well on his way to doing so.
Having broken out at Ajax just like his father, he took his next step to Serie A but this time to AS Roma rather than AC Milan like his father did 22 years ago.
Justin became the youngest ever player to score a UCL goal for AS Roma when he netted the fourth goal in the 5-0 group stage victory over Viktoria Plzen.
Pacy, technical and with a keen eye for goal, Kluivert can prove to be a handful for opposing defenses and FC Porto would do well to keep an eye on him.