Top 5 Golden Ball winners at the FIFA U-17 World Cup
Before signing for the biggest clubs, these players first took the world by storm as teenagers
Ever since the first ever FIFA U-17 World Cup was held in China, there have been a total of 16 editions of the youth tournament. Held every two years, the tournament gives scouts a good platform to identify the next big talent in world football.
India is all set to host the 2017 U-17 World Cup in the month of October with 24 teams set to take part. Whether the next big star is born this year remains to be seen but a number of such players who won the Most Valuable Player award in these tournaments never made it big. We take a look at five Golden Ball winners who made it big.
5) Anderson (Brazil) – 2005
When Brazil played Mexico in the final of the 2005 edition, Anderson lasted only 15 minutes before he was stretchered off. It was a huge blow to the South American side as it was his heroics in the games against Netherlands, North Korea and Turkey that had brought Brazil to the final. Mexico went on to win 3-0 but Anderson did not go home empty-handed as he received the Golden Ball award for his performances.
By the time he made his senior debut for Brazil, Anderson had moved from Porto to Manchester United for a fee of £20m. The midfielder would spend eight seasons at Old Trafford and, under Sir Alex Ferguson, he would play a pivotal role in many games in the first few seasons at the club.
But the latter stages of his career in the Premier League were blighted by injuries, fitness concerns and falling out with managers following Ferguson’s exit. David Moyes did not want him and he was even sent on loan to Fiorentina prior to Juan Mata’s arrival.
Anderson won four Premier League titles and a Champions League with the Red Devils before Louis van Gaal no longer saw any use for him. He would eventually move on and join Brazilian club Internacional on a free transfer.