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Top 10 breakout stars of 2017

Robin Bairner
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14.83K   //    04 Feb 2018, 11:27 IST

France v Spain International Friendly

Kylian Mbappe is tearing it up in France

When fans look back on 2017 in a decade, they will likely look back on the year as the period in which the stars arrived to take over the mantle of leaders of the game from Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo.

Both of the game's dominant players of the last decade are now over 30 and cannot keep going on forever. While Neymar, a long time established figure, is spearheading the players to take over from them, there has been a rush of promising players to break over the last 12 months.

Here, we look at 10 of the best. Some of them are youngsters just emerging in the game, but others are players who have bubbled away under the surface for two or three years but have now emerged as genuine stars of the game.

All, however, made their first big mark during 2017.

Kylian Mbappe

There can be little doubt who the young player of 2017 was. As a Monaco player, Kylian Mbappe broke into the first team in December and held his place down by scoring on a frighteningly regular basis.

He had just turned 18 when he started to star on a weekly basis for Leonardo Jardim’s outfit, and his goals helped the Stade Louis II club stun Paris Saint-Germain as they won Ligue 1 thanks to a blistering display of attacking football.

But it was not only domestically that Mbappe excelled – on the Champions League stage, he rapidly convinced the watching world of his qualities by playing a leading role as Monaco knocked out Manchester City and Dortmund playing in their trademark swashbuckling manner.

By the time the summer arrived, there were rumours swirling over his future but Monaco insisted they were intent on keeping the youngster.

Indeed, they would have succeeded in pinning down the teenager had PSG not swept in with an incredible offer. Although he has moved to his hometown club initially only on loan, the deal will be completed next summer for a fee that could rise as high as €180 million.

Mbappe has barely missed a beat since moving to PSG, where he is now playing a wider role. The goals have continued to come, albeit not quite at the same blistering pace, but he remains on track to become one of the biggest stars in the world game.

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Robin Bairner
UK-based freelance football journalist for the last decade, I've appeared in publications such as the Guardian, the Blizzard, When Saturday Comes, but can most frequently be found on I write about European football, and have worked at both World Cup 2014 and Euro 2016.
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