UEFA Champions League 2019/2020: Ranking the top 7 teenagers in the group stage
Another season of Champions League football is upon us, and over the next nine months, fans of the beautiful game would be treated to spectacles of world class football as the best 32 teams in Europe battle it out for honours.
The Champions League is the pinnacle of club football, and as such, it comes as no surprise that the very best players on the planet would be paraded, with their performance in the competition going a long way in cementing their legacy and determining who would win the individual prizes.
However, beyond the presence of established superstars like Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo, Virgil Van Dijk, Eden Hazard among others, there are also a number of unheralded but talented youngsters who would be seeking to carve a niche for themselves with spectacular performances in the Champions League.
The annals of Champions League are littered with scores of prodigious teenagers making a mark in the competition, from Patrick Kluivert winning the trophy for Ajax in 1995, Raul Gonzalez announcing himself a year later, Messi leaving players twice his age on their backside at Stamford Bridge in 2006 to Kylian Mbappe rewriting history with Monaco in 2017.
The current era is no different, and has more than its own fair share of gifted teenagers who would be strutting their stuff in the Champions League this season. Here we shall have a look at seven teenagers who are likely to star in the Champions League this season.
Note: While Joao Felix might be a prodigiously talented teenager at the moment, the fact that he would turn 20 in November while the group stage is still on disqualifies him from this list.
Honourable mentions - Alphonso Davies - 18 years (Bayern Munich), Sergino Dest - 18 years (Ajax)
#7 Lee Kang-in -18 years (Valencia)
Lee Kang-in began his football development in the academy of South Korean K-League side in 2009, spending two years with Incheon United before transferring to Valencia from Flying FC in 2011.
The 18-year-old was called up to the Valencia B team in December 2017, going on to record his first assist for the side a month later.
History was made on 30 October, 2018 when he made his professional debut for the Valencia senior side in the 2-1 victory over CD Ebro in the Copa del Rey becoming the youngest Korean player to do so professionally in Europe.
Kang was the star of the show in the 2019 FIFA U-20 World Cup as Korea made it all the way to a historic runners-up finish in Poland. He finished the tournament scoring two goals and assisting four from seven matches and was duly rewarded as the Golden Ball winner.
Due to his style of play, the attacking midfielder has drawn comparisons with compatriot Son Heung-min. while he might have some way to go before matching the accomplishments of the Tottenham star, Lee Kang-in is undoubted one to watch out for.