x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 24 January 2018

While some have gone on to greater things, not all youngsters make the grade.

Roma’s player Bojan Krkic. AFP
Roma’s player Bojan Krkic. AFP

Marcelo Gallardo

One of the youngest of the Argentina teenagers at the 1991 Under 17 World Cup, and inevitably labelled a “New Maradona”. Won 44 senior caps, but developed a reputation for indiscipline.

Wilson Oruma

Captain and top scorer of Nigeria’s 1993 U17 world champions, had a solid career later, but would be overshadowed in the senior team, winning just 19 caps.

Sebastian Deisler

Germany’s star at the 1997 tournament, Deisler had a velvet touch, but a vulnerability to injury and depression, for which he was treated in 2003, while with Bayern Munich.

Florent Sinama-Pongolle

Signed by Liverpool after his goalscoring exploits for winners France at the 2001 U17 World Cup, but struggled to establish a first-team place. Won only one senior cap.

Maxi Lopez

A towering Argentine striker whose impact at the 2001 event helped persuade Barcelona to recruit him. He featured only briefly there, and equally briefly for AC Milan last year. Uncapped at senior level.


The enigma of Manchester United, who signed the Brazilian two summers after he had been Player of the Tournament at the 2005 U17 tournament. Dogged by inconsistency and indiscipline.

Bojan Krkic

Feted as the next Lionel Messi, a phenomenal junior goalscorer and impressive U17 for Spain. Bojan, below, left Barcelona for first-team chances, but found them scarce at Roma and AC Milan. Now at Ajax.