Eight teams remain standing in the quest to secure the most famous prize in club football: the UEFA Champions League trophy.
Thanks to Barcelona’s stunning comeback against PSG, the quarterfinals feature three Spanish clubs, two German clubs, a French club, an Italian club and an English club. That the English club is Leicester City is pretty remarkable, but that’s not why we’re here.
We’re here to talk about young talent.
This year’s group of quarterfinalists are notable for many reasons, but chief amongst them is the incredible number of young players littered across the contenders, many of whom are making a name for themselves in the competition. How are we defining young? For our purposes, any player still short of his 23rd birthday counts, though a solid list could be made of just players 20 years of age and younger.
Both Monaco and Borussia Dortmund are, for lack of a better word, STACKED, and so we’ll start with them. Drawn against one another, the two matches between the French and German sides will be as much a scouting opportunity for the world’s richest clubs (not all of whom reached the Champions League quarters or even the Champions League itself).
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Tiemoué Bakayoko - Monaco
Defensive midfielder Bakayoko is currently being linked with a summer move to Chelsea, where we presume Antonio Conte will mold him into some sort of attack-destroying machine.
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Kylian Mbappé - Monaco
Mbappé is an 18-year old phenom of a forward who is generating headlines like "Monaco reject £96m bid from Premier League club for French starlet." So what if it's the Daily Mail?
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Bernardo Silva – Monaco
The list of clubs coming after Silva, a 22-year old midfielder from Portugal, reads like this: Chelsea, Manchester United, Bayern Munich, Barcelona, etc.
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Benjamin Mendy – Monaco
You may have seen Mendy causing havoc up the left-hand side for Monaco in the Round of 16 against Man City. The 22-year old fullback's excellent speed and crossing make him a handful.
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Felix Passlack - Borussia Dortmund
Dortmund's versatile 18-year old has shifted into a fullback position, where he has seen the bulk of his first team minutes. A compact package, Passlack is known for his abilities on the ball.
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Ousmane Dembélé - Borussia Dortmund
Dembélé is a 19-year old goalscorer with a skillset that makes the biggest clubs in Europe drool. Dortmund will either reap the rewards of his talent for a little while longer, or cash in on his immense talent.
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Christian Pulisic - Borussia Dortmund
No matter how much the hype seems to rise around the 19-year old American, Pulisic seems to handle it. A transfer target for Liverpool (amongst others) Pulisic seems committed to Dortmund.
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Mor hasn't accumulated the minutes that his fellow Dortmund wonderkids have, but the Turkish attacker (who was born in Denmark) can wow with his dribbling ability.