From it’s inception to date, Talent Radar has become a great source in the football-sphere to keep track of and hand out recognition to the best young players performing their magic in the beautiful game. From Player Rankings to our Team of the Week, we strive to ensure the stars of tomorrow don’t evade the eager eyes of the football enthusiast. It’s only fitting that at the end of a long hard season, we hand out one last (and most significant) bit of recognition to those that most impressed us.
After the success of last season’s awards, including recognition from Spanish newspaper AS, the 2014-15 version is here. The award categories can be seen below, which including individual, performance based and team awards.
Note that those eligible for these awards are players aged 21 and under as of June 1st 2014, with only first team games in the top division (across Europe’s top six leagues) taken into consideration.
DEBUTANT OF THE SEASON
At the start of the season, Luis Suarez was suspended because of his biting incident during the World Cup. In his place, Barcelona put their faith in the youngster, Munir El Haddadi. Making his first ever senior appearance, Munir did well to impress, picking up a goal and an assist. Moreover, Munir looked the part, and totally at home among the big boys. He takes the crown from Adnan Januzaj, who had terrorized opposition defenders and emerged as the bright spot during a poor 2013-14 season for United.
GOAL OF THE SEASON
Generally, in this category, one looks for something that’s spectacular, or dramatic, or important for the team. How about all 3 rolled into one? That’s exactly what the Chelsea loanee managed to do against Hamburg. With the match level at 1-1, Piazon came up with this worldie in the 90th minute to win the game. Everyone loves a good thunderbolt finding the top corner, right?
PERFORMANCE OF THE SEASON
Initially signed as the replacement for Courtois, Oblak has never really managed to become the undisputed number one at Atletico, but performances like the one against Real at the Calderon have helped. In that game, Atletico held out for a 0-0 draw largely due to the fantastic effort from Oblak. The former Benfica man made stunning stops from almost all the Real stars, and kept the then La Liga champions in contention for the second leg.
GOALKEEPER OF THE SEASON
Karius consistently performed well in our Talent Radar Player Rankings, and a brilliant season has got him his spot. Karius has become the terrific last line of defence for a Mainz side that was often quite leaky. His incredible reflex saves make him a fan favourite as well, and many are wondering where Karius will end up in the long term. If does as well as last year’s winner, it won’t be any place half bad.
DEFENDER OF THE SEASON
For the second year running, one of the most impressive left backs to emerge has taken this award. Like his successor, Gaya is very proficient going forward, with his skill and energy making him a useful man to have on the left wing. The fact that he’s been the mainstay in that position is very encouraging, and a full season as a starter has to have helped his growth immensely.
MIDFIELDER OF THE SEASON
Driven by the industry and creativity of Koke, Atletico powered into the Champions League final and the La Liga last season. This year, the creative output and attacking flair of Nabil Fekir almost took Lyon to a Ligue 1 win that would’ve denied PSG in what should be a one team league.
FORWARD OF THE SEASON
United fans, rejoice! The man leading PSV to a dominant title win and walking away with the award for the forward of the season is their shiny new signing, Memphis Depay. Dubbed as a special talent by many people, Depay is a player with speed, skills, tricks, and creativity. You can bet on this guy being a smash hit, with the likes of van Gaal behind him, and the passionate United support cheering him on.
TEAM OF THE SEASON
So the team of the season is looks at the best 11 young players in Europe, and here’s how we line up. Being hipsters (we’ve all got beards), we start with 3 at the back. Of course, the team had to be positionally adjusted to accommodate the best 11 players.
PLAYER OF THE SEASON
The team that caused ripples and waves across Europe this season was Lyon, and their best player has won the award. Nabil Fekir has been a revelation, with his goals and assists making Lyong one of the most exciting teams in Europe. He’s young, and very talented. If he gets the right atmosphere, and the right guidance, we could see him grow into something spectacular.
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