Connect with us

Talent Radar

Talent Radar | 10 Players who have won the U-17 World Cup: Ronaldinho, Dos Santos, Kanu & more

The U-17 World Cup is a showcase event, displaying the best young players of modern football. While some players go unnoticed despite success in this competition, Rahul Warrier lists those that went on to have successful careers in senior football as well.

Dos Santos 2016

The U-17 World Cup is the first international stage for young players to display their talent and make themselves known to the world. Many top players have first starred here, even if many have not been part of winning teams. The fact that the second tier of international teams like Mexico, Switzerland and Nigeria (several times) have won show how balanced youth football is during such tournaments. As a new edition rumbles on in Chile, here are the best 10 players to have been part of a title-winning team in the U-17 World Cup, with a perfect balance of 5 from the 1990s and 5 from the 2000s.

Note: players are listed by the chronological order of the tournaments

Samuel Kuffour // Ghana // 1991

One of the best African defenders to have graced the game, Samuel Kuffour is well known for his time at Bayern Munich, having played for them for 12 years. His physical prowess made him a capable centre-back. He was an integral part of that team and won 17 titles with the Bavarian club. He was such a prodigy that he managed to play in two U-17 World Championships, in 1991 and 1993, where they came 2nd. Kuffour is famously remembered for his display of anguish after his team cruelly lost to Manchester United in the 1999 Champions League final.

Nwankwo Kanu // Nigeria // 1993 

Kanu is a striker well-known for his successful time at Arsenal, where he became a fan favourite for his goals. Having also played for Inter Milan, Ajax, West Brom and Portsmouth, Kanu belongs to a select group who have won the Premier League, FA Cup, Champions League, UEFA Cup and an Olympic gold. He is also one of the most-capped players for his country and was the second highest-scorer in the U-17 tournament with 5 goals including one hat-trick.

Stephen Appiah // Ghana // 1995

Injuries curtailed the career of Appiah, who was actually only 15 when he won the U-17 World Cup with Ghana in 1995. A strong box-to-box midfielder, Appiah was a well-rounded player with the ability to rack up the assists and goals. He spent the majority of his career in Italy, having played for Udinese, Parma, Brescia, Juventus, Bologna and Cesena. His constant injuries only allowed him to show glimpses of his talents when he played. He also captained Ghana at their World Cup debut in 2006 and was part of the squad that narrowly missed the semi-finals in 2010.

Ronaldinho // Brazil // 1997

Arguably the best player of his generation, Ronaldinho in fact burst into the limelight with two penalties at the U-17 Championships in 1997. His technical skills were matched by none. The things he could achieve with the ball at his feet were simply unparalleled. He went up to another level at Barcelona where he was truly at his peak. Words can not describe what this man could do. There is no need to state that he is the best player ever to have won the U-17 World Cup, and the best player the world has seen in recent times talent-wise along with Messi.

Adriano // Brazil // 1999

L’Imperatore, as he was known in Italy, under-achieved on the immense potential he had. While he had successes at Inter and Flamengo, and scored numerous goals for the duo, Parma and Brazil, the personal problems he had to face in between his stint at Inter more or less sent his career downwards. A move to Brazil did not do wonders to his career either. Nevertheless, despite his inconsistency and fitness issues his talent was undoubtable and his attributes truly made him a top player when he was at his peak. He did not net in the U-17 World Cup however.

Hector Moreno // Mexico // 2005

A tough no-nonsense centre-back, Moreno currently plies his trade for PSV Eindhoven in the Dutch Eredivisie. Having previously for AZ and Espanyol, Moreno is a main-stay in the Mexican national team and is one of their best defenders at the moment. Moreno is also known for his crunching tackles, one of them which resulted in a double leg fracture for Luke Shaw. He is also known for his timely goals, and scored in the semi-final victory in the 2005 U-17 World Cup.

Giovani dos Santos // Mexico // 2005

Once one of the most exciting youth prospects, the elder of the dos Santos brothers is a skilful, pacy and creative playmaker. Having never truly achieved his potential, despite having played for Barcelona, Tottenham and Villareal, he decided to move to the MLS and LA Galaxy in order to get more playing time and become a starter for Mexico. Gio has something most footballers do not have, a Gold at the Olympics (2012), and he also won the Silver Ball at the U-17 World Cup in 2005.

Carlos Vela // Mexico // 2005

The third and last Mexican on this list, Vela was the recipient of the Golden Boot in 2005, firing his team with 5 goals to the title. That performance brought his potential to Arsenal who signed him up. However Vela was unable to reach similar heights for Arsenal and after being shipped about on loan, he eventually joined Real Sociedad in 2011, initially on loan, where he has enjoyed a relative degree of success on a personal level. Internationally however, Vela has had problems and after a three-year hiatus, he is finally back with the Mexicans, which bodes well for them considering he is one of the country’s best players.

Granit Xhaka // Switzerland // 2009

Once dubbed the “young Schweinsteiger” by his then national coach Ottmar Hitzfield, Xhaka possesses excellent vision and technique. While only 22, Xhaka has transitioned into a strong and intelligent midfielder, adding passing accuracy and bustle to the centre of the park. He is part of the midfield engine which drove Monchengladbach to this year’s Champions League. He doesn’t bring too many goals to his club side but has already netted 6 for Switzerland, including one in the 2014 World Cup. In 2009, he scored a solitary goal in the group stages. Much is expected of the Swiss who has already achieved a fair bit.

Ricardo Rodriguez // Switzerland // 2009

An accomplished defender, Rodriguez is one of the best young left-backs in the world, with strong heading ability and pinpoint delivery of crosses. His pace and stamina make him an attacking outlet. Currently at Wolfsburg, he is the best player in the country ahead of Shaqiri and Xhaka and continues to grow. Rodriguez also possesses a rocket of a left foot, using it for thundering free-kicks. In 2009, he played an important role for his team with 3 goals. Only 23, the sky is the limit for Rodriguez.

Written by Rahul Warrier

OOTB banner ad 620x150

Rahul Warrier

Rahul Warrier

17 year old freelance football writer. Work featured on These Football Times, Yahoo Sport, FourFourTwo, IBWM, AS Roma etc.
Rahul Warrier

100 to Watch


Opinions12 hours ago

Julen Lopetegui at Real Madrid: Tactical Approach & Key Players

Aamer Aslam writes about what we can expect from European Champions Real Madrid after the arrival of Julen Lopetegui On...

Opinions3 days ago

Carlo Ancelotti at Napoli: Tactical Approach & Key Players

Charles Onwuakpa writes about Carlo Ancelotti and the approach he is likely to take on at Napoli. After three intense...

Scout Report3 days ago

Scout Report: Gonçalo Paciência | Eintracht’s exquisite forward

Jose Miguel Saraiva writes a detailed scout report about Eintracht Frankfurt’s striker, Gonçalo Paciência. For those who have been attentively observing...

Talent Radar4 days ago

Talent Radar: Liga MX’s 10 Young Players to Watch in 2018-19

Thomas Harrison writes about the 10 players to watch out for in the Liga MX for this coming season. Mexico...

Talent Radar5 days ago

20 Key Young Players to Watch from 20 La Liga Teams

Tom Canton takes a look at they key young players to watch from each of the 20 La Liga teams....

Scout Report5 days ago

Scout Report: Alphonso Davies | Speedy Canadian winger

Griffin O’Neill writes a detailed scout report about Alphonso Davies, the Vancouver Whitecaps winger. While many still believe that the...

Scout Report5 days ago

Scout Report: Diogo Gonçalves | Benfica’s tricky winger

Jose Miguel Saraiva writes a detailed scout report about Benfica’s tricky winger, Diogo Goncalves Having been deprived of their biggest...

Talent Radar6 days ago

Talent Radar: 5 breakthrough players to watch in the Bundesliga

Griffin O’Neill writes about 5 young players breaking through in the Bundesliga this season. Josh Sargent // 18 // Werder...

Talent Radar2 weeks ago

20 Key Young Players to Watch from 20 Premier League Teams

Andrew Thompson takes a look at the key young players to watch from each of the 20 Premier League teams...

Talent Radar2 weeks ago

Talent Radar: Argentina Superliga’s 10 Young Players to Watch in 2018-19

Tom Robinson briefs us about the 10 best young players to watch in the Argentine Superliga Argentina may have endured...

Talent Radar2 weeks ago

Talent Radar: 5 breakthrough players to watch in the Premier League

Hrishi Anand writes about 5 young players breaking through in the Premier League this season. As is the case every...

Opinions2 weeks ago

Unai Emery at Arsenal: Tactical Approach & Key Players

Hrishi Anand writes about what Arsenal fans and the Premier League can look forward to with the arrival of Unai...

Scout Report2 weeks ago

Scout Report: Benjamin Pavard | France’s Versatile Star

Jordan McElderry provides a scout report which analyses France and Stuttgart’s promising young defender, Benjamin Pavard In recent years, France...

Scout Report2 weeks ago

Scout Report: Diogo Dalot | Manchester United’s New Full-Back

Jose Miguel Saraiva provides a scout report which analyzes Manchester United’s new full-back, Diogo Dalot FC Porto’s achievements last season...

Scout Report2 weeks ago

Scout Report: Wendel | Sporting Club de Portugal’s new box-to-box diamond

Jose Miguel Saraiva writes a detailed scout report about Sporting Club de Portugal’s midfielder, Wendel. The 2018/19 pre-season has been...

Talent Radar1 month ago

World Cup 2018: Young Players Team of the Tournament

With an enthralling World Cup 2018 now completed, we an Outside of the Boot recognise the best young players under...

Talent Radar1 month ago

World Cup 2018: Talent Radar Top 5 Young Players

One of the most thrilling World Cup’s in memory came to an end with France lifting the Jules Rimet. While...

Tactical Analysis1 month ago

Tactical Analysis: Croatia 2-1 England AET | Tenacious Croatia punish England’s complacency

Charles Onwuakpa provides us with a tactical analysis of the World Cup semi final that ended Croatia 2-1 England. Croatia...

Tactical Analysis1 month ago

Tactical Analysis: France 1-0 Belgium | Set Piece Decides Game Dominated by Determined Defences

Siyang Xu provides us with a tactical analysis of the World Cup semi final that ended France 1-0 Belgium. France...

Tactical Analysis1 month ago

Tactical Analysis: Croatia 2-2 Russia | Modric and Rakitic make the difference

William Sinsky provides us with a tactical analysis of the World Cup quarter final that ended Croatia 2-2 Russia, with...

Talent Radar Award History

Subscribe via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this site and receive notifications of new posts by email.

More on Outside of the Boot