For the fourth season running, the Talent Radar Awards recognise the best individuals across Europe’s top leagues across seven primary categories.
[Eligibility: As of 1st June 2016 – 21 years old and below for outfield players // 22 years old and below for goalkeepers]
Gianluigi Donnarumma // 18 // AC Milan // Goalkeeper: Donnarumma made his breakthrough into the Milan team last season, and has been an absolute revelation. The youngster is at the forefront of a revolution at Milan, and is the face of the new wave of resurgence at Milan. His performances have merited this status, with his excellent reflexes and shot stopping ability marking him out as a potential successor to Buffon. His ability in the box as well is top notch, and he makes very few mistakes as well. He’s done well for himself, and led Milan into a European place this season, which is fine progress.
Benjamin Henrichs // 20 // Bayer Leverkusen // Right Back: Leverkusen have had a tough season, as Roger Schmidt lost his job, and Leverkusen sometimes flirted with relegation. That being said, Henrichs has still made a name for himself, and is one of the young brigade emerging at Leverkusen. Henrichs is a player who is defensively solid, and very versatile too, because he can play across the back line. He’s also occasionally used in midfield due to his solid all round ability, but right back seems to be his best position.
Niklas Sule // 21 // Hoffenheim // Centre Back: Hoffenheim had a dream season under the guidance of the young Julian Nagelsmann. They finished in 4th place on the last day of the season, and will be playing Champions League football next season. At the heart of this incredible effort from the team was Niklas Sule. The young center back has proven to be a fine reader of the game, and an able defender in 1 v 1 situations as well. Sule is set to move on to Bayern Munich to win Bundesliga next season, and we’ll get to see his talent on show in the Champions League as well.
Davinson Sanchez // 20 // Ajax // Centre Back: Sanchez has been a revelation at Ajax in his first season in Europe. The young Colombian defender has been a Talent Radar favourite all through the season, as Ajax went to second place in the Europa League and the Eredivisie. The defender showed his strength, speed, and skill all through the season. He’s been great going forward with the ball at his feet too, and is a proven commodity in this respect.
Benjamin Mendy // 22 // Monaco // Left Back: This season has seen a resurgence of strikers and wide men. The wide men in particular have been influential across the board, with players like Victor Moses, Marcos Alonso, Dani Alves, Carvajal, and Marcelo playing key roles for the successful teams of this season. One of the big names to be added to this list is that of Benjamin Mendy. The Monaco man has been an important member of Jardim’s unit, with his energy and especially his crossing being useful. In particular, Mendy has a wicked first time cross on that left foot of his, which has led him to create so many opportunities for players like Falcao and Mbappe.
Dele Alli // 21 // Tottenham // Attacking Midfielder: Alli started off a little slowly this season, but has gone from strength to strength as the year progressed. The change coincided with Pochettino’s switch to a back 3, and Alli must, therefore, share the credit for his success with his manager. However, that doesnt take away from his performances. He’s been scoring goals and making assists galore, and his combination with Harry Kane has proven to be the bane of every other Premier League defence.
Tiemoue Bakayoko // 22 // Monaco // Central Midfielder: Monaco have some of the best attacking talent in France, and have played some exciting football through the season, scoring over the 100 goals in Ligue 1. The platform for this incredible attack though, has been the amazing Tiemoue Bakayoko. The midfielder has shown his talent in the holding midfield role, playing passes and making crunching tackles with disarming ease. His physicality has also been important to his success.
Naby Keita // 22 // RB Leipzig // Central Midfielder: Keita is another find for this season, leading his team to a stunning 2nd place finish in the Bundesliga. The Guinean midfielder arrived from Salzburg in the summer, and has taken Germany by storm. His energy and all round game have been the key to Leipzig’s success. He was able to work well and protect his defence, but also did well when tasked with replacing Emil Forsberg during his suspension.
Thomas Lemar // 21 // Monaco // Attacking Midfielder: Lemar is nominally a wide midfielder, but with Monaco’s tactical approach, he often cuts inside to become an attacking midfielder, playing closer to his forwards. Lemar is a skillful player with the ball at his feet, and very creative as well. His pace proves to be important for him, especially as he plays just off the likes of Mbappe and Falcao, taking advantage of the space they create.
Timo Werner // 21 // RB Leipzig // Striker: Another revelation at Leipzig, Werner has been the lethal weapon that has shot so many of their opponents down. He got over 20 goals for his side, taking them to 2nd place. Another man who thrives on movement and pace, the hard working forward has made his own luck and richly deserves all the accolades he’s currently receiving.
Kylian Mbappe // 18 // Monaco // Striker: Probably the break out star of the season, Mbappe has gone from an unknown to the most sought after talent in Europe. The French forward is the latest to earn the title of the latest Thierry Henry, with his pace, finishing talent, and movement. Mbappe has sent chills down the spine of some of the best defenders in Europe, scoring in every knockout round of the UEFA Champions League. Winning Ligue 1 as one of the leading lights of his side is a great experience for the teenager.