While the more well-known names are those players who have been kicking the ball in the top divisions for a few years, there is a huge surge in trying to find young players and rising stars to keep an eye on. Whether you are scouting for your FIFA team, or just wanting to claim to your friends that you heard of a baller before they made it big, finding out about the best young players on the Top 5 divisions is a great activity. Here at Balls Out Bet, we like to explore player potential, so that’s what we’re about to do!

In this article, we will divide the entire thing into the Top 5 football leagues – English Prem, Spain’s La Liga, the German Bundesliga, the Serie A of Italy and France’s Ligue 1. After dividing the piece into these sections, we will divide each of those into 3 sections of their own – Under 18-year-olds, 19-21 year olds, and 22-23 year olds. This is mainly because players 18 and under are classed as rising stars, whereas the actual age range for the Young Player of the Year award is anything 23-years-old and below.

Quick side note, the players we mention will be chosen based on how old they will be during the next season, so if their next birthday will happen before the 2023/24 season ends, we will use the age they will turn on that birthday. This means players like PSG’s Kylian Mbappe will not be included on the list, as he will be 24 at the start of the new season.

So, without further ado, let’s make a start. We’re going to go in reverse order of league ranking, starting with the Ligue 1 in France.

Ligue 1:

Rising Stars (18 and younger)

Eliesse Ben Seghir is an 18-year-old midfielder who plays for Monaco. Last season, he started in 13 games, scoring 4 and assisting 1 for his team that finished 6th in the league. He had a pass accuracy of 78.4%, which is incredibly high for a player at his age, and he also performed 2.5 shot-creating actions per 90.

Desire Doue of Rennes was just 17 during the previous season, scoring 3 and assisting 1 in the league while also managing to score a goal during the group stages of the UEFA Europa League. The latter is something only a fraction of 17-year-olds can say they’ve done!

Finally, Warren Zaire-Emery, a player who was just 16 during the previous season, plays as a defensive midfielder for PSG. Not only did he score 2 goals in the league, but also has Champions League games under his belt, having been involved in 3 different UCL matches.

Young Ballers (19-21 years old)

Rayan Cherki of Lyon is the first entrant in our 19-21 bracket for Ligue 1. Cherki played just shy of 2,000 minutes last season for his club, managing a 10 G/A during the season, and a 77.1% passing accuracy from the midfield position.

Bradley Barcola is a 20-year-old forward who plays for Lyon. During last season, at just 19 years old, Barcola managed 5 goals and 8 assists for his club. This is one of the most impressive records for any player in the 19-21 bracket, although the next player blows him out of the water.

With an incredible 24 G/A at just 19 years of age, Elye Wahi of Montpellier was actually one of the top goal contributors in the entire league last season. Going into the next season at 20 years old, with a decent squad around him, Wahi could shine once again.

YPOTY contenders (23 and younger)

Folarin Balogun, the former Arsenal player, moved to Reims last season and managed to score 21 goals, assisting a further 2, at just 21 years old. Going into the 2023/24 season, Balogun has actually returned to Arsenal but is looking for a move elsewhere. We expect him to continue his goalscoring run wherever he ends up.

Lois Openda, who was 22 during the previous season, managed a 25 G/A overall and contributed massively to Lens’ 2nd place finish in the previous season. He has since moved to RB Leipzig and will play in the Bundesliga next season, replacing Christopher Nkunku up front.

Canadian international, Jonathan David, makes last spot on our list as the most impressive 23-and-under player. Jonathan David managed 24 goals and 4 assists for LOSC last season, making him the best striker under the age of 23 for the season – he was just 22 during the season.

Serie A

Rising Stars (18 and younger)

A rogue shout to start; Diego Coppola of Verona, who plays in defence for the side. While Verona only won 3 of the league games where Coppola was involved, they managed to get points out of 11 of his 19 involved matches, as well conceding 1 or less goals in 14 of them. 

Next up, another defender by the name of Giorgio Scalvini, who plays at Atalanta and was just 18 years of age through the last season. Scalvini was involved in 32 of the 38 Serie A fixtures, managing a 4 G/A from the back line as well as dropping points in only 10 games, winning 17 and drawing 5.

Young Ballers (19-21 years old)

Former Udinese defender Iyenoma Udogie played 33 games last season and got at least 1 point from 22 of those fixtures. Playing as a Wingback throughout most of the year, he actually managed 3 goals and 4 assists in the league.

Following his ridiculous transfer saga to Manchester United, Atalanta’s striker Rasmus Hojlund has made the headlines. Last season in the Serie A, the then-19 year old managed 9 goals and 2 assists. It’s still a mystery why Ten Hag was so desperate for him, but maybe he’ll prove us wrong!

Back to Udinese for the third player, midfielder Lazar Samardzic had a 9 G/A season which helped Udinese finish mid-table despite an overall underwhelming performance. 

YPOTY contenders (23 and younger)

The first obvious shout for section is going-on-22 year old Khvicha Kvaratskhelia, who plays predominantly as a winger for league winners Napoli. The Georgian international was hardly known before the season, but managed 12 goals and 10 assists to help Napoli top the table.

Juventus striker, Dusan Vlahovic, scored 10 goals for the club and assisted 2 more in his 22-year-old season in the Italian top flight. While not one of his best seasons, he still contributed highly to Juventus’ table finish.

Finally, AC Milan attacking midfielder, Brahim Diaz, got a 13 G/A in the 2022/23 season of the Serie A. In a club that finished 4th in the league last season, his contribution could have been more impactful, but going into the next season at 23 years of age could shine a light on his ability.

Bundesliga

Rising Stars (18 and younger)

Unsurprisingly, the best 18-and-under players from the Bundesliga were players at the two biggest clubs! Firstly, Mathys Tel of Bayern Munich, who played an attacking role for the club alongside the bigger strikers, and managed 5 goals in 17 games at just 17 years old.

Borussia Dortmund, after selling Erling Haaland and recently Jude Bellingham, have introduced Youssoufa Moukoko as one of their main attacking outlets. This proved worthwhile as the then-17 year old scored 7 and assisted 3 for the club .

Young Ballers (19-21 years old)

As far as young ballers go, Jamal Musiala just might be in the top 5 most recognisable names. Playing at Bayern Munich at 19 years old, and managing a 22 G/A in a single season, solidifies Musiala as one of the greatest.

Back over in Dortmund, Gio Reyna played the season at 19 years old and managed 7 goals and 2 assists for the club, exceeding his xG by 2.7 and impressing alongside Moukoko and Karim Adeyemi, another youngster who proved himself in the league.

Bayer Leverkusen forward Adam Hlozek deserves a mention too. This player, at age 20, scored 5 league goals, assisted 3 more, assisted a UCL goal, scored a UEL goal, and assisted a further 2. Some records, right?

YPOTY contenders (23 and younger)

Patrick Wimmer of Wolfsburg makes the first spot, playing the season at 21 years old and managing a 12 G/A from the midfield. 

Next would be Dominik Szoboszlai, as he played the season at Leipzig, but has since moved to Liverpool in the EPL. He managed a 15 /A.

Finally, 22-year-old Jeremie Frimpong of Bayer Leverkusen. Frimpong scored 8 and assisted 7, giving him a 15 G/A. This becomes even more impressive when you realise that Frimpong is actually a fullback, playing down the wing, and contributing 15 goal involvements to his club while defending them from others.

La Liga

Rising Stars (18 and younger)

There is only one real entrance for this section of La Liga – Gavi of Barcelona. Gavi played last season at just 17 years old, scoring 2 and assisting 4 while being one of the biggest chance creators in the league and impressing from the defensive areas of the field to the opposition’s box. Gavi is a talent to definitely keep an eye on.

Young Ballers (19-21 years old)

Yeremi Pino is an attacking player for Villarreal, who played last season at 19 years of age and managed a 10 G/A.

Another 10 G/A player was Ansu Fati or Barcelona, contributing 7 goals and 3 assists to his club’s incredible tally for the season.

Looking towards the more unsuspected teams in the league, one Celta Vigo player stood out and will most likely continue to do so. Gabriel Veiga, a will-be-21 year old midfielder who plays for Celta Vigo, managed a 15 G/A with 11 goals and 4 assists without being an outright striker.

YPOTY contenders (23 and younger)

Japanese international and Real Sociedad attacking midfielder Takefusa Kubo managed a 13 G/A in last season’s La Liga. He contributed 9 goals and 4 assists to his club at 21 years old, and continues his career with the club next season, looking to improve.

Rodrygo is a shining light in the Real Madrid team, and will most likely get a lot more gametime following the release of Karim Benzema. Rodrygo, at just 21 years old, managed 9 goals and 8 assists for the club.

While an obvious option would be Vinicius Junior, we don’t want to be biassed towards Real Madrid, so the 2nd best performing 22-year-old last season was Oihan Cancet of Athletic Club. He scored 10 goals and assisted 2 more to contribute to his team’s 8th place finish.

Premier League

Rising Stars (18 and younger)

Rico Lewis of Manchester City could be argued as one of the best under-18 players in the league last season. Rico Lewis slotted into the Man City defence where other players were not able to play, and playing as somewhat of a RWB, he managed to play some incredible passes and make some vital interceptions throughout the season. Pep’s rotation could threaten Rico Lewis’ position in the first team, but when he does play, we expect him to perform well. 

17-year-old Brighton striker Evan Furguson came out of nowhere last season and ended up playing 19 games. During these 19 games, he contributed 6 goals and 2 assists to his club who managed to finish in European places.

Young Ballers (19-21 years old)

Another Brighton player, Julio Enciso, played the season at 18 years old and contributed 6 goals in his 7 starts for the club. When looking at these stats, he was one of the most consistent starters in the league, which is impressive at such a young age.

Crystal Palace’s squad has some unique players, and one such player is Michael Olise. Last season, at 20 years old, Olise managed a 13 G/A from his midfield position.

Bukayo Saka of Arsenal is an England international and one of the best players in the current Premier League campaign. Arsenal are title contenders in each season of the Prem, and with the starboy Saka on their team, we would expect another good season. Saka scored 14 and assisted a further 11, totalling a 25 G/A for the season.

YPOTY contenders (23 and younger)

Arsenal have another entry on the list with Gabriel Martinelli, the attacking player who contributed a further 15 goals and 5 assists to Arsenal’s totals at just 21 years old. Martinelli is always a good player to keep an eye on.

Trying to take some bias away from the top clubs, Brentford’s Bryan Mbeumo managed a 17 G/A season, and will definitely be a player to keep an eye on following the 8-month banning of their main striker Ivan Toney. Mbeumo will have to step up to the plate massively to keep Brentford alive in the Premier League.

The next two obvious options are Phil Foden and Erling Haaland of Man City. Both players had great seasons, with Foden contributing a 17 G/A and Haaland contributing a ridiculous 44 G/A to the club throughout the season. Both of these players are known ballers, but will definitely be in contention for Young Player of the Year as they are both 23 years of age during the 2023/24 season.

Newcastle also have a contender in Alexander Isak, who played just 22 games and contributed 11 G/A to the club’s UEFA Champions League finish. Isak could definitely go on to score a heap of goals in the upcoming season, so keep your eyes on him throughout the year.