The Wonderkid Power Rankings: Spurs starlet climbs rankings as battle for Jude Bellingham’s top spot rages on
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Welcome back to the Wonderkid Power Rankings, our weekly stab at organising the best young players in world football into a nice, neat order, typically with Jude Bellingham at the top. He’ll have a bad week eventually, right?
We keep tabs on supertalents from around the footballing globe and put them into a top ten based not just on talent but on current from – and plenty of our regulars put on sparkling displays again this week, with plenty of goals to tell you about since we last put our rankings together in both continental and domestic football. So without further ado, let’s dive right into this week’s top ten…
10. Xavi Simons – RB Leipzig (⬇️ from 6)
Simons got his season off to an absolute flyer but has been relatively becalmed of late, and will probably want to forget his performance against Manchester City in the Champions League when he was almost completely snuffed out by Pep Guardiola’s side.
He did play rather better against VfL Bochum at the weekend but couldn’t get himself on the scoresheet again despite racking up an xG of 1.12, but he showed a lot of his usual threat and passed the ball beautifully, albeit to no avail given that Leipzig stumbled to a 0-0 draw in a game they probably would have expected to win.
9. Assane Diao – Real Betis (non-mover)
Diao burst onto the scene with two goals in his first two senior games last week, and he made it three in three by scoring in Betis’ Europa League game against Sparta Prague, seizing on a horrible error by the opposing goalkeeper when he misjudged a bouncing ball and let Diao sneak in behind him to slot home.
He finally drew a blank in his third league match against Alavés and was subbed off during the second half of a 1-1 draw, but three goals in four isn’t a bad return for a teenager who’s only playing his first matches at the top level.
8. Lamine Yamal – Barcelona (re-entry)
Yamal cooled his heels away from the top ten for a week after spending a bit of time riding the Barcelona bench, but he was back in the starting eleven and in form this week for the games against Porto and Granada.
He was excellent in both, causing all manner of headaches from the wide right, and capped it all of with a goal against Granada, albeit not one that will make too many highlight reels – a simple tap-in to an open net. Yamal, the youngest player and goalscorer in the history of Spain’s national team, will link back up with his country for international duty this week as well. An immense talent.
7. Pape Matar Sarr – Tottenham Hotspur (⬆️ from 8)
Sarr has been excellent of late and put in another strong performance against Luton Town, holding the fort extremely well after the first-half dismissal of midfield partner Yves Bissouma and looking calm and composed throughout a game that became far more of a battle than most pundits expected.
A 91% pass completion rate and three key passes in the build-up to good shooting chances speaks to his superb use of the ball, and he dealt with Luton’s physicality without batting an eyelid. Sarr looks like he’s been doing it for far longer than he has, and is a substantial part of the reason that Spurs are looking down on the rest of the Premier League going into the international break.
6. Mathys Tel – Bayern Munich (⬆️ from 7)
The Frenchman was restricted to substitute appearances once again for Bayern’s games against FC København and SC Freiburg and while he didn’t have the time to make any kind of meaningful impact in the Bundesliga game, he certainly made his mark in Denmark.
With Bayern drawing 1-1 will less than ten minutes left, it was Tel who raced up to support Thomas Müller, allowing the German striker to square him the ball to slot home after some excellent hold-up play after pressure. The definition of an impact sub who’s goal per minute ratio is among the best in Europe.
5. Florian Wirtz – Bayer Leverkusen (non-mover)
Leverkusen’s gloriously gifted playmaker didn’t get himself in the goals column this week and was only used for the last twenty minutes or so against Molde in the Europa League, but he was outstanding once more against 1.FC Köln as his side underlined their title credentials with a 3-0 win.
Five efforts on goal, an important assist and some brilliant usage of the ball both at his feet and on the pass served as another demonstration of Wirtz’s role as the beating heart of Xabi Alonso’s increasingly impressive side. Both a playmaker and a goal threat, and extremely hard for opponents to contain.
4. Gavi – Barcelona (⬇️ from 2)
Gavi had an up and down week for Barcelona, with two largely impressive performances marked down by bad moments which cost his team – against Granada he was responsible for giving away possession before the home side scored, and against Porto he got himself needlessly sent off.
Barcelona will miss him for their next Champions League match after Anthony Taylor showed him a second yellow card for blatantly hauling back Porto’s Wendell in stoppage time, a fairly uncharacteristic misstep from Gavi – but those blots on his record aside, he still played well and created plenty of chances for his side.
3. Jamal Musiala – Bayern Munich (⬆️ from 4)
Musiala was on the scoresheet again in Copenhagen, showing superb persistence and balance to muscle his way into space on the edge of the area and lash the ball into the right-hand corner of the goal, a strike which brought Bayern back to level pegging after falling behind.
He was only a substitute in that game, and again against Freiburg, which may be simply a matter of Thomas Tuchel wanting to manage the German international’s minutes after an injury earlier this season, but he’ll likely get a few more minutes for the national team over the next week or so.
2. Alejandro Baldé – Barcelona (⬆️ from 3)
Another excellent week for the young wing-back saw him put up two near-complete performances against Porto and Granada, letting precious little past him in defence and offering plenty of attacking options down the flank thanks to his bombing runs and smart passing.
He picked up an assist at the weekend when his excellent cross cut the Granda defence out and put Sergi Roberto in to sidefoot home and score the equaliser in a 2-2 draw, and while that may have been the highlight of his week he didn’t seem to put a single foot wrong in either match. Still, as impressive and consistent as he’s been, Baldé still falls some way short of the pace set by the only player who can top these rankings at the moment…
1. Jude Bellingham – Real Madrid (non-mover)
The best young player in the world – indeed, quite possibly the best player in the world full stop – added another two goals and another man-of-the-match performance to his increasingly immense tally during Real’s routine 4-0 win over Osasuna.
The defending was admittedly pretty sloppy for his first after just nine minutes when he was given the freedom of the Osasuna area and all the time he could ask for to pick his spot and smash home, but the way he drifted through the defence while playing a one-two before slotting the ball between the goalkeeper’s legs for his second was truly sublime. Practically every touch he takes is a touch of pure class, and he is simply dominating one of the toughest leagues in the world week in, week out.