Football fans are always eager to catch a glimpse of the emerging generation and the sport is currently blessed with an abundance of young talent, a selection of stars currently shining in Europe’s leading leagues.
For many of us the dawn of the millennium may not seem too long ago, but there is already a host of precocious young talents born after the year 2000 making quite the impression across the continent.
We’ve decided to profile the young players to have made the biggest impact, here are the five players born in 2000 or later to have scored the most goals in Europe’s top five leagues:
Ferran Torres – Valencia (6 goals)
Torres is the latest bright prospect to have emerged from Valencia’s academy system and has made quite the impression with the Spanish side, making his debut as a 17-year-old three years ago before establishing himself as a first-team regular at the Mestalla.
The winger became the first player born in 2000 or later to play in Spain’s top flight and formed part of the side which won the Copa Del Rey last season before continuing his upwards trajectory this time around, scoring four La Liga goals so far this season to take his overall tally to six.
Quick, direct and two-footed, Torres is the archetypal modern winger and his performances have not gone unnoticed by Europe’s elite, the likes of Barcelona, Liverpool, Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund having been linked with the youngster of late.
Ozan Kabak – Schalke (6 goals)
A player whose performances have defied his tender years in Germany’s top-flight, after moving from Galatasaray Kabak made such an impression during just six months at Stuttgart that divisional rivals Schalke moved quickly to activate the youngster’s release clause last summer.
Kabak has established himself as one of the finest young players in the Bundesliga and has scored six goals since making the move to German football – a statistic even more surprising when you consider the Turkish international is a defender.
The 20-year-old is solid defensively and comfortable in possession, whilst his threat from set-pieces is evident with his inclusion on this list. Only three of Kabak’s peers have scored more goals than a centre-back who looks set for a huge future.
Erling Haaland – Borussia Dortmund (9 goals)
Haaland is a player who needs no introduction following his goalscoring exploits this season, scoring 28 goals in all competitions for Red Bull Salzburg over the first half of the campaign to earn a January move to Borussia Dortmund.
The Norwegian teenager has continued his rich vein of form since making the move to German football, scoring nine goals in just eight Bundesliga appearances – including a debut hat-trick after coming on as a substitute against Augsburg – with a further three goals in cup competition.
The 19-year-old’s meteoric rise has seen him establish himself as arguably the most exciting young talent in world football, becoming the first teenager to score in his first five consecutive Champions League fixtures and finishing his maiden campaign in Europe’s premier tournament with 10 goals.
Currently sitting on 40 goals in all competitions so far this season, Real Madrid are believed to already be circling ahead of a mega-money summer move.
Moise Kean – Everton (12 goals)
Kean’s debut season at Everton may have proven to be a disappointing one following his summer move from Juventus, though the forward’s quality is not in doubt following his record-breaking emergence in Italian football.
The Italy international became the first player born in the 2000’s to play in one of Europe’s major leagues when making his debut for the Turin side four years ago, becoming the youngest debutant in the club’s history in the process.
His list of records also saw Kean become the first noughties-born player to play in the Champions League, as well as score in a major European league when finding the net against Bologna on the final day of the 2016/17 Serie A season.
Kean has since netted a further 11 times in league action over spells at Juventus and Everton, in addition to a season-long loan spell at Verona.
Jadon Sancho – Borussia Dortmund (27 goals)
Far and away the most prolific player born in 2000 or later is Borussia Dortmund’s Jadon Sancho, the winger having enjoyed a meteoric rise since deciding to leave Manchester City for the Bundesliga three years ago.
Flourishing amid regular first-team football, Sancho has developed into one of the finest young talents in world football and has starred for a Dortmund side competing at the top end of Germany’s top flight.
Sancho became the first teenager in Bundesliga history to score 25 goals earlier this season, finding the net in a 5-0 thrashing of Union Berlin that also saw the aforementioned Haaland score twice.
Dortmund have acknowledged it may be difficult to keep the precociously talented 20-year-old beyond the summer transfer window, with Manchester United and Chelsea believed to be amongst the frontrunners for his signature.
Sancho is expected to cost any of his long list of suitors in excess of £100m after another stand-out season that has delivered 14 goals and 15 assists in just 21 Bundesliga starts.