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10 stars of the FIFA Under-20 World Cup
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10 stars of the FIFA Under-20 World Cup

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Diego Maradona, Lionel Messi, Thierry Henry, Ronaldinho, Arjen Robben, Andres Iniesta, Sergio Aguero, Alexis Sanchez, James Rodriguez and Paul Pogba all have two things in common.
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Not only are they among the 'who's who' of football. They also showed glimpses of their star-studded futures at the FIFA Under-20 World Cup.

History shows that many players capable of cutting it at the biennial event go on to enjoy long and successful careers, with the aforementioned 10 just some of the superstars to have graced the tournament.

The cyclical nature of player development means that surprises are more common than in senior football and this tournament will be the fourth in a row in which the previous winners - France on this occasion - have failed to qualify.

But six-time champions Argentina and five-time winners Brazil are often dangerous, while Germany - who lifted the UEFA Under-19 European Championship just 18 days after their senior team won the 2014 FIFA World Cup - cannot be discounted.

So who are the next breed of stars?

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We profile 10 of the next big things who could announce themselves to the world in May and June at New Zealand's 2015 FIFA Under-20 World Cup.

Bill Tuiloma (New Zealand/Olympique Marseille)

The defender will head into the Under-20 World Cup buoyed by a first-team debut for Ligue 1 giants Marseille in February. Tuiloma, of Samoan descent, moved to France in 2013 and started in the second leg of New Zealand's 2014 FIFA World Cup play-off against Mexico. Now a regular for the All Whites senior side, Tuiloma can also operate as a defensive midfielder, and may be asked to play there on home soil.

Hirving Lozano (Mexico/Pachuca)

The 19-year-old has enjoyed an excellent season at club level, scoring double figures in goals and setting up plenty more from the right wing. Netted an equal-high five times at the 2015 CONCACAF Under-20 Championship, which Mexico won on penalties against Panama.

Marcos Lopes (Portugal/Manchester City)

Also known as 'Rony', Lopes has already played in both the FA Cup and League Cup for the English Premier League champions. But it is on a season-long loan at Ligue 1 outfit Lille where the attacking midfielder has had the chance to shine, featuring regularly in domestic action, while he has also made brief cameos in both the UEFA Champions League and UEFA Europa League.

Angel Correa (Argentina/Atletico Madrid)

Dubbed 'the new Sergio Aguero' and hailed as the future of Argentinian football, Correa - who made a big-money switch from San Lorenzo to Atletico last year - starred as his nation won the 2015 South American Under-20 Championship. He scored four times and set up several others in an terrific showing. A heart problem has impacted his time at Atletico, but now corrected, expect Correa, excellent with both feet and fond of a mazy run, to play a key role.

Giovanni Simeone (Argentina/River Plate)

Remember Diego Simeone? The combative midfielder turned La Liga-winning coach at Atletico Madrid? Of course you do. His son, Giovanni, is instead a star striker who is predatory inside the penalty area. He led the line for Argentina in their South American Under-20 Championship success, scoring nine goals in as many games. Many of them came from six yards or less and he'll be one of the favourites to win the Golden Boot.

Rodrigo Amaral (Uruguay/Nacional)

Uruguayans have high hopes for 18-year-old attacker Amaral after he supplied four assists in the South American Under-20 Championships, where he was also named the 'Revelation of the Tournament'. Armed with an arsenal of tricks, Amaral is on the fringes of first-team football at Nacional, where he has been a prolific scorer in youth sides.

Davie Selke (Germany/Werder Bremen)

Forward Selke was the top scorer in Germany's UEFA Under-19 European Championship victory last year, netting in every match bar the final to finish with six. As a result, it was no surprise to see him named as the tournament's best player. Selke had a taste of Bundesliga football at Werder last season and has kicked on in this campaign, scoring six league goals from 23 appearances before the end of March. Strong, quick and possessing excellent technical skills, this man is certainly a star of the future.

Julian Brandt (Germany/Bayer Leverkusen)

Another key man for Germany is left winger Brandt, who has attracted interest from a swag of European giants, namely Liverpool, Bayern Munich and Chelsea. Leverkusen were smart when signing Brandt, now 18, in 2013, as he penned a six-year deal. He has made more than 25 appearances for Leverkusen already this season, including six in the UEFA Champions League, and his pace and skill will make him a threat for any defence.

Ahmed Al Saadi (Qatar/AS Eupen)

The Belgium-based forward is quick, has an eye for goal and can certainly take a set-piece. Al Saadi was the joint-top scorer at the 2014 AFC Under-19 Championship, which Qatar won, with five goals. It helped his nation - hosts of the 2022 FIFA World Cup - return to the Under-20 equivalent after an absence that stretched two decades. Hopes are high that he can not only star in this tournament, but potentially football's grandest stage in seven years.


Malcom (Brazil/Corinthians)

He only turned 18 in February but attacker Malcom already has quite the reputation. The Corinthians man is a first-team regular and has been given the tag of 'the next Neymar' after a series of assured performances. He'll hope to add more goals to his game but already Chelsea and Barcelona have been linked with moves for this highly-rated teenager.

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