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Ten World Cup players you need to know

Scouting Report Jun 8, 2014
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Oct 14, 2014

Diego Rolan delivering on his potential at Ligue 1 and Uruguay

Uruguayan forward Diego Rolan is becoming a scoring threat at Bordeaux, even if he needs to bulk up to play his favoured central striker role.

The start of the Ligue 1 season has not quite gone to script, with expected runaway champions Paris Saint-Germain currently five points off the pace set by Marseille nine games into the campaign. With Willy Sagnol's Bordeaux also sneaking in ahead of the Parisien side, the season ahead is beautifully poised at this early stage.

What is highly impressive about the French top flight is its ability to constantly replenish itself with talents as more established names move on and this year is no different....

Oct 4, 2014

Scouting Report: Jose Luis Gaya is the left-back of the future for Valencia

Jose Gaya is tipped for a bright future in the game.

Jose Luis Gaya

D.o.B: May 25, 1995
Club: Valencia
Position: Left-back
Nationality: Spanish
Height: 172 cm
Weight: 67 kg
Estimated value: £8 million

A local of Pedreguer, Jose Gaya has begun the season as first-choice left-back for Valencia CF under manager Nuno Espirito Santo. A product of the club's academy system, Gaya has come right through the ranks at the Mestalla and is seen as one of the best prospects to emerge in many years. Fortunately, thanks to the summer departure of Juan Bernat to join FC Bayern, a route to first-team football has emerged at the right time for his development.

A regular with Spanish youth teams from under-16...

Oct 1, 2014

Scouting Report: Derlis Gonzalez is Paraguay's rising star at FC Basel

Derlis Gonzalez was clearly undaunted in making his Champions League debut at Madrid's Estadio Santiago Bernabeu.
Derlis Gonzalez was clearly undaunted in making his Champions League debut at Madrid's Estadio Santiago Bernabeu.

Derlis Gonzalez

D.o.B: March 23,1994
Club: Basel
Position: Winger
Nationality: Paraguay
Height: 172cm
Weight: 64kg
Estimated Value: £15 million

Basel were roundly beaten by Real Madrid in their opening Champions League group stage fixture, but at least one of their players came away enriched by the experience. Derlis González made his Champions League debut on one of European football's grandest stages and marked the occasion with an impressive performance and a well-taken goal.

The story of González's rise begins at Rubio Ñu, a small club from the Santísima Trindad neighbourhood of the Paraguayan capital of Asunción....

 By Chris Atkins
Sep 23, 2014

Introducing Brazil's next midfield maestro -- Lucas Silva

Lucas Silva, centre, has joined Alisson, left, and Wallace, right, as lynchpins of the Brazilian youth setup.

Background info:

Born in Goiania, Lucas Silva began his football career with local side Agremiacao Esportiva Ovel from where he attracted the attention of Minas Gerais giants Cruzeiro at the age of 14. Despite being a relatively small amateur side, AE Ovel have supplied Cruzeiro with a number of talents in recent years, with Lucas and 2011 Under-20 World Cup winner Dudu the two standouts of the bunch.

Cruzeiro have been one of the most productive of Brazil's big clubs when it comes to academy products...

Sep 16, 2014

Five Champions League breakout players to watch in the group stage

Gabriele Marcotti joins the ESPN FC crew to discuss the most exciting matchups of matchday one of the Champions League, with Bayern Munich and Manchester City kick-starting Group E.

The 2014-15 Champions League season gets underway on Tuesday night and, as usual, much of the coverage will be directed toward the biggest stars on show. The narrative of football coverage is becoming increasingly focused on individuals and personalities, with the leading lights of European competitions attracting intense coverage across the world throughout the year.

The Champions League has now surpassed the World Cup with regards to its ability to spawn stars of the game; Lionel Messi and...

 By Chris Atkins
Sep 8, 2014

Scouting Report: Sporting Lisbon's midfield 'wall' William Carvalho

William Carvalho is a strong defensive midfielder who is attracting a lot of attention.

William Silva Carvalho

D.o.B: April 7, 1992
Club: Sporting Lisbon
Position: Defensive Midfield
Nationality: Portuguese
Height: 187cm
Weight: 79kg
Estimated Value:£24 million
Linked Clubs: Arsenal, Manchester United, Real Madrid

Born in Angola to a family of footballing pedigree, William moved to his adopted homeland of Portugal at the age of 10. It did not take him long to make an impression, though, as he progressed with smaller Lisbon clubs RD Algueirao and Uniao Mira Sintra. At the age of 14, Sporting used star player Nani to convince Carvalho to reject the advances of rivals Benfica, completing a 12,500 euro transfer for the former Uniao captain.

Once there, he linked up with the club's Juniores C (under-14) side...