The U17 world cup is arguably the most important youth international tournaments as it gives the youngsters an opportunity to perform on the big stage. Not only this, it acts as a door to Europe for some of the world’s most talented youngsters. Today we Going to look at 11 La Liga stars who once featured in the U17 world cup.
Isco was one of the stars of the 2009 U17 World cup held in Nigeria. Isco found the net three times at the tournament helping Spain finish third at the tournament.
This 2009 squad was one of the best that Spain had as many of the then U17 players went on to taste success at the U17 level. Isco came through the youth ranks at Valencia after which he spent 2 seasons successfully at Malaga. Then came the big move as he had caught the eyes of Carlo Ancelotti. Real Madrid signed him for €30m.
The 25-year-old attacking midfielder is now a prominent member of the Los Blancos and has won a lot of major silverware.
Spain’s main player at the 2009 U17 WC, he won the golden boot award with 5 goals to his name. Spain finished third at the tournament.
Two years later, he won the 2011 U19 European championship where he played second to Alvaro Morata. He was a youth product of the Atletico Madrid team and appeared mostly for the Reserves. He could make just one appearance for Atletico Madrid following which he went on a number of season long loans within Spain.
In 2016 he went abroad for the first time for one season to Swansea and returned to Malaga the following season. After his golden boot award, his career hasn’t been as glorious as he would have expected. He didn’t feature for Spain beyond the under-19 level.
Carlos Vela had his youth career at Mexican top Division club Guadalajara. 2005 was the breakthrough year in his career when the under 17 World Cup was held in Peru. He was the top scorer with 5 goals and won the golden boot award. This attracted a lot of eyeballs from Europe and finally joined the Arsenal youth ranks.
Having made 29 appearances for Arsenal he was sent on loan to several clubs before being sold to Real Sociedad. He has now found the grip at Real Sociedad and has 171 appearances to his name. He is a regular in the Mexico national team
Not much needs to be told about Toni Kroos. The Bayern Munich youth player was the golden ball winner at 2007 under 17 World Cup in South Korea. He was the third highest goal scorer with 5 goals. Germany finished third at the tournament.
He went on to play for the German youth team for a couple of more years before being called up to the 2010 World Cup squad in South Africa. There was no looking back since then and now he has 78 appearances for Germany.
He has always been the First choice, may it be at Real Madrid or Bayern Munich. His career is one which most youngsters dream to have. Domestic titles, Champions League, The world cup are a part of his list of silverware.
Sergi Roberto along with Borja Gonzalez was a force for Spain at 2009 under 17 World Cup. He scored a hat trick versus Burkina Faso at the tournament where Spain eventually finished third.
He continued to play for the Barcelona Reserves for a few more years. He has now found his feet in the Barcelona first team and earned Spain call up. He has also represented Catalonia.
Sergi Roberto’s only Barcelona goal was one to remember when he scored the winner in the 95th minute against PSG. He has won every possible domestic Trophy with Barcelona and has a good future.
Illaramendi was a prominent figure in Spain’s 2007 U17 World Cup team where they finished runners up to Nigeria. Illaramendi missed a penalty in the final which gave Nigeria the trophy.
The defensive midfielder went on to play for Spain up to the U23 level. He won the U21 European Championship in 2013. He was called up to the senior team for a world cup qualifier and has a solitary appearance for Spain till date.
The 27-year-old has had a fairly decent and stable club career with his two seasons at Real Madrid is the best, where he won 4 trophies. He returned to his boyhood team Real Sociedad and continues to shine for them.
The left back was an important member of the Spanish defense at the 2009 U17 world cup where they finished third. Four years later he went on to win the U21 European Championship. He represented Spain from U16 to U21 levels.
Muniesa came through the La Masia and showed very fast development which earned him an appearance for Barcelona at the tender age of 17, where he was sent off. Lack of first team appearances meant he switched to Stoke City.
4 years later, he returned to Spain on loan to Girona. He has won a number of trophies during his time at the Camp Nou.
The 25-year-old center back was another member of the 2009 Spain U17 WC squad. He spent his boyhood years at Espanyol and a season long loan at Rayo Vallecano. He later played in the Premier League for Swansea. He returned to Spain on loan to Betis this season.
He represented Spain at all levels up to u21, between Which he has also represented Catalonia.
Yet another member of the Spain 2009 u17 WC squad, Sergi Gomez also came through the La Masia academy but couldn’t make a first team appearance. He signed for Celta de Vigo in 2014 and has featured regularly for them.
He was a part of the 2011 U19 European Championship winning squad.
The 29-year-old Uruguayan right back represents his nation at the 2005 FIFA U17 WC and the 2007 U20 WC. He was then playing for Uruguayan top division club Defensor, where he came through their youth teams.
He has to wait for his opportunity to move abroad, which he got in 2011 when he signed for Sporting Gijon. He now plays for Elche in La Liga.
The Real Madrid custodian represented Costa Rica at the 2003 U17 WC where they had a quarter final finish. He didn’t feature in all the matches but had better times to come. He later joined Spanish second division where his good performances were enough to catch the eyes of Real Madrid.
Not all players who shine at the junior level go on to taste senior success. And there are some who shape up their career later on. Hard work and dedication are the keys.
Read about 10 premier league stars who featured in u17 world cup