The men’s soccer tournament of the Olympic Games has the condition of not being able to include more than three players over 23 years -24 this time due to the postponement due to the coronavirus pandemic-, but even so in the lists of the 16 classified teams appear five stars that stand out above the rest for different reasons.
Pedro González, ‘Pedri’ (FC Barcelona, 2002)
18 years old and awarded as the best young footballer of the Eurocup. When you put his nickname, by which the entire footballing planet knows him, in Google, the famous search engine no longer corrects “Pedro”. The “Pedri” brand is already recognized in the old continent and now it seeks to do the same to the rest of the world from Japan.
His vision of the game, good treatment with the ball and physical display to help in the high recovery of the ball, something that is not assumed for his slim physique still under construction, make him the most valuable footballer of the tournament with 70 million euros. Euros of valuation, according to the specialized portal Transfermarkt.
Dani Alves (Sao Paulo, 1983)
19 years brings out another footballer who will monopolize the spotlight in Japan. Dani Alves will fulfill his dream of participating in the Olympic Games in the final stage of his career, with the aim of continuing to expand a track record in which, among clubs and national teams, he has 43 titles; the one that has raised the most trophies in all history.
Far from his best years, especially during his time at FC Barcelona, he returned to his country, to Sao Paulo to extend his career and reduce the pressure of the day to day. Although the requirement is put by him: “I hope to reach 50 titles before retiring, and I hope that figure includes the World Cup,” he commented in statements to the FIFA website, the organizer of the football competition at the Olympic Games.
Franck Kessié (Milan, 1996)
The African footballer with the highest market value of the entire competition. According to the specialized portal Transfermarkt, 55 million euros, the highest value of his entire sports career after a season in which he has been a fixture for Pioli in the midfield of a Milan that is back in the ‘Champions’ after years hard journey through the desert.
14 goals, 6 assists and an expert from the penalty spot. ‘Low’ of the absolute, with which he has already played 44 games, to lead his own in search of a gold medal to which the African teams are favorites. In seven tournaments already under the U21 regulations, Cameroon and Nigeria know what it is to win.
Takefusa Kubo (Real Madrid, 2001)
A change of level that local star Takefusa Kubo also seeks. Although already in a great like Real Madrid, he has chained loan after loan and last season was difficult for him after not having regularity, first at Villarreal and in the second half of the year at Getafe. He plays at home and the Japanese hopes go through his boots, like those of relaunching his career.
The fact that Real Madrid let him participate in the Olympic Games is a sign that he hopes to give in again for the next season, because the rest of those involved, such as the Brazilians Vinicius Junior and Rodrygo, have not been released – yes he has. made, under obligation by decree law, to the Spanish. And this can be a tournament for higher-level teams, those who like to have the ball in a style that favors their characteristics, are interested in it.
Diego Laínez (Real Betis, 2000)
With the Gold Cup underway, Mexico does not have great stars in its ranks, but it does have a Diego Laínez in which the Aztec and Verdiblancos fans have high hopes for the future. In the Andalusian capital the season ended well, being important for the Chilean Manuel Pellegrini in a team that qualified for the Europa League.
The club let him go to Japan to continue its revaluation – it has dropped from the 14 million that Betis paid for its services in January 2019 to the current 8 – and with the hope that it will arrive in shape for a tough season with three competitions. Left winger, although he can also play on the right, with a powerful lower body despite being 1.67 meters tall, facing and with the ball always glued to the foot. At the age of 21, his adaptation to Europe is taking shape and a good role in the Olympic Games would fill him with confidence for the future.
Check all the results and the medal table of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.