Where are they now? Here we tell you what happened to five young players of 2015 that Cristiano Ronaldo tipped for big things.
Picking out the next Cristiano Ronaldo or young superstar from the ever-growing list of players is no easy feat. Even the most famous scouts struggle in this aspect. They spend countless hours assessing each player, judging them on a list of criteria suited for their respective clubs.
The most common attributes scouts assess a footballer on include his technique, pace, movement, intelligence and temperament.
Across recent years, we’ve seen several promising young talents take centre-stage in football. These include Kylian Mbappe, Joao Felix, Erling Braut Haaland and so on.
But what happened to the last bunch of talents tipped for exceptional things by none other than Ronaldo?
So here we give you the five young superstars Ronaldo backed in 2015 upon the release of his biopic.
Odegaard has been on Real Madrid’s books since 2015 despite only making two appearances for the senior team.
The Norwegian has spent the bulk of his Los Blancos career on loan at Heerenveen, Vitesse, Real Sociedad, and most recently Arsenal. He’s made a wonderful impression with the latter club. It’s led people to tout him as a worthy successor to Luka Modric.
And with Zinedine Zidane no longer manager of Real Madrid, Odegaard is hoping for a fresh start under Carlo Ancelotti next season.
“At 16 he’s still young but you can see he’s a very good player,” Ronaldo said on a teenage Odegaard in 2015.
Back when Cristiano Ronaldo tipped him for great things, the Frenchman was flying high at Juventus. He became a world-class talent in Turin, winning the Golden Boy award in 2013. But a return to Manchester United three years later hasn’t worked out.
Despite joining for a world-record fee of €105m, Pogba’s time at Old Trafford has been underwhelming amid a run of inconsistent performances.
Although the midfielder did become a World Cup winner by helping France to a second title in 2018. And if rumors are true, Juventus and Real Madrid could both bid for his services this summer.
Much was expected of Depay upon joining Manchester United from PSV Eindhoven in 2015. The €34m signing took over Cristiano Ronaldo’s old #7 jersey, intending to become the next Old Trafford icon.
But that proved to be nothing more than a false ray of hope as Depay quickly fell out of favour. He couldn’t win over head coach Louis van Gaal and never really recovered. Therefore, United sent him packing to Lyon in January 2017.
Now 27, Depay has returned to his old form. The Dutch winger has done well in France, providing 76 goals and 55 assists in 178 appearances for Lyon across all competitions. He has now joined Barcelona on a free transfer for next season.
Neymar is one of the most renowned football players in the world through his flashy ball skills and bizarre fashion sense. He is easily one of the most recognizable faces anywhere.
The 28-year-old began his career at Santos before sealing an €88.20m transfer to Barcelona in the summer of 2013. This was where he truly made his name. Two La Liga titles, third-place Ballon d’Or finishes, and a Champions League all came his way in the following four years.
This earned Cristiano Ronaldo’s praise and a world-record €222m transfer to Paris Saint-Germain in 2017. He’s since become a three-time Ligue 1 winner and helped the French club reach its first-ever Champions League final in 2020.
The Belgian winger rose to stardom at Chelsea before Cristiano Ronaldo gave him his seal of approval in 2015.
Hazard became renowned for his dribbling, lofty passes, pace, and playmaking abilities. He became a two-time Premier League winner and won many plaudits for his displays in London. Therefore, Real Madrid signed him last summer for €100m.
Hazard has since taken over Ronaldo’s old #7 jersey at the Santiago Bernabeu but has struggled to emulate the Portuguese’s brilliance, having suffered a series of injury setbacks.