It’s the first fixtures in the 2016 Rio Olympics men’s soccer tournament today and we have a list of the top 20 footballers to follow during the next three weeks.
1 Simon Tibbling (Sweden) – The FC Groningen club man is one to look out for in the Olympics. Although, he his small in stature he makes up for it with his tenacity and skill. He was one of the players of the tournament in the U21 European Championships and played a key role in Sweden’s tournament success.
2 Carlos Mane (Portugal) – Mane is a player on the up. He comes from the Sporting Lisbon club and has progressed up to first team football from the academy. He has represented Portugal at every level from U-15s up. He is a pacey individual and is an excellent finisher. Certainly one to watch!
3 Marquinhos (Brazil) – Talented centre back. He is comfortable on the ball and start attacks from defence. He is an excellent passer of the ball and is potentially one of the best defenders in the tournament.
4 Leon Goretzka (Germany) – The talented 21 year old who plays his club football with Schalke is another player to watch. He is a gifted footballer and is certainly one to watch in the near future. He has already a cap for the German senior squad.
5 Heung Min-Son (South Korea) – Currently playing his football with Tottenham in the Premier League he is very experienced. He will be his side’s main threat up front where his pace will worry defenders.
6 Teofilo Gutierrez (Columbia) – Another Sporting Lisbon club man. At the age of 31 he will be one of oldest players in the tournament. He scored 12 goals in his first season for Lisbon and also represented Columbia at the World Cup in 2014.
7 Lars Bender (Germany) – The Bayer Leverkusen star will play midfield for Germany in the tournament. He has plenty of power and speed and will line up beside his twin brother Sven.
8 Sven Bender (Germany) – Twin brother of Lars he is currently playing in the Bundesliga with Borrusia Dortmund. He is strong and powerful and will play a holding role in midfield.
9 Gabriel Jesus (Brazil) – Another wonder kid from Brazil. He is reportedly on the verge of signing for Manchester City. He has an excellent goalscoring abilty, skill and pace. The home crowd will be looking to him to produce the goods.
10 Giovanni Simeone (Argentina) – The son of Atletico Madrid boss Diego. A more attacking player than his father. He is a good finisher and has the tenacity that his father possessed when he was playing.
11 Max Meyer (Germany) – Another Schalke player. He is quick, intelligent and has the makings of a good footballer. Liverpool are currently looking at him, and a big performance at the Olympics and they may come calling.
12 Tiago Ilori (Portugal) – Liverpool defender, not yet to make his name at Anfield but the Olympics will provide him the opportunity to show what he can offer. He is strong in the air and strong in the tackle.
13 Matthias Ginter (Germany) – An unused sub in the 2014 World Cup for Germany. The experience of been there will be massive though and he can use this experience to lead Germany from defence.
14 Felipe Anderson (Brazil) – An attacking midfielder. Currently plays with Lazio in the Serie A. Strong and powerful going forward.
15 Julian Brandt (Germany) – A talented winger for Bayer Leverkusen. He scored 10 goals last season and forced his way into the German provisional squad for Euro 2016. He didn’t make the cut but the Olympics should allow him to show what the Germans missed out on.
16 Serge Gnabry (Germany) – Plays with Arsenal. He has been prone to a lot of injuries and hasn’t reached his potential due to these. He will have a chance to remind everyone of the skills and qualities he possesses come Rio.
17 Angel Correa (Argentina) – Plays with Atletico Madrid. Can unlock defence in the blink of an eye. One to watch in the tournament.
18 Gabriel Barbosa (Brazil) – Only 19 years of age. He will be watched by European clubs come the Olympics. Exceptional finisher and can also create chances for others.
19 John Obi Mikel (Nigeria) – The Chelsea stalwart will be a big player for Nigeria. An excellent passer of the ball and excellent in defence, although he may play in a more attacking role for his country.
20 Neymar (Brazil) – Probably the tournaments marquee player. He has another opportunity to lead his country to victory on home soil after the horrific 2014 World Cup.