90min
Opinion

10 men's players to watch out for in the Olympics

Matt O'Connor-Simpson
Dani Alves is vying for Olympic gold
Dani Alves is vying for Olympic gold / Marcelo Endelli/Getty Images
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Be honest. After the end of Euro 2020 you were probably ready for a break from football.

Don't worry, it's okay to admit it, we were as well.

However, the novelty of football-less days has now worn off and suddenly the prospect of a 2020 Olympic group game between Honduras and Romania is extremely appealing.

This is not the only treat on offer in Tokyo either. There are plenty of exciting players - both young and old - to enjoy. Here are 10 of the best that are worth keeping an eye out for.


1. Takefusa Kubo

Takefusa Kubo
Kubo will be looking good in that Japan kit / Masashi Hara/Getty Images

Still only 20, perennial Real Madrid loanee Takefusa Kubo already has bags of La Liga experience.

The spritely attacking midfielder is a joy to watch when he's in full flow, gliding past opponents as if they weren't there on a regular basis. He also has an eye for a pass and will likely be Japan's leading creative light at the Games.

Impress at the Olympics and who knows, he might even get some first team minutes for Los Blancos next season.

2. Andre-Pierre Gignac

Andre Pierre Gignac
Gignac is a legend in Monterrey / Hector Vivas/Getty Images

It's been some time since European audiences have been treated to Andre-Pierre Gignac's talents.

The powerful striker departed Marseille to join Mexican side Tigres back in 2015, a move that took most by surprise. However, it has worked out wonderfully for Gignac who has scored bags of goals and lifted plenty of silverware for the Tigers.

At the Olympics he is set to lead the line for a young France side which also includes Tigres teammate and Newcastle United flop Florian Thauvin.

3. Chris Wood

Chris Wood
Wood is the most recognisable player in the Clarets squad / Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

We could not believe our eyes when we saw Sean Dyche had allowed his talismanic striker, Chris Wood, to jet off to Tokyo.

It might be bad news for Burnley, but it is a massive boost for New Zealand with Wood and Winston Reid among the only recognisable names in the squad.

He comes into the tournament in good form, netting five times in his final six Premier League games and also scoring in a friendly against Australia recently.

4. Reinier

Reinier Jesus Carvalho
Reinier should have a bigger part to play in Dortmund next season / Matthias Hangst/Getty Images

There's a bunch of top young talent in the Brazil squad, including Bayer Leverkusen's Paulinho, Arsenal's Gabriel Martinelli and Ajax's Antony.

We are particularly excited about watching Reinier, who is currently on loan at Borussia Dortmund from Real Madrid.

A supreme technician who's capable of operating as a number ten as well as across the forward line, he was a bit-part player for BVB last term. It will be interesting to see whether he can live up to the hype at the Olympics if selected.

5. Thiago Almada

Thiago Almada
Almada will be well known to Football Manager players / Fran Santiago/Getty Images

Thiago Alamada currently plies his trade for Velez Sarsfield but he has been tipped for a move to Europe for some time.

The 20-year-old is the archetypal Argentine number ten, making up for his lack of height with a wicked box of tricks and fearlessness on the ball.

Almada will be hoping to catch the eye of scouts by impressing at the Olympics this summer.

6. Ramadan Sobhi

Ramadan Sobhi
Sobhi will be key to Egypt's hopes with Mohamed Salah not in the squad / Gareth Copley/Getty Images

Ramadan Sobhi did not have the best of times in England. In fact, it was pretty disastrous.

First, he was part of the Stoke City side that experienced relegation at the end of the 2016/17 season. He then flopped badly at Huddersfield Town. Saying that, he has looked good since returning to his native Egypt in 2020.

With Mohamed Salah prevented from travelling to Tokyo, the Pharaohs will need Sobhi to be at his best if they have any chance of upsetting the odds.

7. Pedri

Pedro Gonzalez
Pedri was terrific at Euro 2020 / Etsuo Hara/Getty Images

After not missing a single minute of Spain's run to the Euro 2020 semi-finals - and also being named 90min's Our 21 player of the tournament - you might have expected teenage sensation Pedri to be on a beach right now.

Instead, the scarily talented midfielder will be spending his summer in Tokyo as part of La Furia Roja's Olympic squad.

It is hard to overstate just how incredible Pedri is at football. If you have not boarded the hype train yet, do it now.

8. Bryan Gil

Bryan Gil
Gil is highly rated in Spain / Soccrates Images/Getty Images

Bryan Gil is taking time off from his busy summer touring schedule as part of a Beatles tribute band to compete at the Olympics.

The soon-to-be Tottenham player will be being watched closely by Spurs fans but there is also plenty for neutrals to get excited about.

The wide forward is a dynamite dribbler whose intelligence off the ball is also impressive. Spurs could have unearthed a diamond in the rough.

9. Dani Alves

FBL-LIBERTADORES-CRISTAL-SAOPAULO
Alves will be wearing the captain's armband / MARTIN MEJIA/Getty Images

Dani Alves has been living it up since returning to Brazil in 2019. So much so that he has been handed the captain's armband for his country's Olympic campaign at the ripe old age of 38.

Alves remains in startlingly good shape and still loves to bomb down the right-hand side.

If you aren't excited about seeing him back in a yellow shirt, you don't love football.

10. Amad Diallo

Amad Diallo
Amad is still adjusting to life in England / Marc Atkins/Getty Images

Manchester United fans have not had too many opportunities to watch Amad Diallo so far.

The 19-year-old - who could end up costing them as much as €40m - should be on full display for Ivory Coast at the Olympics, though.

Amad is a very exciting talent who some have tipped to play a much larger role for United next season.


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