Brazilian Olympic football team player Gabriel Jesus(R) listens to Brazilian coach Rogelio Micale during a training session ahead of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at the Granja Comary sport complex  in Teresopolis, about 90 km from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on July 22, 2016 . / AFP / VANDERLEI ALMEIDA        (Photo credit should read VANDERLEI ALMEIDA/AFP/Getty Images)

14 Players to Watch Out for at the Olympic Games in Brazil

The Olympic football tournament has become increasingly recognised as a top age restricted competition in recent years, an opportunity for Under-23 players to get a taste of a slightly more senior international environment and a chance for clubs to do some serious scouting.


As the world gears up for the start of the 2016 Games in Brazil, here's a look at 14 rising stars to keep an eye on over the next couple of weeks.

14. Alexander Fransson (Sweden)

Alexander Fransson is a player worth keeping an eye on in the Swedish midfield. He joined Basel from home-town team Norrköping earlier this year and quickly established himself in the squad. Given the Swiss club's reputation for identifying and nurturing talent, he could easily be destined for bigger things in the future.

13. Ali Adnan (Iraq)

Having played his club football at Udinese since last year and a regular in Serie A, 22-year-old left-back Ali Adnan is the most prominent and one of the most experienced in the Iraq squad - he has 40 full international caps.


Despite the still ongoing upheaval and turmoil in the country, the gulf nation have continued to produce able players, with the senior side winning the 2007 Asian Cup and finishing fourth in the same competition in 2015.

12. Bruno Fernandes (Portugal)

​Portugal midfielder Bruno Fernandes is another Udinese player and another who has been playing regular football in Serie A. He started 24 times in Italy's top flight last season, contributing seven combined goals and assists mostly from an orthodox central midfield role.

11. Umar Sadiq (Nigeria)

In 1996, Nigeria were the first African team to win football gold at the Olympics and the talented Super Eagles class of 2016, including ​lanky young Roma forward Umar Sadiq, will be hoping to match their legendary predecessors.


Born six months after that famous triumph in Atlanta, 19-year-old Sadiq has scored twice in six Serie A appearances in his career so far.

10. Niklas Süle (Germany)

You can always count on Germany to have fresh new talent in abundance and Hoffenheim defender Niklas Süle represents the next generation for Die Mannschaft. He was recently valued over €16m by a Soccerex report on the top Under-21 players in the world.


These 2016 Games mark the first time that any male German football team has competed on the Olympic stage since 1988.

9. Geronimo Rulli (Argentina)

​Geronimo Rulli travels to Brazil as one of Argentina's designated over-age players. Having impressed during a two-year loan spell at Real Sociedad, it is widely believed that the 24-year-old goalkeeper will sign for Manchester City before the end of the summer.


This will be an early chance for City fans to watch him in action.

8. Sebastian Perez (Colombia)

Defensive midfielder Sebastian Perez was recently part of the Atletico Nacional side that collected only Colombia's second ever Copa Libertadores title. He was actually taken on trial by Arsenal in 2013 and sufficiently impressed to earn a contract, before being cruelly denied the move to London after failing to secure a work permit.

7. Takuma Asano (Japan)

Arsenal's recent purchase of Japanese forward ​Takuma Asano took Gunners fans and even the player himself by surprise. The 21-year-old, who scored 14 goals in 60 appearances in two and a half seasons with current J-League champions Sanfrecce Hiroshima, was virtually unknown outside his home country until this summer.

6. Jonathan Calleri (Argentina)

Argentine front-man Jonathan Calleri recently confirmed that he will be a West Ham player for the forthcoming season. The young striker was top scorer in the 2016 Copa Libertadores with nine goals during a loan spell with Sao Paulo earlier this calendar year.

5. Hirving Lozano (Mexico)

​Mexican midfielder Hirving Lozano has been heavily linked with a move to Manchester United for several months. The 21-year-old Pachuca star is considered one of the future and if he can help Mexico retain their Olympic crown it may give his proposed move to Europe the final push it needs.

4. Max Meyer (Germany)

Schalke and Germany talent Max Meyer ​enjoyed another excellent season in the Bundesliga in 2015/16. It was the third full campaign of his career to date, complete with 11 combined goals and assists, and he's still only 20 years of age.


The attacking midfielder has been heavily capped at Under-17 and Under-21 before now.

3. Giovani Lo Celso (Argentina)

Largely unknown to European audiences until signing for Paris Saint-Germain last month, Argentine sensation Giovani Lo Celso was recently named the world's 16th most valuable player under the age of 21 in a report by Soccerex.


The midfield play-maker will remain on loan at Rosario Central until the end of December, at which point he will make the move to France.

2. Gabigol (Brazil)

Better known as 'Gabigol', Gabriel Barbosa is one of a handful of talented young forwards in a Brazil squad desperate to win Olympic football gold in for the very first time. He was only 16 when he made his Santos debut and is being carefully monitored by many clubs in Europe.


Rumour has it that Barcelona bought a first option on Gabigol when they signed Neymar.

1. Gabriel Jesus (Brazil)

Gabriel Jesus is the most talked about young talent on the planet right now. The teenager was recently described by former Real Madrid and Bayern Munich midfielder Ze Roberto as the best Brazilian talent other than Neymar in the last 10 years, a player he has already been heavily likened to.


Snapped up by Manchester City, he'll be moving to England in January 2017 after the conclusion of this year's Brazilian championship.

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