What happened to the 10 wonders he propelled to stardom in 2015?

Lionel Messi will most likely become the greatest footballer to ever exist.

His 2021/22 debut season at Paris Saint-Germain proved he was, in fact, human, disappointing after leaving Barcelona, ​​but there’s no denying his unearthly talent. The man has seven Ballon d’Or awards, after all.

What’s so fascinating about Messi is how he reads and analyzes the game in real time. That’s a big part of why it’s so effective at producing magical moments after magical moments. He understands the game like no other.

Gaining insight into how his footballing brain works would be fascinating.

And while we may never be able to replicate the superhuman levels of greatness he consistently produced throughout his career, we can look forward to the next group of young talents who will take over when the sad day comes which is the retirement of Messi.

In 2015, however, we got that rare glimpse into how Messi sees football, as he worked with adidas to launch the ‘Backed by Messi’ campaign.

The campaign ran alongside the launch of the Messi15 football boot which was unveiled at the time, with the idea being that Messi chose 10 young footballers who he believed were destined to reach world-class levels, who would then wear the new Messi15 boot.

Fofana talks ahead (Football Terrace)

It’s easy to suggest that Messi had no choice but to choose the 10 players who joined the draft, but reports at the time indicated that the legendary Argentine had indeed weighed in with his opinions and made his own choices on who would join.

Seven years have passed since he picked those 10 players, and it’s getting more and more intriguing to return to this exclusive list each time, as the names Messi has highlighted have continued to endure a veritable mix of fortunes.

So, without further ado, here are the 10 wonderkids Messi singled out for greatness in 2015, and what they’re up to right now.

Jeremiah Boga

Where was he in 2015? Rennes (on loan from Chelsea)

Where is he now? Atalanta

The midfielder, now 25, left Chelsea for good in 2018 after a series of loan spells and found his feet in Serie A with Sassuolo.

Now an established international for Ivory Coast, his form earned him a loan spell at Atalanta in January 2022, which was completed in the summer. Boga has just entered his best years and is one of those who must keep an eye on the future.

LEVERKUSEN, GERMANY – MARCH 17: Jeremie Boga of Atalanta celebrates after scoring his team’s first goal in the UEFA Europa League Round of 16 match between Bayer Leverkusen and Atalanta at BayArena on March 17, 2022 in Leverkusen, Germany. (Photo by Lukas Schulze/Getty Images)

Accursio Bentivegna

Where was he in 2015? Palermo

Where is he now? Juve Stabia

Playing for Palermo at the same time Paulo Dybala was at the club, Bentivegna – a striker by trade – got off to a good start but was unable to stay in the first team after his initial breakthrough.

Being tipped for greatness by Messi may have turned out to be a poisoned gift. Bentivegna joined Serie B side Carrarese in 2018 and now plays in Serie C Group C, Italy’s third tier, at the age of 26.


Where was he in 2015? chelsea

Where is he now? chelsea

On the surface, it looks like Kenedy has managed to stay in London and become the world beater Messi expected of him at Chelsea. The reality is that he did not. At all.

The Brazilian, now 26, is well and truly stuck in the Blues’ vicious loan cycle, having left temporary deals five times since 2015. He spent last season in Brazil with Flamengo and is in desperate need of a permanent transfer to try and make his mark in football as he enters what is expected to be his prime.

Kenedy in action for Chelsea
CHARLOTTE, NORTH CAROLINA – JULY 20: Kenedy of Chelsea in action during the pre-season friendly match between Chelsea FC and Charlotte FC at Bank of America Stadium on July 20, 2022 in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Photo by Jacob Kupferman/Getty Images)

Maxwel Cornet

Where was he in 2015? Metz, Lyons

Where is he now? Burnley

Don’t expect Cornet to be at Burnley any longer, if the transfer rumor is to be believed.

A young Cornet clearly caught Messi’s eye, and it’s now clear why. He has impressed at Lyon in recent years, but moved to Burnley in 2021 and was an instant Premier League success, despite their relegation. Although not world class as Messi may have suggested, Cornet has proven to be a more than capable top footballer.

Alexei Miranchuk

Where was he in 2015? Lokomotiv Moscow

Where is he now? Atalanta

Boga’s teammates, Miranchuk also plies his trade in Bergamo, having moved to Atalanta in 2020.

Since arriving in Italy, the 26-year-old has been through a mixed period. His talent is on point and he has the confidence of manager Gian Piero Gasperini, but he managed just two goals and four assists in all competitions last season. A strong swing arm.

Miranchuk for Atalanta
LEIPZIG, GERMANY – APRIL 07: Aleksei Miranchuk of Atalanta in action during the UEFA Europa League Quarter-Final First Leg match between RB Leipzig and Atalanta at Football Arena Leipzig on April 07, 2022 in Leipzig, Germany. (Photo by Stuart Franklin/Getty Images)

Timo Werner

Where was he in 2015? VfB Stuttgart

Where is he now? chelsea

Great place, Leo. While Werner has been criticized for not hitting the ground since joining Chelsea in 2020, there’s no denying his obvious talent in front of goal.

Werner netted 93 goals and 40 assists in 158 games for RB Leipzig before heading to Stamford Bridge and showed a glimpse of what he can do as a Chelsea player. A move might be better to get him fired again, but it’s fair to say that Messi deserves some credit for highlighting the German as one to watch from such a young age.

Rony Lopez

Where was he in 2015? Manchester City, Monaco

Where is he now? Seville

Snapped by City from Benfica as a teenager, Lopes was one of the first names to emerge from City’s academy as someone to watch after their rise to prominence, and began flirting with the first team at the time. to be nominated by Messi.

He left for Monaco in 2015, however, who paid £9m to sign him, but failed to find his feet and was sold to Sevilla in 2019 in exchange for Wissam Ben Yedder. He spent the 2021/22 season on loan at Olympiacos which shows how his career seems to have stalled in his mid-twenties.

Lopes to Sevilla
GETAFE, SPAIN – AUGUST 23: Rony Lopes of Sevilla looks on during the LaLiga Santander match between Getafe CF and Sevilla FC at Coliseum Alfonso Perez on August 23, 2021 in Getafe, Spain. (Photo by Angel Martinez/Getty Images)

Jacques Wilson

Where was he in 2015? Manchester United

Where is he now? Port Vale

Another promising Manchester talent when Messi caught wind of him, United fans thought Wilson was destined for greatness when he emerged at the end of the 2013/14 season and netted a brace on his debut against Hull.

That and his record at youth level had many people – including Messi – thinking he would emerge into United’s next big academy star, but he slowly crumbled under Louis van Gaal and sank into the football pyramid after failed loan spells and his departure in 2019. He has now found a vein of consistency with Port Vale in League Two.

Gyasi Zardes

Where was he in 2015? The Galaxy

Where is he now? Colorado Rapids

Heartbreaking as a prolific striker in the youth ranks of football in the United States, Zardes scored 16 goals as LA Galaxy won the MLS Cup in 2014 and became the first homegrown player to score in the league final. cut that season.

An incredibly bright start to his career burned in the years that followed, and interest in Zardes faded as injuries began to pile up. He joined Columbus Crew in 2018 and won the 2018 MLS Returning Player of the Year award for his rebounding, and now plays for the Colorado Rapids.

Zardes party
COLUMBUS, OHIO – JULY 03: Gyasi Zardes #11 of Columbus Crew celebrates his first half goal during their game against the New England Revolution at Lower.com Field on July 03, 2021 in Columbus, Ohio. (Photo by Emilee Chinn/Getty Images)

Khry Shelton

Where was he in 2015? New York FC

Where is he now? SportingKansas City

Shelton was selected as the 2nd overall pick of the MLS SuperDraft by the NYCFC in 2015 and was described as the “best guy” despite his young age, then head coach Jason Kreis.

It didn’t work out, however, and he left for Sporting Kansas City in 2017. He had the chance to impress in European football in 2019 with Germany’s SC Paderborn, but the winger didn’t could hold it. He has been back at Kansas since 2020 and is yet to earn a full senior cap for the United States national team.

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