There has never been a more exciting time to witness up-and-coming talent progressing through the footballing ranks, as a new star seems to burst onto the scene every week.

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From smart shot-stoppers to ball-playing defenders, magic midfielders to sizzling strikers, a wealth of promising players are taking the game by storm at the highest level.

We've cooked up a top 10 based on form, trophies collected and impact for club and country, with a sprinkling of some crucial stats.

You'll probably disagree with some - if not most - of our picks!

RadioTimes.com brings you our definitive list of the 10 best young football players in the world in 2024.

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Check our more football features: Best players of all time | Best players in the world 2024 | Best strikers 2024 | Best wingers 2024 | Best midfielders 2024 | Best defenders 2024 | Best goalkeepers 2024 | Best teams in the world 2024

10. Evan Ferguson (Brighton)

Evan Ferguson of Brighton clapping
Evan Ferguson Sebastian Frej/MB Media/Getty Images

Striker Evan Ferguson burst onto the scene in the 2022-23 season with 10 goals in 25 appearances in all competitions for Brighton. Described by Premier League legend Alan Shearer as 'the real deal', the 19-year-old Republic of Ireland international seems like a regen of England legend Harry Kane - and is destined for the very top.

9. Warren Zaïre-Emery (PSG)

Warren Zaire-Emery in action for PSG
Warren Zaire-Emery Getty Images

It takes a special talent to become a regular at one of Europe's biggest clubs before officially becoming an adult, but that's exactly what Warren Zaïre-Emery has achieved. The 17-year-old is a driving force from the base of midfield and has already made more than 50 first-team appearances for Paris Saint-Germain, as well as featuring for France's senior team.

8. Joško Gvardiol (Manchester City)

Joško Gvardiol in action for Manchester City
Joško Gvardiol Getty Images

A £77 million transfer to Manchester City ahead of the 2023-24 season continued defender Joško Gvardiol's rise. An excellent World Cup with Croatia in 2022 brought him to the attention of wider audiences, although Bundesliga watchers already knew he was a top talent at former club RB Leipzig thanks to his ability in the air and on the ball.

7. Florian Wirtz (Bayer Leverkusen)

Florian Wirtz in action for Bayer Leverkusen
Florian Wirtz Getty Images

A devastating dribbler and prime passer, Florian Wirtz took German football by storm as a teenage sensation before a serious knee injury sustained in the 2021-22 campaign saw him miss the 2022 World Cup. The 20-year-old attacking midfielder bounced back in impressive fashion, however, and is Bayer Leverkusen's leading light in their Bundesliga title quest.

6. Eduardo Camavinga (Real Madrid)

Eduardo Camavinga in action for Real Madrid
Eduardo Camavinga Getty Images

One of Real Madrid's exciting crop of hot prospects, midfielder Eduardo Camavinga is a commanding presence, with an ability to progress the ball by passing or running with it. A Champions League and La Liga winner, the 21-year-old's knack of playing in a number of positions makes him a manager's dream.

5. Jamal Musiala (Bayern Munich)

Jamal Musiala in action for Bayern Munich
Jamal Musiala Getty Images

Jamal Musiala was destined for the top after becoming the youngest player in Bayern Munich's history to feature in the Bundesliga at the age of 17 years and 115 days. An attacking ace capable of playing as a No.10 or on the wing, the Germany international drifts between the lines to create and score goals. Musiala, 20, already has four Bundesliga titles on his CV.

4. Gavi (Barcelona)

Gavi in action for Barcelona
Gavi Getty Images

The winner of the Golden Boy and Kopa Trophy in 2022, midfielder Gavi is yet another La Masia graduate to become a Barcelona regular. A hugely intelligent passer, with a terrific turn of foot, the 19-year-old has rightly earned comparisons to Nou Camp legends Andrés Iniesta and Xavi.

3. Bukayo Saka (Arsenal)

Bukayo Saka of Arsenal during the Premier League match between Arsenal FC and Manchester United at Emirates Stadium on September 03, 2023 in London, England.
Bukayo Saka Robin Jones/Getty Images

A personal-best campaign in 2022-23 continued Bukayo Saka's meteoric rise, and he's emerging as one of the trickiest wingers on the block thanks to his dribbling and finishing skills. The 22-year-old has also been named England Men's Player of the Year for the last two seasons.

2. Pedri (Barcelona)

Pedri in action for Barcelona
Pedri Getty Images

A key member of Barcelona's first team after a bargain €5 million switch from Las Palmas in 2019, Pedri scooped the Golden Boy and Kopa Trophy awards in 2021 thanks to his dancing feet and progressive passing. The 21-year-old midfielder is a supreme talent, and hopefully an injury-plagued 2023-24 campaign doesn't slow his progress.

1. Jude Bellingham (Real Madrid)

Jude Bellingham celebrates scoring a goal for Real Madrid
Jude Bellingham Getty Images

It simply had to be Jude Bellingham at the top, didn't it? England's midfield golden boy has enjoyed a dream start to life at Real Madrid, and looks likely to lift silverware with the Spanish capital club sooner or later.

While the 20-year-old is being played further forward by Carlo Ancelotti because of his attacking smarts, the fact he boasts strong tackling skills, positional awareness and an excellent engine enabling him to get up and down the pitch means he's the complete package.

Who is the best young player in the world?

Last year's Golden Boy and Kopa Trophy winner Jude Bellingham is the definition of a Rolls-Royce player. Birmingham were mocked for retiring his number in the wake of his transfer to Borussia Dortmund, but no one's laughing anymore - as he's the most exciting talent in the game. The future of English football is in safe hands.

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