There's something about certain years, says SI.com's Gabriele Marcotti, and 1987 is shaping up to be a very special one, indeed. The list of players born in that year creates a team that would "threaten for the league title anywhere in the world," he says. And these guys are still only 20 years of age.
Consider: Villarreal's Giuseppe Rossi and Lyon's Karim Benzema up top, flanked by Barcelona's Lionel Messi (who finished second in FIFA World Player of the Year voting), and Marseille's Samir Nasri. Behind them, Arsenal's Cesc Fabregas would pull the strings, while Chelsea's John Obi Mikel would hold the midfield line. In defense, Bayer Leverkusen's Gonzalo Castro and Real Madrid's Royston Drenthe would handle the flanks, while Manchester United's Gerard Pique and Arsenal's Johan Djourou would hold down the middle. Manchester City's Joe Hart would guard the net.
The list, by the way, could go on: CSKA Moscow's Jo, Lyon's Hatem Ben Arfa and Tottenham's Aaron Lennon and Kevin Prince Boateng would all do nicely as substitutes as would several others. "Perhaps at no time in recent history have so many 20-year-olds already carved out a spot for themselves at major clubs," says Marcotti. Nine of the aforementioned are starters at Champions League clubs, while Fabregas and Messi have already established themselves as two of the best players in the world.