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Golazo 100 of the future: Antonee Robinson, Benjamin Sesko, David Alaba lead candidates for next year’s list

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CBS Sports’ first annual Golazo 100 may be approaching its final rounds but already our mind is turning to who might be among the centurions for our 2025 rankings. Here are 10 players who whether through form, fitness or other reasons missed out on this year’s list but might well make the top 100 in 12 months’ time:

1. Gregor Kobel, Borussia Dortmund

We begin with the player who sat 101st in the Golazo 100, Borussia Dortmund’s No.1 Gregor Kobel. A few players from the Westfalenstadion might have been pushed beyond what ought to be their upper limits by our voting panel in light of an outstanding run in the final weeks of the season, but curiously the star of his side’s run to the Champions League final didn’t quite catch the imagination of our voting panel. He was ranked the ninth best goalkeeper in the world and yet over the past two seasons he ranks ahead of the likes of Thibaut Courtois, Marc-Andre ter Stegen and Emiliano Martinez in terms of goals prevented per 90 minutes of league play.

If goalkeeper metrics can be a little fiddly to grasp then a quick examination of his performances should offer a ringing endorsement of his qualities. Kobel has delivered in the biggest games for his club, such that scarcely a week goes by without him being linked to the likes of Paris Saint-Germain or Chelsea. Whether or not he gets his move there is little about him to suggest he has benefited from the hot hand over the last few years. Expect Kobel’s quality and acclaim to grow over the coming years.

2. David Alaba, Real Madrid

Place this one firmly in the category of players whose opportunities were curtailed by injuries. For the last four years, David Alaba has been one of the best center backs in the world. Prior to that he was one of the best left backs in the world. Had his career developed along a different trajectory he might well have been similarly elite as a central midfielder. The technical qualities that made him so valued by first Bayern Munich and then Real Madrid won’t have gone when he has recovered from the torn cruciate ligament he suffered in December. The unanswerable question for now is whether Alaba’s athleticism will remain, players who return from a long term injury at 32 years of age are often not the forces they were. If Alaba is what he was, though, there is no doubt that he will figure in the Golazo 100.

3. Warren Zaire-Emery, Paris Saint-Germain

Another representative from what we’re calling the Golazo 110, Zaire-Emery’s CV might ultimately have been too brief to propel him that little bit higher. Certainly for myself, the Paris Saint-Germain midfielder was one of the more agonizing late cuts because the shape of the player he is going to be is so compelling. In a few weeks’ time it might already be the case that we were too late in attempting to board the Zaire-Emery hype train, France’s youngest international having been called up for Didier Deschamps’ Euro 2024 squad.

How Zaire-Emery compared with other midfielders in Ligue 1 in 2023-24
TruMedia

It might seem too early for the French team to make room for an 18-year-old, but much the same was said when Zaire-Emery was breaking into the Paris Saint-Germain team, the youngster firmly establishing himself as a solution for what had been the champions great problem position for so long. With Kylian Mbappe leaving, there is a vacancy in Parisian affections. Zaire-Emery may well claim it and a spot in our Top 100 to go with it.

4. Ben White, Arsenal

With six names on the Golazo 100, Arsenal fans could hardly feel stiffed by the quantity of representatives afforded to Mikel Arteta. Still it did feel that a few more names might have been hard done. Had we begun this process a year ago Gabriel Martinelli would surely have ranked highly. Had the season lasted another month Leandro Trossard might well have crept in. The most surprising omission, however, ought to be Ben White.

In an age where the demands placed on full backs only grow more varied, the 26 year old is a true archetype. Few players in his position can function in all three of the main roles asked of them in 2024 but White can be the third defender in possession, the touchline-hugging over-lapper and the one who inverts into midfield. If it were required, he could probably do each job in the same game. Given that Arsenal only seem primed to improve next year, it may well be that they have a fair few more than a half dozen names on the 2025 Golazo 100. If that is indeed the case, expect White to be one of them.

5. Jonathan David, Lille

The goals have been flowing for Canada international Jonathan David since the day he arrived in Lille, with the past two years seeing him deliver an impressive torrent of scoring, 43 goals in 71 Ligue 1 games. Perhaps it was nothing more than the standard of opponents he has faced that ultimately meant David didn’t make the list, that could well change this summer with the 24-year-old heading into the final 12 months of his contract. There are suitors aplenty for David in Serie A, the Premier League and La Liga; should Erik ten Hag remain at Manchester United he is an admirer of the Canadian, according to CBS Sports sources.

Of course David may yet see out his final year at Lille, after which he would be an extremely intriguing option on the free agent market, but it is hard to shake the sense that the young striker has proven all he can in Ligue 1. Only with a move to one of Europe’s top four leagues could he put together an overwhelming case to be on the next Golazo 100.

6. Benjamin Sesko, RB Leipzig

Is Benjamin Sesko the next striking titan, bound to conquer the Premier League after his move from Germany in a fashion not dissimilar to the man he is so often compared to, Erling Haaland? It is a little hard to be sure just now. The Slovenia international ended the 2023-24 season on the sort of scoring streak that befits a player long considered one of Europe’s best young strikers, but there may well have been a fair amount of air in a return of 0.82 Bundesliga goals per 90 off a more regulation 0.45 expected goals per 90. Equally, that number is not too shabby at all for a 21-year-old playing his first season in one of Europe’s top five leagues. So is the 2.77 shots he averaged in an RB Leipzig side that has plenty of options to finish off moves.

Sesko’s 47 shots in 1528 Bundesliga minutes last season, sized by xG value. He scored 14 shots from shots worth 7.66 xG
TruMedia

Whatever Sesko’s current ability (and his potential ceiling), he is almost certainly going to be a name you hear a lot more of in the coming months. Arsenal are strong admirers of the young striker and the leading contenders for his signature, albeit with Chelsea and Paris Saint-Germain among those keenly observing his form at RB Leipzig this season. A move away from the Red Bull setup might be enough to propel him further up the rankings… or he could find himself swallowed up in the depth chart at a bigger side.

7. Christopher Nkunku, Chelsea

What ultimately proved to be a 2023-24 of relative progress for Chelsea might have been so much more if they had got more than 437 Premier League minutes out of a player who, on his arrival from RB Leipzig in the summer of 2023, many would have expected to be their most important attacker. In Germany, Christopher Nkunku had been an output machine, delivering a combined 36 goals and 17 assists in his final two seasons of Bundesliga football. The France international was a chance creating machine both for himself and others before moving to London and at 26 years of age. There is plenty of time for him to recover the form and fitness of his best years.

8. Antonee Robinson, Fulham

Left back is perhaps not a position overloaded with elite talent right now — the only player who might even vaguely be classed as one who also made our top 50 was Alejandro Grimaldo — and in the Premier League in particular Robinson has an opportunity to prove his worth, even at a club who aren’t competing at the top of the table. The US international has long looked a threat carrying the ball up the pitch but this season the Fulham defender took significant strides off the ball, one of his best performances coming when he was matched up against Mohamed Salah. Indeed across Europe’s top five leagues no one made more interceptions than Robinson.

It perhaps isn’t giving away much in the way of trade secrets to say many in our voting pool are more live to the progress of USMNT stars than most; if Robinson continues on his current trajectory it seems eminently plausible that you will find him in the lower reaches of the 2025 Golazo 100.

9. Matias Soule, Juventus

Given the relatively limited standard of the team mates that surrounded him on loan at Frosinone last season, Matias Soule made quite the impression on Serie A at just 20 years of age. His 2.35 chances created per 90 was the eighth highest return in Italy’s top division and he also ranked in the top 40 for goal frequency too, not bad for a player with only a handful of games with parent club Juventus before this season. He might be something of a long shot to make the Golazo 100 next year and much will depend on whether he lands in a side, Juventus or otherwise, for 2024-25 that can afford him a bigger platform to display his seriously impressive talents.

10. Joao Felix, Atletico Madrid

Why not wrap these up with what, on current trajectory, seems to be quite a long shot. Joao Felix had an eminently reasonable year on loan at Barcelona, delivering 10 goals and six assists in all competitions, but it was perhaps not enough to get the Portugal international back on the right path after what has seemed like years of unfulfilled potential. Atletico Madrid and Diego Simeone don’t look like the right fit for Felix. Barcelona might not have the money to bring him back. Would anyone else be willing to go big on the sort of settled, long term role that Felix needs to shine?

It’s not really a set of circumstances that scream imminent spot on the Golazo 100, but it is worth noting that Felix is still only 24 and that even after so many trying seasons at club level he managed to average more than three shots per 90 and just shy of 0.5 non-penalty xG in a secondary or even tertiary role with an underwhelming Barcelona side. A talented creator, a strong runner with the ball and blessed with an eye for a pass: there is something really special that could be unlocked if the $135 million man can find the right spot.

Golazo 100 schedule

Be sure to tune into Golazo Network, including Morning Footy to start your day with a breakdown of each batch of top players released every day. And, of course, make sure to check out the full breakdown and analysis of who was ranked where and why

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