Talentspotter

Where are they now? The 10 best teenagers in Football Manager 2008

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3. Sergio Aguero

By the time of his 20th birthday, Aguero had racked up 23 goals in 56 games for Independiente, played two full seasons at Atletico Madrid (scoring 34 times in 92 outings) and won five caps for Argentina.

Aguero's 94th-minute winner on the final day of the 2011/12 season meant Manchester City won the title on goal difference from rivals Manchester United

He’s only occasionally slowed down since – and only through injury. He ended his Atletico career with 101 goals in 234 games, and won the Europa League in 2010.

Aguero’s been even more prolific at Manchester City since signing for £38m in summer 2011, and became their all-time record scorer after netting for the 178th time in his 264th City appearance against Napoli.

2. Alexandre Pato

Milan didn’t need long to make their mind up about Pato: the teenage striker had played just 10 league games for Internacional before being snapped up for €24m by the Rossoneri in summer 2007.

Aged 17, Pato was part of the Internacional side that won the 2006 Club World Cup, beating Barcelona 1-0 in the final

He made his debut for the Italians the following January and immediately hit the ground running, scoring in a 5-2 defeat of Napoli on his Serie A debut.

Pato reached double figures in his first three full seasons at San Siro and helped Max Allegri’s side win the title in 2010/11 – but injuries began to bite and he was forced to return to Brazil in 2013; first with Corinthians, and subsequently Sao Paulo.

A curious loan spell with Chelsea followed in the second half of 2015/16, before Pato – still only 28 – moved on to Villarreal and current club Tianjin Quanjian.

1. Karim Benzema

Benzema was barely 17 when he pulled on a Lyon shirt for the first time in January 2005. The striker played six times in total as Les Gones claimed their fourth consecutive Ligue 1 crown that season, before becoming a prominent member of their first team the following year.

Benzema holds the record for the fastest goal in El Clasico, volleying home after just 21 seconds in 2011

The 2007/08 campaign was Benzema’s best on an individual level, as he scored 31 goals in all competitions. The Frenchman spent one more year at Lyon before Real Madrid came calling in 2009, paying €35m to bring him to the Bernabeu.

Benzema has had his critics ever since, but his value to Madrid has been undisputable; as well as averaging around a goal every other game in all competitions, he’s been a vital foil for Cristiano Ronaldo and played a major role in helping the club win two La Liga titles and three Champions Leagues over the last eight years.

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