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VINICIUS JUNIOR

What happened to the previous six top scorers at the South American U17 Championships?

Real Madrid look to have signed Vinicius Junior, top scorer at the 2017 South American U17 Championships. But what happened to the previous six top scorers?

Heard about the 16-year-old who Real Madrid just spent £38million on, despite the fact he’s yet to play a senior club game?

Well if you haven’t come across Flamengo’s Vinicius Junior yet, he’s already ticked off most of the things expected from a Brazilian phenom.

Will Real Madrid be smiling five years down the line?

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Will Real Madrid be smiling five years down the line?

A ‘next’ tag? Yep, people are already calling Vinicius the ‘next Neymar’, just as Neymar was the ‘next Robinho’, and Robinho the ‘next Pele’.

The forward has already won titles with Flamengo and Brazil’s youth sides, the last of which was the 2017 South American Under-17 Championship.

Vinicius scored eight goals during the tournament to pick up the golden boot. A sure sign of success right? Well let’s have a look at the previous six winners to see what the future holds.

Leandrinho (2015)

Leandrinho scored eight goals in nine games as Brazil marched to the title in 2015.

The striker’s form attracted interest from several European clubs but it was Napoli who convinced him to leave Sao Paulo side Ponte Preta.

The 18-year-old has yet to make his debut under Maurizio Sarri, which is little surprise given he’s competing against Dries Mertens, Lorenzo Insigne and Arkadiusz Milik.

That no.10 shirt weighs heavy whatever level you’re playing at in Brazil

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That no.10 shirt weighs heavy whatever level you’re playing at in Brazil

Franco Acosta (2013)

The top scorer award isn’t limited to Brazilians. Uruguayan Acosta pipped Chelsea’s Kenedy to the honour in 2013, after scoring eight goals, despite Uruguay only finishing fourth.

Acosta’s goalscoring heroics saw him graduate to first-team duties at Uruguayan club Fenix before Villarreal took him to Europe in January 2015.

So far the 21-year-old has only featured for Villarreal’s B team, so he hasn’t had a chance to replicate compatriot Diego Forlan’s form for El Submarino Amarillo.

How many times do you reckon you’re going to play for Villarreal’s first team?

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How many times do you reckon you’re going to play for Villarreal’s first team?

Juan Cruz Mascia (2011)

Brazil won the 2011 instalment of the tournament, spearheaded by Marquinhos and Lucas Piazon, but it was another Uruguayan who ended up as top scorer.

Mascia scored six goals out in Ecuador and was quickly heralded as the ‘new Forlan’, to the extent that he was asked to train with Atletico Madrid.

That trial was unsuccessful so rather than make the big move to Spain Mascia now plays for Nacional back in Uruguay, after spells with Miramar and Montevideo Wanderers.

Like Forlan, just not quite as good

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Like Forlan, just not quite as good

Edwin Cardona (2009)

In 2009 a young Philippe Coutinho helped Brazil beat Argentina in the final, but Colombian Cardona stole the show with seven goals across the tournament.

He moved from Colombian side Atletico Nacional, where he won two league titles, to Mexican club Monterrey in 2015.

Unlike most other players who star at youth tournaments Cardona has graduated onto full international honours, winning 26 caps for Colombia.

Cardona is one of the more rare success stories from the South American Under-17 Championships, which earns him a high five from James Rodriguez

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Cardona is one of the more rare success stories from the South American Under-17 Championships, which earns him a high five from James Rodriguez

Lulinha (2007)

A name instantly familiar to any avid Football Manager player, Lulinha scored a quite ridiculous 12 goals for Brazil when they won the tournament in 2007.

Brazil’s squad consisted of twins Rafael and Fabio, as well as Alex Teixeira, but Lulinha still stood out head and shoulders above the rest of his contemporaries.

Chelsea considered putting in a bid, until Corinthians slapped a £25million price tag on his head and tied him down to a new contract.

Fast forward ten years and, aged 27, Lulinha is now playing for Pohang Steelers in South Korea. Still interested Chelsea?

From the verge of a move to Chelsea to battling it out in South Korea

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From the verge of a move to Chelsea to battling it out in South Korea

Kerlon

Brazil’s class of 2005 boasted future full internationals Marcelo, Renato Augusto and Anderson, but it was the seal-dribbling Kerlon who really captivated everyone’s attention.

He wasn’t just a trick pony at that age though, as eight goals during Brazil’s 7th title win showed. Unfortunately South America’s defenders didn’t take kindly to his antics, meaning Kerlon was often on the receiving end of some horrific tackles.

His footballing CV is a globetrotter’s dream, taking the midfielder from Italy, where he was on the books of Chievo and Inter, Holland, with Ajax, and back to Brazil.

Latterly he’s played in Japan’s third division, Miami, and Malta, before ending up in Slovakia with Spartak Trnava. Needless to say there’s been no call up to the Brazil squad, yet.

The wonders of glue

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The wonders of glue