Roma fans are understandably excited about the future of young players like Roger Ibañez, Nicolo Zaniolo, and Gonzalo Villar, each of whom has made tremendous strides for players their age, but two of the Giallorossi's youngest were recently named among UEFA's “50 for the future”, a list of the most promising U21 prospects compiled by a panel of UEFA correspondents.
Published by UEFA over the weekend, the “50 for the future” list includes U21 players who “could be big news in 2021.” While none of the players on the list are exactly household names yet, Roma was fortunate to place two players in the top 50: Riccardo Calafiori and Marash Kumbulla.
On Calafiori, UEFA was quick to highlight his debut goal, a thunderous strike against Young Boys in the Europa League:
Riccardo Calafiori (ITA, 18 – Roma)His first ever professional goal was a wonder strike in his second UEFA Europa League appearance – not bad for a left-back! He made his Serie A debut on the final day of the 2019/20 campaign.
On Kumbulla, who Roma signed this past summer, UEFA wasn't quite as flowery in their praise:
Marash Kumbulla (ALB, 20 – Roma)Kumbulla joined the Verona youth system aged eight. A tall, sold [sic] centre-back, he is an admirer of Giorgio Chiellini; joined Roma in September and has quickly established himself in the capital.
Calafiori and Kumbulla were joined by fellow Serie A youngsters Amad Diallo (Atalanta), Radu Drăgușin (Juventus), Gianluca Frabotta (Juventus), Jens Petter Hauge (AC Milan), and Daniel Maldini (AC Milan).
These lists are purely for entertainment, but it does speak to Calafiori and Kumbulla's respective standing among football insiders, so we'll certainly take it!