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30th Dec 2016

Arsenal and Tottenham stars make L’Equipe’s best Under-21 XI of 2016

The finest young talent from across the globe in one team

Rob Burnett

We’re nearly at New Year’s Eve now, so it’s time for all those “… of the year” lists to be published.

And the L’Equipe writers have come up with the best under-21 team of 2016. Any player who was born in 1995 or after and is still eligible to play at Under-21 level internationally is fair game.

So who has impressed the L’Equipe judges this year?


In goal is AC Milan’s wonderkid Gianluigi Donnarumma. Incredibly he is still just 17-years-old but is already closing in on 50 appearances for his club.


At the back we have the first Premier League representative as Arsenal’s Hector Bellerin takes the right-back slot alongside Jonathan Tah of Bayer Leverkusen and Milan’s Alessio Romagnoli, with José Luis Gayà at left-back.


Another familiar face here as Tottenham’s Dele Alli – who L’Equipe describe as having “an incredible maturity to his game” is picked to play behind the two strikers.

Behind him is Joshua Kimmich of Bayern Munich at the base of the midfield, who is joined by club-mate Renato Sanches and PSG’s Adrien Rabiot.


L’Equipe’s first pick up front is so good Manchester City have already signed him. Gabriel Jesus is just 19 but already has nearly 50 appearances for Palmeiras and is playing for the senior Brazil side. City have paid £27m to bring him to the Premier League in January.

He is paired with Borussia Dortmund’s Ousmane Dembele – also just 19 and a player L’Equipe describe as having had an “incredible rise.”

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