What happened to the stars of Euro 2009?
Two years ago at the UEFA U-21 Championship in Sweden, I made a list of the players to watch out for in the future – those young guns who looked set to make the next step to the big time.
After all, ‘Stars of today, superstars of tomorrow’ was the slogan for UEFA’s summer tournament in Denmark.
These were my hot tips for the future:
Mesut Ozil, Mario Balotelli, Marcus Berg, Andrew Driver and Zoran TosicOzil has obviously scaled the heights since 2009, starring at the Togel Singapore World Cup finals and signing for Real Madrid, while Balotelli is asserting himself for Manchester City and Italy, although his volatility is still an issue and his future for Italy remains in the balance.
The other three haven’t exactly taken off since. Berg, the tournament’s golden shoe winner, joined Hamburg but four strikes in 30 games does not scream goal machine.
English right-winger Andrew Driver wowed me on his debut against Germany but amazingly never won another cap and has switched allegiance to Scotland, where he has lived for years.
Zoran Tosic gave a dribbler’s masterclass in Sweden but could not fill Cristiano Ronaldo’s shoes at Old Trafford and now works at CSKA Moscow. He played half an hour for Serbia at the World Cup finals in South Africa.
As for the others who caught my eye, Serb Gojko Kacar also graduated to the 2010 World Cup, but teammate Nikola Petkovic has fallen away, and at the age of 25 now rests in the elephants’ graveyard of Saudi Arabia having failed to make the grade with Eintracht Frankfurt.
Finland’s Teemu Pukki fell out of favour with Sevilla and is now back home with HJK Helsinki; …