UEFA.com profiles ten players who look poised to catch the eye on their debut campaign in the UEFA Champions League, including three from the Portuguese Liga.
The 2014/15 UEFA Champions League season offers a new wave of young talents the chance to shine on club football's greatest platform. UEFA.com profiles ten players out to impress in their debut campaign in the competition.
Saúl Ñíguez, Club Atlético de Madrid
Diego Simeone has compared the 19-year-old central midfielder to Koke following his return from a successful loan spell at Rayo Vallecano de Madrid. With Arda Turan injured, he has an early chance to justify that billing.
Luca Zuffi, FC Basel 1893
Newly signed from FC Thun, the 24-year-old midfielder is already well-known in Switzerland but now Europe should get a first glimpse of his confidence on the ball and clever reading of the game.
Pierre Højbjerg, FC Bayern München
Already a full Danish international, the versatile 19-year-old midfielder sat on the bench at four UEFA Champions League games last season, when he made seven Bundesliga outings. Highly rated by Josep Guardiola, the academy graduate is expected to have more regular opportunities this year.
Anderson Talisca, SL Benfica
Benfica have high hopes for the lanky 20 year-old, a summer recruit from Brazilian club EC Bahia. He can play in midfield or behind a striker and has already caught the eye with his speed, passing efficiency and powerful left-foot shot.
Raheem Sterling, Liverpool FC
The England winger's lightning pace and cool head in the penalty box make him a terrific asset for a Liverpool side still adjusting to life after Luis Suárez. Anfield regulars will hope the 19-year-old's understanding with Daniel Sturridge continues to flourish in the coming campaign.
Geoffrey Kondogbia, AS Monaco FC
A FIFA U-20 World Cup winner with France in 2013, the one-time RC Lens trainee joined Monaco from Sevilla FC last summer and had a highly promising first season in the principality, developing into the one of the best box-to-box midfield players in Ligue 1.
Serge Aurier, Paris Saint-Germain
The 21-year-old full-back already had over 100 Ligue 1 appearances to his name when joining the big-spending Parisians on loan from Toulouse FC this summer. He excelled for Ivory Coast at the FIFA World Cup, setting up both goals in the Elephants' only victory, a 2-1 win against Japan.
Rúben Neves, FC Porto
The defensive midfielder became the youngest player to score in a league match for Porto – at 17 years and 155 days – when making his debut in the 2-0 home win against CS Marítimo on the opening day of this season. He then surpassed Cristiano Ronaldo as the youngest player to represent a Portuguese team in UEFA club competition when featuring against LOSC Lille in the play-offs.
Juan Iturbe, AS Roma
The 21-year-old Argentinian scored eight goals in 33 games for Hellas Verona FC in 2013/14, showing showed flashes of brilliance in his first term in Italy. Roma have high hopes he can achieve even more with the Giallorossi with his outstanding speed and technical ability.
Mahamadou-Naby Sarr, Sporting Clube de Portugal
Marcos Rojo's departure to Manchester United FC should give Sarr the chance to impress. A summer signing from Olympique Lyonnais, the tall, powerful central defender was, like Kondogbia, an U20 world champion with France in 2013.