With the new Premier League season fast approaching, Olympic football has been somewhat overlooked. The year of the underdog – started by Leicester City – continued at Euro 2016 and the Copa America, with Portugal and Chile taking the respective titles. Players from those tournaments won’t be in Rio, but there are still a number of stars aiming for Olympic gold. Here are five of the best.
5) Heung-min Son (South Korea)
It was a difficult first season for Son at Tottenham, but he still has the quality to make an impact in Rio this summer. It was a year ago that he became the most expensive Asian player in history with a £22 million move to White Hart Lane, and there is still more to come from him. He has an impressive record at international having scored 16 goals for South Korea, and he will certainly be aiming for Olympic success.
4) Lars Bender (Germany)
With the impressive amount of young talent in the country, Germany have been able to select a very strong squad for the Olympics. Lars Bender is one of the three players over the age of 23 Germany are allowed to pick, and he is an excellent selection. Bender has been selected alongside his twin brother, Sven, with Lars the more experienced at international level. The 26-year-old has been regularly linked with Arsenal in recent years, and despite injuries disrupting his progress in the last 18 months, he is still a top player.
3) Maximilian Meyer (Germany)
One of those impressive German youngsters is Schalke’s Maximilian Meyer. The attacking midfielder has a bright future ahead of him, but there is no reason why he can’t make an impact now. The 20-year-old is an exceptionally talented player, and is already a big part of the Schalke squad. He has been linked with a move to Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool, and it is easy to see why, as he could become a top player in the coming years.
2) Felipe Anderson (Brazil)
The hosts Brazil enter the tournaments as one of the favourites to take home the gold medal, and this is mainly down to the plethora of attacking talent in the squad. Anderson has been one of the most consistent performers in Serie A over the last two seasons, and offers Brazil versatility in attacking areas. Able to play up front and from deeper areas, Anderson’s pace constantly causes defences problems, while he will probably be the most capable man from the dead ball in Brazil’s squad.
The Barcelona star is undoubtedly the biggest star heading to the Olympics. Whilst a vast majority of players are looking to make a name for themselves in Rio, Neymar has turned up to win the gold medal, having skipped the Copa America in the United States. The 24-year-old will be looking for his first taste of international success, and will be looking to follow his club team mate Lionel Messi in making the Olympics title his first for his country. Brazil will also be hoping Neymar leads the way for some of the youngsters in the squad, in particular Gabriel Barbosa and Gabriel Jesus, something he is certainly capable of.