17 year-old centre midfielder Fabian Benko has been with Bundesliga champions, Bayern Munich, since he joined the club ten years ago. Born in Bavaria to Croatian parents, the teen starlet moved away from Zagreb and relocated in Munich, and therefore holds dual nationally. He started his career in 2005 aged just seven years, making his way through the Bayern Munich academy youth sides.
Benko is versatile and can play either in the attacking midfield role, on the left wing, or right wing. The youngster has a similar playing style to that of Croatian star Ivan Rakitić of Barcelona. Like the Barca star, Benko is a technical player, quick, skillful, reads the game well and has good calmness and composure on the ball. He is also great in dead ball situations, sliding balls through for the strikers to finish, most noticeably for the Bayern’s U17s side. Next season, the youngster will move to Heiko Vogel’s Bayern Munich II side. The left footed player has been likened to that of German born Gianluca Gaudino, a 19-year old centre midfielder, who made his way up to the Bayern Munich first team in 2014 after impressing.
Benko was rewarded with a place on Bayern’s squad that toured China in the summer. The number 40 has since been in fine form for Bayern’s Under 17 team, making 12 appearances in the Regionalliga Bayern League, making one assist. Likewise, he has made three appearances in this season’s UEFA Youth League, scoring one goal.
It seems it won’t be long before he is moved up to first team level if he continues. The starlet has made one appearance for the Germany Under 17 side, but has since opted to play for Croatia Under 17s in the 2015 FIFA Under 17 World Cup in Chile.
He is widely regarded as one of Bayern Munich’s hottest talents and he was part of the senior squad during pre-season, even featuring in some friendly matches. Pep Guardiola has also praised the hotshot. The Spanish coach was quoted stating that “Fabian Benko is a very young player. He is only 17 years old, but we think that he is very good. We have to go step by step. It is an honour for him to be here. He is practicing with our big players, so the training alone is a big step forward for him, but his place is still in the second and third team.”
He also added: “From time to time he will train with us but he will stay in the second team. At 17 he still has to improve in all areas of the game, but we are very satisfied with his performances and his attitude in the training.”
Could one of Europe’s heavyweights potentially steal one Bayern’s brightest teens? According to transfermarket, Benko is under contract until June 2016.
Teams he would be suited to: Barcelona, Real Madrid, Arsenal, Manchester United
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