Before we start, the primary criteria here is simply how good the player was in their teenage years, typically between their 16th and 20th birthdays, but factors such as the number of games they played and what they accomplished are naturally also taken into account. There will also be some very honourable mentions at the end.
The World Cup is the biggest stage in world football, and as such, it can often be make or break for footballing legacies over a single month once every four years.
The only criteria for featuring here is that you must be retired - no current players are taken into consideration.
These aren’t the seven who left the earliest, or the best seven, the best paid seven - or anything else like that. These are simply seven we randomly chose for your enjoyment, feel free to share your examples in the comments.
There is a story Joan Laporta tells of the day he called Pep Guardiola to his office and told him he was going to be the new manager of Barcelona, to which Guardiola replied: “You haven’t got the balls.” If there is one thing Barça’s former president never lacked it is balls and yet he does not see it like that, even though José Mourinho wanted the job.
The central figure in the Europa League final will be the man who is most profoundly absent: Johan Cruyff.
Today marks the twentieth anniversary of Arsene Wenger's unveiling as Arsenal manager. We take a look at his first Arsenal line-up from 1996.
Jamoe Vardy's second goal in the space of four days wasn't enough to stop England losing 2-1 to the Netherlands at Wembley.
Supporters of Holland and France paid tribute to Johan Cruyff at their international friendly in Amsterdam on Friday.
“Johan Cruyff was not scared of anything,” Txiki Begiristain recalls.