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By Darek Michael Wajda

For soccer or fútbol fans, it's all eyes on the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil though tensions are still high in the soccer world after this year's dramatic La Copa América and Euro 2016 results. For young fútbol stars, this is the time to shine and represent their country at the Olympics — the next best competition to the FIFA World Cup.

With only Brazil, Colombia, and Honduras remaining from Latin America, the Olympics saw Argentina and Mexico exit early after poor results in the group stages. While host country Brazil looks to capitalize on its own turf, they will face a tough quarter-final match against Colombia in the same stadium where Brazil knocked Colombia out of the 2014 FIFA World Cup.

With vengeance and revenge in the air for the Colombians, here's a list of the young Latin American soccer stars we're watching as they play for the gold.


Gabriel Barbosa, 19

Gabriel Barbosa #9 of Brazil celebrates scoring his team's first goal during the international friendly match between Japan and Brazil at the Estadio Serra Dourada on July 30, 2016 in Goiania, Brazil.Koji Watanabe / Getty Images

Born: August 30, 1996 in São Bernardo do Campo, São Paulo, Brazil

Club: Santos Futebol Clube, Santos, Brazil

Gabriel Barbosa, the Santos striker is likely to be one of the stars of this season's Olympic fútbol tournament. As the Mirror points out, 'Gabriel' as he is called is already a YouTube and FIFA superstar. This year he made his debut for his country at a senior level and scored in the 2016 la Copa America. Premier league giants Arsenal FC are looking to buy the striker from Santos this summer.

Gabriel Jesus, 19

Gabriel Jesus of Brazil celebrates after he takes and scores a penalty past goalkeeper, Andre Moreira of Portugal during the FIFA U-20 World Cup New Zealand 2015 quarter final match between Brazil and Portugal held at Waikato Stadium on June 14, 2015 in Hamilton, New ZealandDean Mouhtaropoulos / FIFA via Getty Images

Born: April 3, 1997 in São Paulo, São Paulo, Brazil

Club: Sociedade Esportiva Palmeiras, São Paulo, Brazil

Spanish soccer giants, Barcelona FC and Real Madrid have been battling it out for the striker Gabriel Jesus, according to the BleacherReport. With over 20 goals for his club and country (youth level), the teenager has yet to make his debut for the Brazilian first team. Both Gabriels — both Barbosa and Jesus — appear to be the next big thing for Brazilian fútbol.


Miguel Borja, 23

Miguel Borja player of Colombia battles for the ball with Sei Muroya player of Japan during 2016 Summer Olympics match between Japan and Colombia at Arena Amazonia on August 7, 2016 in Manaus, BrazilBruno Zanardo / Getty Images

Born: January 26, 1993 in Tierraalta, Colombia

Club: Atlético Nacional, Medellín, Colombia

Borja enjoys moving around quite a bit in the Colombian Categoría Primera A League. He started off at Deportivo Cali where he was a bright youngster looking at a long career in soccer. Since then, Borja has scored 44 goals in total for the teams he played with through the years. Currently he plays with Atlético Nacional and recently won the Copa Libertadores with them after he scored the winning goal against Ecuadorian team Independiente Del Valle. He's scored 5 goals for his country so far and looks to carry Colombia to a gold medal at this year's Olympics in Rio.

Helibelton Palacios, 23

Colombia's Helibelton Palacios controls the ball during a friendly fooball match of the olympic teams againts Honduras ahead of the 2016 Rio Olympic Games at the Jaime Moron stadium in Cartagena de Indias, Colombia on July 24, 2016Luis Acosta / AFP/Getty Images

Born: June 11, 1993 in Santander de Quilichao, Colombia

Club: Deportivo Cali, Palmira, Colombia

This Colombian footballer is new to his national team but is a veteran for his club team in his native country of Colombia. Palacios started his professional career where Borja started his, with Deportivo Cali. Unlike Borja, Palacios is close to 100 appearances now with his club. Although he is not a forward, this right back is critical when it comes to defending his net. He played with the Colombian U-20 team and now made his way into their Olympic Squad. Rumors on Goal.com have said Palacios might go to Atalanta in the Italian Serie A, but nothing has been confirmed yet.


Alberth Elis, 20

Alberth Elis of Honduras celebrates after scoring during a match between El Salvador and Honduras as part of FIFA 2018 World Cup Qualifiers on March 25, 2016 in San Salvador, El Salvador.Marlon Gomez / LatinContent/Getty Images

Born: February 12, 1996 in San Pedro Sula, Honduras

Club: Deportivo Olimpia, Tegucigalpa, Honduras

Alberth Elis is the youngest player on the Honduran Olympic Soccer Team. Playing as a forward, Elis started his career with a youth team in Honduras called Real España. When he was a teenager he signed his first professional contract with his current club Deportivo Olimpia. He later made his debut for Honduras in 2014 and finally scored his first competitive goal for his country in the group stages. His goal propelled Honduras into the Rio Olympics quarter-finals where they will face Korea.

Anthony Lozano, 23

Anthony Lozano #9 of Honduras reacts during the 2015 CONCACAF Gold Cup Group A match between USA and Honduras at Toyota Stadium on July 7, 2015 in Frisco, Texas.Tom Pennington / Getty Images

Born: April 25 1993 in Yoro, Honduras

Club: Deportivo Tenerife, Tenerife, Canary Islands, Spain

Known as 'Choco Lozano', the Honduran soccer player started off his career in Honduras with Deportivo Olimpia. After scoring five goals for the Honduran team, Lozano moved to Spain where he played for two years before returning back to Deportivo Olimpia. He's made close to 100 appearances so far for his debut club, with almost 50 goals. Lozano currently plays in the Canary Islands on loan from his Honduran club. With Honduras, he has scored over 20 goals and looks to carry his team to their first ever Olympic medal.

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