Giovani a rising star

DEREK VAN DIEST -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 10:04 AM ET

The son of former Brazilian professional Gerardo dos Santos, better known as Zizinho, Giovani dos Santos is one of Mexico's brightest rising stars.

Born in Monterrey, Mexico, dos Santos, 18, was a member of the Club Monterrey youth academy when scouted by a representative of FC Barcelona during a tournament in France.

He was offered a spot in the Spanish giant's youth system which was accepted and his entire family moved to Barcelona.

Two years ago at the Under-17 World Cup in Peru, dos Santos was awarded the Silver Ball as the second-best player in the tournament as Mexico defeated Brazil 3-0 in the final to win the event.

An attacking midfielder, dos Santos was regarded as his team's best player despite not scoring a goal in the tournament. He did, however, set up half of his team's goals en route to the championship including the game-winner in the final.

At Barcelona, dos Santos is considered the heir apparent to Ronaldhino. He has yet to make his official debut with the senior squad but did play in an exhibition encounter last summer, scoring a goal against Danish team AGF Aarhus.

He is expected to play in an official match with the senior team next season. He's also on the Mexican national team's radar with head coach Hugo Sanchez stating he would call dos Santos up in the near future.

During qualifying for the Under-20 championships, dos Santos scored a goal in Mexico's victories over St. Kitts and Jamaica to book their place in Canada.

At the Under-20 championships, Mexico is drawn in a group with Portugal, New Zealand and Gambia. They'll play their first two group matches in Toronto before taking on New Zealand in their final game in Edmonton.

GIOVANI DOS SANTOS

#10 Mexico

Born May 11, 1989 in Monterrey, Mexico... Is the son of former Brazilian professional Zizinho ... Is a product of Barcelona's youth system and expected to make his senior team debut next season ... Was instrumental in Mexico's championship at the Under-17 World Cup two years ago in Peru. Will be making his first appearance at the Under-20 championships ... Mexico is competing at the event for the 11th time. They were runners up at the inaugural tournament in 1977 losing to the Soviet Union 9-8 in a penalty shootout after the game finished in a 2-2 tie.


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