On 2 October 2005, Mexico's Carlos Vela and Denilson of Brazil squared off in the FIFA U-17 World Cup Final. One year on, and they are both on the books of London outfit Arsenal.

The Gunners snared Vela, Peru 2005's adidas Golden Shoe recipient as best overall player, from Chivas Guadalajara shortly after his strikes propelled El Tri to the title, making him only the second Mexican to join a Premiership club.

He followed in the footsteps of senior goal king Jared Borgetti, the man who many feel Vela will eventually unseat as his country's all time record goal scorer. It's apparent why - possessing an instinctive positional sense and the ability to score from all angles, the 17-year-old has an uncanny knack of rippling the nets. Ineligible to turn out for the Arsenal first team until 2007, young Vela was loaned out to La Primera outfit Celta Vigo and then to Spanish second-tier side Salamanca ahead of the 2006/07 season.

Just days before he was scoring on his Salamanca debut against Almeria, Arsenal had added São Paulo's Denilson to their Brazilian contingent. Under the leadership of Arsene Wenger, the north Londoners have become renowned for nurturing precocious talents.

A case in point is Cesc Fabregas, who pocketed both the adidas Golden Shoe and adidas Golden Ball awards at the 2003 FIFA U-17 World Cup, and has since established himself as an influential figure for Arsenal and represented Spain with distinction at the 2006 FIFA World Cup finals. Possessing immaculate ball control, intuitive vision and the ability to locate colleagues with consistently unerring passes, Denilson - a cerebral midfielder able to rotate defensive duties with playmaking from deep - shares a similar playing style to Fabregas.

El Tri trio reunited in Barcelona
Vela is not the only Mexican to have sailed for European shores following Peru 2005. Spanish giants Barcelona prised Jorge Hernandez and Efrain Valdez from their homeland, but as the promising pair concentrate on working their way through the ranks at the Camp Nou, one of their title-winning team-mates is being tipped to emulate Barcelona's current golden boy, Lionel Messi, and explode onto the scene.

Giovani Dos Santos joined Barcelona as a 15-year-old, and if he went into the 2005 U-17 finals being heralded as 'the next big thing', he left it having confirmed his status as a top prospect. His irresistible trickery and defence-splitting through balls left an indelible mark on Peru 2005, and ultimately inspired Mexico to their only major international crown.

On his inaugural outing for the Barcelona first team, in a 2006/07 pre-season friendly against Danish side Aarhus, the 17-year-old - who peculiarly resembles Ronaldinho - dazzled alongside the club's troop of superstars, encouraging hope that he could feature as they look to defend their La Liga and UEFA Champions League titles. 

Springboard to senior level
For two Peru 2005 headliners, the tournament proved a springboard to full international call-ups.

Borussia Dortmund's Nuri Sahin entered the tournament as the German Bundesliga's youngest ever competitor, and after leading Turkey to fourth place and collecting the adidas Silver Shoe and adidas Bronze Ball gongs in the process, the starlet's meteoric rise has continued unabated. Within a week of participating in Peru 2005's third-place match against the Netherlands, Sahin was making a dream senior bow for Turkey, netting the deciding goal just three minutes after his introduction as they defeated Germany 2-1.

Brazilian Marcelo has also made the transition from under-17 to senior level and like Sahin, he also made a scoring debut for his country. The Fluminense back's thunderbolt set the Seleção en route to a 2-0 win against Wales last month, and left fans satisfied that they had unearthed a ready-made successor to Roberto Carlos.

High hopes
It surely won't be long before Marcelo is joined in the Brazil squad by Anderson, the transcendent performer of Peru 2005.

After limping out of the Final loss to Mexico in the contest's early stages, 'Andershow' helped Grêmio return to the Brazilian top flight before beginning his overseas adventure at FC Porto. More recently, since the commencement of the current season, the breathtakingly talented 18-year-old has excelled, employing his power, pace and mesmerising ball skills to woo crowds and terrorise opponents.

Lokomotiv Moscow managed to lure another of the silver medalists' crown jewels, Celsinho, across the Atlantic, while Ajax have high hopes for Jeffrey Sarpong, who was at the forefront of the Netherlands' run to the semi-finals. The offensive midfielder impressed on his senior debut against PSV Eindhoven at the back end of 2005, and the Dutch giants are convinced that he possesses the tools to become one of European football's brightest stars.

With the twelfth edition of the FIFA U-17 World Cup less than a year away, a fresh crop of precious pearls are aspiring to make a name for themselves on Korean soil. The graduates of Peru 2005 have certainly shown them the way.