One of the most precocious gems of Nigerian football, Lukman Haruna burst on to the world scene at the 2007 FIFA U-17 World Cup, where he captained the team to the world title from his central midfield perch. Just as he displayed while assisting the Golden Eaglets earlier win the African championship, Haruna proved to have world-class drive, leadership and dribbling skills. Then a player at domestic club Global Crystal Academy, a number of big clubs began circling Haruna after the finals, and he signed with French club Monaco soon after. Haruna was also on the Nigerian U-20 team that competed last year at the World Cup in Egypt, but a straight red card in the first match meant the tournament was never going to be as special as the U-17s. He came back from suspension just in time to play in the 3-2 second round defeat to Germany, who came from behind twice and scored the winner in the third minute of second half injury time.
Despite missing the start of the season for the U-20 finals, Haruna worked his way into the Monaco first team and was a force to be reckoned with in Ligue 1 this year. The composed 20 year-old burst into the starting line-up the second half of the season, scoring two goals against Montpellier in January in his first start. It was his fine form and ability to push the midfield into attacking positions that made him a late choice for Lars Lagerback.