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visionThe Scotsman: THE footballers of tomorrow will have the midfield guile of Zinedine Zidane, the finishing ability of Andriy Shevchenko and the staying power of Roy Keane.

A Japanese consortium of robotics experts has thrown down the gauntlet to future players of the beautiful game by claiming their engineered humans will play mankind off the park within 45 years.

"By 2050, our aim is to beat the winners of football’s World Cup and we are very confident that we will be able to do that," said Shu Ishiguro, who heads Robot Laboratory in Osaka. "When we have accomplished that, we will have a society in which humans and artificial intelligence are completely in harmony."

Mr Ishiguro and his team are placing their faith in the offspring of VisiON. VisiON has already perfected the victory pose. Reminiscent of Eric Cantona in his pomp, it leans slightly to one side, hands on hips and with the ball - and the world - at its feet.

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