Argentina's Rising Stars
www.goal.com 's Gregory Sica presents you with some of the rising stars in the Argentine league.
Date of Birth: 05/02/1982 (23)-Bahia Blanca.
Since arriving at Boca Juniors this year from Banfield Palacio has become one the best strikers in Argentina. He is Boca’s leading scorer in the Apertura Championship with 5 goals, and on the weekend drilled in a brilliant strike against Racing. The ‘Jewel’, as he is called by the Argentine press has won himself a place in Boca’s starting line-up this season, beating the likes of Boca idol Guillermo Barros Schelotto, and Marcelo Delgado. Palacio represented Argentina in a World Cup Qualifier match against Bolivia in March, and his recent outstanding form could lead to another call up.
Date of Birth: 03/01/1980 (25)-Buenos Aires.
The former Independiente idol signed for Boca in the pre-season, and after a slow start has become one of the best midfielders in the Apertura. Insua is what people call a ‘different’ player, as his technique, dribbling ability, leadership skills, and eye for goal can be compared only with the best in the world. At the young age of 25 he has already had a spell in Spain (Malaga), and has represented the Argentine national team. It is very likely that he will become a key player for Argentina in the future, and coach Jose Pekerman will keep a close eye on him before selecting his squad for Germany.
Date of Birth: 03/09/1980 (25)-Buenos Aires.
Bilos played an important role in helping Banfield finish second in the Clausura, and reach the quarter finals of the Copa Libertadores; a remarkable achievement for the club. His best qualities are his heading ability, and the remarkable runs he makes on the flanks. His good form led to Boca snapping him up in the of-season, and the player has lived up to his reputation. He has been in stunning form, and Jose Pekerman has suggested that Bilos might be chosen in the squad for Argentina’s final World Cup Qualifiers. Bilos is more than likely to be selected to represent Argentina in the World Cup.
Date of Birth: 08/08/1986 (19)-Mendoza.
Cardozo plays an important role in the Boca midfield, and when he isn’t setting up goals he is scoring them. His vision and eye for goal have caught the attention of various European clubs, but he is happy to stay at Boca for now. Cardozo played a key role in helping Argentina win the World Youth Cup earlier on in the year, and it is likely that he will become an important member of the senior squad in the future.
Date of Birth: 15/07/1981 (24)-Buenos Aires.
Position: Side Back.
Calvo is a talented player that can play both left and right back, although he prefers to play on the right. He looked almost certain to sign for Spanish club Atletico Madrid in the pre-season, but in the final stages of the transfer the deal broke through. Calvo works well as both an attacking and defensive player and one of his main qualities is his precise passing.
Date of Birth: 10/04/1986 (19)-Buenos Aires.
Gago is a creative midfielder that became a regular in the Boca team almost as soon as he made his debut for the first team, after playing for Boca’s youth categories. Gago has been compared to Boca idol Juan Roman Riquelme, and former Argentine superstar Fernando Redondo. One of his main attributes is his great ability to intercept passes. After robbing the ball from the opposition he can set up goal scoring opportunities with his good vision, and quick feet. Another of his qualities is his pin-point passing accuracy that has been compared to the best by the Argentine press. He played a key role in helping Argentina win the World Youth Cup in July, and is likely to represent the senior team in the future.
Date of Birth: 07/06/1982 (23)-Santa Fe.
Since Franco Costanzo moved to Alaves in the pre-season, German Lux has become River’s number one goalkeeper. He is a young goalkeeper with lots of experience, having represented Argentina as a starting goalkeeper in the 2004 Olympic Games, as well as in the more recent Confederations Cup. He is one of Jose Pekerman’s preferred goalkeepers, and is likely to be selected in the squad next years World Cup. He is a high quality goalkeeper that should become Argentina’s starting goalkeeper in the next few years.
Gaston Fernandez (Now of Monterrey-Mexico)
Date of Birth: 12/10/1983 (22)-Capital Federal.
Fernandez is a pacey striker that is likely to follow the footsteps of former River great Javier Saviola. He is a player that tends to get past defenders with relative ease, and has proved that he is worth a starting role at River Plate. At the young age of 22 he has already made 59 appearances for River in the league, scoring 12 times.
Date of Birth: 01/01/1984 (21)-Zapala.
Position: Left Midfield.
Sambueza is a classy left midfielder with great ball control, and his good performances early on in the year have made him an important part of the squad, although he has not been guaranteed a regular first team place. One of his best qualities is his ability from dead ball situations. When he is on the park he is River’s first choice free-kick taker, and he scored a cracker against Junior of Colombia in a first round Copa Libertadores match.
Date of Birth: 25/03/1985 (21)-Florencio Varela.
After a great Clausura with Argentinos Juniors, he caught the eye of several of Argentina’s top clubs. He played a key role in Argentina’s successful World Youth Cup campaign earlier on in the year, and was signed by glamour club River Plate. Although River’s Apertura campaign has gotten of to poor start Oberman has stood out from the rest, and he is a future prospect for Argentina.
Date of Birth: 02/10/1980 (24)-Buenos Aires.
His performances for Velez this year have been absolutely brilliant, and it is fair to say that at the moment he is the best player in the Argentine league. He played a key role in helping Velez win the Clausura Championship, scoring 8 goals, and this season he has scored 3 times in the league. Castroman is a player that always seems to score vital goals. His 3 goals in the league all counted for 1-0 wins, and he scored twice in the 2-0 Copa Sudamericana victory over Cruzeiro. He has recently stated that he will love to be part of Argentina’s World Cup squad, and coach Jose Pekerman has suggested that if he keeps up the good form it will be almost impossible not to select him. Castroman played in the Serie A for 4 years, representing Lazio, and Udinese.
Date of Birth: 06/08/1982 (23)-Capital Federal.
Gracian is a talented playmaker that like Castroman played an important part in Velez’s successful Clausura campaign. He is a naturally gifted player that controls his sides rhythm of play with his great vision, technique, dribbling ability and goal scoring ability.
Nicolas Frutos (Now of Anderlecht-Belgium)
Date of Birth: 10/05/81 (24)-Santa Fe.
Frutos is the top scorer of the Apertura Championship with 9 goals, and is likely to be a regular for the Argentine national team in the near future. The tall striker’s greatest qualities are his aerial strength, and his shot accuracy. His good form last season impressed various European clubs, when he scored 10 goals to finish as the third top scorer in the league, and it was likely that he would emigrate to Spanish soccer, but finally he decided to stay at Independiente. Argentina coach Jose Pekerman is looking at his progress very carefully, and if his good performances continue he may be included in Argentina’s World Cup squad.
Date of Birth: 02/06/1988 (17)-Capital Federal.
Aguero is a gifted young midfielder that has caught the Argentine press by surprise. His greatest qualities are his technique, his vision, and his awesome dribbling ability. The young striker recently scored a breathtaking goal in the recent 4-0 drubbing of arch-rivals Racing Club, when he won the ball in his half, beat a number of defenders with brilliant skills, and drilled the ball home. After that goal the Argentine press was comparing him to Diego Maradona, and Pekerman has recently stated that even though he is very young his good form may earn him an Argentina call up.
Date of Birth: 14/04/1984 (21)-Buenos Aires.
Montillo is a gifted attacking midfielder with an eye for goal. His greatest quality is his amazing dribbling ability. This allows him to get through defences with relative ease, and it is likely that he will follow the footsteps of other Argentine greats, such as Pablo Aimar and Ariel Ortega. Although he has been restricted to appearances from the bench in recent weeks he has demonstrated that he has what it takes to start from the kick-off. On the weekend he was the inspiration in helping San Lorenzo come from behind to defeat Racing Club 2-1.
NEWELL’S OLD BOYS
Date of Birth: 10/09/1983 (22)-Rosario (Santa Fe).
Position: Right Midfield.
Belluschi is a midfielder with great vision, whether he is setting up goals or scoring them himself. He has brilliant ball control, and along with Ariel Ortega has become one of the most important players in the Newell’s squad. At such a young age he has already made 65 appearances in the Argentine First Division, scoring 11 goals. Belluschi represented Argentina at an under 20 level, and has also represented the senior team. Earlier in the year Argentina coach Jose Pekerman suggested that Belluschi might be in his plans for the World Cup, but Newell’s recent poor form may play a part in his exclusion of the squad.
Date of Birth: 07/09/1985 (20)-Rosario (Santa Fe).
Vitti is a young striker with a very bright future. Last season he scored 5 times, but has not demonstrated the same form this season, although he has only started from the kick-off on two occasions. He was on the verge of signing for Spanish club Atletico Madrid, but Central president Pablo Scarabino urged the striker to stay at the club for at-least a year more. Vitti was part of the Argentina squad that won the World Youth Cup in July, and it is likely that he will represent the senior squad in the near future.
Paulo Ferrari (Now of River Plate)
Date of Birth: 01/04/1982 (23)-Rosario (Santa Fe).
Position: Right Back.
Ferrari is a quick side back that was likely to move to Real Betis of Spain during the off-season, but negotiations between the clubs broke down. He also came close to signing for River Plate to fill in the position left by Carlos Diogo, who signed for Real Madrid but finally accepted to stay at Central to fight for the Apertura and Copa Sudamericana. Ferrari is an influential player that has over 140 First Division caps behind him, and often finds the back of the net, but generally from the penalty spot.
Emanuel Villa (Now of Atlas-Mexico)
Date of Birth: 24/02/1982 (23)-Rosario (Santa Fe).
Villa is a talented striker that was snapped up by Central in 2004 by former Uruguayan national team coach Victor Pua. One of his most important attributes is his incredible positioning ability that allows him to finish off many of Central’s attacking moves, whether with his head or feet. He has found the back of the net 4 times in the Apertura and scored 14 times in the last two short seasons. He is a proved dead ball specialist, and his goals will prove the difference as to whether Central will improve on their miserable campaign that sees them positioned in mid-table. Daniel Guzman tried to lure Villa to sign for Mexican club Atlas in the off-season, but they did not come to an agreement due to financial differences. Villa also rejected an offer from a Dutch club, but it is likely that he will wait for a more lucrative deal before emigrating.
Leonardo Pisculichi (Now of Mallorca-Spain)
Date of Birth: 18/01/1984 (21)-Buenos Aires.
There is no need for guessing who is Argentinos’ star player; Leonardo Pisculichi wears Argentinos’number 10 jersey that was once worn by the great Diego Maradona.
Similarities don’t end there Pisculichi also has a magical left foot and is a free-kick specialist. The young striker has played a key role in Argentinos’ terrific season that has made them title contenders. ‘Piscu’ is a very quick creative player that strives at setting up goal scoring opportunities. He also has an eye for goal, having found the back of the net 5 times this season. An off-season move to River Plate or Boca Juniors looked imminent, but he finally stayed at the club from the Paternal.
Date of Birth: 14/10/1985 (20)-Buenos Aires
Position: Centre Back
Having lost their last five league matches Racing languishes in an embarrassing 16th position in the Apertura standings. When it seems that things can not get any worse Racing can look to the positive side as they have brought up a talented defender in Gustavo Cabral. The young centre back has established himself as an integral part of the Racing squad since emerging from the clubs youth ranks, and he promises to be a star of the future. At such a young age he has already made 39 appearances in the Argentine First Division, and played an important part in Argentina’s victorious Youth Cup campaign, although he was suspended for the final.
Date of Birth: 17/03/1983 (22)-Rio Negro.
The former Boca Juniors midfielder moved to Quilmes on loan to get some more playing time, and has proved to be an important part of the squad. He is a hard worker in the midfield, intercepting plays and breaking down attacks, but can also switch forward in an instance with some of his menacing runs, creating havoc for opposing defences. He participated in the 2005 Copa Libertadores, and has obtained enough experience to become an integral part of the Boca Juniors squad, but it is likely that Quilmes may want to buy his pass, after having already extended his loan at the club.