Top 7 Seven South American Wonder-Kids you might want to get familiar with.
Wonder-kids are always the discussion in the world of football, who’s going to be the next Ronaldo? Who’s going to be the next Messi? Two incredible stars that shouldn’t be compared, but it’s always satisfying to discover a footballer early and watch them develop into a world class superstar & we’re here to give you some help. Here are seven South America wonder-kids that you might want to get familiar with.
7. Caio Henrique – Atletico Madrid – Brazilian
Caio Henrique Oliveira Silva, or just Caio Henrique to the rest of us, is a deep-lying, left footed midfielder who rarely wastes a pass, tidily regains possession & never seems to be unhurried when building an attack from the back. Caio figures more for Atletico’s B side but assured that Diego Simeone keeps an eye out for the Brazilian. Another member of Atletico Madrid’s illustrious youth team, the Brazil under 20’s captain who can play anywhere in midfield, regularly gives his side a platform in the oppositions half.
Henrique is a promising organiser, ever present figure and born leader on the field, his only enemy is his stamina, as he struggles to finish 90 minute games with the same intensity.
6. Federico Valverde – Deportivo De La Coruña (on loan from Real Madrid) – Uruguayan
While some Real fans will dream that Valverde is the long-term replacement to Toni Kroos, he sees himself more as a Steven Gerrard-type player. The player admits that he does look up to Kroos but the young Uruguayan playmaker has a different variety of skills in comparison to the German World Cup winner.
Valverde, also known as just “Fede” is a work horse type of midfielder that constantly supports the team in attack and defence. A very dynamic player when on the ball, he constantly looks to play the ball forward, he has good ball control and incredible composure. The 19 year old can also play anywhere in midfield, but performs best at the pivot role.
Uruguay’s recent late burst of young talents has seen the worlds biggest teams lick their lips in anticipation & Federico Valverde is one of the finest to have come out of the nation of late, winning he silver ball at the 2017 Under 20s World Cup. Valverde spent most of his youth career with hometown club Peñarol, where he quickly made an impression. Making his debut the side in their first fixture of the 15-16 season. He became part of Uruguayan’s youth teams and attracted the interest of clubs Arsenal, Chelsea, Manchester United, Barcelona & Real Madrid whom he later signed for.
5. Nicolas Schiappacasse – Atletico Madrid – Uruguay
Another bright young star waits in the wings at Atletico Madrid. A pacey attacker who terrifies his opponents with his capacity to get behind their defensive line. A troublesome player to play against, the Uruguayan youngster never seems to be standing still. His timing of his runs are superb, and he impressed in last summers under 20s World Cup with the coolness of his finishing.
Nicolas Schiappacasse was a surprise call-up to Diego Simeone’s senior squad for the Primera Division clash away to Osasuna on Sunday. Just 17, Schiappacasse arrived in the summer ahead of the club’s transfer ban that will restrict the signing of players over the next two windows. A talented winger with a prolific record in front of goal, the 17-year-old completed several training sessions for Atletico’s first team in the summer and, even though he was initially signed for the youth side, Simeone has kept a close eye on the youngster and he travelled to Pamplona on Sunday. He was ultimately left out of the matchday squad and watched from the stands as the Rojiblancos beat Osasuna 3-0.
4. Adalberto Penaranda – Malaga (on loan from Watford) – Venezuelan.
Watford fans should have had a keen eye on the FIFA U20 World Cup final last summer – and not just because England were playing in it.
Although the Young Lions concluded the tournament with a 1-0 win over Venezuela, it wasn’t one of their own players that would have had the main focus. Young Venezuelan starlet Penaranda had recently signed for the Vicarage Road side & enjoyed a fine tournament in South Korea.
Clearly a tricky, exciting player, whom can play anywhere in the attacking front line; he is nowhere near the finished article yet. However he did show some nice touches. Penaranda’s physicality, pace and movement off the ball is of much maturity, but ultimately his decision-making was his downfall.
With the good management that is currently under the helm at Watford under manager Marco Silva, Penaranda has the potential to make it, but will he get that chance to show what he can do in the Premier League?
Well not right at this moment. The young Venezuelan attacker has now twice been rejected a work permit to play on these shores & has consequently spent the last two seasons on loan in Spain and Italy, appearing for Granada, Malaga and Watford sister club Udinese, in which he’s scored 10 goals in 26 appearances.
3. Lautaro Martinez – Racing Club De Avellaneda – Argentinian.
What more can we say about this kid? Brought through into Racing Clubs first team after the injury to main striker Lisandro Lopez, Martinez took the opportunity like a man possessed – It was almost Marcus Rashford/Alex Hunter-esque. After scoring 53 goals in 64 games for the clubs reserve side, he made his league debut for the club in 2015, replacing veteran Diego Milito in a 3-0 win over Crucero.
2 years later, he’s now highly courted by Monaco, Arsenal and Atlético Madrid of late, with the latter being favourites to attain his signature. Football Manager fans should be very familiar with Lautaro Martinez. The young Argentinian has already been dubbed “the new Sergio Agüero” in his homeland as he now has scored 9 goals in 23 league appearances to help Racing finish fourth in the Primera Division last season, and qualify for the Libertadores group stages.
Fifa U20 World Cup watchers would have seen him receive his marching orders against England last summer, which suggest he does have small temperament issues, but nonetheless his quick feet, incredible low centre of gravity & killer eye for goal make him one to keep an eye out over the years.
2. Wuilker Farinez – Caracas FC – Venezuelan
Another player that featured against the Young Lions in the U20’s World Cup final last summer. Wuilker Farinez had only been a goalkeeper for four years when he made his full international debut for Venezuela.
He is 18.
Surprised? I thought so, what a remarkable achievement. It’s even more remarkable given that until he was 14 it was not clear whether he would be scoring goals or saving them. Farinez showed great potential as a striker in his earlier years, but since dedicating himself to a life between the sticks his progress has been rapid.
Farinez was training with the first team at his club, Venezuelan Primera side Caracas FC, when he was 15, had made his league debut at 16 and two years later was a full international. Not bad for a novice keeper who stands just 175cm tall. That’s just under 5ft9! This means the Venezuelan shot-stopper is the same the height as Brazilian superstar Neymar, Antoine Greizmann & Lautaro Martinez (mentioned earlier in this list).
Whilst most would look away after reading about his height, Farinez has a prodigious spring, incredible athleticism and phenomenal reflexes that mean he has little trouble covering his goal with authority. His positional sense and ability to read the game, too, are excellent. He’s not your traditional goalkeeper.
1. Vinicius Junior – Flamengo (on loan from Real Madrid) – Brazilian
This is a bit of a cheat as we’re assuming that you’re now aware of this player due to his huge move to Real Madrid in the summer. But for those that don’t, Vinicius Junior is a ferocious lion of a player. Incredibly athletic, his raw talent caught the eyes of surely every major scout in Europe & after only 11 days after making his professional debut, Junior had become one of the most expensive teenagers in the world after Real Madrid agreed to pay £38m for his services.
The La Liga Champions will officially unveil their new starlet in July 2018 when he will be 18. He is set to stay with Flamengo until 2019, although could move to Madrid earlier if both clubs agree. Incredibly, Junior had only played 17 minutes of senior football before his move.
In 2015, he scored six goals as Brazil won the South American U15 Championship in Colombia. Earlier this year he enhanced his reputation further with seven goals as Brazil won the South American U17 tournament for a record 12th time.
Junior resembles Adriano is his style of play, incredibly strong & athletic with an eye for goal. He also possesses hand breaking shot power, one that exceeds his young age & workhorse like ethic. He really is a gem that can shine brightest if managed correctly.
Rodrigo Bentancur, Juventus – Uruguayan.
Jorge Carrascal, Sevilla – Columbian.
Zeca, Santos – Brazilian.