Pelé, Zico, Maradona, Francescoli, Romario, Riquelme are just a few to be named South American footballer of the year and while the award has perhaps lost some of its’ prestige with the predominate shift to European football, it remains a coveted prize.
El País have compiled the votes from journalists all over South America since 1986 and selected as the pick of those plying their trade on the continent and up for the 2017 player of the year award are River Plate’s Ignacio Scocco, Boca Juniors’ Darío Benedetto, Lanús’ Lautaro Acosta and the two non-Argentines, Flamengo’s Peruvian centre forward Paolo Guerrero and Gremio’s Luan.
Benedetto’s prolific year at Boca fired Los Xeneizes to the Primera title in June and has since continued that form while also getting called up to the Argentina squad; Lautaro Acosta is another to have featured under Jorge Sampaoli after shining for Lanús en route to the Copa Libertadores final and while Nacho Scocco hasn’t had quite as impressive a year, the striker has been a regular scorer since joining River Plate.
Benedetto seems the most likely candidate from that list but Paolo Guerrero will provide competition after helping Peru to a first World Cup since 1982.
Argentinian coaches also received recognition in the list of candidates for manager of the year, although Brazil’s Tite is perhaps favourite for the prize. Ricardo Gareca’s achievements with Peru deserve enormous praise while Jorge Almirón and Marcelo Gallardo make up the shortlist with Grêmio’s Copa Libertadores winning boss Renato Gaúcho.
El País have also listed the best players in each position to select a team of the year and there are plenty of Argentian options throughout.
Nahuel Guzmán and Independiente’s Uruguayan Martín Campaña are shortlisted in goal, José Luis Gómez at right-back, Jonatan Maidana, Diego Braghieri and Renato Civelli in central defence, and Talleres’ Lucas Olaza at left back.
Iván Marcone, Enzo Pérez, Leonardo Ponzio and Boca duo Wilmar Barrios and Fernando Gago are all candidates in central midfield.
Boca’s Nahitan Nández & former River star are options on the right Carlos Sánchez with Edwin Cardona and Nacho Fernández named on the opposite flank.
All those strikers mentioned up for player of the year are among those named in the forward categories and are joined by Lanús icon José Sand.
You can vote for these categories on the El País page but here is a full list…
Player of the year: Ignacio Scocco (River Plate); Darío Benedetto (Boca Juniors); Lautaro Acosta (Lanús); Paolo Guerrero (Flamengo); Luan (Grêmio)
Manager of the year: Tite (Brazil); Ricardo Gareca (Peru); Jorge Almirón (Lanús); Marcelo Gallardo (River Plate); Renato Gaúcho (Grêmio)
Best Goalkeeper: Nahuel Guzmán (Tigres); Martín Campaña (Independiente); Wuilker Fariñez (Caracas); Johnny Herrera (Universidad de Chile); Marcelo Grohe (Grêmio)
Best right back: Daniel Bocanegra (Atlético Nacional), José Luis Gómez (Lanús); Aldo Corzo (Universitario); Fágner (Corinthians); Stefan Medina (Monterrey)
Best centre back (1): Pedro Geromel (Grêmio); Fabián Balbuena (Corinthians); Jonatan Maidana (River Plate); Yerry Mina (Palmeiras); Hugo Ayala (Tigres)
Best centre back (2): Alberto Rodríguez (Universitario); Diego Polenta (Nacional); Diego Braghieri (Lanús); Bruno Valdez (Club América); Renato Civelli (Banfield)
Best left back: Guilherme Arana (Corinthians); Dairon Mosquera; (Santa Fe); Lucas Olaza (Talleres); Oscar Bagui (Emelec); Miguel Trauco (Flamengo)
Best central midfielder (1): Iván Marcone (Lanús); Enzo Pérez (River Plate); Richard Ortíz (Olimpia); Walter Gargano (Peñarol); Wilmar Barrios (Boca Juniors)
Best central midfielder (2): Arthur (Grêmio); Hernanes (São Paulo); Leonardo Ponzio (River Plate); Fernando Gago (Boca Juniors); Michael Bradley (Toronto)
Best right midfielder: Christian Cueva (São Paulo); Alejandro Chumacero (The Strongest); Juan Cazares (Atlético Mineiro); Nahitan Nández (Boca Juniors); Carlos Sánchez (Monterrey)
Best left midfielder: Thiago Neves (Cruzeiro); Tabaré Viudez (Nacional); Edwin Cardona (Boca Juniors); Cristian Rodríguez (Peñarol); Ignacio Fernández (River Plate)
Best Forward (1): Luan (Grêmio); Yimmi Chará (Junior); Lautaro Acosta (Lanús); Enner Valencia (Tigres); Ignacio Scocco (River Plate)
Best Forward (2): José Sand (Lanús); Jonathan Álvez (Barcelona); Dario Benedetto (Boca Juniors); Jo (Corinthians); Paolo Guerrero (Flamengo)