The inaugural Superliga has come to an end and while Boca Juniors were crowned champions there were a number of other outstanding performances, from Godoy Cruz rocketing up into second, Huracán and Talleres nicking Copa Libertadores spots and Defensa y Justicia taking on the grandes.
Those team achievements were backed by some tremendous individual displays and while these five didn’t quite make our Superliga 2017/18 Team of the Season it was a campaign that really put their names in the spotlight. Here are five breakthrough stars….
Juan Ramírez – Talleres
Since making his debut for Argentinos Juniors at just 17, Juan Ramírez’s career got slightly off-track with a failed move to Colorado Rapids and an uninspiring loan to Spanish club Almería but last season at Talleres, the 24-year-old showed just why he was such a highly regarded youngster a fews ago.
Full of drive and energy from midfield, Ramírez was almost ever-present in Frank Kudelka’s impressive side. A good passer of the ball, a decent burst of pace and an eye for goal, the midfielder often operating off the left scored five times as Talleres secured a Copa Libertadores spot. His future remains a little uncertain but whoever takes over from Kudelka will be keen to have Ramírez on the books.
Claudio Spinelli – San Martín
Hard to imagine that struggling Tigre couldn’t have done with the services of Claudio Spinelli but El Matador’s decision to loan out the young striker was certainly San Martín’s gain.
Arriving on loan in January, the 21-year-old scored seven goals in ten appearances to finish as the club’s top scorer, more than double the tally of any player at Tigre over the entire season. An excellent penalty box finisher it will be interesting to see what Spinelli can produce next term.
Tomás Cardona – Godoy Cruz
What a fantastic bit of business Tomás Cardona proved to be for Godoy Cruz. The San Lorenzo academy product had no place in the first team picture at the Nuevo Gasómetro but had shown enough promise at an earlier loan with Defensa y Justicia, to suggest he could cut it at Godoy Cruz.
Eighteen starts during a historic season for El Tomba more than prove that. A big, imposing central defender, Cardona is outstanding in the air, averaging 6.6 clearances per game and popping up with two goals as Diego Dabove’s side finished runners-up.
Lisandro Martínez – Defensa y Justicia
Defensa y Justicia have already had one offer of $600,000 knocked back as Newell’s Old Boys have likely realised they could likely make use of Lisandro Martínez next season. The 20-year-old spent the season on loan in Florencio Varela and was tremendous as former Newell’s coach Juan Pablo Vojvoda led the club to a ninth-placed finish.
Despite not being the tallest, Martínez is an outstanding defender and his comfort on the ball makes him a great option when bringing the ball out from the back and transitioning into attack. Able to operate in a back three or a back four, the former Argentina under-20 international looks more than likely to return to Rosario and give Omar de Felippe a real boost.
Santiago Cáseres – Vélez Sarsfield
Matías Vargas, Lucas Robertone, Nicolás Dominguez, Francisco Ortega and (prior to his move to PSV) Maxi Romero all impressed this season as Vélez Sarsfield continued their fine tradition of bringing talented youngsters into the first team. All had a major impact for Gabriel Heinze and none more so than classy, deep-lying midfielder Santiago Cáseres.
The 21-year-old is already attracting interest from Europe and it isn’t surprising after emerging as a regular in the Vélez midfield and maintaining a pass accuracy of almost 88% in addition to 3.7 tackles.