Matías Palacios: San Lorenzo & Argentina’s 16-year-old hope

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San Lorenzo is not having the start of the season they had hoped for.

El Ciclón got their first win in the 6th round; however, they had to come from a goal down to do it, and it was against the worst club in the Superliga. Four days after defeating Patronato, San Lorenzo lost in Montevideo to Nacional 2-0, which meant it was 3-3 on aggregate and Nacional advanced on away goals. San Lorenzo was eliminated from the Copa Sudamericana.

Things are not going well in Bajo Flores. Fans are frustrated with the team but mostly with their Manager Claudio Pampa Biaggio. While it’s been a disappointing first couple of months, there is hope for fans of El Cuervo and he is just 16 years old.

On Friday night against Patronato, at just 16 years, 4 months, and 11 days old, Matías Palacios entered into the San Lorenzo record books and became the youngest ever to play for El Ciclón in the first division. It is unclear if El Pampa will continue to give Palacios first team experience or if this was a one-off occurrence. But Cuervo fans are already getting excited about the youngster, calling him the future number 10 of Argentina.

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Palacios moved from La Pampa to live in the San Lorenzo academy three years ago when just 13 years old. Last season Palacios was playing for San Lorenzo’s under-16s, but this season, he started to train with the first team and signed his first professional contract. Prior to his debut for San Lorenzo, the youngster also made appearances with the National Team sub-15 and sub-17. Pablo Aimar who managed both those teams, thought highly enough of the 16-year-old to include him in the squad for the Torneo de L’Alcúdia which Argentina won earlier this year. He was the youngest member of that sub-20 squad.

Making his debut for El Ciclón in the 15th minute of the second half, Palacios came on and played with confidence. It was his pass that led to the game winning goal scored by Franco Mussis as the match neared its end.

Matías Palacios described his style of play to Olé saying, “I am a center forward or play-maker, a number 10, when I play I try to think like Riquelme, Iniesta or Pablo [Aimar].” While those are big names to live up to, and we don’t know if Palacios will continue to make first team appearances for San Lorenzo this season, the future is bright for the kid from La Pampa.

Not that he needs any more comparisons, but there are only a few others who have made their first team debut at just 16, one of those being Diego Armando Maradona. Yes, there is reason for hope in Bajo Flores.

Jimmy lived in Córdoba, Argentina as a teenager and is still an active Socio for his beloved club, Belgrano. He currently lives in Seattle, WA with his wife and two kids. He also runs the Belgrano – English twitter account.

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