The Golazo 50 returns! For a third consecutive year, we take a look at the best talents Argentina has to offer and try to assemble something close to a top 50.
2018 was a disastrous year in many ways for Argentinian football but shoots of optimism began to come through post-World Cup and many of those new faces in the Albiceleste squad appear in this year’s countdown.
To be eligible for the list, you simply need to be born on or after January 1st 1995.
Cutting to 50 was an almost impossible task and if there is someone you think is missing then be sure that they would have been on the initial list of 150.
As some means of explanation – obviously potential is a key factor but so too is experience and so credit is given to those players who have stepped up and made an impact at first team level. Further points are awarded for those that have perhaps performed well for the national team at youth level and then obviously if a player has moved to abroad or been selected for the Argentina squad then that too helps the cause.
It isn’t an exact science. You may not agree and if so please feel free to comment below.
Otherwise, enjoy. This is the Golazo 50….
It seems Andrés Cubas has been around forever but such was the hype around the teenager when he was impressing the likes of Juan Román Riquelme and Chicho Serna as part of Boca Juniors’ academy it was expected by the age of 22, Cubitas would be a household name.
Chances were hard to come by at La Bombonera and a failed loan in Italy with Pescara threatened to derail Cubas’ career before it had barely begun. However, Defensa y Justicia have proved the ideal club for youngsters without chances at the grandes to rediscover their confidence and the Misiones-born midfielder did just that in Florencio Varela.
Now at Talleres as part of the deal that took Emanuel Reynoso to Boca, Cubas is thriving once more. Full of energy the 22-year-old is still that buzzing, ball winner but passes well enough to contribute to La T’s attack too.
Despite being one of three teenage players from the class of 2001, Gastón Verón has already made his mark in the Superliga and it would be easy to mistake the powerful centre forward as someone of more advanced years given his physique.
Strong, hard working and not afraid to battle with burly central defenders, Verón made his Argentinos Juniors debut this season and his first senior goal soon followed, a fine strike to give the struggling Bichos a rare victory over Lanús. In doing so, the Chaqueño became the club’s fourth youngest ever scorer and when one of the guys that just pipped you is Diego Maradona then you’re in good company.
With all that being said Argentinos have had a tough six months and as the Superliga’s lowest scorers the club have switched coaches and been dragged into the relegation battle. It has been far from ideal for a 17-year-old striker but Verón’s time will surely come.
There has been little shortage of talent out of Rosario Central in recent years and with past graduates Giovani Lo Celso and Franco Cervi now vying for roles in Lionel Scaloni’s Argentina, El Canalla are bringing through a new generation. One of those looks to be Maxi Lovera and while the diminutive playmaker is yet to make the type of impact at first team level that the pair mentioned made prior to their European moves, the 19-year-old could be on the cusp.
Having made his senior debut in 2016, Lovera is still occupying a squad role and has been limited for the most part to substitute appearances but is still considered one of the brightest talents in the country.
Short, quick and skilful, Lovera is in many ways the archetypal Argentinian player – a wonderful dribbler with an eye for a pass. A lack of end product may be why Central are yet to trust the youngster with greater responsibility and why the forward missed out on a place in the Argentina Under-20 Sudamericano squad but Lovera remains one to keep an eye on.
Pachuca (loan from Talleres)
Running at the back-peddling opposition defence and thrashing a shot into the top corner from outside the penalty area in one of Argentinian football’s most fierce derbies is a good way of really announcing yourself to a wider audience. Nahuel Bustos did just that as Talleres defeated local rivals Belgrano this season and so it something of a shame that the 20-year-old now finds himself on loan at Liga MX club Pachuca.
Quick, direct and able to play out wide Bustos has scored five goals in ten appearances this season prior to that transfer and will be missed at Talleres in 2019.
What impact Bustos may have in Mexico will certainly be of interest after a terrific youth career in a talented Talleres side. Awarded by the AFA as the outstanding player of the year when scoring 23 league goals for the under-17s, a hat-trick on his under-20 Copa Libertadores debut and a reserve league winners medal to his name, Bustos could prove a terrific addition to Pachuca.
Argentinos Juniors (loan from Atlético Madrid)
Many may be familiar with the name but far less will have seen Nehuén Pérez in action, However there is a reason that Diego Simeone was so keen to have Atletico Madrid sign the 18-year-old when Pérez had yet made any impact on the Argentinos Juniors first team.
Minutes have still been limited since his senior despite the Argentina under-20 international remaining in La Paternal for the season and while Los Bichos’form has meant things haven’t been easy, Pérez remains a genuine talent.
Strong, a good reader of the game and technically proficient on the ball, there have been swift comparisons to the manner in which Atleti snatched up José Gimenez from Uruguayan club Danubio. Under Simeone the hope would be that Pérez could develop like Gimenez into one of the finest young defenders in world football but for now the under-20 Sudamericano should provide a decent measuring stick.
Thanks to anyone who helped out with compiling the list but special thanks to Tom Robinson for his input and player profiles. Part II will be up shortly…