If you missed it already, the countdown of the new Golazo 50 is already well underway so you can catch up here…
If you don’t know what this is, it is the annual look at the 50 best young players in Argentina. All the information about the list is in the first part so let’s get on with part five: 30 to 26…
The classy enganche from Córdoba may have stalled someone since his move to Boca but Bebelo nevertheless remains an extremely interesting prospect. A victim of the sheer strength and depth of Los Xeneizes formidable squad, Reynoso has played just 15 times in the league since his move from Talleres but has never truly had a decent run of starts.
On his day a majestic playmaker, the 23-year-old has fantastic vision and technique and excels at sliding through balls into the forwards. While not the quickest, Reynoso doesn’t need to rely on pace to see him get away from opponents and he also possesses a fearsome left-footed shot from range.
Will it the change of management give Reynoso the chance to showcase his ability or will it be a change of scenery instead that sees him rediscover his form. Either way, 2019 could be a pivotal one in defining what sort of career Reynoso goes on to have.
Defensa y Justicia
Defensa y Justicia have gone from strength to strength over the past couple of years and while managers and players have come and gone, Alexander Barboza has remained a cornerstone at heart of the defence.
Despite coming through the River Plate academy for one reason or another, whether it be lack of opportunity or a failure to grasp the few that came his way, it has been in Florencio Varela rather than the Monumental where Barboza has thrived and become a fan favourite. Physically imposing, dominant in the air and good with the ball at his feet, the 23-year-old has been a consistent performer alongside a variety of different teammates in a back-three or a back-four.
Under Sebastián Beccacece, Defensa y Justicia enjoyed a historic run to the Copa Sudamericana quarter finals and finish the year second in the Superliga and the impressive young coach’s on-field leader is Barboza. The inexperienced side look to certain figures for leadership and find that in the big centre back – the question is just how far El Halcón can go?
Alexis Mac Allister
Brighton (Loan to Argentinos Juniors)
The eventual saga of where Alexis Mac Allister will be playing football is now resolved after Premier League club Brighton completed a $9 million deal last week before agreeing to send the 20-year-old back to La Paternal to finish the Superliga season.
A possible move from the Estadio Diego Armando Maradona to La Bombonera had been touted and would have been a familiar path after father Carlos did it back in 1992, going on to lift a Primera title and representing Argentina. However, this competition wasn’t limited only to clubs competing for Alexis’ signature – there is also the small matter of sibling rivalry. One of three brothers in the Argentinos squad, attacking midfielder Alexis is the first to seal a lucrative European move, while full-back Kevin has headed to Boca and Francis remains with the Bichos.
Mac Allister’s lack of a European passport was always likely to see the youngster remain in Argentina on loan and while Boca now have Kevin in their ranks, the original desire was to add Alexis to Gustavo Alfaro’s stacked squad. Los Xeneizes experienced the midfielder’s talent first-hand when Argentinos shocked the Superliga champions in March 2018. Those attacking instincts to arrive late in the box or shoot from distance make Mac Allister a real goal threat and in his number ten role, the academy product can also pull the strings creatively.
A tall, graceful, leggy central midfielder, Almendra has emerged as the latest young star from the Boca academy and has become a regular in a squad laden with talent. Originally more of number 10, the 18-year-old has evolved into a deeper role, showcasing not only his passing ability but also his defensive capabilities as he develops into an all-round midfield promise of real quality.
Already reportedly on the radar of Napoli, Inter and Barcelona, the former Argentina under-17 captain was due to star for the Albiceleste at the under-20 Sudamericano this month but was cruelly ruled out through injury. It may be a blessing in disguise for Boca who will hope to hang on to Almendra for a while longer and see him blossom further at the Bombonera.
Provided he can recover from his injury strongly, Almendra is a unique talent and 2019 could be the year that really catapults him to the next level.
Lucas Martínez Quarta
After eight months of inactivity due to a failed doping test in 2017, Lucas Martínez Quarta’s career has already had to overcome a major obstacle but bouncing back to regain Marcelo Gallardo’s trust to play a key role in a Copa Libertadores triumph has more than made up for that lost time.
The 22-year-old has been an able understudy to the experienced pair of Javier Pinola and Jonathan Maidana over the past year and whenever River have needed an additional defender, Martínez Quarta has been there. Maidana calling time on his glittering spell at the Monumental means Chino is well placed to claim a starting role and with Gallardo naming the defender vice-captain a more prominent role looks likely.
He’s been there before. Not long after making his senior debut in November 2016, Martínez Quarta all but ended Arturo Mina’s time at the club. The Ecuadorian signing’s struggle was to the benefit of Martínez Quarta and River and despite his young age, the academy product came in and shone. A good reader of play, strong in the tackle and excellent with the ball at his feet, 2019 could be the year that Martínez Quarta solidifies his place in River’s plans.
Thanks to anyone who helped out with compiling the list but special thanks to Tom Robinson for his input and player profiles. Part III will be up shortly…