Golazo 50 2019: Argentina’s best young players (20-16)

The Golazo 50 2019 cracks the top 20 so if you need to catch up, here’s what you have missed…

50-41 / 40-31 / 30-21

To be eligible for the list, the players simply need to be born on or after January 1st 1996.

Cutting to 50 as ever was an almost impossible task and as means of some explanation there will be an accompanying podcast in which we discuss how we come up with the list and explain some of those not included.

Thanks to Tom Robinson and Jimmy Lee for helping with the decisions and writing.

Adolfo Gaich
San Lorenzo
New Entry*

The question had always been whether Adolfo Gaich could carry his prolific goal scoring record from Argentina’s youth sides to senior football and while the 20-year-old has had to be patient, El Tanque finished 2019 in fine form for San Lorenzo. Four goals in the final four games of the year saw Gaich as the lone number nine for Los Cuervos and the powerful centre forward looked every bit as good as he has for Argentina under-20s. Strong, deceptively quick and with a good touch, Gaich has all the tools to be a top modern striker and the fine form that carried the Albiceleste to gold at the Panamerican games has already seen the youngster make his full international debut. Now San Lorenzo have to hope they can hang on to him for a little while longer.

* Highest new entry in 2019

Leonardo Balerdi
Borussia Dortmund
Last year position: 19

Boca Juniors never got to see the best of Leonardo Balerdi but a €15-plus million offer after only a handful of senior games was too much to turn down. Borussia Dortmund will be hoping that proves a sound investment but haven’t been in any rush to throw the 20-year-old into first team action. A few fleeting sub appearances and an international debut in September, Balerdi remains one of the future hopes in the Argentina backline. Defensively astute and a natural leader, the former midfielder has retained the ease on the ball that came with his original position and it was clear to see why European scouts were so interested. Now we see just how far Balerdi can develop.

Sebastián Driussi
Zenit St Petersburg
Last year position: 11

Having now clocked up over 100 appearances for Zenit St Petersburg and winning the Russian league title in the process, it’s easy to forget that Sebastián Driussi is still only 23. It seems like an age ago that the River Plate academy product scored 20 goals in 35 games during the 2016/17 season when forming a blistering two-pronged attack with Lucas Alario. Formed under the guidance of Marcelo Gallardo, Driussi displayed all the selfless hardwork that River’s decorated coach demands and six titles at the Monumental were just reward. 

Nicolás González
VfB Stuttgart
Last year position: 14

When the Argentina national team coach is one of your biggest supporters, you must be doing something right. So while many question Nicolás González’s place in the Albiceleste squad, Lionel Scaloni continues to sing the 21-year-old’s praise. His pace and ability to play out wide as well while carrying a penalty box threat has been the particular quality that Scaloni has highlighted and although it wasn’t necessarily the role that González played for Argentinos Juniors, the youngster has demonstrated that versatility. Stuttgart paying the Bichos a record fee in 2018 pushed through an early move and although the German club suffered relegation, González is scoring goals again in the 2. Bundesliga. 

Alexis Mac Allister
Brighton (on loan at Boca)
Last year position: 28

It’s been one year since Brighton & Hove Albion completed the somewhat surprising signing of Alexis Mac Allister. While the Premier League club still work on bringing the 21-year-old to the South coast, Alexis has reached a Copa Libertadores semi-final with Boca Juniors and become a full Argentina international. The busy attacking midfielder loves making those late darts into the penalty area and has shown the versatility and discipline to seamlessly step from Argentinos Juniors to Boca. Father Carlos made the same move back in the early 90s and Alexis, one of three footballing brothers, looks to have a ceiling that could go even beyond La Bombonera.