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.
Gonzalo Montiel River Plate 01/01/1997 Last year position: 36
When Marcelo Gallardo turned to young Gonzalo Montiel to fill in at right-back it hardly looked like a long-term solution.River Plate had lifted the Copa Libertadores in 2015 with the experienced Gabriel Mercado to rely on and following his departure there was a lack of clear alternatives. Academy product Montiel had come through at the club as a defensive midfielder and centre-back yet slotted in with great maturity and over the past two years has nailed down his starting role. Sound defensively and comfortable to provide the width that Gallardo demands, the 22-year-old helped the Millonarios to another Libertadores title over Boca Juniors and now features prominently in Lionel Scaloni’s Argentina plans.
Marcos Senesi Feyenoord 10/05/1997 Last year position: 23
After a couple of less impressive moves in recent years, the Eredivisie is proving to be a useful step for Argentinian players and following a couple of notable successes at Ajax, Marcos Senesi has settled in at Feyenoord. Rapidly becoming a favourite at De Kuip, the 22-year-old has demonstrated his defensive solidity and aerial prowess with a couple of goals in the short period since signing in September. Feyenoord’s gain has certainly been San Lorenzo’s loss as the wheels fell off completely once Senesi left Bajo Flores and a bright start to the Superliga season was forgotten. It might be a stretch to put that completely down the the academy product’s absence but over the past two seasons, Senesi had established himself as one of the league’s top young defenders.
Lucas Martínez Quarta
River Plate 10/05/1996 Last year position: 26
With a tendency to overhype its youngsters, all it took for Lucas Martínez Quarta to be proclaimed the future of Argentina’s central defence was an accomplished debut against Chile back in September’s goalless friendly. But without falling into the pitfalls of hyperbole, the 23-year-old has developed into a core part of Marcelo Gallardo’s River and looks ready for the inevitable jump to Europe. The Millonarios will be hoping that, like their inspirational coach, Martínez Quarta stays put for a little while longer. Were it not for River reaching the Copa Libertadores final for the second consecutive year, Chino would have featured more under Lionel Scaloni and so 2020 will be a huge year.
Matías Vargas Espanyol 08/05/1997 Last year position: 16
It’s not been an easy start to life in Europe for Matías Vargas as Espanyol languish at the foot of the league table in Spain. However, soon after joining the Blanquiazules, supporters were treated to what anyone who watched El Monito at Vélez would know was a trademark golazo. Cutting in off the left flank to bend a right-footed shot inside the far post was a move that Superliga defences were all too familiar with as Vargas established himself as one of the most exciting attacking players in the league. Terrific close control and balance to beat defenders along with an eye for a killer pass, it may only have led to two La Liga assists so far this season but the talent is there for much more.
Santiago Ascacibar Hertha Berlin 25/02/1997 Last year position: 3
The tenacious defensive midfielder remains one of Argentina’s best young talents, evoking the lion-hearted displays of Javier Mascherano with his tough tackling and boundless energy. However, 2019 proved to be a tough year for El Ruso and the rest of the Stuttgart squad as Die Roten were relegated to the 2. Bundesliga. In the second tier, Ascacibar has inevitably looked a class above and his disciplinary record has improved but it’s safe to say his star has fallen somewhat from this time last year. A move back to the top flight with Hertha Berlin and a chance to impress at the Olympics with Argentina gives him the chance to get back on the front foot and try and force his way into the senior set up.