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.
Atlético Madrid (On loan at Famalicão) 24/06/2000 Last year position: 46
One of the biggest climbers in the Golazo 50, it’s been quite a year for the young centre back. Nehuén Pérez shone at the under-20 Sudamericano as he captained Argentina to a place at the U20 World Cup with a series of solid displays. Back at club level, the teenage defender has been an ever present on loan at Portuguese surprise package Famalicão, earning him a call up to the senior national team and no doubt impressing Diego Simeone back at his parent club. Tall, strong, good on the ball and an intelligent reader of the game, Pérez is a real leader at the back and his rapid progression this year is yet another positive sign for Argentina as they look to regenerate their ageing defence.
Racing Club 10/03/1998 Last year position: 18
Only some bad luck with injuries over the past year have denied Matías Zaracho what would have been greater involvement in Lionel Scaloni’s Argentina side. A brief debut back in March replacing Leandro Paredes late on against Morocco was an introduction to international football but it seemed each time the Racing Club midfielder was included in squads from then on, some injury or other would put pay to more. The reason for Scaloni’s admiration is clear, since debuting for boyhood club Racing in 2016 Zaracho has developed into a dynamic midfielder, whose late bursts forward into the penalty box helped La Academia to a league title. Another go at the Copa Libertadores brings with it another opportunity to shine in 2020 and it seems only a matter of time before Racing are bidding farewell to another of their youth products.
Cristian Romero Juventus (On loan at Genoa) 27/04/1998 Last year position: 44
From the bench at Belgrano to Italian giants Juventus. Few outsiders would have predicted such a rise, but for those who saw him, his defensive abilities have always been undeniable. Almost no other player puts his body on the line for the ball quite the way El Cuti does. He is a one man wall who has the ability to take the ball from the attacking player and initiate the counter-attack, always picking out the right pass. There is no denying that he has the talent to become a star for both Juventus and the Argentina National Team, and his omission from the Pre-Olympic tournament is all the more of a blow to the Albiceleste.
Bologna 28/06/1998 Last year position: 22
Yet another product of the excellent Vélez academy, 2019 was the year that Nicolás Domínguez announced himself as not just a ‘decent talent worth watching’ but as a genuinely exciting all-round midfielder with a future for the national team. Consistently impressive alongside Gastón Giménez for el Fortín, Domínguez added goals to his game to go alongside his excellent passing, mobility and positioning and was named best midfielder in the Superliga 2018/19. Bologna snapped him up in the summer, before loaning him back to Vélez for the rest of the year where he continued his high level and towards the end of the year became a regular feature in Scaloni’s Argentina squad, winning five caps and scoring one goal. Domínguez has everything in his locker to succeed in Europe and if he adapts quickly he could well go on to become an important option for a national team midfield that now has strength and depth.
Ezequiel Barco Atlanta United 29/03/1999 Last year position: 13
Did Ezequiel Barco’s move to Atlanta United take him out of the spotlight a little? Yes. Have the Five Stripes yet to see the best of the 20-year-old? Yes. Yet if the under-20 World Cup was anything to go by, Barco remains one of Argentina’s brightest talents at his age. The trickery cutting in off the left, the flair and the vision that was so evident at Independiente was all still there and 2020 promises to be a big year for El Turri. It’s easy to overlook Barco due to an inconsistent couple of years in the Unites States but it should not be forgotten that the playmaker is still only 20 and when still a teenager led Independiente to the Copa Sudamericana. Not simply as a flashy academy talent from the bench but as an instrumental part of Ariel Holan’s exciting side with the elite mentality to score the decisive penalty in the Maracanã.