Matías Kranevitter looking to kickstart career in Monterrey

By Eduardo Razo

While at River Plate, Matías Kranevitter had stardom written all over him. The defensive midfielder was starring for one of the biggest clubs in South America, drawing interest from clubs in Europe, and the next No. 5 for the Argentina National Team. 

There were plenty of high praises for Kranevitter before making the move to Atlético Madrid, which included one from former River Plate attacking midfielder Enzo Francescoli. The Uruguayan made it known that the 22-year-old was the heir apparent to Javier Mascherano for the national team. 

However, five years since being sold to Atlético, Kranevitter is looking to rediscover his River Plate form. His tenure with Los Colchoneros didn’t last long as he would get lost in the shuffle as Gabi, Augusto Fernández, Saúl, and Thomas Partey were vying for starts in the midfield under Diego Simeone. 

After a season-long loan stint with Sevilla FC, where he appeared in 32 matches, Atlético parted ways with Kranevitter in 2017 after being sold for €8 million to FC Zenit Saint Petersburg. It was a confusing move as he headed to the Russian Premier League, which is outside the top five leagues, Primeira Liga, Eredivisie, and even Süper Lig. 

Despite being out of sight for the regular football fan, Kranevitter appeared in 31 matches for Zenit in his first season with the Russian club. Nonetheless, that didn’t last as the following year as El Colo would make 15 appearances and eventually falling out of the Zenit squad completely. 

The writing was on the wall for Kranevitter; his venture in Europe looked to be coming to an end. The next move for the 27-year-old would likely see him go back to Latin America. 

Enter CF Monterrey, who already had two other players from the River Plate squad that won the Copa Libertadores in 2015 like Lionel Vangioni and Marcelo Barovero along with other Argentines. As a result, it was easy for Kranevitter to head to Mexico and join the current Liga MX champions.

In a recent interview with TNT Sports (via Once Diario), Kranevitter discussed how Monterrey made him feel important and valued in a way that Zenit didn’t towards the end of his tenure, and that’s one of the reasons he chose to join Rayados. Furthermore, he explained that Monterrey was looking at him over the past few transfer markets, and El Colo decided it was time to jump at the opportunity. 

“I see it as a very good opportunity for my career. I took it as a challenge to come here. The last time in Russia was not having a good time, the coach only played with one team and changed little, the team was doing well, and it was difficult,” said Kranevitter. 

“I made the decision to come to Mexico, Monterrey was looking for me several markets ago, and I was convinced. The city surprised me. The club is very modern.”

At 27-years-old, Kranevitter is looking to regain his River Plate form and possibly find his way back into the plans of the Argentina National Team. Moving to a new country and league is never easy, so it took some time for him to find his form with Rayados. 

With the Coronavirus pandemic shutting down Liga MX, it didn’t help Kranevitter, who was looking comfortable after arriving in January. Nonetheless, with the Apertura 2020 season beginning July 24th, Antonio Mohamed will count on him as he will be competing with Celso Ortiz for the defensive midfield position. 

It will depend on whether or not Mohamed will go with a single or two No.5 midfielders in his starting eleven. Although Ortiz has become a stable in the midfield for Monterrey, but if Kranevitter can rediscover his River Plate form, he won’t shy away from the competition considering El Colo unseated Leonardo Ponzio. 

Kranevitter will attempt to use the potential increase in playing time to find his previous form as he would like to play his way back into the plans of the Argentina National Team, as he told Olé (via Once Diario). 

“Today, my goal is to play as many games as possible to get a rhythm, a level, which is the main thing,” said Kranevitter. “I have been playing often, and that is important to me and, well, what will come later. I want to be happy and play soccer.”

Although some may scoff at the idea of Kranevitter possibly playing for Argentina again, it does not sound far fetched to believe he can’t receive a call-up. During his time with Club America, Guido Rodríguez was apart of the squad that played in the 2019 Copa America for Argentina. 

However, first things first. Kranevitter needs to find his River Plate form, and it seems Monterrey will give El Colo every opportunity to do that this upcoming season. 

Eduardo is a graduate from Arizona State University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Mass Communications and Media Studies. “Eddie” is a freelance writer for PSG Talk covering the French Club Paris Saint-Germain in English. Along with writing and co-hosting the 24th & Parc Podcast, for PSG Talk, he is also the creator, producer, and host of the Rayados90 podcast, which covers the Mexican soccer club C.F. Monterrey (Club de Fútbol Monterrey) and writes over at World Football Index. You can follow him on Twitter @_eddierazo.