Golazo 50 2021: Argentina’s best young players [20-11]

If you missed part one you can read it here (along with some explanation of the 50).

Part two [41-30] is here.

And part three [31-20].

The list was compiled by and all entries written by Peter Coates and Tom Robinson. An accompanying podcast discussing the list will be released after the entire 50 is published.

20. Leonardo Balerdi
Centre back

The talented young defender traded Dortmund for the French Riviera and has been rewarded with plenty of game time by compatriot Jorge Sampaoli. We’re still yet to see the best of Balerdi but his potential is there for all to see and he’s making up for lost time.

19. Agustín Almendra
Boca Juniors
Central midfield

It’s easy to forget that Agustín Almendra is still only 21, such have been the ups and down of his career already. Quickly earmarked as a future national team star, injury and club conflict saw the midfielder sidelined but a wonderful return last season reminded everyone just what a player Almendra could be.

18. Esequiel Barco
River Plate (loan from Atlanta United)
Attacking midfield

It’s taken longer than expected but Barco enjoyed his best season to date for Atlanta Utd with 8 goals and 7 assists. Now 22, a return to Argentina rather than a switch to Europe is hardly the trajectory that many anticipated for Barco but an opportunity to link up with Marcelo Gallardo at River Plate is mouth watering.

17. Valentín Castellanos
Centre forward

The MLS golden boot winner as New York City FC lifted the MLS Cup in 2021 justifies Taty Castellanos’ lofty place in the 50. A roundabout career path that took him to the Big Apple via Chile and Uruguay, Castellanos has been something of a later bloomer, breaking into the list for the first time at 23, but it hasn’t prevented the striker representing Argentina at youth level and a big move is on the cards in this window.

16. Nicolás Capaldo
RB Salzburg
Central midfield

The hard-working, versatile midfielder was a regular for Boca in the first half of the year before his move to RB Salzburg, where he has quickly established himself and got his first taste of Champions league football. He might not be the sexiest name on the list but is progressing nicely.

15. Alan Velasco

Quite possibly the best talent that Independiente have produced since Sergio Aguero and yet following the path of previous ‘wonderkid’ Esequiel Barco in heading to MLS. Alan Velasco has been the light in an otherwise gloomy period for El Rojo with his lightning quick feet and trickery. Supporters will rightly be furious to see such a prospect depart for a knockdown price and Velasco’s absence will immediately weaken Eduardo Domínguez’s side.

14. Facundo Medina
Centre back

Following his move from Talleres, Medina quickly established himself as a regular for Lens as the newly promoted side narrowly missed out on European football in a stellar return to Ligue 1.  The left-footed ball-playing defender was also part of the Olympic squad and has leapfrogged a couple of other centre back prospects in the pecking order for the senior national team too.

13. Enzo Fernández
River Plate
Central midfield

It’s been quite the 12 months for Enzo Fernández having played a vital role in Defensa y Justicia’s historic Copa Sudamericana triumph before returning to River Plate and helping Marcelo Gallardo end his wait for a league title. The classy midfield operator has been called up to Lionel Scaloni’s recent squads and at 21 could still be some way from his ceiling.

12. Alexis Mac Allister
Attacking midfield

Mac Allister has steadily progressed up the list as he has established himself as a regular for the Seagulls in the Premier League.  Still on the fringes of the national team but if he maintains his goal-scoring start to the year he could well force his way back into the set-up before long.

11. Matías Zaracho
Atlético Mineiro
Attacking midfield

After making his Argentina debut back in 2019 most would have wanted to see Matías Zaracho depart Racing Club for Europe. Instead a transfer to Atlético Mineiro transpired and though progress has been a little slower the 23-year-old helped the Galo end a 50-year wait for the Brasileirão title.