Golazo 50 2021: Argentina’s best young players [10-1]

It’s now time to see who will be crowned number one and join the list of previous winners with Paulo Dybala, Leandro Paredes, Giovani Lo Celso and Lautaro Martínez.

If you missed any of the previous parts you can catch up with them here.

Part one (along with some explanation of the 50) | Part two [41-30] | Part three [30-21] | Part four [20-11]

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.

10. Facundo Farías

One of the breakthrough young stars of the Primera in 2021, Farias’ raw mix of street footballer technique, invention and never-say-die attitude make him a joy to watch and he formed an excellent partnership with Pulga Rodríguez as Colón won the Copa de la Liga.

9. Juan Foyth

Now 24 Juan Foyth may not reach the level that his promise suggested when bursting onto the scene with Estudiantes. However, whether playing in central defence, right-back or holding midfield Foyth has carved out a decent career in Europe and played an important role for Argentina when called upon.

8. Thiago Almada
Vélez Sarsfield
Attacking midfield

Almada’s year started under a cloud after a sexual assault charge but since then the diminutive 20-year-old has let his football do the talking on the pitch with a series of excellent displays for Vélez in the league and the Copa Libertadores. A move to Atlanta Utd seems on the cards and a call up to the Argentina national team saw him round out 2021 on a high.

7. Nahuel Molina
Right back

The question over Argentina’s first choice right-back remains open and Nahuel Molina will hope that in a World Cup year he can rise above Gonzalo Montiel to start in Qatar. The Boca product left as a free agent following a successful loan with Rosario Central and carried that form to Italy with Udinese establishing himself as an international calibre full-back.

6. Exequiel Palacios
Bayer Leverkusen
Central midfield

It’s more than a couple of years now since Exequiel Palacios left River Plate after coming within a minute of winning consecutive Copa Libertadores titles. It took Marcelo Gallardo quite some time to replace the 23-year-old such was Palacios’ influence in the middle of the park. Persistent injuries have hindered the midfielder’s progress in Germany and arguably seen him lose ground in the race for Argentina starts but Palacios remains an important figure.

5. Nicolás González

His lack of end product divides some fans but his work rate and versatility have seen him become a favourite of Lionel Scaloni for the national team. Unlucky to miss the Copa América through injury but earned a big money move to Fiorentina.

4. Nicolás Domínguez
Central midfield

Quietly going under the radar as one of the more impressive midfielders in Serie A, Domínguez is one of the best counter-pressers in Europe and is beginning to show what he can do going forward too, just as he did in his final season at Velez. Another Copa América winner and a willing deputy whenever called upon for the national team.

3. Lisandro Martínez
Centre back

A mainstay for the all-conquering Ajax side who won the Eredivisie in style and impressed in the group stages of this season’s Champions League. A largely unused part of Argentina’s Copa América winning side, Martínez is nevertheless slowly establishing himself as a regular in the Albiceleste squad and will have his sights set on a starting place.

2. Julián Álvarez
River Plate

The rise of Julián Álvarez really has been something to behold and El Araña rightly finds himself as one of the most talked about young players in world football. Álvarez’s 18 goals and six assists earned him the league’s golden boot as River Plate ended their wait for the title and pushed the youngster into Lionel Scaloni’s plans. If his next move pans out well and momentum is carried into 2022 expect to see the spider in Qatar.

1. Cristian Romero
Tottenham Hotspur
Centre back

Along with goalkeeper Emiliano Martínez, no player made a greater impact on the Argentina national team than Cristian Romero in 2021. The defence had been perceived as the Albicelete’s achilles heel for a long while but when Lionel Scaloni finally thrust Romero into the action, all those concerns seemed to fade. The result was a 28-year wait for a major trophy ended and the longest unbeaten run in international football. Injuries aside, Argentina appear to have found their defensive fulcrum for years to come.