GOLAZO 50: Argentina’s best young players [30-21]

The 2022 Golazo 50 continues and so if you missed the first two parts make sure to go and check it out…

Part One: 50-41

Part Two: 40-31

Reminder: To be eligible for the list, the players simply need to be born on or after January 1st 199(they would all have been eligible to play if there had been an Olympic tournament in 2022).

30. Luka Romero 
Lazio
18/11/2004
Attacking midfielder
Golazo 2021 ranking: 29

A mixed year for the precocious Romero.  10 appearances for high-flying Lazio, including a first start in top-flight senior football and his first goal in Serie A, are all impressive milestones for a player who has only just turned 18.  However, such are the expectations for Romero, that the lack of minutes means that perhaps the teen sensation hasn’t progressed quite as much as hoped.  Everything is on track though and the chance to impress for the Argentina U20s this year could be just what he needs.

29. Mateo Retegui 
Tigre
29/04/1999
Centre forward
New Entry

It would be impossible to ignore Mateo Retegui after the year the 23–year-old has just had. 19 goals in 27 appearances made Retegui comfortably the league’s top scorer and while it’s taken longer than maybe expected Chapita now looks more than ready for a return to Boca Juniors or make the leap to Europe. A go at the Copa Libertadores with Tigre may in fact be the immediate future but for a mobile centre forward who has now found the killer touch it will likely be temporary. 

28. Gastón Ávila 
Royal Antwerp 
30/09/2001
Centre back
Golazo 2021 ranking: 21

Ávila slips down the Golazo ranking this year following a tough start to life in Belgium.  So impressive for Rosario Central last year, he was nevertheless deemed surplus to requirements at Boca who decided to cash in on their young defender.  Adapting to a new country, language and culture is always tough so hopefully it’s just a period of acclimatisation and Ávila can get back to showing us what he does best.

27. Matías Soulé 
Juventus 
15/04/2003
Winger
Golazo 2021 ranking: 28

Plucked from Vélez as a kid by Juventus, tracked by Argentina and included in some of Lionel Scaloni’s squads and now getting minutes in Serie A. The question of whether Matías Soulé will break through is a question of when rather than if. A supremely gifted dribbler who glides past defenders and cuts inside onto his left foot will surely become an increasingly important figure for the Bianconeri and 2023 may well be when the wider public become aware of his talents. 

26. Cristian Medina 
Boca Juniors
01/06/2002
Central Midfielder
2021 Golazo ranking: 35

Another steady, solid year of progression in Medina’s development, without necessarily standing out.  A tidy all-round midfielder, Medina featured 31 times for Boca as they won the league under Hugo Ibarra – not bad at all for a 20-year-old.  Having said that, only 13 of those were as a starter and he’ll no doubt look to improve on that in 2023, as well as adding a bit of end product if he really wants to kick on.

25. Nicolás Castro 
Genk 
01/11/2000
Central midfield
2021 Golazo ranking: 27

At a time when Newell’s Old Boys were floundering, Nicolás Castro dazzled and the midfield maestro earned his switch to Belgian club Genk. The 22-year-old has not yet been able to reproduce that form but has only been in Europe for six months and should be afforded the time to acclimatise. A lovely passer of the ball who showed an eye for goal too with La Lepra, there is still time for Castro to flourish.

24. Luca Orellano 
Vélez Sarsfield
22/03/2000
Winger
2021 Golazo ranking: 32

The classy, inventive winger consolidated himself as an undisputed regular for a Vélez side that reached the semi-finals of the Libertadores.  Blessed with whippet-like pace and an excellent delivery with his favoured left foot, Orellano is a nightmare to defend against when in full flow.  If we’re splitting hairs, we might have expected a bit more in terms of end product and influence on the side from Orellano but his underlying numbers remain very impressive and a move is surely on the cards.

23. Esequiel Barco 
Atlanta United 
29/03/1999
Attacking midfielder/Winger
2021 Golazo ranking: 18

The fact that Esequiel Barco is still eligible yet lower in the Golazo 50 than he was in 2017 speaks volumes. In flashes the same talent that was so exciting as a teen for Independiente is there – the drop of the shoulder, quick feet, burst of acceleration, deadly right foot but so too is the frustration. A loan at River Plate hasn’t managed to truly revitalise the 23-year-old and from a player who looked capable of topping this list someday it now looks an outside bet that he steps up and becomes someone capable of making a difference for La Albiceleste. 

22. Luca Langoni 
Boca Juniors
19/02/2002
Forward
New Entry

Without doubt the revelation of the Liga Profesional, Langoni seemingly appeared out of nowhere to play a decisive role in Boca’s league win. 6 goals in 18 appearances which directly contributed to an extra 11 points for Los Xeneizes and catapulted the young forward into the limelight as one of Boca’s exciting new young stars.  This year will tell us if he’s the real deal and not just a flash in the pan.

21. Aníbal Moreno 
Racing Club
13/05/1999
Defensive midfielder
New Entry

As a member of Argentina’s under-20s in 2019 Aníbal Moreno has seen younger teammates Julián Álvarez and Thiago Almada go on and lift the World Cup. While the 23-year-old’s path has been a little less direct, a loan to Racing Club has helped highlight the skills that made him such an exciting prospect coming through at Newell’s. As a ball playing number five Moreno could have few better managers to guide him than Fernando Gago and in what was a fantastic 2022, that at least ended in a Trofeo de Campeones victory over Boca, Moreno was ever-present for La Academia.