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

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

Part One: 50-41

Part Two: 40-31

Part Three: 30-21

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).

20. José Manuel López 
2021 Golazo ranking: 25

The tall, mobile forward backed up his excellent form from last year, managing to score 7 goals in 19 appearances for a struggling Lanús side, before Brazilian giants splashed the cash to bring him to Sao Paulo.  Now in an environment with more competition for places up front, López has yet to make a huge impact for the Verdao but was part of the squad that won the Brasileirao and everything points to his career developing nicely.

19. Tomás Cuello 
Athletico Paranaense
2021 Golazo ranking: 26

Brazilian football has been good to Tomás Cuello. Waiting patiently for a chance with boyhood club Atlético Tucumán, a 2020 loan move to Red Bull Bragantino culminated in a run to the final of the 2021 Copa Sudamericana. The side that lifted the trophy that day Athletico Paranaense would subsequently do the deal to sign the winger and a year later they were beaten finalists in the Libertadores. Cuello didn’t feature that day against Flamengo but the 22-year-old has been a great addition to the Brasileirao and has room to develop further.  

18. Santiago Simón 
River Plate 
2021 Golazo ranking: 22

In a year that didn’t live up to expectations for River, it was nevertheless a solid year of development for Santiago Simón. Flying under the radar while Julián Álvarez and Enzo Fernández grabbed the attention in the first half of the year, the versatile Simón made twice as many appearances as the year before and scored his first goals for the club.  It might not have been spectacular but if you’re a regular for River before the age of 21, you’re doing something right.

17. Giuliano Galoppo 
São Paulo 
Attacking midfielder
2021 Golazo ranking: 24

There were few better goalscoring midfielders than Giuliano Galoppo prior to his July transfer to Brazilian club São Paulo. Consistently finding the net since Banfield surprisingly went all the way to the Copa de la Liga final in 2021 the 23-year-old demonstrated a terrific ability and positional understanding to arrive in the penalty box at just the right time. Even as the Taladro struggled in the year that followed Galoppo still found the net and earned his move to Brazil. Things have been more difficult since but his form in Argentina can’t be ignored. 

16. Exequiel Zeballos 
Boca Juniors
2021 Golazo ranking: 48

One of the highest climbers on the list, Zeballos exploded onto the scene with his mazy dribbling and fearless wing play.  Unfortunately, just as Changuito was getting into full flow, his season was cruelly ended after an agricultural challenge in a Copa Argentina game against Agropecuario.  How he bounces back from injury will be crucial, but based purely on talent and potential, the sky’s the limit for Zeballos.

15. Equi Fernández
Boca Juniors
Defensive midfielder
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Another beneficiary of an astute loan move, Equi Fernández looked every inch the potential star that Boca Juniors believed he was when they tied the 20-year-old down to a new deal before permitting the Tigre switch. Now back at La Bombonera for 2023 even with the increased competition for places Fernández looks set to make a valuable contribution. As a player capable of breaking up play while also progressing the ball in possession, Equi has the profile of a future Argentina number 5.

14. Facundo Farías 
2021 Golazo ranking: 10

On the surface, when you look purely at the numbers, it looks like more of the same from Facundo Farias this year but you can’t help feel that it was still a bit underwhelming.  It was always going to be hard for Colón to live up to their 2021 Copa de la Liga title and transfer speculation seemed to distract Farías initially.  5 league goals and another 3 in the Libertadores suggested he was getting back up to speed but his season ended prematurely when he injured his ACL in September.  Farías has the talent to be a nailed on top 10 player and hopefully his recovery is successful so he can be back to terrorising defenders across the country.

13. Fausto Vera 
Defensive midfielder 

An injury hit 2021 saw Fausto Vera drop out of the Golazo 50 but the former under-20 international is back after a tremendous 12 months. Captaining Argentinos Juniors during the first half of the year, Vera was arguably the best central midfielder in Argentina displaying all of his ball winning ability along with smart possession, the odd goal and the mentality of an on-pitch General. That paved the way for a move to Brazilian giants Corinthians and the 22-year-old continues to impress in his new surroundings. A fourth-place finish bodes well for 2023 as once again European scouts cast their eyes over Vera. 

12. Alejandro Garnacho 
Manchester Utd
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Such was the hype and clamour around Garnacho that many in Argentina were asking for the Man Utd teen to be called up to Lionel Scaloni’s World Cup squad.  While always an outside shot, it speaks of just how far the Spanish-born winger has come on this year that he was even in the conversation.  Cocksure and lightning quick, Garnacho was a surprise call up to the national team in March and a debut for Manchester United followed soon after.  The 18-year-old ended 2022 in sensational form, scoring in both the Premier League and Europa League, and he looks destined to be a big player for Argentina going forward.

11. Facundo Buonanotte 
Attacking midfielder
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Carlos Tevez said, “It’s been a long time since I’ve seen someone play who gives me as much pleasure as Buonanotte.” The former Argentina striker and then Rosario Central manager had truly unleashed the teenager and despite the team struggling for form, Buonanotte dazzled under Tevez. Every time La Joya received the ball it would generate excitement and his ability to beat his defender, run at defences and wreak havoc at such a young age clearly set him apart. Brighton were typically quick to seal a deal and although the recently turned 18-year-old may well play for the U20s at the Sudamericano the Premier League club won’t have to wait long to find out for themselves.