Friday, August 3, 2007

Golden Sub-20 Boys

A Mundial sub-20 that finished last week, brought the title again to Argentineans. The golden medals were obtained by:

Sergio Romero, Federico Fazio, Emiliano Insúa, Gabriel Mercado, Ever Banega, Matías Cahais, Claudio Yacob, Matías Sánchez, Mauro Zárate, Sergio Agüero, Damián Escudero, Javier García, Germán Voboril, Leonardo Sigali, Alejandro Cabral, Alejandro Gómez, Maximiliano Moralez, Angel di María, Pablo Piatti, Lautaro Acosta and Bruno Centeno

Some of them had been world stars long before the triumph in Canada. Sergio Aguero and Mauro Zarate were bought for 20 million each by Atletico and Al-Sadd. Federico Fazio belongs to Sevilla and Emiliano Insua – to Liverpool. Angel di Maria has been longed so much by Arsenal, but finally chose Benfica. Ever Banega has been considered one of main stars in Boca, while Maxi Morales – in Racing. Both are going to dispute the title of the best Argentina’s player in the upcoming Apertura. Damian Escudero spent a wonderful season in his Velez, Lautaro Acosta – in Lanus, Alejandro Gomez – in Arsenal Sarandi. Pablo Piatti from Estudiantes looks very impressive too. The transfers of these players to rich European clubs won’t be waited for for long.

In brief, Hugo Tocalli prepared a splendid team. To understand it well and to estimate correctly the potential of these players let’s compare this team to the previous Argentinean sub-20 champions by tracking the trajectory of their members.

Qatar 1995. that was the first title of Jose Pekerman who brought to Asia the following players:

Joaquín Irigoytía, Gastón Pezzuti, Federico Domínguez, Juan Pablo Sorin, Sebastián Pena, Mariano Juan, Guillermo Larrosa, Wálter Coyette, Ariel Ibagaza, Gustavo Lombardi, Leonardo Biagini, Francisco Guerrero, Julio César Bayon, Andrés Garrone, Cristian Díaz, Germán Arangio, Diego Crosa and Cristian Chaparro

Not a single superstar came out of that team, save for, probably, Juan Pablo Sorin. Quite loud and solid names in the national championship were made by Federico Dominguez, who played for Velez, Independiente and River, Gustavo Lombardi, a titular in River for many years, and Diego Crosa, a defense pillar in Racing, Newells, Boca and Spanish Betis. Ibagaza, Biaggini and Diaz went to mediocre European teams where got lost. Pezzuti, Larrosa, Coyete, Pena and Irigoytia are known to Argentinean fans well by playing in the national league, but without laurels although. Mariano Juan remained faithful to his Huracan and went down to Nacional B with his team. The much-promising Rosarino Julio Cesar Bayon got a severe head injury, from which actually did not manage to recover fully. Now he plays in dead province in Catamarca. Andres Garrone took a risk of playing for a team of Nacional B, and after that never returned to la Primera nevermore. Imposing German Arangio traveled around the globe much, but did not have loud successes, save for his stay in Mexican Toros Neza. Chirstian Chaparro did manage to make a name for himself, but in underpromoted Ecuadorian football. The one to have the biggest potential in that team was forward Francisco Guerrero from Independiente’s school. But this potential remained mostly unrevealed until now neither in Argentina, nor in Europe.

In two years Pekerman repeated his success. This time the destiny of world champions was way more interesting.


Leonardo Franco, Leandro Cufré, Walter Samuel, Juan José Serrizuela, Esteban Cambiasso, Diego Markic, Diego Quintana, Juan Román Riquelme, Bernardo Romeo, Pablo Aimar, Pablo Rodríguez, Cristian Muñóz, Fabián Cubero, Diego Placente, Martín Perezlindo, Nicolás Diez, Sebastián Romero and Lionel Scaloni

Samuel (Boca, Roma, Real), Cambiasso (Independiente, River, Real, Inter), Riquelme (Boca, Barcelona, Villareal, Boca), Aimar (River, Valencia, Zaragoza) and Placente (River, Bayer, Celta) reached a superstar status, contracts with rich clubs, participation in World Cups, etc. Other players found themselves in equally big clubs: Franco (Atletico Madrid), Cufre (Roma), Romeo (Hamburg), Romero (Panathinaikos) and Scaloni (Deportivo, Lazio). Several of them gained wonderful reputation in the national league: Serrizuela (Independiente) and Cubero (Velez). The achievements of Perezlindo and Diez are more modest, but in Argentina they are known too. Pablo Rodriguez in a very early age went to France where helped Nizza to ascend to the First Division. But that remained the pinnacle of his career. Similarly got lost between the first and the second Argentinean leagues Diego Quintana.

The brightest turned out to be the third Pekerman’s golden team.

Argentina, 2001
Germán Lux, Nicolás Burdisso, Julio Arca, Mauro Cetto, Nicolás Medina, Fabricio Coloccini, Javier Saviola, Oscar Ahumada, Esteban Herrera, Leandro Romagnoli, Maximiliano Rodríguez, Gerardo Seltzer, Diego Colotto, Leonardo Ponzio, Andrés D'Alessandro, Mauro Rosales, Alejandro Domínguez, Wilfredo Caballero and Sebastián Bueno

Many can boast with supercontracts and supercareers both at home and abroad: Burdisso (Boca, Inter), Coloccini (San Lorenzo, Alaves, Deportivo, Atletico, Villareal, Milan), Saviola (River, Barcelona, Monaco, Sevilla, Real), Ahumada (River Plate, Wolfsburg), Romagnoli (San Lorenzo, Sporting), Rodriguez (Espanyol, Atletico), Ponzio (Newells, Zaragoza, River Plate), d’Alessandro (River, Wolfsburg, Portsmouth, Zaragoza), Rosales (Newells, Ajax, River) and Dominguez (River, Rubin, Zenith). Against them the contracts of Arca, Medina and Cetto with Sunderland and Nantes look modest. The keepers Lux and Caballero spent these years mainly on the bench, but in superclubs – River and Boca. Gerardo Seltzer showed solidarity with his native Argentinos Juniors with whom he went down to Nacional B, and further resurrected to la Primera. Forward Esteban Herrera used to be considered Boca’s big hope, but finally went to Europe (Italy and Greece) where disappeared. Diego Colotto started to play very solid for Estudiantes and later moved to Mexico. The one to have the lowest career turned out to be decent forward Sebastian Bueno, who now sits in reserve at San Martin

In 2003 Argentineans lost the title to Brazil, but in two years brought it back home. This time under the guidance of Francisco Ferrara.

Holland, 2005:

Oscar Ustari, Gustavo Cabral, Lautaro Formica, Julio Barroso, Juan Manuel Torres, Gabriel Paletta, Lucas Biglia, Pablo Zabaleta, Pablo Vitti, Patricio Pérez, Emiliano Armenteros, Nereo Champagne, Ezequiel Garay, David Abraham, Rodrigo Archubi, Neri Cardozo, Fernando Gago, Lionel Messi, Sergio Agüero, Gustavo Oberman and Nicolás Navarro

Although too little time has passed yet, and the players are still very young, there are supercontracts here too: Messi (Barcelona), Aguero (Atletico), Gago (Real), Paletta (Liverpool), Biglia (Anderlecht), Zabaleta (Espanyol). The rest have been making their names at home for now. Those to succeed most have been Cardozo (Boca), Cabral and Torres (Racing), Armenteros (Banfield and Independiente), Abraham (Independiente), Archubi (Lanus), Oberman (Argentinos and River). Ustari sparkled in Independiente and is bought now by Getafe. While skillful Patricio Perez did not manage to find himself in his native Velez. Pablo Vitti has stalled his progress in Central. There are no news from Nicolas Navarro. But all these players have everything ahead of them.

To complete the picture let’s have a look at those two Argentinean team that did not win the gold at sub-20 in 1999 and 2003.

Franco Costanzo, Carlos Roldan, Gabriel Milito, Juan Fernandez, Esteban Cambiasso, Fernando Crosa, Luciano Galletti, Aldo Duscher, Sixto Peralta, Daniel Montenegro, German Rivarola, Sebastian Saja, Javier Villareal, Christian Grabinski, Luis Zubeldia, Ernesto Farias, Sebastian Flores Coronel and Federico Insua

Here we saw wonderful careers of Cambiasso, Milito (Independiente, Zaragoza, Barcelona), Fernandez and Crosa (both in River), Galletti (Zaragoza, Atletico), Duscher (Deportivo), Montenegro (Independiente, River, Olympic Marseille and Osasuna), Rivarola (River), Saja (San Lorenzo, then Mexico), Villareal (Boca), Farias (Estudiantes, River, Porto), Insua (Argentinos, Boca, Malaga, Saturn, Monchenglabach, America), Peralta (Racing, Inter, Ipswich, Mexico, River). Flores Coronel spent some time under Lanus’s arch, while Grabinski played for Newells and Racing. Zubeldia and Roldan did not shine as they might have, but were titulares in Lanus too.

Gustavo Eberto, Gonzalo Rodriguez, Osmar Ferreira, Mauricio Romero, Javier Mascherano, Leandro Fernandez, Pablo Zabaleta, Hugo Colace, Fernando Cavenaghi, Carlos Tevez, Marcelo Carrusca, Mariano Barbosa, Joel Barbosa, Jonatan Bottinelli, Walter Garcia, Nery Cardozo, Jose Sosa, Walter Montillo, German Herrera, Franco Cangele

This unbelievable team did not get golden medals either, but many compensated it with huge contracts. Don’t forget that one of the main team’s stars did not go to the Mundial – Emmanuel Rivas won championship with Independiente in 2002, but ever since his career has been on decline. Unlike those of Rodriguez (San Lorenzo, Villareal), Mascherano (River, Corinthians, West ham, Liverpool), Ferreira (River, CSKA, Eindhoven, San Lorenzo), Fernandez (Newells, River), again Zabaleta and Cardozo, incredible Cavenaghi (River, Spartak and Bordeaux), one of world’s best players Carlitos Tevez (Boca, Corinthians, West Ham, Manchester United), Carrusca (Estudiantes, Galatasaray, Boca), Bottinelli and Garcia (San Lorenzo), Sosa (Estudiantes, Bayern). A bit less lucky were Mauricio Romero (Lanus then Mexico), Walter Montillo (San Lorenzo, Mexico, again San Lorenzo), German Herrera (Central, San Lorenzo, Real Sociedad), and very talented Cangele (Boca, Inedpendiente). Ex-keeper of Boca Gustavo Eberto is struggling against cancer these days. God, help poor guy, please! The only ones not to have shined yet are Colace and both Barbosas.

And finally, let’s compare the career of Argentinean sub-20 champions with the Brazilian ones (2003).

Fernando Enrique, Daniel Alves, Alcides Eduardo, Carlos Alberto, Coelho, Daniel Carvalho, Dudu Cearense, Andrezinho, Nilmar, Dagoberto, Jefferson, Kleber, Adriano, Juninho, Jardel, Gabriel, Renato, Fernandinho, Andrei

These world champions sparkled interest first of all of Russian and Ukrainian clubs. As a result, Kleber found himself in Dinamo Kiyv, Carvalho and Dudu – in CSKA Moscow, Fernandinho – in Shakhtar. The brightest team’s star Daniel Alves raised Sevilla up to the status of a superclub. Adriano is helping him with that there. Nilmar tried his luck at Olympic Marseille, but clearly felt better at home in Internacional and Corinthians. Fernando Enrique became one of Brazil’s bet keepers at Fluminense. Dagoberto helped Atletico Paranaense to become country’s champion, now plays in strong Sao Paulo. Carlos Alberto managed to play for Fluminense, Porto, Corinthians and Werder. Coelho has a good reputation too in Brazil. And Renato used to be the leader of Atletico Mineiro for several seasons. The careers of the rest are a bit slower, but they have lots of time.

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