Pato, Aguero set to shine at World Cup 2010
We continue our talent-spotting quest in South America by taking a closer look at two of the most illustrious nations in world football – Brazil and Argentina.
Brazil are historically renowned for producing the finest attacking talent in the world and the first of the nation’s prodigies to look out for is just that – AC Milan striker Alexandre Pato.
He may not be a secret to all, but, unfortunately, many will only be aware of this young man’s exuberant talent via transfer rumours flashed across the back-pages of the English tabloids – thanks in no small part by the depreciation of interest vested in Italian football.
The 19-year-old has proved prolific in Serie A, maintaining a record of just under a goal every two games. He has already broken two records set by Pele – becoming the youngest-ever player to score in an official FIFA competition and managing to find the back of the net within fewer seconds on his first Brazil start than set by the all-time great.
South Africa will provide the stage for the starlet’s first World Cup. And despite the fact he is yet to command a regular starting berth in Brazil’s frontline, few will bet against him breaking further records next summer.
The battle for places in Brazil’s attack may become even fiercer before the season is out; as yet another striking sensation emerges – 20-year-old Keirrison.
During the mayhem that was this summer’s transfer activity, one star-signing slipped under the media net: Barcelona’s £13 million investment in the hot-shot striker.
Despite only playing 70 career matches, Keirrison has amassed an impressive haul of 38 goals. Upon shooting his second division side, Coritiba, to promotion, Keirrison became the youngest top-scorer in the history of the Brazilian top-flight – scoring 21 goals in 31 games.
He then bagged five goals in just seven appearances after signing for Palmeiras in January and just eight months later, Barcelona made their move.
The Catalan club have agreed for Portuguese side Benfica to take their new arrival on a season’s loan in order for him to see regular first team action and bed down in European football – if he maintains his incredible scoring record, he may just book his ticket on that all important plane to the finals.
As always in the CONMEBOL World Cup qualifying league, one of the biggest nations in world football struggle their way through qualification. This time around, it is Argentina’s turn – but qualify they will.
One of the many reasons it would prove impossible to foresee the South American nation failing to participate in next year’s tournament is Atletico Madrid star Sergio Kun Aguero.
At just 21 years of age, the dominative forward is being touted around with a £50 million price-tag by the press after notching just under 20 goals in each of the last two seasons in the Spanish La Liga.
He also sent his country into the Olympic final in Beijing – bagging a brace against rivals Brazil in the semi-final.
Similarly to Brazil’s Alexandre Pato, World Cup 2010 will enable Aguero to consolidate his position among the best strikers in the world, and all the evidence suggests that he will take full advantage of it.
Two of Argentina’s lesser-known talents are 20-year-old midfielder Javier Pastore and 19-year-old striker Eduardo Salvio.
Pastore has just signed for Italian side Palermo in a £6 million deal following an extraordinary season on loan to Huracan of the Argentine Primera division.
He scored eight goals from midfield as his side narrowly missed out on the championship title – hitting two superb efforts past River Plate in Huracan’s biggest victory (4-0) over the giants in more than 60 years.
The young Argentine has drawn comparison to Kaka – the second most expensive player on the planet – and is considered in Italian football as a Ã¢â‚¬ËœFantasista’, meaning a player with sublime skill and inventiveness.
Pastore opted to sign for Palermo, despite interest from the majority of Europe’s biggest clubs, in order to develop his game further before next year’s prestigious tournament with regular first team football.
Eduardo Salvio is a dominative attacker currently plying his trade at Argentine club Lanus.
He has attracted interest from all over Europe, including Juventus and Arsenal, following his 11-goal haul last season.
He has already been capped by Argentina and will be hoping to impress national side boss Diego Maradona further this season.