Thursday, July 13, 2006

A look into the future (part 3 - final act) - Forwards (July 13th)

It’s time to talk about what everybody was waiting for. Yes, there was some interest to know the names of our future defensive unit or our midfield core, but let’s face it: goals are the engine of football, its heart and soul. Even though this World Cup and the previous Euro (won by Greece in 2004) were clear examples of the predominance of the defensive game, people are far from falling in love with teams like Greece in 2004 or Italy in 2006. Fans all over the World (thank goodness) still lose their sleep dreaming of skilful players scoring those impossible goals and becoming legends.

Argentina has a history to respect and the best way to honour that glorious past is by keep on generating more exciting talents with only one objective: to burn the net!
As we saw during the recent World Cup, we’ve got some powerful attackers and a solid base to start working on for South Africa 2010.

Let’s take a look:

Carlos TEVEZ: There is a commercial ad decorating the streets in Buenos Aires. It has Carlitos’ picture and a sentence that says it all: ‘Nacido en Fuerte Apache, querido en todas partes’ (‘Born in Fuerte Apache (a poor and marginal neighbourhood in Buenos Aires), loved everywhere’. That’s what stands out more about this immensely talented young man. Never in the past an Argentine was beloved in Brazil like he is ever since he went to play for Corinthians. There were some Brazilians supporting Argentina because of CARLITOS! Believe me, that says a lot!

He had a great World Cup and I think he was the best player (along with AYALA) in our game against Germany. He will surely sign a big contract sometime in the near future for a big European club (hope it’s not Chelsea!) and he will become a real star for our National Team. He is irreplaceable!

Javier SAVIOLA: Some where saying this was his last World Cup and I hope they are wrong! He is about to sign a contract for Arsenal to play alongside Thierry HENRY after being incredible neglected by FC Barcelona (AGAIN!). He always scored. No matter where he played.

I still remember the first time I saw him. He was 16 and made his debut in the first division for River Plate against the tricky Gimnasia y Esgrima Jujuy. He came in with a few minutes left in a difficult away match and he scored. He never stopped. Had a great World Cup too (specially the first two matches). Faded out a little against Mexico (not making the most in a couple of crucial chances) and then he didn’t play against Germany. But he will still be playing in Europe’s elite and will have great experience come South Africa 2010. I expect to have him in our team.

Hernan CRESPO: Well...I think that was it. A ‘Silver Shoe’ award for being the second placed striker (ahead of RONALDO only because CRESPO played less minutes) will come as a consolation prize I’m sure he rather not have and would exchange it for a better placement by Argentina.

But there went his third World Cup. First as a starter but I think also the last. He will continue to play in our National Team (I believe so) but I’m sure he won’t be making it to South Africa, his age being the main reason.

Julio CRUZ: I feel sorry for the guy. People think he was the obstacle we had from being able to watch MESSI those last minutes against Germany. But the truth is that CRUZ was always committed to the cause. He had no problems to travel the whole world with no previous notice and always declared ready to play only to be benched again and again by BIELSA, PEKERMAN or whoever was in charge.

He never complained. He is a serious hard worker and has shown in more than one occasion that he can score. He will continue to do so for Inter (or maybe somewhere else if Inter signs Luca TONI) but I’m afraid he won’t be playing for Argentina anymore.

Lionel MESSI: He is a gem for the Argentine football and football in general. ‘A blessing’ as PEKERMAN once said. No doubt he’ll become the nucleus of this new era. He just need to grow up and gain some experience that will only be beneficial for our National Team.

In 2010, he will be the kind of player that can lead a team to stardom. The way I see it, there is no other player today that can make an impact quite like him in four years time.

Rodrigo PALACIO: Yeah, he struggled against Ivory Coast. A little bit because of inadequate shoes (he was slipping all the time!) but also because of inappropriate tactics (he was left alone in our attacking front and had no partners to play with in those horrible last 20 minutes we played in that opening match).

He will use that experience for the future. He will also make the quality leap towards a European league in the near future and if he can emulate his performances for Boca somewhere else, he’ll be one to watch in the future.

So far, so good. You all know these players and I suppose we are pretty much in the same page regarding who of those will make it to South Africa 2010 and who won’t.

I know you, so I will stop going round and round and round and I’ll go straight to what you want to read: our future attackers! Here they are:

Sergio AGÜERO: I remember Jorge VALDANO once said about the great Brazilian legend
ROMARIO: ‘That player is a cartoon’s character! The way he plays, there is something fantastic about him’. Now there are two things that relate a lot about that sentence and Sergio: First of all, he was compared to ROMARIO soon after he made his appearance for Independiente. Physically he is very similar, those bent legs, that killing pace...

Secondly, and most incredibly, he has a cartoon’s character nickname! Many of you may be wondering what’s all that about the name KUN. Well...KUN is a Japanese cartoon character from AGÜERO’s favourite anime series when he was a little boy. He loved that character (actually named KUN KUN) so much that very soon everybody started calling him simply KUN. And boy he does play like a cartoon’s character! He is elastic. He’s fast. He’s also tough.

Signed by Atletico Madrid, KUN is already an idol in Spain’s capital and will try and carry Atletico’s flag to the top of La Liga once again. Expect him to be a key member for Argentina starting NOW!

Diego MILITO: He was very close to join his brother GABRIEL in this recent World Cup. He
plays for Zaragoza with him and he is a terrific goal scorer. Ever since he made his debut for Racing Club (did I tell you I support Racing? Ha!) I knew he was something special. Had a couple of great seasons here and was soon signed by one of the sleeping giants in Italian football: GENOA.

Diego (what a name he has, right?) became their top scorer and won promotion to Serie A, only for Genoa to be relegated to Serie C after a ‘little bit’ of corruption by their president.

Then he decided to go to Zaragoza and he became very famous after scoring 4 goals in a match against Real Madrid for the Copa del Rey. He also became Zaragoza’s main target man and he continued to deliver. If he maintains his level of performances, I won’t be surprise if he becomes the striker of our future.

Luciano FIGUEROA: Poor LUCHO (same nickname of GONZALEZ). He suffered a leg fracture while playing for River Plate when he was getting ready to join Argentina’s World Cup squad.

Never really showed his real potential when he went to play for Villarreal, but he did great everytime he pulled the Albiceleste at every level. Had a great Confederations Cup and scored some important goals in the World Cup Qualifiers. But had that horrible injury and missed out. If he comes back strong, he should have some chances in the future.

Luciano GALLETTI: In terms of age and experience, he could be making the trip to South Africa. But will he play to the best of his ability in the future? Is he past his prime? He is the only one who can reply to these answers and it all depends on him and how can he perform from now on.

All of these are proven attackers and not risky bets when we are talking of the chances they have to play for Argentina. Below you’ll read some names you probably never heard of. Some young, up and coming talents who could also be in our next manager radar.

But before we get to that, let me throw another name to you. A player that made a bad move in his career and was soon forgotten.

Fernando CAVENAGHI: What a great striker he is! Started playing for River Plate and started breaking scoring records. Sensational instinct and scoring ability.

He was rumoured to move to Italy, Spain or England but instead he (probably ill advised) took the first offer and went on to play for Spartak Moscow. Hardly an exciting team in a hardly competitive league.

Now he is struggling to find his old form and at the same time, he is out of the radar everytime a national manager thinks about the players to pick for a match or a tournament.

Can he put his career back on track? Will somebody take him to the biggest leagues in Europe? Will he come back to Argentina to build up his career once again? If the answer to one of this questions is ‘yes’, then we could add an amazing goal scorer to our team. I hope we do.

Now ‘Los pibes’ ('the lads' or 'the kids') as we say in Argentina when refering to the young men.

Ignacio SCOCCO: OK, could be a one time wonder but he scored 13 goals in his first season playing for Newell’s Old Boys (’ve got it, same team where a certain Gabriel Omar BATISTUTA started his career!).

He was unstoppable! He scored with both feet and he is as powerful as he is skilled. So much that he was already signed by the Mexican club PUMAS UNAM. Too soon to call. We need to see if he keeps on scoring in Mexico. One to watch, no doubt about it.

Diego BUONANOTTE: Another fine product of River Plate’s youth system, ‘COTI’ is only 17 years old and 1,60 mts.

Left footed, blue eyed, Diego (what is it with that name?) is yet to make his first division debut but is already raising a few eye-brows. Watch out for him.

And of course you can’t forget the strikers of last year’s Youth World Cup in The Netherlands:

Gustavo OBERMAN (River Plate), Neri CARDOZO (Boca Juniors) and Pablo VITTI (Rosario Central). They are not quite there in the mix, but they are still young and have time on their side.

I like what I see here. There will be a ‘good fight’ for places and that will only make them improve and get better.

Who’s your favourite out of these group?


Seba said...

If you read it all and you've made it so far, let me do two things:

1. Thank you for your interest and support!

2. Tell you that I'll pass on some websites and links to different videos regarding the players I've mentioned in this article.

Anonymous said...

Seba, Asian Fan here.

Thank you once again for taking the time and effort to put these articles together.

Gives us a pretty good picture of what to track in the coming months and years.

Anonymous said...

thanks for this excellent blog! i was really sad about argentina being knocked out of the wc so quickly, but after reading your blog i'm excited for the future of argentine football. great articles.

we have so much talent, so much skill... hopefully we find a coach who will utilize them to the fullest... which means: attack, attack and attack some more! let the opposition do the defending, let them be afraid of losing, and let's just do what we do best, and score beautiful goals!

messi, tevez, aguero,... wow!

Mohamed-Somalia said...

Thanks Seba, you have done great work to show us the futur Forwards for our Team. for me, i'd favor Messi , Aguero, Tevez, their the best. i have to say that we need a tall Forward who has Technique , Dribbling, and Good Finishing as well as Heading when it comes to score goals. agreed?

Seba said...

Agreed Mohamed! Sometimes it's very hard to find that package. For instance, not even the great BATIGOL had all those things.

He had great finishing and heading, but he didn't have a great technique or dribbling skills.

Diego Milito has good dribbling skills, technique, finishing and he can head the ball. Just follow him a little bit this season when he plays for Zaragoza with D'Alessandro as a possible play-maker!

It'll be exciting!

OK, as I promised: here is a video about Sergio KUN Agüero:

(Here's to show you that I'm very objective because he is scoring a goal for Independiente against Racing in the biggest derby we have in the city of Avellaneda -just south of Buenos Aires-)

Plus...a brilliant clip with music by STING and some incredible plays by KUN!

Joey said...

Seba, I am so happy to read this article, especially the first part.

Let me tell you, most Chinese fans are disillutioned by this world cup. A perfectly organized world cup, but as far as soccer is concerned it is not good. It reminded me of Italy 90, where defensive play dominated. And I am afraid this trend is going to continue.

Actually most fans here believe if Brazil or Arg is going to win it next time, they have to play like Brazil 94 - very cautious and very defensive-minded.

All these said, do you think Messi, Tevez, and Saviola are going to compete for one forward position again? That will be really annoying, considering they should all be in their prime years in 2010.

Seba said...

It's hard to tell but I see MESSI more playing like a play-maker in 2010 with TEVEZ up front and the other name could be AGÜERO.

We will lack in height. They are all very skilled by very little. I'm not sure if they can play alltogether in this modern-physical football of today.

But as Maradona once said: "If they are good, they could play together. But if they are great, there is no doubt about it"

I think MESSI, TEVEZ and AGÜERO are great!

I see SAVIOLA out of the starting lineup.

And probably Diego MILITO or Luciano FIGUEROA (depending on future form) will play as our strikers (one at a time).

Joey said...

When you talk about height, the whole Arg teams are very small, including defenders!

You conceded both goals in the elimination phase because you lost control in the air.

By the way, I really enjoy Saviola's play. It will be sad if I couldn't see him on Arg squad any more. In the forward line, I liked Saviola and Messi most.

Nothing against Tevez, but he...just buried his head when he played, like that Robben for Holland. While Saviola and Messi are always working hard to create chances for the whole team.

Anonymous said...

This is John from Malaysia,

I was wondering why not Tevez is used as out & out striker. Afterall he dose score a lot goals in the BRAZILLIAN league!!!. And dont forget, he was our top scorer in the Athens Olympic Games. Any comment on this Seba???

Keep the mails coming at

Seba said...

Yes John, he can be used as the main striker. The good thing about such a wonderful talent is that he can play anywhere. He could be the play-maker if he wanted to or the manager ask him.

He did play for Boca Juniors sometimes as a play-maker but he is more dangerous a few meters forward.

As for SAVIOLA, I expect him to keep on playing in our next international matches (friendlies or even Copa America next year).

But I don't see him keeping a place for four straight years. That's a long time and he will have plenty of 'rivals' for a place.

Saurabh Bhattacharjee said...

Brilliant work and a great source of information for Argentina fans in Asia who get only European Leagues to watch.

I cannot agree more with you about Diego Milito. He comes across as a complete striker from whatever little I have seen of him in Zaragoza games. However, time is running out for him as he is already 27.

However, I hope your prediction about Saviola does not prove true and keeps his place in the team. He is a champion and with his intelligent movement, he has shown that he can unlock any defence. Even in Barcelona where he is said to have had an ordinary time, he scored 58 goals in 105 games. The most impressive aspect of his game is how well he combines with other strikers. The only thing he needs is a tinge of consistency.

I will look forward to Kun Aguero. The only trouble is that Indians get to watch usually only the Real Madrid, Barcelona and Valencia games.

Joey said...

Saurabh, I agree with you and I hope Saviola could play for Argentina in 2010.

Tevez and Saviola play in the front just like Romario and Bebeto did for Brazil 94.

It really impressed me how Bebeto, my favorite player of US 94, played in that tourment. How he worked hard throughout the tourment to create chances for the whole team (especially for Romario).

I believe that Saviola could do the same.

Messi should be in the midfield supporting them.

Mohamed-somalia said...

Seba could you post a Video clip of Fernando Gago Playing for Boca Junior, i would be Very happy to see, i've only seen one clip from , when was playing for argentina.

Seba said...

Hi Mohamed, I'll try and find something but at the moment I couldn't.

IanM said...

It's good to see Fernando Cavenaghi in your list of possible strikers, I thought he looked excellent at River but haven't heard anything more about him since he moved to Spartak Moscow. There seem to be a lot of Argentine players moving to Russia and then they disappear... Chori Dominguez was another. I know they get more money in Russia but surely they must realise how difficult it is to adapt to the lifestyle and language there? It's a shame that such promising players make this move and then struggle. It's not only Argentines of course, Maniche and Costinha also failed to adapt to Russian football.

On another note, one player I've been impressed by but who is missing from your list is Gonzalo Higuain - do you think he has a chance of playing for Argentina in the future?