Oscar USTARI (Getafe CF) – Will be the 1st choice keeper. A 2005 World Youth Cup winner and was also part of the 2006 world Cup squad. Last year he moved to Spain to play for Getafe where he became an understudy to National Team No.1 keeper, Pato ABBONDANZIERI. Did manage to get some regular first team appearances.
Sergio ROMERO (AZ Alkmaar) – Shortly after winning last year’s World Youth Cup in Canada, he moved from Racing Club (the club which our beloved Seba supports!!!) to join Dutch side AZ. Already has a dozen of first team appearances under his belt and is also another hot prospect to become the future National team No.1 keeper.
Pablo ZABALETA (Espanyol) – The captain of the 2005 World Youth Cup winning team. In my opinion, his ability to act both as a right back and right side midfielder is definitely a natural successor to Javier ZANETTI in the senior team. Most certainly will be used as a right back in the starting line up.
Luciano Fabian MONZON (Boca Juniors) – Boca recently rejected a $10 million offer for this player from Hamburg. This just goes to show what a valuable player he is for this team. A quality addition to the squad. In recent friendly matches, he was used as the starting left back.
Ezequiel GARAY (Real Madrid) – Arguably one of world football’s hot and rising defenders. His main position is at central but can play on the right back as well. Coming to Beijing after enjoying a great season at Racing Santander. His has proven to be a consistent set piece taker, scoring regularly from free kicks and penalties. Will definitely start in the first team.
Nicolas PAREJA (RSC Anderletch) – Though not in the initial plan, he will be one of the three over-age players that will go the Beijing. Being among the most senior player in the team, he could be (or maybe not) used in the starting line up to partner GARAY in central defense. Won the Belgian Super Cup last season. However, I would still have preferred someone like DEMICHELIS or BURDISSO filling up this spot.
Federico FAZIO (Sevilla FC) – Another player from the Class of 2007. He has been with Sevilla for the past two years but saw more first team action last season. Usually he plays at center back. He is best known for his aerial ability and no-nonsense attitude whilst defending. Seniority aside, he would be my preferred choice to play alongside GARAY in the central defense.
Fernando GAGO (Real Madrid) – The resurrection of REDONDO. Tough and resilience in his defensive duties but equally graceful, creative and visionary in attack. It was only last season that he manages to demonstrate his true ability with a series of top class of performance and defense splitting passes for Real, which help the club to win its second successive La Liga title. He will be a key figure in Checho’s plan.
Juan Roman RIQUELME (Boca Juniors) – When a player of his stature arrives in China, it will surely lift football at the Olympics to even greater heights. On his best, there can be no comparison in the world. His vision and passes will be instrumental in helping our strikers to get the goals. Above that, the crowd will surely be looking forward to all those wonderful techniques and footwork that he possesses. Checho can’t be wrong in this, I hope.
Javier MASCHERANO (Liverpool) – The one and only survivor from the 2004 Dream Team. The best player in the world, in my opinion, of his kind. As big as his head can be, his ball winning skill is brutal, deadly but beautiful at the same time. Young playmakers in Beijing will be terrified being chased upon by him. Aiming to become the first footballer to win and defend the gold medal at the Olympics.
Ever BANEGA (Valencia) – Another player in the mould of a Fernando REDONDO in my opinion. He was the midfield dynamo from the last World Youth Cup. Coming through a tough season with Valencia but still manages to win the Copa del Rey. Most likely he will used as a back up to either GAGO or maybe MASCHERANO.
Jose Ernesto SOSA (Bayern Munich) – A discovery of Diego SIMEONE during his time at Estudiantes. Despite of the tough competition in Bayern, he still manages to impress everyone with some brilliant display down the flanks. Played some important role in leading the Bavarian club to the UEFA Cup semi-final.
Angel DI MARIA (SL Benfica) – A key figure from the World Youth Cup in Canada last year, scoring three goals along the process. Was courted by many top clubs from Europe and Benfica was his preferred destination. He was highly regarded by the club’s president and was touted as the perfect replacement for the club’s ex-talisman, Simao SABROSA. Nicknamed the “Little Angel”.
Diego BUONANOTTE (River Plate) – At 159cm, this small but agile playmaker has won plenty of admire throughout the globe with his sizzling display for River Plate. Blessed with pace, verve, a cool head and an uncanny knack of beating keeper in one-on-one situations. Scored on his club debut against non other than Boca Juniors and help them to win the Clausura 2008. World Soccer Magazine has named him one of the “50 most exciting teenagers in the world game”.
Lionel MESSI (Barcelona) – Without him, football is nothing at Beijing 2008. He has been almost everywhere. The World Cup, The Copa America and now it is high time that the Olympian Gods proclaim their newest arrival. If there is one player that is capable of repeating TEVEZ heroic performance from Athens, then surely only the Atomic Flea can do it.
Sergio Kun AGUERO (Atletico Madrid) – The Golden Boy and the Golden Boot winner in last year’s World Youth Cup. He was entrusted into the spotlight by Atletico after the departure of TORRES. In return he became the third highest goal scorer (19 goals) in La Liga and helping the club to qualify for the Champions League. Will partner with MESSI up front.
Ezequiel LEVAZZI (Napoli) – The Argentine media nicknamed him le Bestia (The Beast). Last year with Napoli, he won many admirer and praises for his performance on the field. In fact, his contribution brought back many memories of a certain Argentine legend that once roared the crowd at the San Paolo.
Lautaro ACOSTA (Sevilla FC) – For one reason he has manage to sealed himself in Argentine football folklore. If it wasn’t for his last minute winner against Uruguay in last 2007 South American Youth Championship, Argentina would have not been able to defend its gold in Beijing. He is an incredibly quick and incisive player who cuts in from the flanks but can also play as a central striker. Won the Apertua with Lanus in 2007.