Meet the Chilean sensation hoping to shoot down Spain and Holland
The 60-second story
Eduardo Vargas made his name at Universidad de Chile. He was the star man at the 2011 Copa Sudamericana, with his 11 goals helping Universidad to the title. Those 11 goals, a single season tournament record, attracted interest from Chelsea and Liverpool, but it was Napoli who won the race for the Chilean’s signature in early 2012 for £11.5 million.
- Name: Eduardo Vargas
- Date of Birth: 20th November 1989
- Age: 24
- Place of Birth: Santiago, Chile
- Position: Winger/Striker
- Height: 5ft 9in
- Previous clubs: Cobreloa, Universidad de Chile, Napoli, Gremio (loan), Valencia (loan)
- Current club: Napoli, Apps 28, Goals 3
- Country: Chile, Apps 28, Goals 11
A striker by trade, Vargas was mostly deployed as a winger with Napoli and found it increasingly difficult to displace Edinson Cavani up front; a hat-trick in the Europa League ended up his only goals for the Italian club. Loan spells at Gremio and Valencia have rejuvenated his career, especially in Spain where he has been playing in his favoured role up front.
Chances at Napoli look to be at a premium next season due to the sensational form of Gonzalo Higuain, Jose Callejon and Dries Mertens. With this in mind, the World Cup with a Chile team labelled as dark horses is an ideal opportunity for Vargas to put himself in the shop window in the hopes of securing a new club.
Why you need to know him
His exploits at Universidad are the stuff of legend in Chile: two league titles and the club’s first ever Copa Sudamericana title, with his excellent 11 goals in 12 games. Despite his failings at Napoli he was prolific last year on international duty, scoring nine of his 11 goals in 2013. These included strikes against Brazil (in two separate matches), Spain (two goals) and Uruguay, spanning friendly matches and World Cup qualifiers.
A real threat on the counter attack, Vargas possesses blistering pace and superb dribbling ability. His knack for getting in behind defenders is perfectly illustrated by his first goal of a brace in a friendly win over Spain, when the Chilean broke the offside trap, latched onto a through ball and calmly slotted past Iker Casillas. The calibre of opponents he has scored against suggests he isn’t fazed by the big occasion.
Vargas doesn’t posses the greatest strength or heading ability, but his pace and shooting accuracy more than make up for those deficiencies. Although clinical for Chile, he hasn’t notced a double-digit season for goals since arriving in Europe, although part of this can be attributed to a lack of regular game time at Napoli.
Respected journalist of South American football, Tim Vickery, once described Vargas in 2012 as being “the outstanding figure of the last few months of South American football”. He would finish second to Neymar in that year’s South American player of the year award.
Did you know?
In September 2013, Vargas broke Chile's record for international goals in consecutive games, scoring twice in a friendly against Spain to make it six games in a row on the scoresheet. With that he broke the previous record of five held by Marcelo Salas and Carlos Caszely.
What happens next?
After a decent loan spell at Valencia, the Chilean will be hoping a good showing at the World Cup will raise his value as he looks for a move away from Napoli. He won't be short of suitors.
Shooting 7 • Heading 5 • Passing 7 • Tackling 7 • Pace 9 • Dribbling 8 • Crossing 7 • Work-rate 8