The 10 best South American teenagers in Football Manager 2018
10. Juan Foyth (Argentina)
“He’s a mix of Baresi and Beckenbauer,” former Uruguay international Gustavo Matosas once said about one of his players. He was talking about a fledgling centre-back who went from Estudiantes’s U18s to the first team starting line-up in the space of a year - and it didn’t take much longer for Juan Foyth to attract attention from PSG and others before signing for Tottenham in the summer of 2017.
Mauricio Pochettino has bought a 19-year-old who is impressive with the ball at his feet, and who can advance towards attack with assured dribbling.
Calm down, though, Spurs fans: he’s no David Luiz. The £8 million spent on him should seem like a bargain in future.
9. Federico Valverde (Uruguay)
Has Real Madrid’s long-awaited Fernando Redondo replacement finally been found? We’ll see about that in a few years, but a lot is expected of Valverde at the Bernabeu.
The 19-year-old midfielder has already shown that he responds well to pressure, after scoring on his senior debut for the Uruguayan national team in September and emerging as a viable contender for the 2018 World Cup.
Loaned to Deportivo La Coruna for 2017/18, he’s part of Madrid’s increasing investment in South American talent and probably won’t have to wait much longer before drawing further Redondo comparisons.
8. Ezequiel Palacios (Argentina)
Marcelo Gallardo is the most successful River Plate manager of all time, winning almost everything with the Argentine club over the last few seasons. He’s been known as El Muneco ('The Doll') throughout his career – so it's no surprise, then, that the kids he promotes to the first team are now being dubbed Munequitos (little dolls).
Exequiel Palacios is the one to keep an eye on.
“I would love to have played alongside a player like Exequiel,” Gallardo said about the 19 year-old. The River board listened to their coach and tried their best to avoid losing the elegant midfielder as the end of his contract approached. He was already being chased by Italian sides, but agreed to remain at Monumental de Nunez.
Palacios is rated as one of the finest passers by his fellow compatriots, and comparable to the former Porto and Marseille midfielder Lucho Gonzalez. The 19-year-old is the club’s biggest academy hope in a generation – and certainly the finest since the Gonzalo Higuain and Javier Saviola era.
7. Nicolas Gonzalez (Argentina)
Diego Maradona, Juan Riquelme, Esteban Cambiasso, Juan Pablo Sorin and the aformentioned Redondo are to name but a few graduates from the prolific Argentinos Juniors academy.
Perhaps, in a few years, a new name will be added to that illustrious list: Nicolas Gonzalez. The 19-year-old is pure class, and scored the goal that sealed his club’s comeback to the first division under the watch of former Manchester United, Real Madrid and PSG defender Gabriel Heinze.
Gonzalez played as right winger last season and has now been moved to a central role. He feels comfortable in both positions, as proven by his numbers – four goals in seven games. Roma have already made an enquiry for him and were told that only £10 million would make Argentinos consider selling their starlet.