Estadio Garcilaso

The South American qualifiers for the 2014 World Cup are done and dusted and the inquiries into what went wrong for the four countries who failed to qualify can now begin.

Of the four, Peru have perhaps the blankest canvas to work with. Sergio Markarian is set to leave his post as national team coach and a number of players are reaching an age at which international retirement is likely. Read More


Paris Saint-Germain took their summer spending north of €110 million when they wrapped up the purchase of Roma’s Brazilian central defender Marquinhos for a reported €35 million last Friday. In the process, the 19-year old became the fourth most expensive central defender in the history of world football, behind only Rio Ferdinand (€44 million), his new PSG team-mate Thiago Silva (€42 million) and Lilian Thuram (€35.85 million).

But while that trio were all established players in their mid-twenties with multiple seasons in top class leagues to their credit, Marquinhos has just 22 Serie A starts to his name. How, then, have PSG been persuaded to part with €35 million for a player who cost Roma in the region of ten times less just a year ago?
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Courtesy of AP

Courtesy of AP

In 2007 I began to take my first tentative steps towards the vocation that I now, somewhat laughably, refer to as my career. I knew that I wanted to write about the sport that I loved and at the time the best approach seemed to be to set up a blog. And so, El Espectacular, a now-abandoned blog on Latin American football, was born.

One of my first posts on El Espectacular saw me pick 10 young Latin American prospects from the then recently concluded 2007 U20 World Cup in Canada. There were two very simple rules: the players had to be from a country in Latin America and could not already be contracted to a European club. The second of those stipulations ruled out Sergio Aguero, who was undoubtedly the star of the tournament-winning Argentina side.

With the 2013 U20 World Cup in Turkey soon due to kick off, I thought it would be interesting to look at the 10 players I picked out back in 2007 and see whether their careers have progressed as I expected them to. The results, it is fair to say, are mixed:

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