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?
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:
The Copa Libertadores group stage reached its conclusion at the back end of last week. With the round of 16 ties commencing on Wednesday, now seems an ideal time to take a look at the goal related numbers from the group stage.
The South American U20 Championship often acts a springboard from which successful careers are launched and in this year’s edition few players enhanced their reputation more than Peru’s holding midfielder Rafael Guarderas.
James Rodriguez is quickly becoming one of the most sought after players in Europe. The 21-year-old star from Cucuta, Columbia is currently in his third year with Porto and could be one of the most costly players during the January transfer window.