San Lorenzo is the new champion of South America. Beating Nacional from Paraguay in the final (2-1 aggregate), the club from Buenos Aires won the cup for the first time in its history and became the winner of the 55th edition (4 less than the European Champions League) of the world’s second (?) most important Club Tournament.
And with the 2014 Copa Libertadores have come to end, it is time to make a list of the 10 hottest prospects of the tournament. The list is primarily based on performance data of all sub-23 players of the tournament. The performance index as used on PasionLibertadores.com (http://bit.ly/1oI1sEg) was used a a base to recognize top performers.
All players featured in the list were 22 years old or younger when the Copa Libertadores 2014 started:
10. Christofer Gonzáles (Per) – 12 October 1992 – Midfielder – Universitario
No player younger than 23 years old completed more passes per 90 minutes than this peruvian: 46. He also had the highest passing completion rate of all sub 23 players and the 7th highest of the whole tournament: 95%.
Was fouled 3.66 times per 90 minutes, more than any other player with more than 1 match.
- John Medina (Col) – 14 June1992 – Defender – Atletico Nacional
Medina is one of the central defenders of Colombia’s Atletico Nacional. In the 2014 Copa he was the defender with the 7th highest passing effectiveness: 92% He also averaged the third highest amount of passes completed per 90 minutes of all defenders: 45.
Medina also summed no less than 4,8 interceptions per 90 minutes, more than any of his teammates.
- Edwin Cardona (Col) – 8 December 1992 – Central Midfielder – Atletico Nacional
Number 10. Got 29 strikes during the tournament. The second highest amount of a player in this tournament and Gedoz (#2 of this list) was the only midfielder who managed to execute more (31 shots). He has got a great precision ratio, getting 59% of his shots on target, the third highest of all players with 10+ shoys. However only 2 of them went in, making his goal effectivity very low: 7%.
Making the only goal in two of his teams 1-0 wins. He also provided a last-minute assist in the match against last years Copa-winner Atletico Mineiro to help his team to the quarter finals.
One of his goals: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C63vPawcozM
His very fine 93th minute assist: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Aq7uBjHBH6A&feature=player_detailpage#t=31
- Ramiro Moschen Benetti (Bra) – 15 January 1993 – Defensive Midfielder – Gremio
This Gremio defensive midfielder played 7 out of Gremio´s 8 games, helping his team to maintain a clean sheet in 5 of them. Playing under his name Ramiro, he made 18 interceptions (2.65 per 90 minutes), the second highest of his team.
He executed 7 shots, of which 5 went on goal, with an average distance of 19.4 meters to the goal. One of his shots went in and besides he gave two fine through balls which were converted.
Ramiro reached 86%+ passing effectivity in 6 of his 7 games, in total sending 90% of his passes correctly to a team mate, with an average of 34 passes per 90 minutes. He covers the whole midfield as can be seen from this map from the Nacional – Gremio game:
6. Jorge Correa (Arg) – 4 April 1993 – Forward – Vélez Sarsfield
Firing 20 shots in 8 games he got the second highest amount of shots per 90 minutes of the whole tournament: 3.7. He got a quite good precision rate of 55% as 11 of his 20 shots went on goal. In total he converted 3 of his shots, becoming joint top scorer of his team. He scored all his goals in the last 15 minutes of the game.
First goal against Nacional: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7Z53OspSzY4
5. Junior Sornoza (Ecu) – 28 January 1994 – Midfielder – Independiente del Valle
Ecuadorian Junior Sornoza scored 4 goals in 6 games, from which 3 from the penalty spot. Subtracting those goals he still directly participated in 4 (1 goal and 3 assists) of his teams 7 goals.
In the MEMORABLE final group game his Ecuadorian team won by 5-4, with 3 assists and 1 penalty goal from Sornoza, but it was 1 goal short of reaching the second round. In their first-ever participation they got eliminated on goal difference by champion San Lorenzo.
All his goals were of vital importance for his team: 3 game winning goals and one last-minute equaliser. The 20-year old sure has some nerves.
Goal against Botafogo: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ngx8gYjVuAM
4. Giorgian De Arrascaeta (Uru) – 1 June 1994 – Attacking Midfielder – Defensor Sporting
Only having turned 20 last June, this is the youngest player to appear on this list. De Arrasceata is the number 10 of Uruguayan team Defensor Sporting. He participated in all games, only missing 120 minutes, before his team lost in the semi final against Nacional from Paraguay.
In his 12 games he took 16 shots, of which 56% (9) went on goal. He scored 2 goals and also gave 3 assists.
No one in the whole tournament received more fouls than he did: 35. The videos below also show that is it difficult to stop the guy.
Great control, dribbling two opponents before assisting Gedoz: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9PHxxLqafEo
3. Diego Wayar (Bol) – 15 October 1993 – Midfielder – The Strongest
Diego Wayar is one of the revelations of Bolivia. He debuted in the Copa when he was only 18 years old, but this year he only played 4 games. He did impress by winning each single one of them. In 3 of those games he reached a 95% or higher pass effectivity rate. And in one of those games he was faultless with any of his 38 passes. Moreover, in every single game he made at least 3 interceptions, with an average of 4.7 interceptions per 90 minutes.
In total he averaged 33 passes per 90 minutes, with 46% of his passes going forward. He had an average effectivity of 92%, with only 17 players with 100+ passes having a higher percentage.
Besides he managed to score the only (and thus winning) goal in his team´s first group win.
Goal against Universitario: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a1hjn2u6mok
2. Felipe Gedoz (Bra) – 12 July 1993 – Attacking midfielder – Defensor Sporting
Gedoz is one of the Uruguayan League’s greatest talents and at Defensor Sporting he generally plays as a number 10 or left attacking midfielder. In this year’s Copa Libertadores he recorded more shots than any other player in total (31), with an average of 3.18 per 90 minutes (7th highest of tournament). In total he scored 4 goals (3 played goals and 1 free kick) and gave 1 assist, helping his team to the semifinals.
He took his shots from an average distance of 20.6 meters from the goal and 26 from his 31 shots from outside the penalty area. Of those shots an incredible 4 went on the post.
His attacking drive and attempts to dribble his opponents is also shown by the fact that he was fouled on average 2.9 times per game.
A video of his double salvo against Cruzeiro: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ua2zYz493IM
1. Ricardo Goulart (Bra) – 5 June 1991 – Attacking midfielder – Cruzeiro
Brazilian Ricardo Goulart, playing as a central midfielder or a 10, was one of the stars of this year’s tournament. Converting 20% of his 20 shots he became third in the list of top scorers with 4 goals.
Besides he assisted 3 goals in the 9 games he played this edition of the Copa Libertadores. Directly participating in 7 of Cruzeiro´s 17 goals (41%) he led them into the quarterfinals in which they were eliminated by champion San Lorenzo. Only two players had more direct goal participations in the competition than he did.
Especially his performance against U. de Chile was outstanding: scoring 3 goals, giving 1 assist and reaching 95% passing effectivity (19/20 passes completed).
Video of images from 2011-2014: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pe1i0cTncv8
Let’s see which players put themselves on the list of Europe’s top teams. Please leave any comments!
Note: all data used in this article comes from data provider DataFactory