10 rising stars from the Primera División (Argentina)

The losing finalist of the 2014 World Cup, Argentina, is one of the biggest football nations in the world. And there are plenty of Argentines among the most expensive football players in history:

5. Di Maria: €75M
14. Crespo: €55M
22. Agüero: €45M
27. Veron: €43M
30. Pastore: €41M

Real Madrid has spent €114M on Argentinians since 2000 and last summer (2014) they signed James (€80M), with which he became the most expensive player ever to have played in the Argentine premier league (Banfield, 2008-10).

Having lived in Buenos Argentina for the last 2 years, where every single Primera División match is broadcasted on the public channel, I got my fair share of Argentine football. In general the level of both the local league as well as the Champions League equivalent “La Copa Libertadores” is not among the highest I have seen, but taking the previous list (which did not even include the likes of for example Tévez, Saviola, Higuaín, Messi, Batistuta and Maradona) into account I think it is worth to make a post about the 10 most promising players from last season (Torneo de Transición 2014, which is a tournament of 19 games). All considered players are born in 1993 or later.

Matías Kranevitter (River Plate) – 21/05/1993

River Plate’s defensive midfielder is without a doubt the most promising player in the Argentine Primera División. And it is a shame that he missed over half of the season due to an injury. In the end he came to 469 minutes in 6 games.

When seeing the per 90 minutes statistics of the last tournament you can note he finds himself among the best in the ranking of 3 very important aspects (tables 2-4, below) of a good defensive central midfielder: passing effectivity (6th), amount of passes (6th) and tackles (stealing the ball from an opponent) (1st).

Especially his amount of interceptions is huge: 7.5 per 90 minutes. In total he made 39 tackles, of which 33% were made on the opponent’s half, a key in River’s strategy of high pressure.

Another interesting statistics is that Kranevitter did not lose any of his last 18 games (all competitions) he played for River Plate. And in the 469 minutes he played last season, he received only 1 goal. To see his influence on the Copa Sudamericana winner, see table 1 of the Torneo de Transición 2014:

Kranevitter at River
Table 1: River Plate with and without Kranevitter

Reportedly he has already been spotted in Italy, fixing a European passport and talking to clubs like AC Milan and Inter. But also a move to Valencia would be an option.

A video analysis here.

Note: one of his flaws is the attacking part of the game, although this might not be very important for his position. It is interesting to know however that in 51 games for River Plate, Kranevitter never scored a goal, nor gave an assist. He came to 9 shots, of which 3 went on goal.

Guido Rodriguez (River Plate) – 01/04/1994

With Kranevitter having himself played in the spotlight of various clubs, his position might become vacant. With Guido Rodriguez River Plate might already have his successor in the selection.

In the tackles ranking he came close to Kranevitter, becoming 3rd overall with 5 steals per game. And in the whole tournament there was only one player that averaged more passes per 90 minutes than Rodriguez. Also, his pass accuracy was very impressive and more or less the same as Kranevitter: 93%.

Ricardo Centurión (Racing Club) – 13/01/1993

Centurión scored the only goal in Racing’s championship game last december (1-0 victory over Godoy Cruz). It was one of the 3 goals the winger scored last tournament, helping Racing Club to win its first league title since 2001. He is the highest valued U23-player in the Primera Divisíon in the list by transfermarkt.com.

Sebastián Rincón (Tigre) – 14/01/1994

Rincón participated in 6 goals (4 goals and 2 assists) for his club Tigre last tournament. That is one goal participation every 135 minutes. Only Calleri had a better rate in this age category.

On average he shot 2.78 times on goal per 90 minutes. The 8th highest average of all players with at least 10 shots.

Franco Bellocq (Indepediente) – 15/10/1993

Independiente had an impressive tournament as a recently promoted team and Bellocq made a good impression in that team. He gave more passes per 90 minutes than any other of his team mates and with an accuracy of 92% he was on of the league’s top passers.

Adrián Cubas (Boca Juniors) – 22/05/1966

In the second half of the tournament Cubas formed part of the first squad of Boca Juniors for the first time in his career. He stole the heart of the fans with his drive and endurance. He made 4.5 successful tackles per 90 minutes.

He also managed to get a very reasonable pass effectivity rate of 91%, the second highest of his Boca side.

So far, Cubas won 7 of the 10 games he played for Boca Juniors, a better percentage of any of his team mates with at least 5 matches.

Jonathan Calleri (Boca Juniors) – 23/09/1993

Jonathan Calleri, who arrived to Boca Juniors last summer, was topscorer (6 goals) of the players born in 1993 or later. He also provided 2 assists, which gave him a total of 8 goal participations. 32% of Boca’s goals and more than any of his team mates.

Another interesting stat: Calleri executed more shots than any other player under 22 years and got 67% of his 30 shots on target. An impressive rate; the second best of all players with 15 shots or more.

Ramiro Ángel Carrera (Arsenal) –  24/10/1993

Carrera managed to score 4 goals, which made him the 5th highest goal scoring midfielder of the tournament. He became an important player for Arsenal, missing only 2 games.

Pablo Becker (Rosario Central) – 19/04/1993

Rosario’s wide midfielder Becker gave 4 assists this tournament. More than any other player in the considered age category. Becker’s nickname “the jewel” (“joya”) is a bit outdated, but he seems to have found back his form. It seems about time for Becker – who, as a 13 year old, spent 40 days at Barca’s ‘La Masia’ before returning to Argentina – to make the step to a top club in Argentina.

A negative point is his scoring ability. In the Primera Division he took 15 shots, converting none of them. There was only 1 player that executed more shots without scoring (Castellani (Boca) with 18)

Enzo Trinidad (Banfield) – 19/7/1996
The 18 year old central midfielder debuted this year in the Primera División. And did that with 2 goals, with which he was the second youngest goal scorer in the tournament. In total he came to 7 shots of which 6 went on goal, a higher percentage (86%) than any other player. A higher accuracy than any other league player with at least 5 shots.


Table 1: Passing effectivity
Table 2: Passing effectivity (100+ passes)
Table 2: Passes per 90 mins
Table 3: Passes per 90 minutes (200+ passes)
Table 4: tackles per 90 minutes
Table 4: tackles per 90 minutes
Topscorers U22
Topscorers born 1993 or later


Note2: all data that has been user comes from data provider DataFactory

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