by Tom Lees - 21st January 2016
A new name that has burst onto the footballing scene, and the transfer rumour pages, is a young Uruguayan midfielder by the name of Rodrigo Bentancur. At 18 years of age, and with only one senior season at club level under his belt, the very fact that Bentancur is being heavily linked to Real Madrid and Juventus is a sign of the huge talent that he possesses.
A product of the Boca Juniors academy, Bentancur didn’t make his first team debut for Boca until April 2015, as a substitute in a goalless draw against Nueva Chicago. He quickly became a valued member of the Boca first team as his young talent adapted with ease to the professional game. In that season Bentancur would help his team to a league and cup double in Argentina, a great start to a potentially great career.
Starting off at Boca in an attacking midfield role, Bentancur would soon drop into a deeper midfield position where his commanding presence and creative qualities could dictate the tempo of the whole team. With his tall physique, strength, technique and ability to go box to box to utilise his passing, shooting and great vision, Bentancur has drawn comparison with young French prodigy Paul Pogba. Although the way he calmly assumes possession and glides across the turf with grace and dominance, he reminds me more of Patrick Vieira, perhaps without quite the same bite to his game.
Bentancur at such a young age seems to have the lot to his game, the talent set for the very top. Passing, shooting, technically outstanding, a high work rate, the vision and skills to excite and create. He has appeared out of the youth system in Buenos Aires and shot straight into the list of most sought after youngsters in the game in very little time at all. Although still uncapped at any level for his native Uruguay, he will be looked upon as one of the nation’s great stars of the future alongside Giorgian De Arrascaeta, and with the World Cup in Russia two years away expect both players to shine on the World stage.
The move to Europe at such a young age, especially for the figures being touted in the press, would be quite the risk for Bentancur. Boca Juniors are a huge club side in South America, but Real Madrid or Juventus would still be a step up in class for the youngster and any potential deal may be best served with an immediate loan back to La Bombonera. Then again maybe Bentancur is the type to take it all in his stride, after all he was only introduced to first team football nine months ago and look how far he has come. Argentine league and cup winner, one of the hottest prospects in World football and linked with two of the biggest club sides in the game. He’s achieved so much in such a short period of time, whether he remains at Boca or makes the flight to Europe, one thing is for sure he will go on to achieve a lot more in the coming years.