It is a well documented fact that even with a population of just under 3.5 million people, Uruguay is a nation renowned for the production of world-class footballing talent.
From their fiery tempered, hard nosed central defenders, to lethal penalty box predators, the Uruguayan’s have provided some of the games greatest players – with the playmaker position no exception.
River Plate’s legendary fantasista Enzo Francescoli is perhaps the most lauded player to wear the La Celeste Number 10, though in recent times, and perhaps more widely known to a Europe audience, there was a certain Alvaro ‘El Chino’ Recoba, famously of Inter Milan and Nacional De Montevideo.
And it is precisely at ‘El Bolso’ – Recoba’s current club – where we can find the Charruas biggest prospect. Regarded as the most talented player of his generation and one of the stars of the recent South American Under-20 Championships, this of course is none other than the one and only Gaston Pereiro.
From Recoba’s fan, to Nacional’s main man
At just 19 years of age, Gaston Pereiro is a name you had better take note of. Famous to some for having his idol Alvaro Recoba’s face tattooed on his arm after his hero scored a last minute clásico winning free-kick versus Peñarol, the Nacional prodigy is a player with the footballing world at his feet.
A tall, elegant, cultured left-footed playmaker, Pereiro went into the recent South American Championships on home soil with a footballing nation’s hopes on his young shoulders. But far from burdening Uruguay’s ‘No10’, this proved to be an inspiration behind a tournament that many analysts see as confirmation of a star in the making.
Having finished the tournament as runners-up (meaning Pereiro will surely be at this summer’s Under-20 World Cup also) Nacional’s No21 rushed back to play in his side’s second-leg Libertadores Cup qualifier – and despite a deftly taken goal showcasing some of the youngster’s considerable virtues, he could not ultimately prevent his side from being eliminated.
This aligned to the now notorious need for South American clubs to sell their most prized assets to balance the books, means we may well be seeing Pereiro in a major European league as soon as this summer. So scribble down the name and get ready to enjoy – from Francescoli to Recoba, now its time for Pereiro!