With the Superclásico series approaching fast, the media attention of the footballing world will no doubt turn to Argentina to see some of its best and brightest stars as Boca Juniors host bitter rivals River Plate.
When scouring over the 22+ man cast, many will place a wandering glance at the River Plate No10 position. Synonymous with playmaking excellence, Los Milionarios ‘Number 10s’ of the past read amongst the great and good of the South American game.
Gonzalo Martínez | Age: 21
The latest talented Number 10 in the illustrious River Plate dynasty
When a player is given the prestigious River Plate No10 shirt, South America, if not the world, sits up and takes note.
An all star cast that ranges from Enzo Francescoli to Pablo Aimar, via Ariel Ortega and current River boss Marcelo Gallardo, the latest incumbent is one of the domestic game’s rising stars, Gonzalo Martínez.
From the same distinguished CA Huracan youth academy set-up as good friend, and fellow trequartista, Javier Pastore, River pulled out all the stops to sign the talented Martínez – so much so that he was identified by Gallardo as their number one transfer priority.
Indeed since his arrival at Los Millonarios ‘El Pity’ (as the playmaker is commonly known) has not disappointed, giving a string of sublime performances that have made few question the judgement of giving the player the responsibility of wearing such a historic jersey number.
A tall, elegant playmaker with a cultured left foot, the River man’s vision and creativity has seen him establish himself as a key component within a side that had duly struggled in his early season absence through injury.
However post Martínez’s recovery (amongst other factors), River have awakened from their early season slumber; shooting up the table into joint-first position with Boca, and edging through in their Copa Libertadores group to set up a triple Superclásico series after the draw, with both teams far more evenly matched than many would have imagined just a few months ago.
And with a series of illustrious predecessor from which to draw inspiration from, ‘El Pity’ will look to establish himself on the biggest stage in Argentine domestic football and the continent’s showpiece club event.