Sat 17 July 2021 | 4:30

The Next Generation of Argentine Football: No Country for Old Men

In the following article from SportMob, we will have a look at the Next Generation of Argentine football and analyze top 10 young Argentinian football players 2021.

Argentina has always been characterized by providing enormous talents to European football. Argentina, also known as La Albiceleste, has appeared in five World Cup finals. Argentina has also been very successful in Copa America, winning it 15 times, most recently in 2021, and is currently tied with Uruguay in most wins. The team also won the 1992 FIFA Confederations Cup and the 1993 Artemio Franchi Trophy. 


is known for having rivalries with Brazil, Uruguay, England, and Germany due to special events throughout football history.

This competition is also underway on a talents scale as the next generation of the Argentina national team could surprise the world. Manager Lionel Scaloni is building a national team mixed of young and experienced stars. The players among the next generation of Argentine talent are ready to prove themselves as gems. Nahuel Molina, Dario Sarmiento, Lautaro Martinez, Julian Alvarez and Nicolas Gonzalez are young stars growing into world-beaters.

Lionel Scaloni took over the reins of the Argentina national team in 2018, at a time when there was disarray not only in the team but also in the football association. The country had emerged from a dismal show at the 2018 World Cup. While Argentina's 2018 World Cup squad was the oldest in the tournament, Scaloni has kept his team young and vibrant, with only a few old-guard members like Lionel Messi, Angel di Maria, and Nicolas Otamendi getting regular game time as there are some positive signs of regarding 

the next generation of Argentine football


Forwards Lautaro Martinez and Nicolas Gonzalez, midfielders Guido Rodrigues, Rodrigo De Paul, and defender Nahuel Molina are all starters in Scaloni's system. But it is not enough to form the sample, so we intend to list the best young Argentine footballers that could form Argentina’s future and make the country stay at the top for many years.

Top 10 Young Argentinian Football Players 2021

Football is changing; its future is upon us. Today investing in young people and above all "building them at home" must be the next step in Argentine football. For this reason, it becomes essential today to look at what can be done tomorrow and, in particular, to be able to compose "a generation Z" of players able to face the next challenges of the change implemented.

The players mentioned as

the next generation of Argentine football

are the stars of their team. If you are interested in the list of top 10 young Argentinian football players 2021, keep reading.

10. Nahuel Molina

Nahuel Molina

initially struggled at Udinese when he first joined roughly a year ago but cemented his position in the team from the game against Fiorentina. The flying right-back went onto the start XI and played every minute of Udinese’s last 15 Serie A games resulting in two goals and five assists. Gift of his top form at club level, Molina deservedly earned a call up to Lionel Scaloni’s Argentina squad. Improving all the time defensively at Udinese has benefited him immensely. Full of energy and intensity, he applies aggressive pressure to get at his opponents, wanting to get in touch and impose himself on his marker.

Molina has proven he is a skilled dribbler and passer in terms of his work with the ball at his feet. He is assisting at crosses and cutbacks into the box. Molina is definitely one to keep an eye on, for all the signs suggest he is set to continue his clear up to the top path. He is a future star in

the next generation of Argentine football


9. Thiago Almada

To begin with, Almada is a great passer. An obvious choice and arguably the most talented young Argentinian player still in the league but, given that Gabriel Heinze carefully managed his game-time, it still feels like we have yet to see Almada truly boss things week in week out. New boss Mauricio Pellegrino will hope that he can harness the undoubted game-changing ability of the 19-year-old starlet as Velez look to build on last year’s momentum.

Heavily linked to Barcelona, Atletico Madrid, and Manchester clubs, the small playmaker from Fuerte Apache possesses fantastic dribbling ability, sensational skills, and excellent vision and creativity. Despite a significant fall in local competitiveness and constant economic plights, the Argentine first division generates interest worldwide.

Almada is a very versatile player and can fill in a wide variety of roles.

Thiago Almada

is equally capable of playing in wider roles where his ability to cut inside to deliver dangerous balls makes him an asset for Heinze. The former defender has also used him as something of a false nine at times.

He can control the ball, pass it back to his teammate A behind him and then make a run out wide or wait for teammate number B to finish his run towards the flank and pass him the ball. And that is where Almada’s vision helps him. Cutting inside like he normally does, Almada is now in a position where he has three options; spread the ball to the other wing, pass to his teammate in the middle of the park or carry the ball a little further up the pitch and unlock more options.

His range of passing means that Almada can even be a successful deep-lying playmaker. However, on the opposite side of the color, the youngster also has a great ability to shoot from various positions. Based on data, Almada likes to shoot with his preferred right foot, and most of his shots are around the opponent’s penalty area.

Thiago Almada was born in the tough neighborhood of Fuerte Apache, the same place where another then-promising up-and-comer emerged in Carlos Tevez. In fact, Tevez made his first-team debut with Boca Juniors just six months after Almada was born.

The young Almada grew up idolizing his hometown world-beater. He also supported Boca growing up and recently confessed he used to pick Tevez at

Manchester City

while playing FIFA. Like El Apache, he was also a precocious talent, joining Velez Sarsfield’s esteemed youth system aged 5 and featuring on The Guardian’s Next Generation list in 2018, having made his first-team debut in August.

8. Dario Sarmiento

Dario Sarmiento

, one of the highest prominent of Estudiantes de La Plata, along with Alejandro Sabella, icon of the Pincha. Despite having made less than 10 senior appearances for Estudiantes, 17-year-old wonderkid Sarmiento makes the list as one of the most gifted and highly-anticipated talents in the league.  Handed a debut by Gabriel Milito at the age of 16, the little winger impressed with his low center of gravity, magnetic close control, and change of pace. A left-footed wide man who tends to play on the right, Sarmiento averages 12.86 dribbles per 90 and looks to have all the raw attributes to be a star in the making.

As it reported, Manchester City would be willing to pay €12m. Luciano Galletti, the representative of Dario Sarmiento, confirmed that there is progress with Manchester City for the transfer of Dario. On October 8, the British Newspaper The Guardian included Dario Sarmiento in the list of 60 young talents in world football with the 'Next Generation' title.

Alejandro Sabella, the former Sheffield United and Leeds midfielder who coached Argentina in the 2014 World Cup final and previously played for and managed Estudiantes, has a nickname for Dario Sarmiento: Hallelujah. “He fills me with hope for his future and for all of us who love the club so much,” Sabella says.

Sarmiento, a small left-footer who under Gabriel Milito, the current Estudiantes coach, has moved from No.10 to the right-wing, became the second-youngest first-team player in the club’s history when he made his debut last October, and his first start followed in March, three weeks before his 17th birthday. Keep an eye on Argentina's biggest asset in the next generation of Argentine football. Undoubtedly Dario Sarmiento is a perfect choice for the list of 'picking an Argentina next-generation XI.'

7. Matias Palacios

El Ciclon have done well at the youth level in recent years but have not managed to transfer it to success at the senior side. Marcos Senesi, Chimy Avila, and Adolfo Gaich have all made decent profits, but San Lorenzo haven’t had the chance to enjoy them for long. Fortunately, it looks like they have found another diamond in the rough to give their fans fresh hope in the form of 18-year-old

Matias Palacios


Palacios is a classic Argentinian number 10 with silky dribbling skills, incisive eye-of-the-needle passing, and the ability to conjure something special out of nothing. He inspired Argentina to the U-17 Sudamericana title last year and has already been called up to the U-20s by Pablo Aimar, while Francesco Totti is also an admirer.

Mariano Soso’s side have made a promising start, with center-back Federico Gattoni, another young prospect impressing. The 18-year-old Matias Palacios is called the future playmaker for Argentina. Palacios tries to copy the tactics of his idols Juan Roman Riquelme and Andres Iniesta. Riquelme and Iniesta stood for genius ideas. Both were able to anticipate opportunities where other players recognize the obvious one. 

Matias Palacios won the U17 South American Championship in 2019. Palacios led his team to the title. He scored three goals. He is currently working on his breakthrough at his actual club San Lorenzo. Palacios is also a threat to the opponents’ goal. He can shoot from a distance.

Palacios is responsible for creativity in the offensive, but he could be helpful to support the team in the defensive phase. Before moving to Europe, he should improve his defensive skills. However, Palacios has all the potential to make it into the list of picking an Argentina next-generation XI.

6. Benjamin Garre

Benjamin Garre

was born on 11 July 2000 and is a professional football player from Argentina. Benjamin Garre has also played in Football League Trophy for Man City U-21 and UEFA Youth League for Man City U-19. He currently plays as a left-winger for Racing Club. One of his best performances from the last period was the match against Alianza Lima, played on 24 September 2020 in Copa Libertadores. Benjamin Garre received a match rating of 7.6 for his performance, and Racing Club won the match with a 0-2.

He scored 1 goal, and Racing made it through to the knockout stages of the Libertadores but will have to carry on without their young midfield star, Matias Zaracho, who moved to Atletico Mineiro. Nevertheless, several emerging tyros are looking to step out of his shadow as the club’s next best prospect.

The likes of Elias Machuca and Carlos Alcaraz are both promising, but at 17, it is too early to put too much expectation on their shoulders, while Tiago Banega looks like he will have a bigger role.  However, probably the exciting emerging talent is fleet-footed winger Benjamin Garre.

The 20-year-old began his career at Velez but was controversially poached by Manchester City at the age of 16 but now returns to Argentina with a point to prove. Although still somewhat inconsistent, Garre has caught the eye of the Libertadores with his flashes of brilliance.  His burst of acceleration, dribbling ability, and willingness to take on defenders will be key for Racing. If he can get regular first-team football, he could be a game-changing addition to La Albiceleste and the next generation of Argentine football.

5. Lisandro Martinez

One of the leading stars and most consistent players is young center-back Lisandro Martinez. Born in Gualeguay in the province of Entre Rios, Martinez came through the academy of Newells Old Boys and represented Argentina at the U-20 level at the 2017 Sudamericana. However, after just one appearance for La Lepra,

Defensa y Justicia

swooped in and offered him regular playing time with a one-year loan, making the deal permanent last summer.

Given the lack of options at center-back for Argentina, Martinez is someone whose development should be followed closely. A left-footed center-back, Martinez is just as comfortable on the left of a back three as a back four. Furthermore, he can operate wider and in tighter spaces, as is expected from any top-level modern center-back. His positioning, reading of the game, and understanding of different roles mean that he makes plenty of interceptions.

Martinez has the ability to break the lines with his passing skills. No center-back in the Superliga has made more key passes per game (14) than Martinez. After joining Ajax in 2019, Ten Hag used Lisandro Martinez in the center-back role. 

He normally positions himself in the six space, demanding possession from his center-backs and using subtle shifts of feet and body to evade markers and distribute the ball. He is well-schooled at opening his body to receive passes and using the perfect dribble and feint to quickly set his feet and distribute possession.

The 21-year-old had a moment when he received the ball, hemmed into his own box, calmly spun past his marker, and worked a pass to Daley Blind to evade pressure. Martinez has already established himself as a technical leader despite only being in Amsterdam for a few months. He was a member of the Argentina squad, who conquered Copa America 2021. Without a doubt, Martinez has a special place on the list of

the next generation of Argentine football


4. Julian Alvarez

Julian Alvarez

was born on 31 January 2000. He is an Argentine professional footballer who currently plays for River Plate and the Argentina national team. Mainly a forward, he can also operate as a winger. The young forward was thrown in at the deep end when he was brought on in the 2018 Libertadores final in Madrid for just his fourth senior appearance for River Plate but then struggled to establish himself in Marcelo Gallardo’s side truly. However, an impressive five goals in five Libertadores games suggest that Alvarez is now ready to step up and come good on his evident potential.

A well-rounded forward who has been used both upfront and on the right-wing, Alvarez has a good pace, quick feet, and connects well with his teammates, meaning he can serve as a playmaker as well as a finisher.  The U-20 and U-23 international recently signed a new deal with Los Millonarios with an increased €25m release clause. It has been almost two years since Julian Alvarez made his River Plate debut. Patience will still be required, but there is no doubt that the forward remains an important part of the next generation of Argentine football. While

picking an Argentina next-generation XI

, there is no doubt there is a place for Julian Alvarez.

3. Nicolas Gonzalez

Nicolas Gonzalez is one of the most prominent of the top 10 young Argentinian football players 2021 in the next generation of Argentine football. Nicolas Gonzalez was one of Stuttgart’s top players in the 2019/2020 season; the 22-year-old Argentine forward was the team’s top scorer with 14 goals while also contributing with three assists. The next season (2020/2021), he contributed another 8 goals to make himself known.

Nicolas Gonzalez

is a very versatile offensive player that can play multiple roles, he has the speed and trickery in one-on-one of a winger, the vision to find space of an attacking midfielder and the ability to get into good finishing positions, as well as to convert them, of a striker. This combination of characteristics allows Gonzalez to play in different positions as he is a very unpredictable and creative player who can move around the pitch and feel comfortable operating in different areas.

The Argentine usually looks for space to receive the ball in the final third. With his huge skill attitude, he becomes a real headache for defenders because they don’t know his next move.

To better understand Gonzalez’s abilities and style of play, we took a look at the goalscoring stats. Before joining Fiorentina for €23m, goalscoring was a big part of Gonzalez’s success for Stuttgart. The Argentine was the team’s top scorer in the league. Gonzalez is a very active and fast player and, both playing as a winger and as a striker, he makes runs in behind the opposition’s defensive line. Clearly, Gonzalez is not in the Di Maria or Mahrez level, but he got the potential and can be successful.

2. Agustin Urzi

Urzi is one of the most exciting young players in the Argentinian league linked to Inter Milan and Atletico Madrid. An Argentina international at U-20 and U-23 level, the pacey winger is highly rated by club and country and has a €20m clause in his contract.

Born and raised in Lomas de Zamora, a city south of the Greater Buenos Aires sprawl, Urzi joined the local club Banfield at eight. Nicknamed Caniche, he was promoted to the Reserves as a 17-year-old and would have debuted for El Taladro sooner had it not been an injury that sidelined him for several months.

Agustin Urzi

is a super skillful atomic winger. Urzi is one of the most enjoyable players to watch in the league. Urzi has kept everyone surprise over the lockdown with a series of incredible goals. Having represented Argentina at U-20, U-22, and U-23 levels, 'El Caniche' and his colorful haircuts have attracted the attention of Atletico Madrid and Inter Milan.

A cheeky, well-liked personality off the pitch that looks up to the likes of Ricky Centurion and Neymar, he also works hard and isn’t afraid to track back and get stuck in.

As for his national team's future, he should be a game-changing presence for the Albiceleste as they go for gold in Tokyo next year. His dribbling, excellent crossing, and dangerous shots from the range will be important for Argentina. Given the lack of out-and-out wingers in Argentina set up, Urzi will do well to learn from Lucas Ocampos, and he could one day be an interesting wide option for the next generation of Argentine football. Urzi is considered as one of the

top 10 young Argentinian football players 2021


1. Lautaro Martinez

From Liniers to Racing Club to Inter Milan, there has always been one thing that has remained consistent with Lautaro ‘El Toro’ Martinez: Goals. Since making his professional debut for Racing in 2015, Martinez has scored 52 goals, proof of his fatal finishing, goalscoring instinct, and great shooting technique. One unique aspect of his shooting technique is his aim to lean back before shooting.

Lautaro Martinez

is proven as both a striker and a number 10. If he favors his right foot, he remains versatile and quick, and he is impressive when attempting to control possession with little time or space. He also has the intelligence to position himself correctly during counter-attacks. He has the power and ability to finish attacks with a header as he often reaches between opposing defenders and therefore finds the necessary spaces. Lautaro has been a fine goalscorer for Inter.

In Conte's favored 3-5-2, he has developed a fine understanding of Lukaku. He provided a great dynamism to the attack that Conte demands and the option to change that attack's rhythm. One reason why Martinez is amongst the best finishers in Europe is because of his high-level concentration. During his time at Racing, he took a ‘Concentration Grid’ test that measured mental performance; most players ranked in between 50-70, but Martinez scored 98. This intense focus enables him to notice every aspect of the game, whereas other strikers may switch off and miss out on potential scoring opportunities.

Martinez has a unique technique that allows him to drive the shot low past the goalkeeper. While he still needs to improve other areas of his game, El Toro is a proven goalscorer who will be a fundamental component for club and country for years to come. Lionel Scaloni consistently organizes Argentina into a four-diamond-two or a 4-2-3-1, and in those systems, Lautaro has featured alongside Messi, Sergio Aguero, Angel Correa, and

Paulo Dybala

In their 4-2-3-1, his role is to provide depth to their attack and position himself in between central defenders to coordinate counter-attacks. It has become a fact that after Lionel Messi and Sergio Aguero, Lautaro Martinez will be the leader of Argentine football; also, with a high percentage, Lautaro Martinez will make the headlines when picking an Argentina next-generation XI.

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