Diego Maradona, Leo Messi and Con Aguero are just part of the list of stars who made the big breakthrough in the Mondialeto, the under-20 world championship that is held every two years and returns after a four-year hiatus due to the corona virus.
Despite the long time that has passed since the last tournament in Poland in which Ukraine won, it seems that the world is not particularly excited for the show that usually promises much more. The tournament, which will open on May 20 with the participation of the Israeli national team and will continue until the final on June 11, does not make the fans hold their breath even though it will be held in Argentina, a country that has thrilled most of all in the past at the young ages and which is still celebrating its victory in the last World Cup for adults.
Despite the great fervor and passion for football in the land of tango, the fans who come to watch the tournament may be disappointed. The reason: FIFA did not pay attention to the fact that the tournament, which does not oblige the clubs to release players to it, conflicts with the later stages of the leagues in Europe and South America.
This caused notable players to be absent and the feeling that the event had lost its importance and prestige. In Argentina, the tournament is reported extensively and the crowd is expected to come to cheer the team, but it is difficult to compare the atmosphere to the one that existed before the tournament in 2001, in which the Albiceleste players won the title with Javier Saviola and Andres D’Alessandro in the lineup and with Jose Pekerman on the lines.
The host will play in the tournament even though she did not qualify for it at all. She failed in the qualifiers and was supposed to stay at home, but will appear after receiving the right to host instead of Indonesia, which refused to host Israel. The team coached by Javier Mascherano will be missing some of its stars playing in Europe such as Nico Paz from Real Madrid Castilla, Facundo Buonnotta from Brighton and Alejandro Granacho from Manchester United.
Even Brazil, who will try to win the title for the first time since 2011 (they did it at the time with Casemiro, Danilo and Philippe Coutinho) will appear without their biggest stars: 16-year-old Andric from Palmeiras, who was bought for 35 million euros by Real Madrid, and Vitor Roca from Atlético Paranense – the top scorer in the championship The last South America, in which the Selção won.
Not only the two major South American teams will appear in a missing lineup. England will play without Samuel Ealing Jr., who started playing in the first team of Juventus, Roma did not release Christian Volpato, known as “the new Totti” to the Italian national team, and the coach of the French national team, Landry Chauvin, faces a particularly big headache without most of his stars. Israel will play without Oscar Gloch and its rivals Colombia and Senegal will also have to give up some of their stars.
In their absence, others will take the stage, trying to impress scouts or convince major league managers to give them minutes. So who should become a hit in the Mondialeto and after? Get the list of those who should stand out.
Chelsea’s future goalkeeper
Gabriel Salonina, the next thing between the bars in world football, is only 18 years old and is considered the future goalkeeper of Chelsea after moving to them from Chicago Fire. He is exciting with virtuoso stops, impressive reflexes and good positioning. The quiet guy who does not usually give interviews, felt particularly embarrassed when Petr Cech, who served as the Blues’ technical advisor, called him to inform him of the club’s intention. He was sure that he was being worked on after he claimed before that all the news about his move to the Premier League seemed strange to him.
When it became clear to ‘Gaga’ (as he is known) that the former Czech goalkeeper was indeed on the line, he commented: “It’s unbelievable. I listened carefully to Peter’s voice to be sure it was really him. It was an honor for me to get advice from a legend like him and very impressive me that he knew my game.”
Uruguay’s senior team reached great achievements more than a decade ago when Diego Godin stood out in the center of their defense. Now Valencia B’s Lma, Facundo Gonzalez, aspires to follow in his footsteps. He was born in Montevideo, but moved with his family to Spain at the age of four and played as a youth for Vista Alegre of the fifth division before moving to Espanyol and in 2020 to the Bats.
The maturity that Gonzalez shows in his game, as well as his height (1.93 meters) which helps him to excel in the head game, made him one of the most important in the lineup of the young Uruguayan team, in whose ranks he has appeared 12 times so far. The brakeman, who is left-footed, also received interest from the youth teams of Spain and Italy (he could play there due to it being the country of origin of his parents), but he clarified his preference to play in the uniform of his homeland.
“Godin is an exceptional player and he is my model,” he said Gonzales“What Ronald Araujo is doing in Barcelona is also crazy and I follow him a lot. I haven’t had the chance to talk to him yet and I’m looking forward to it, because I’ll learn more than ever. He’s an exceptional stopper and I wish I could compete with him for a place in the senior team. Edinson Cavani (who also from Valencia) told me that I should fight for it, because playing in the senior team is the most beautiful thing.”
Bayern Munich was interested in him
The representative of Asia, South Korea, will once again present a cohesive team that will not account for the Europeans and South Americans, and in the center of its defense stands out the tall stopper Kim Ji-soo (1.92 meters), who plays in Anuganam. Thanks to his speed, his defensive ability, his physical strength and his contribution in scoring goals, he was compared in Korea to the Napoli stopper, Kim Min Jae.
The local press even reported that Bayern Munich was interested in Kim Ji-soo and that the Asian country is building on him for the Olympic Games in Paris 2024 and the next World Cup in 2026.
The Argentinian midfielder who has been compared to Redondo
Midfielder Maximo Perona moved this year from Wells Sarsfield to Manchester City (signed until 2028) for $9.5 million after impressing Pep Guardiola and has already been called up to Lionel Scaloni’s senior team. He stands out for his dangerous kicks with his left foot, with which he often threatens the goal, builds attacks from behind and also hits well, and has already earned comparisons with the legendary Fernando Redondo.
“Maximo thinks fast and I think he will get stronger with us in terms of pace of play and physicality,” he said of him Guardiola“He is a really good player, he has personal ability and when he came to us he impressed with his movement with the ball on the field.”
The new De Rossi: Italy midfielder Giacomo Petticanti
Roma’s full-back, who has admired her since childhood and also admired Sergio Busquets from Barcelona, is considered the leader of the Italian national team after serving as captain in all the yearbooks and stands out not only in tackles, high stamina, head play (he is 1.86 meters tall) and tireless work, but also in the wisdom of the game and the ability to organize Attacks from behind.
The ability he demonstrated drew comparisons with former Roma star Daniela de Rossi. De Rossi’s father, Alberto, also coached Paticanti at Roma’s youth team and the Guardian named him one of the world’s 60 most promising young talents.
The Nigerian connection that Milan already knows
Milan’s youth captain is only 18 years old, but has already played in the first team. This is Victor Aalto, a midfielder with versatile ability and accurate passes (especially in depth), qualities that the Rossoneri’s youth coach, Ignazio Abate, uses in order to place him as the player of the game from wide to wide and who also stands out in attack.
In addition to his excellent game vision, ball rescues and defensive work, Aalto, who is able to play on both wings and in the center, also displays ball control, speed and a good kick with both feet. He started his career in Prince Kazim of Lagos and arrived in Northern Italy at the age of 13. Today he is considered one of the most prominent young talents in Europe, and in Nigeria he is compared to past stars such as John Obi Mikel, Sunday Olisa and Mutio Adepujo. Monaco was already interested in him, but his lawyer Ted Dimbola, who also represents Rafael Liao, secured him a contract in Milan until 2025 and it seems that his value will increase after the Mondialeto.
The 16-year-old Ecuadorian Di Maria
The 16-year-old diamond of the South American national team, Kendri Pahs, has been playing for three months in the senior team of Independiente del Valle and will play in Chelsea starting in 2025 (he will be able to move to England only when he is 18 years old). The Blues beat Borussia Dortmund and Manchester United in the race to sign him and are expected to pay about 20 million euros for him.
Pahes, born in Guayaquil and the eldest of four siblings (his parents are divorced), has been called the Ecuadorian Di Maria since he was a child due to his habit of dribbling and kicking with his left foot like the Argentine star. He started playing at the age of five in Alfero Moreno’s academy and later wore the uniforms of the youth teams of Barcelona (the Ecuadorian), Amalek and Patria before arriving at his current team.
In 2022, he amazed with breathtaking goals when he was selected as the outstanding player in the tournament in Austria in which his team participated and last February he became the youngest scorer in the history of the league in his country. After that, he was absent from the U-20 South American Championship in order to acclimatize with the seniors of Independiente del Valle, but as the star of the U-17 team (scored three goals and assisted 6 in 10 appearances) he will appear this time in the Mondialeto.
The dizzying dribbling and the goals he scores after galloping with the ball close to his feet have become the hallmark of Fahs, which has earned him comparisons with Messi and Maradona. The whole world got to know him about a month ago, in the Copa America under the age of 17 where Ecuador finished third after Brazil and Argentina and in his country it was reported that he may soon receive a summons to the senior team as well.
In addition to Fahs’ precise passes, his excellent vision of the game and his habit of looking for the goal at every opportunity are also impressive. His coach at Independiente del Valle, Martin Anselmiexplained his success with the boldness that characterizes him: “Despite his young age, he doesn’t care at all who is standing in front of him. The respect he receives is not normal. He runs on the field, catches balls and also shows intelligence. He fulfills all the tactical instructions he receives perfect”.
So it’s true, Pahas is still not a perfect player. His height is average (1.77 meters), he is not physical, sometimes loses balls and also committed offenses that caused him to absorb unnecessary cards, but in view of his young age it is likely that after he experiences himself at the high international level, he will learn to correct the points that require improvement in his game and then become a world star.
The English midfielder that Israel kidnapped from him and Lampard was embarrassed because of him
The Israeli national team is already very familiar with the tall (1.87 meters) Karni Chukwamka, who has control of the ball and impressive breaking power after losing to him in the Euro finals last year, and now the whole world will probably get to know him. The player, who moved from Aston Villa to Chelsea last year for £20 million, scored three goals in the European Under-19 Championship, which the English won.
This season Chukwameka got few playing minutes at Chelsea, which led to the publication of news in the media about his future, mainly about the possibility of him returning to his former club. Manager Frank Lampard recently received criticism from the fans for his decision to leave him out of the squad and also got angry at a journalist who asked him a question about it.
At the same time, it was reported that Chukwameka may also leave the English team and prefer to play in the future in Austria’s senior team, where he is allowed to play (he was born there to Nigerian parents who later moved to England). Despite this, our national team coach, Ian Fostermakes it clear how important he is to the English: “Karni is really a very nice and humble guy, he is a team player who flourishes with us, because the national team allows him to get the best out of himself. He is an exciting and interesting player who showed his qualities and we hope he will continue to the seniors.”
Dangerous missiles from Iraq
The “Young Lions of Mesopotamia” are not considered candidates for the win, but the opponents will not be able to feel calm when the referees whistle for free kicks to their right near the box. The reason: Captain Abdul Razak Qasim’s leg is considered particularly deadly and he scored quite a few goals in his short career, mostly from long range kicks.
Qasim Al Shorta stands out for his curly hair, plays as a midfielder and is considered the leader of the Iraqis. He not only performs the main defensive work in the center of the field and leads the attacks, he is also the first to approach the interview station at the end of the games. In the Asian Championship in March 2023, where the Iraqis reached the final and lost 1:0 to Uzbekistan, Kasim scored the last penalty in a 3:5 victory in a shootout from the penalty spot (after 2:2 after 120 minutes) over Japan in the semi-finals.
Qassim also recently stood out in the warm-up matches as Iraq drew 1:1 with Brazil’s youth team and beat Betis’ youth team (under 21) 1:3 and Gibraltar 0:2 during a training camp in Spain.
Brazilian George Wah
Kevin Santos Lopes de Machado, or Kevin for short, Palmeiras striker, has already made more than 100 appearances in his team’s uniform (signed until 2026) and in the absence of Andrique and Vitor Roca in the Mondialeto, he will get the chance to become Brazil’s standout man up front. Last January, he thrilled when he scored five goals and made five in the “Copinia” (Little Cup), the famous youth tournament held in Brazil every year, in which he led the Verdeau (Greens) to victory and received interest from major European clubs such as Shakhtar Donetsk.
The nickname “Wah”, after the legendary Milan libero, was given to Kevin after going through quite a few hardships. At the age of 13, he lost his father who passed away, was later rejected by big clubs like Corinthians and Portugal, and was also thrown out of Sao Paulo, since he arrived on the field without bone protectors. When he was relegated to Susano from the third division, he was assigned as a stopper, but the coach moved him to the attack after the team fell behind. Kevin thrilled when he scored after bouncing a ball over his keeper and in response they started calling him like the striker who starred in the 90s.
In Argentina, Kevin will try to take advantage of his tremendous breaking power, possession ability and ball control to get a contract in Europe. Palmeiras, for its part, hopes to enrich the club’s coffers with an amount of around 30 million euros.