The Uruguayan conveyor belt of talent just keeps on turning with yet more young stars set to break out in 2018. Here’s five of the best.
Marcelo Saracchi – River Plate
Having made a promising start to his career at South American heavyweights River Plate, Uruguayan youngster Marcelo Saracchi is someone that has high expectations to fulfill in 2018. In Marcelo Gallardo’s side, Saracchi has been used as an offensive left-back – a position where he can express his attacking talents.
Saracchi’s strengths include good crossing and decent dribbling ability, which makes him able to create goal-scoring chances at a high rate. Defensively, the 19-year-old might not be top notch yet, but it certainly is an area that will improve with good coaching and experience. Overall, Saracchi is an exciting young player with a lot of potential, who could take his game to the next level in 2018.
Gonzalo Carneiro – Defensor Sporting
When Maxi Gómez left Defensor Sporting to join Spanish side Celta de Vigo last summer all eyes were on Gonzalo Carneiro (22) to carry the goals scoring burden for La Viola. The tall striker might not have hit the numbers of Gómez but has done reasonably well over the past six months.
Carneiro scored ten goals in 21 appearances for Defensor in 2017 with most of those goals coming in the second half of the year – when he was the first-choice No9. This year, playing in the Copa Libertadores and fighting for the Uruguayan league, Carneiro is expected to lead the line for Defensor and if he excels, a move to the old continent lies on the horizon.
Facundo Waller – Plaza Colonia
After some great displays in Uruguay U20’s victorious South American youth championship at the start of 2017, much was expected of Facundo Waller at the U20 World Cup in South Korea. It wasn’t to be, however, as the 20-year-old dynamic midfielder suffered a ligament injury.
It has ruled him out for a long time but he is now preparing for the 2018 season fully recovered. Currently still at Plaza Colonia – who were relegated from Uruguay’s first division in 2017 – Waller might change clubs this transfer window with both Nacional and Peñarol reportedly keen on signing him. It would be a fitting next step in his career.
Plaza Colonia youngster Facundo Waller – who suffered a terrible injury at the U20 World Cup last summer – is in the sights of Uruguayan heavyweights Nacional and Peñarol.
Waller showed great potential at the Sudamericano and is a bright talent. pic.twitter.com/HBH3Wq34Oq
— Warriors of Uruguay (@UruguayanHeroes) December 30, 2017
Giorgian De Arrascaeta – Cruzeiro
Media in Brazil have been reporting that Cruzeiro star Giorgian De Arrascaeta is an extremely in-demand player. Despite all of that, it’s unlikely that the midfielder will leave Cruzeiro this transfer window as it’s a World Cup season, which makes it very important to play somewhere with a guaranteed starting place.
De Arrascaeta is a very technical player with a good end product. Besides that, the footballer possesses what we call football intelligence, knowing where to move to become a passing option and where to move to create space for teammates. If De Arrascaeta can showcase those qualities at the World Cup, a move to Europe is forthcoming.
It's going to be a big year for two Uruguayan attacking midfielders.
Giorgian De Arrascaeta (23) and Gastón Pereiro (22) have reached an age where the word 'talent' doesn't apply anymore and need to start fully fulfilling their potential.
There is no lack of natural ability. pic.twitter.com/Cq10HS5hDc
— Warriors of Uruguay (@UruguayanHeroes) January 1, 2018
Nicolás De La Cruz – River Plate
Being one of the stars of the next generation of Uruguayan footballers, attacking midfielder Nicolás De La Cruz (20) is a highly rated youngster. His good performances for Uruguay U20 have got him a move to Argentinian giants River Plate. For a player of De La Cruz’ qualities, the ceiling is higher than River, though.
At River, 2018 should be the year wherein he consistently delivers good games and be a difference maker. His advanced dribbling ability, quality right foot and impressive speed make him an all-round attack-minded player who, on his day, is unstoppable.