Juan Manuel Iturbe
“The Guarani Messi” becomes the first of our Rising Stars who has never played in the Argentinian league. He did spend the last six months training with Quilmes, but was unable to play for them due to a contract dispute with his former club, Cerro Porteno. Iturbe could actually still represent Paraguay if he wished as his parents are Paraguayan and he lived most of his life there, although he was born in Argentina. He seems to have made his choice, though, as he is currently scampering about in Albiceleste colours in the Sudamericano Sub-20 tournament in Peru. After AFW had repeatedly insisted that it was foolish to compare Iturbe to a young Lionel Messi, he made us look like nabos (turnips) by scoring a goal against Chile straight out of the ‘Leo’ catalogue. Admittedly, Iturbe is small but strong, fast and skillful like the Barcelona star but such comparisons at this stage are unjustified. Once he improves his decision making and consistency, however, he does have the potential to be a dazzling player. Remember the name.