With the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games around the corner, every country is getting ready for their upcoming qualifying competitions, and soccer is no exception. For this year, the Pre-Olympic Tournament is back in South America after the last tournament was held in 2004. Between 2007-2015 the teams qualified for the Olympic Games were based on the positions in the tournament Sudamericano U-20.
For this year, the host is Colombia that will try to win the gold medal for the first time at home after being in second place in their previous hosts in 1968,1971,1980.
Like every soccer youth competition, the eyes are on the future stars. The South America factory is often compared to the European style since those are the main areas or soccer prospects. The next players have the talent to help their country win the gold medal in the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.
Jesus Carvalho (Brazil)
The most recent Real Madrid signing already knows winning a continental tournament after the 2019 Libertadores Championship with Flamengo.
Carvahlo will try to repeat the fast success of his fellow compatriots Vinícius (19) and Rodrygo (19) in Real Madrid’s first team. Carvahlo saw his first minutes in the tournament after coming off the bench in the victory against Peru and is with defensive midfielder Bruno the key players of Brazil in the tournament after the absences of already mention Vinícius and Rodrygo.
Jesus Medina (Paraguay)
A two time champion with Libertad in his native Paraguay. Manchester City subsidiary New York City Fc signed Jesus Medina in December 2017 after the retirement of Andrea Pirlo. His style of play and personality was highlighted by the French World Cup winner and ex-coach Patrick Vieira. Medina knows to play at the highest level since his debut at the age of 15 with Libertad so he is one of the most experienced players in ‘La Albirroja’. The creative left winger has the age and talent for a future move to Manchester City since he is a multi-functional player a complete playmaker and right-winger.
Nicolas Benedetti (Colombia)
Nicolas is also known as ‘El Pizzero’ started his career with his hometown team Deportivo Cali where he played 65 games and scored 15 goals to then moved to Club America were he quickly became a key player for his coach Miguel Herrera. He is often compared to James Rodriguez due to his creativity by having quick passes in the long-distance, sharing the same position and nationality. In September of 2018, he made his senior Colombia debut against Argentina and was cut from the Copa America 2019 final squad. Benedetti’s injuries had an impact with his best performance after missing the final games of the Clausura 2019 when he left the field in the Copa MX final against Juarez Fc.
Nahuel Bustos (Argentina)
The Cordobes style runs in his game and has proved it with his 13 goals and 2 assists with Talleres in 32 games. Nahuel can play on both sides of the field but is more productive in the right way where he showed his explosive long speed and quick technique in games like against River Plate. His current market value is $8.55 million stated by Transfermarkt which is a good price based on his young age (21) and the high economy of most top European teams.
Jan Hurtado (Venezuela)
The native of El Canton, Venezuela will try to show his coach Gustavo Alfaro that he can be the starter forward for Boca Jrs. Hurtado started his career in Deportivo Tachira to then moved to the oldest soccer team in the Americas Gimnasia y Esgrima La Plata where he attracted attention from many teams in Europe like Sampdoria but ended up staying with the ‘xeneizes’. Speed is his main quality which Venezuela will use with the ability of another key player like Yeferson Soteldo.
Diego Rossi (Uruguay)
Another player with enough experience is Diego Rossi that was part of the Uruguay team that won the Sudamericano U-20 in 2017 and was part of the MLS All-Star team in 2019. The charrua started his career with Penarol where he won two Uruguayan league titles. With LA FC he became the best partner for MVP Carlos Vela and helped his team signed another young Uruguayan talent Brian Rodriguez (19). Rossi’s time at LA FC is not expected to be long since he has an Italian passport which makes it easier to sign with any European team since he doesn’t count as a foreign player. Rossi is expected to take the place of legends in the senior Uruguay team like Cavani, Lodeiro, Suarez that is having a generational change.
Matias Zaracho (Argentina)
The young star from Racing is waiting to leave the Argentinian league to an important team from Europe after many rumors reported that his agent Augustin Jimenez who also represents players like Angel Correa (Atlético Madrid), Rodrigo de Paul (Udinese) met with AC Milan management for a possible Zaracho move after the high cancellation clause of Correa and De Paul. The native from Wilde is already a started player with ‘La Academia’ wherein some games we see him playing as a winger from both sides and won the 2019 League Title. Zaracho currently has the second-highest market value in the Argentine league at $19.95 million Transfermarkt reports.
Santiago Arzamendia (Paraguay)
The only defender mention in this list is the Cerro Porteno left-back, Santiago born in Argentina but representing the ‘Guaranis’. Arzamendia is known for his depth game style by opening spaces in the ‘half-moon’ and his quick comeback to the left band. Santiago made his senior Paraguay national team debut March 27, 2019, and was the left-back starter in the Copa America 2019.
Alexis Mac Allister (Argentina)
Another Boca Jrs player on the list is ‘El Pistolero’ from La Pampa. Alexis started his career with Argentinos Juniors also known as “El Semillero” because of the players they produced and made history like Diego Maradona, Juan Roman Riquelme, Esteban Cambiasso, Jose Pekerman and more. After his first season in the Second Division of Argentina, he scored 3 goals in 23 games and won the competition. Boca Junior’s first interest for Mac Allister started in the summer market 2018-2019 the only obstacle was his market price ($8.5 million). In January of 2019, Brighton & Hove Albion from England signed him in a record sale for the La Paternal team. His dream come true when in June of 2019 Boca signed a loan. His exceptionals games in Libertadores against Athletico Paranaense and Liga de Quito were one of the reasons to get his Argentina debut against Chile. At the moment in the first game against Colombia, Alexis scored the first goal of the game and was later on expelled.
Jorge Carrascal (Colombia)
With 2 goals scored so far in the competition, the River Plate player is showing his talent and progress. Born in Cartagena the 5’10 midfielder join the Millonarios in 2016 and the past December River Plate confirm his pass for $2.85 million to his previous team in Ukraine. He is talent was scouted by important teams like Sevilla that signed him for his youth team but never played for the first team. His minutes with River Plate’s first team are starting to increase with the support of his coach ‘muñeco’ Gallardo that knows the strategy that worked with Carrascal an unknown player that is the new interest of Ajax Amsterdam.
All players in this Pre Olympic Tournament have time and potential to be the next stars of their countries by knowing the right times and being humble. Some of these players already have experience with the senior national team which makes this tournament more competitive and enjoyable to watch. As time goes by we will know the next South American team ready to fight for the gold medal in Tokyo.