A superstar whose style most resembles Messi, he is the future leader of Argentina with 3 goals in Brazil?
Argentina's "new Messi" Claudio Echeverri ended his campaign with five goals in seven games, and his Argentina team reached the semi-finals after beating Brazil 3-0 and losing to eventual champions Germany in the semi-finals. In any case, as one of the most high-profile new stars in Argentine football today, Echeverri has impressed people at this Under-17 World Cup, especially against Brazil, and Echeverri has not only made himself one of the brightest stars of the tournament in a head-to-head showdown with Palmeiras star Esteban, but also added weight to his future landing in Europe.
Echeverri's three goals against Brazil were brilliant, the first of which was scored from the back with a few sharp changes of direction from the back of the field dozens of meters later, and the last two goals fully demonstrated Echeverri's speed at the foot and flexibility of his playing ideas. Equally not tall, also wearing the number 10 jersey, and as the core of the attack in the Argentine team that combines multiple functions such as playmaking, breaking and scoring, Echeverry can easily be compared to the new Messi. In fact, Echeverry was well-known in Argentina and even world football long before the Under-17 World Cup, and he is considered the closest young player to Messi in Argentina, and the natural core of the future Pampas Eagles.
Born on 2 January 2006 in Resistensia, Chaco province, Echeverri began his football training at the local club Deportivo Luján and at the age of 10 he went to a trial for Argentine giants River Plate and impressed the River Plate coach with his performances.
Echeverri's nickname is "El Diablito" (Little Devil), and his nickname and surname are reminiscent of Marco Etcheverry, the best player of Bolivian history, despite the fact that Claudio Etcheverry is not directly related to Marco Etcheverry. But Claudio does have a bit of a resemblance to Marco Echeverri, the 1970-born Bolivian star who led his home country to the finals of the 1994 World Cup in the United States.
For Claudio Echeverri, success always seems to come early. Just one year after joining River Plate, the 11-year-old made headlines in Argentine sports newspapers and garnered attention as a talented future star – in 2017 he represented River Plate in a youth football tournament against European clubs such as Juventus, Atletico Madrid, Chelsea and Ajax. The match saw Echeverri's first rise to fame: he was the star of the tournament with nine goals in his quadruple against Juventus, and the Argentine media was overjoyed, with Clarion writing an article analysing Echeverri's performance in the game.
Echeverry made his debut for River Plate's reserve team in 2022, scoring on his first appearance against Patronato on October 8 last year, signing his first professional contract with River Plate earlier this year, which included a $25 million liquidated damages.
In addition to standing out in the River Plate echelon, Echeverry also quickly shone in the Argentine national team. Even before the Under-17 World Cup, the "Little Devil" showed a higher level of talent in the Argentine youth team shirt: Echeverry scored in friendlies against Paraguay and Uzbekistan in March. Echeverri was a thriller at the Under-17 Copa America in April, scoring one goal and providing three assists in Argentina's opening game in a 4-2 win over Venezuela, and in a superb lob against Peru, Echeverry sealed the win with a fine strike. In the next match against Chile, Echeverri continued to break out, becoming the protagonist of the game with 1 goal and 1 assist. Under former Bayer Leverkusen legend Placente, who was Argentina Under-17 manager, Echeverry played in the forward midfield position of the 4231 formation, playing a pivotal role behind River Plate team-mate Roberto Ruberto.
Echeverri is the quintessential Argentine 'No.10' attacker, with a delicate and creative technique, an attacking style of play and a playmaker for the midfield... Not only Messi, but also in the likes of Ortega, Aimar, Dalessandro and Gallardo, we can find similar qualities. Echeverry, on the other hand, looks to be more aggressive – the diminutive Echeverry is very fond of scoring goals from the penalty area, and although he spends most of his time in midfield, Echeverry can also play an important role up front.
Argentina's football soil is perfect for a player with a strong personality like Echeverri. Echeverry is a risky player with excellent foot skills and one-on-one ability, as well as a knack for playing the ball in small areas and changing direction quickly. Despite being a midfielder, Echeverry thinks differently about the game than the average midfielder, preferring to be given the freedom to move around the pitch, relying on his creativity, off-ball movement, vision and passing to connect the team's attack. He is very fast, agile, likes to handle the ball on the move, has a strong sense of forward, moves very quickly with his feet, and can play an important role in group coordination, in addition to his ability to think quickly and often make unexpected choices from his opponents. He also possesses the traditional qualities of Argentine talent – with Echeverri also having great potential from set-pieces.
If there is anything that Echeverry needs to improve, the first is perhaps that his left foot is relatively weak, and due to his physical limitations, his physical confrontation and aerial ball ability are still lacking.
With Echeverry shining in Indonesia, it has also put pressure on former international Demichelis, who is currently River Plate manager. Speaking to reporters, Demichelis gave an account of Echeverri's situation: "When I first arrived at River Plate last November, I knew Echeverri was a diamond to be polished. I didn't see him until the end of March or the beginning of April because from Monday to Thursday he was training in Ezeiza [River Plate] and then he was playing in the reserves, and then he was training with us. No one questioned Claudio's technical talent and intelligence, but this transition from reserve to first team was a great drain on his physical strength. ”
'Playing with a 16-year-old is not the same as playing in the reserves, playing in the reserves is not the same as training in the first team. The interaction with the senior players and the intensity of training have allowed Claudio to improve both physically and technically, and we will continue to give him the ball, let him evolve on his own, and we will try to put him in the same environment as this World Cup, because it will help him to show his talent. In Demichelis' view, Echeverry should follow in the footsteps of Julián Álvarez, "He made his debut in 2018 and became a River Plate starter in 2021 before joining Manchester City and scoring four goals in Qatar to help Argentina become World Cup champions. The implication is that perhaps Echeverry would be better off leaving River Plate in a hurry, his talent is undeniable, but it will take time to adapt to the senior game.
As for Echeverri's dream, with a personal highlight of the U17 World Cup, almost all the first-tier giants in Europe have increased their attention to Echeverri, and Echeverri's dream is to play for Barcelona. "In addition to River Plate, I also want to play for Barcelona because I'm a big fan of Messi and I've watched Messi play at Barcelona, so from a very young age I already have a deep sense of identity with this team. "This was Echeverry's speech before the Under-17 World Cup. According to news from Argentina, River Plate are considering raising Echeverri's release clause to €50 million, and the three goals against the Samba have already made Echeverri a rare figure among his peers, and he is the future of Argentine football along with the likes of Prestiani, Ruberto and Santiago López, and in terms of style, Echeverri is the most promising player to succeed Messi.