Monday, January 17, 2011

Mauro “Gato” Formica - 22-year-old playmaker deemed one of the hottest prospects in Argentina

The Argentina U-21 starlet has been immense for his club in recent seasons and is being eyed by a host of European clubs.

Creative midfielder Mauro Formica is a product of the Newell's Old Boys youth academy. He started his career at the club in the 2006/2007 season, making his debut appearance against Colon, aged 18.

But before his first league appearance for Old Boys, he was already a member of the Argentina U-17 squad and had made four appearances, scoring two goals for the youth national team.

The 1.76m-tall midfielder, who is nicknamed Gato, is a determined player who has been one of his team's most solid performers since he became a consistent fixture in the lineup in the 2008/2009 season.

And the player's statistics back the claim that he has become one of the most highly-rated youngsters in Argentina. After contributing seven goals and an assist in 19 appearances over the 2008/2009 Apertura season, he went on to notch eight goals and seven assists in 38 outings over the following term.

On the back of these performances, then-Argentina boss Diego Maradona spotted the youngster's potential and called him up to the squad to face Panama in a friendly match. Unfortunately, Formica was injured and missed the opportunity to make his senior international debut.

This year, Formica has already scored five goals and made two more in 23 showings so far. Even more impressive is the way his goals were taken, often oozing panache.

Rosario-born Formica is an exceptional dribbler who has the technical ability to slalom past opposition players and make it look easy, which is the true sign of a prodigy.

He sports impressive vision and creativity, seemingly playing as if he has wing mirrors showing him what goes on on the pitch in any given moment.

Aside from his astute ball control, he is also blessed with two strong feet, and has scored some memorable long-range goals in recent seasons using each one.

His off-the-ball movement and decision-making are very intelligent, and he seems comfortable operating either in the centre of the park or in a more forward position as an attacking midfielder or a support striker.

Well-known European sides such as Girondins Bordeaux, West Ham United and Rubin Kazan are reportedly among the player's many suitors. It is believed that the Russian side tabled a bid for the player early in 2010 which was promptly rejected.

He was also the subject of a $5m bid from Argentinean giants River Plate, but the offer was turned down by Old Boys.

Taking into consideration the player's physical, mental and technical attributes, he would likely fit in best at the Spanish La Liga, French Ligue 1 or the German Bundesliga, and has the potential to become a very good player on the European stage.

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