14. Rodrigo Bentancur, Boca Juniors
Bentancur was 18 when he had his breakthrough season in 2015, winning Clarin newspaper’s Rookie of the Year on his way to helping Boca Juniors to the Primera title and the Copa Argentina. The Uruguayan flunked a trial with Penarol at 13 but was taken on by Boca. He played at the base or tip of a midfield diamond, and said his role models were Fernando Gago and Juan Roman Riquelme. He has played more as a holding player, with a smart football brain and ability to make quick passes to transition into attack with either foot. But at Boca, his coach, Guillermo Barros Schelotto, has also used him as the No. 10 in a 4-2-3-1.
“He is a midfielder with excellent technique, good runs and someone who is very intelligent. He is physically strong and good in the air,” Schelotto said.
When Juventus sold Carlos Tevez back to Boca in 2016, it demanded first-refusal on Bentancur as well. At the time, Real Madrid and Arsenal was linked with the elegant midfielder, but Juventus made its move this spring. The Italian giant paid an initial €9.5 million for the teenager, who will move this summer.
What they're saying:
“Bentancur is like the Uruguayan Pogba.”
– Guillermo Barros Schelotto, Boca Juniors coach