Manchester City avoided the same fate that Barcelona, Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid met in recent years, with CAS ruling in the club's favor over the youth product.

By 90Min
April 17, 2018

Manchester City are breathing a big sigh of relief after learning that they have avoided facing a transfer ban, similar to the ones experienced by Barcelona, Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid in recent years, over of the signing of an Argentine teenager by the name of Benjamin Garre.

Garre was snapped up by City's academy just 10 days after his 16th birthday in the summer of 2016. But former club Velez Sarsfield had complained that the approach, which began when the young winger was only 15, was illegal and that the transfer broke FIFA rules.

Regulations dictate that clubs within the European Union (EU) are not allowed to sign player from outside under the age of 18 - this can of course be sidestepped if the player's family relocates as was the case when Barcelona signed a 13-year-old Lionel Messi in 2000.

City thought they were in the right because Garre holds an Italian passport and the age threshold for EU citizens is 16. But Velez claimed FIFA rules only allow that between countries within Europe - the transfer of Cesc Fabregas from Barcelona to Arsenal in 2003, for example.

City were also given reason to believe that Garre's transfer was fully above board because it was apparently ratified by FIFA, who rejected Velez's complaint. That led the Argentine club to take the case to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), who presided over the final ruling.

Garre, who signed his first professional contract with City upon turning 17 last year, was really an innocent bystander in all of this, a young footballer trying to make it in the game.

He comes from strong footballing stock in Argentina as his grandfather, Oscar Garre, was a member of the country's 1986 World Cup winning squad alongside Diego Maradona and also went to two Copa America tournaments with the Albiceleste in the decade.

Benjamin's own international career is just taking off. He has represented Argentina at Under-15 and Under-17 level and was even chosen to train with the senior squad during the November international break last year, rubbing shoulders with Lionel Messi.

Garre spent his first season with City in the youth ranks and played his first games at Under-18 level in the 'Final Stage' of the Under-18 Premier League. He then began 2017/18 with the Under-23 team, despite only just turning 17 and played regular in Premier League 2 until January.

Garre has also been active in the UEFA Youth League, scoring home and away against Napoli in the competition's group stage, and played for City's Under-23 team in the EFL Trophy earlier this season, again scoring in the group stage, this time against Rotherham.

He is yet to play for the first team, but has trained with the seniors and is tipped to make that step up before long. And even though City haven't been slapped with a transfer ban that might have forced Pep Guardiola to dip into his youth team, Garre will be hoping his chance comes.

With City set to tour the United States this summer, remember the name: Benjamin Garre.

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