Since Sebastian Battaglia and Juan Roman Riquelme retired recently Nicolas Burdisso, Leonardo Paredes and Rodrigo Bentancur have all excelled through Boca’s youth system just to name a few. Leonardo Balerdi is one of the recent names to accomplish what very few have achieved, make to the first team. We will take a look at Balerdi’s performance against Rosario Central.
Already drawing interest from some of the European powerhouses such as Barcelona, Juventus, and Roma, Balerdi has just played his 2nd match for Boca and manage to receive overwhelming praise from the Argentine media. Many consider him to have been the best player on the field in a 0-0 draw against Rosario Central last week.
Leonardo Balerdi was born on January 26, 1999. He joined Boca Juniors in 2013 from hometown club Puerreydon. His beginnings with Boca had him take charge of the central midfield role, eventually shifting back to the CB position. In youth divisions, he won four titles with the 9th, 8th, 7th, and 5th division. Balerdi has a great ability of playing with his left foot despite being right footed. Due to his ability to intercept a rival’s offensive plays, Balerdi is often compared to Juan Forlin (another Boca youth product).
Balerdi Against Rosario Central (Offensively)
Balerdi’s match against Rosario Central was only the 2nd appearance for the 19-year-old prodigy. Oddly enough, it was almost as if he had 5 years worth of experience under his belt. Balerdi exhibited characteristics of his previous experience in the central midfield role. Balerdi played in front of teammate Paolo Goltz. This allowed him to utilise his body movement (which is similar to that of a midfielder) and his passing to initiate attacking plays. His offensive capabilities were brilliant and effective. Balerdi is a player who doesn’t take risks and plays smart. When Rosario Central pressed up high, he didn’t second guess himself as he passed the ball to the keeper to initiate another attacking play or punt the ball out.
Balerdi Against Rosario Central (Defensively)
Balerdi’s decision making in that match was very effective. It’s a crucial aspect to his role in the defence. He pressed Rosario Central’s Fernando Zampedri when needed. Zampedri was often ineffective and quiet due to Balerdi’s defensive effectiveness.
Balerdi was selected as the man of the match, which is an award that usually doesn’t mean much but in this particular match it did. It was only his 2nd match with Boca and his 1st match in La Bombonera. A stadium which has proven to always be difficult for rivals, it has also been difficult for young players without much experience. Balerdi was able to remain composed and perform up to Boca’s standards. According to Opta, Balerdi was the player with the most clearances (seven), five takeaways, three interceptions, and two blocks. Additionally, he won 10 out of 12 duels.
Leonardo Balerdi’s Future
Balerdi is certainty a player Boca supporters can be excited about. To be able to draw interest from clubs like Barcelona, and Juventus speaks volumes of his potential. Additionally, Balerdi has experience with the national side. He played a pivotal role in Argentina’s conquest of the L´Alcúdia trophy in Spain this past July/August. Leo Balerdi is definitely one of the best players to look out for coming out of Argentina.