Exequiel Zeballos, just 18 years old, earned a place in the coach’s consideration and is a great hope for the club.
“That boy plays a phenomenon, we have to take him little by little but we have to start seeing him …”. The phrase of a voice that does not usually give praise to soccer players describes what is thought inside Boca del Juvenile Exequiel Zeballos.
That is why it was no coincidence that he entered the eleven in the friendly against Argentinos or that he used the starting bib in Saturday’s rehearsals, with the game against Tigre suspended due to infections.
The 18-year-old from Santiago, right-handed, fast, and facing, is one of the boys that Miguel Ángel Russo began to film and who can even win a privileged place in a club where the space for Inferiores kids is not it is usual.
Al Chango Pablo Aimar chose him when he was coach of the Sub 15 and then the Sub 17. There, Juan Román Riquelme met him, when he was invited by his friend to a couple of practices at the Ezeiza campus during 2018 and 2019.
“Pablo, what are those from Boca?”asked, uneasy, the man from Don Torcuato who had not yet decided to be vice president of the club.
Aimar introduced them: Cristian Medina, Ezequiel Fernández and Exequiel Zeballos. Today, the three make up Boca’s 40-player list for the Copa Libertadores.
With the right distance, with the right words and with a look that does not usually turn to look at the youngest children, Miguel Ángel Russo carefully followed the voice of Sebastián Battaglia (DT de la Reserva) and Hugo Ibarra, who has been in the club working with the Inferiors for a long time.
First it was a formal practice against the incumbents, then a time with Tevez and company. Until that first friendly against Argentinos, where Zeballos was the only one from Inferiors standing as a starter.
The boy who already has a high termination clause in his first contract (which runs until June 2022, and Boca’s idea is to negotiate a renewal) may have minutes of play in the next trials (on Wednesday against Arsenal and Saturday before Rio IV students) but their conditions will depend on whether they also win a spot in the concentration for the last match of the group stage of the Copa Libertadores. It will be before Caracas, at La Bombonera, on Thursday 22, with Boca secured in first place.
Can it be cited for the first time? The DT proved him as a winger on the left, on the right and in the midfield. In all the tests he stood out for his decision to attack, despite the fact that he still has a tactical disorder to correct.
In addition to him, in the minds of the members of the coaching staff there are also Cristian Medina (another that Russo looks at very closely), Alan Varela, Enzo Roldán Y Aaron Molinas, but with Zeballos there was a test beyond the usual. And that is why the expectation that is always generated in a club like Boca, where the participation of the youths is dropper.
If he has to have official minutes, Zeballos will be the first youth to debut since the era of Juan Román Riquelme as club leader began.