With Enzo Fernandez, there is usually no time to lose.
At least, when it comes to evaluating the quality of the 21-year-old Argentine midfielder Benfica announced Thursday the conclusion of an agreement with River Plate.
The kid who started playing at La Recova, a club in San Martin, Buenos Aires, when he was just five years old was discovered by Pablo Esquivel, a talented scout who faced the Enzo team and promptly warned River Plate that he had a diamond in the rough.
It will be he who will later convince Enzo’s parents to allow their son to soon move to the Argentine giant. To the parents and the child himself, who according to Esquivel “just wanted to play with the kids in his neighborhood.”
However, the appeal was strong. After all, this was the club called by the heart of that humble family of five children named Enzo. The boy who “inherited” the name Enzo “El Principe” Francescolli, the idol of Benfica’s promotion father, who shone in the Melonarius shirt.
The fact is that for the boy Enzo, things went well in River Plate, until he moved from small schools to the junior level.
Then the boy from Saint-Martin began to feel some difficulties. For two years, he played less and was not called up at times, even thinking about leaving River Plate.
At this point, Esquivel’s friendship mattered again, which helped him convince him to stay and fight for his space at the club he loved.
The bet didn’t take long to pay off. At the age of 16, he began to stand out, and soon after began working with the reserve team, being one step away from the main team, and he was only 17 years old.
45 minutes enchanted muñeco Gallardo
On the main team, Enzo had someone with unparalleled experience discovering and releasing talent on the main team.
Marcelo muñeco Gallardo, River Plate’s most famous coach who fired over 40 youngsters trained at the club in nine years.
As he did in the fifth with Esquivel, Enzo Fernandez won Gallardo’s attention very quickly.
The first 45 minutes of training with the first team, in January 2019, left the coach resigned and had him take the 18-year-old to the bench for the Libertadores game.
He made his debut just about a year later, against Liga de Quito, in the Libertadores as well.
But the same coach, who was pleased with the qualities of the young man, recommended a loan so that he could get more minutes from playing well and not interrupt his development.
“Gallardo called me and told me there was a possibility to hire him. He made it clear to me that it would be good to gain experience in the first class and confidence and I never doubted that he was right”, he will reveal.
Convinced by Gallardo’s words, Enzo went to Defensa y Justicia. Surprisingly, the club that will win the South American Cup in 2020, under Crespo and Recopa, a kind of South American Super Cup, beat Palmeiras de Abel.
At the club on the outskirts of Buenos Aires, young Enzo did not take long to establish himself and occupy a prominent place in the midfield. He played more than 30 matches in a year in which he scored one goal and two assists.
In that year it was enough for Gallardo to ask for the return of the player, who was on loan for a year and a half. River was able to negotiate an early end to the loan, and sent another young player to Devenza e Justicia.
Enzo returned to River Plate and became a fixture in the Millonarios squad, so much so that he was called up to the Argentina national team just four months later, despite not making his debut.
Less than a year after coming home from his loan at Defensa y Justicia, Enzo Fernández is preparing to take another leap. Now heading to Europe. On the way to Benfica.
That year on River Plate’s first team, Enzo played less than 50 games. 48, more precisely.
Since December, the start of the season in South America, Enzo’s talent has exploded. In 25 matches, the midfielder scored 10 goals and made six assists.
Will he convince Benfica fans again at first sight?
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