Thiago Almada has already racked up 71 senior appearances for Vélez Sarsfield having been brought up in one of Buenos Aires' toughest neighbourhoods.
And now the talented midfielder playmaker, who turns 20 today, is being tracked by a host of elite European clubs.
📚 The story
Almada was born in El Fuerte, a neighbourhood in Buenos Aires, Argentina's capital city. Premier League legend Carlos Tevez hails from the same area, and ex-Vélez coach Gabriel Heinze, a former teammate of Tevez's at Man United many moons ago, pointed to Almada's mindset as one of his most impressive attributes.
Almada has been part of the Sarsfield first-team setup since he was 17. There have been premature parallels drawn between Almada and Lionel Messi in terms of playing style, but it's Tevez that he resembles from a mental point of view, with his fighting spirit forming a big part of his game. 37-year-old Boca Juniors striker Tevez, a cult figure in Argentina, carved out a reputation as one of Europe's elite forwards at West Ham United, Man United, Man City and Juventus, and there are hopes that Almada can go all the way to the top too.
🔮 Almada's playing style
Thiago Almada is an incredibly gifted young footballer, especially with the ball at his feet as he dribbles and glides effortlessly past his markers. Unlike the aforementioned Tevez, he's more of a winger/playmaker than a striker and is known for his killer final pass. Unlike Messi, Almada is predominantly right-footed but there are obvious similarities in the way that he's quickly able to change direction with great agility and balance, with the ball sticking to his feet. Have a look for yourself.
His low centre of gravity, quick feet and natural football intelligence all make him a frighteningly good prospect, especially considering that he's also got that fighting spirit that money just can't buy. Just ask Carlos Tevez fans around the world.
Inter Milan is the latest European heavyweight name to be linked with an interest in Almada and their history of nurturing South American talent makes this a story worth watching. But with both Manchester giants also rumoured to be keen, the competition will be fierce. Vélez fans will be sad to see him go but it seems just a matter of time.
He's been called "the next Messi" by the media let's afford him the opportunity to be the very first Thiago Almada. Happy birthday young man!