Making the level at a club the size of Boca Juniors is a daunting enough task in itself, with only the best able to make it into the first team at La Bombonera.
So for a player who turned 19 in June and already 37 appearances for Boca to his name, it shows that he has the potential to be something special.
Those stats belong to Cristian Medina, who has emerged as a shining light in Buenos Aires throughout 2021, with many hoping that he will become the future of Argentina’s midfield.
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He has also come a step closer to doing so, after he was one of the few teenagers called up by Albiceleste coach Lionel Scaloni to his squad for World Cup qualifiers in November.
Along with teammates like Exequiel Zeballos and promising Juventus forward Matias Soule, Medina has had the opportunity to train with the likes of Lionel Messi, Paulo Dybala and Lautaro Martinez, as well as the player he modeled for his match, Leandro of Paris Saint-Germain Paredes.
“I followed him when he was in Boca,” Medina said. “I looked at his passing, very strong. I really like that about him.
“He also has a good sense of posture and is calm. I notice that a lot.”
While Paredes may not consider everyone the most inspirational football idol, Medina has certainly used the lessons he’s learned from following the former Roma player to date.
A native of Buenos Aires, Medina was enrolled at the Boca academy at the age of 10 after impressing scouts during a trial held at his local club, El Rayo.
Medina was one of about 2,000 boys who took part in the experiment, and it was clear to his followers that he was superior to the rest in both his abilities and personality.
“He has a lot of individual technique, great one-on-one skill, pace and he dribbles past everyone,” Diego Mazzilli, one of Boca’s scouts watched today. there, tell Goal.
“He’s very elegant in his play, and also strong, withstanding kicks from boys with poor tackles when they try to take the ball from him.”
Medina initially started life at Boca as a winger playing on the right, but was gradually moved into more focus, with his knowledge of different positions on the pitch helping him to build a reputation. Enjoy a great location, both for yourself and your teammates.
“I’m comfortable playing as a number eight, five or 10. It’s not clear to me,” the teenager said in a recent interview, with Medina having played the majority of the games. his match in the first team as a box-to-box center. midfielder.
He is often likened to fellow Boca academy graduates and Argentine midfielders like Fernando Gago and Ever Banega as he leveled up, and Medina has enjoyed international success as part of the Argentina squad. won both the 2017 South American U15 championship and the U17 equivalent two years later.
Former Argentina Under-20 coach Fernando Batista explained: “He is very attentive. “He’s a player who looks for smart and free spaces on the pitch.”
Medina made his professional debut in February 2021 as a 70th-minute substitute against Gimnasia, though he didn’t really start to gain traction until showing strong just in the fourth game against River Plate in the Superclasico in March.
Medina certainly looks to enjoy playing against Boca’s loathed opponents from across the Argentine capital, as he also supported Carlos Tevez when the teams met in May, while back in 2018, the youngster also supported the youngster. scored a stunning rabona in a youth team match between the club – a skill he has attempted to replicate sometime during his first months at senior level.
He supported his strong initial display in the first team by scoring his first professional goal against Atletico Tucuman in April, before featuring in a worthy Man of the Match match in the match. made his Copa Libertadores debut before The Strongest four days later, completing his 100% at more than 3,500 meters above sea level in Bolivia.
At the time, he formed a third of a midfield trio that sent Boca fans into a frenzy, as Medina joined homegrown youngsters Alan Valera and Agustin Almendra in the name given to him. named “MVA”.
And while his minutes in the second half of the season have shrunk somewhat, there’s no doubt that Medina has impressed in his first season professionally.
“He’s very smart now in the way he plays,” Mazzilli said. “He knows when to just make a touch or when he can start making the ball vertically to break the opponent’s line.
“He takes good care of the ball and has a very good and varied pass.”
It is perhaps unsurprising that rumors of offers from European clubs have begun to surface, with PSV and Zenit – with whom Paredes played for 2017-19 – thought to be important. Pay attention to the 19-year-old player.
The Russian outfit are said to have made an offer of just over 6 million euros ($5 million / $7 million) for Medina, but Boca are keeping the price more than double, with their asking price close to 13 million euros (£11 million / $15 million).
However, it seems inevitable that Medina will become the latest in a long line of midfield talents capable of blowing up the Boca family in the not-too-distant future.
He has proven himself worthy of stepping in the footsteps of some of the club’s best academy graduates – now he’s ready to take the next step.