Yep - they've found another one.

Argentina’s World Cup wonderkid is dancing with defenders & lighting up Guardiola’s eyes

Straight off the back of their greatest footballing triumph in decades, Argentina already boast a golden generation of young players waiting to take their chances.

It’s a bit freakish when you look into it. First it was Maradona, then it was Messi and now they’ve got a small army of talent who could very well follow in the footsteps of their greatest ever players – and two of the game’s greatest.

Hyping up these talented young prospects is admittedly all too easy, but when one spawns in with the fast feet, the footballer’s haircut and the effortlessly cool as f*ck nickname to weave it all together, it’s difficult not to get excited.

Sometimes it’s as simple as a player looking and sounding like a footballer. Never mind the data or the sports science – what really matters is the eye test and the aura that comes with it.

Claudio Echeverri showed us at the under-17 World Cup he possessed all of that in abundance, and his performances since the tournament have been enough for Europe’s biggest clubs to catch wind of his absurd potential.

Blessed with a right foot that could probably cause enough damage to warrant being illegal in countries around the world, watching Echeverri is both a joy and a head-scratcher, with how effortless he makes the art of dribbling seem.

Once you swallow the pride, push down the jealousy and convince yourself that he’d leave an evening slot at Powerleague severely humbled by John from HR, you begin to appreciate just how joyous the 17-year-old is with the ball at his feet.

Gliding through defenders like a hot knife through butter, ‘El Diablito’ – meaning ‘the little devil’ – has prompted a saga between Chelsea and Manchester City heading into the January transfer window, with Barcelona also watching on according to reports.

And it’s clear to see why. In terms of natural flair, agility and pure footballing brains, Echeverri is already untouchable.

The scariest part is knowing the room he still has for improvement, and the prospect of him doing that under Pep Guardiola’s watch.

We’re looking at a potential cheat code, right here.

While still so young and subsequently incredibly raw, when you can shift a ball like that and slalom your way out of the tightest gaps, age suddenly becomes less of a factor.

Echeverri finds the ball in optimum positions or sees the vision before it’s at his feet and simply takes himself there every single time.

We *really* don’t want to make the Lionel Messi comparison – and we’re not – but from purely his profile alone as someone with agility who can carry the ball until the end of time with such grace, operating anywhere along the front line or behind it, you’re reminded of the seven-time Ballon d’Or winner.

The world should’ve known from the minute he scored on debut for River Plate at just 16, after years of ripping it up at youth level. He forced the secret to come out at the under-17 World Cup, though, with his exceptional four-goal haul which included a hat-trick against arch-rivals Brazil.

‘El Diablito’ has already made a reputation of mauling defenders and defying expectations – whoever wins the race for his signature will be providing him with a platform to reach the very top of the game.

By Mitch Wilks

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