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UEFA.com's weekly wonderkid: Gastón Pereiro

PSV pulled off a coup by signing Gastón Pereiro, a 20-year-old forward tipped to follow in the footsteps of Uruguayan aces Álvaro Recoba and Luis Suárez. Meet UEFA.com's weekly wonderkid.

Gastón Pereiro in action for Uruguay U-20s
Gastón Pereiro in action for Uruguay U-20s ©Getty Images

Having brought Romário and Ronaldo to Europe, PSV won the race to sign another highly-rated South American youngster. Meet Gastón Pereiro, the Uruguayan hoping to follow in the footsteps of notable countrymen Álvaro Recoba and Luis Suárez. 

Name: Gastón Pereiro
Club: PSV Eindhoven
Debut: 2 August 2015 v Groningen (Dutch Super Cup)
Position: midfielder/forward
Nationality: Uruguayan
Date of birth: 11/06/1995
Preferred foot: left
Height: 188cm

They say …
"Pereiro is a multi-functional forward. He is good in the air, he can score and he has good balance. Potentially he can become a complete player. He is doing well and is knocking at the door [for a place in the lineup]."
PSV coach Phillip Cocu

Background ...
Born in Montevideo, Pereiro impressed at local side Racing before moving to heavyweights Nacional aged 13. Having excelled in the youth ranks, he made his debut in the Copa Libertadores in January 2014 before scoring his first league goal four days later, against former club Racing. That same year, he realised a dream by playing alongside his hero Álvaro Recoba and helped his boyhood favourites win the league title. In July 2015, with 'El Chino' Recoba's face now tattooed on his arm, the youngster switched to Eindhoven – taking the No7 shirt vacated by Memphis Depay.

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Playing style …
Comfortable on either flank, or deployed in the supporting striker role, Pereiro is blessed with a fine left foot. With his size, strength and ability, the 20-year-old shrugs off opponents during unpredictable dribbles. He certainly has everything needed to succeed in Europe and will be inspired by another Uruguayan who had a promising start with Nacional before heading to the Netherlands – Luis Suárez.

Shades of …
Pereiro admits to styling his game on another tall attacker equipped with a decent left peg, Robin van Persie. At Nacional, meanwhile, he would stay behind after training to learn from his role model Recoba and practise free-kicks. 

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Eureka moment ...
On 4 October, the new boy showcased his quality with a spectacular contribution on his first start for the Dutch champions. Given the nod by Cocu to feature in the crucial trip to Eredivisie leaders Ajax, with Maxime Lestienne unavailable, the winger scored twice in a dramatic 2-1 success. Pereiro struck within seven minutes, cutting inside before finding the roof of the net, and added a second 11 minutes from time to end Ajax's unbeaten start and endear himself to PSV supporters. Three weeks later, he hit a Dutch Cup hat-trick against third-tier Genemuiden.

Best-case scenario …
Apparently settled in the Netherlands, the No7 is enjoying his breakthrough campaign with the Boeren, scoring eight in 20 outings so far. Although Lestienne and Luciano Narsingh are regulars on the flanks, Pereiro has established himself as an excellent option off the bench – figuring in four UEFA Champions League matches. Having also caught the eye with Uruguay at the FIFA U-20 World Cup in May/June – notching a group-stage winner against eventual champions Serbia – Pereiro could be set for a senior call-up.

He says …
"I like to float around, probing away from left to right. When I was a kid I played as a left-sided forward, then I dropped back a little. PSV have a long tradition of signing South American players, I hope to follow in their footsteps."