Ángel Correa's career was in doubt last summer, but 12 months on he has broken into the Atlético Madrid first team and on Friday scored on his international debut.
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Meet Ángel Correa, a 20-year-old who followed his Atlético Madrid debut with a goalscoring first appearance for Argentina on Friday. Last summer, when his career was in doubt, feels a world away.
Name: Ángel Correa
Club: Atlético Madrid
Debut: 22 August 2015 v UD Las Palmas
Date of birth: 9 March 1995
Preferred foot: right
Height: 174 cm
They say …
"Correa's call-up was inevitable because he's Argentina's stand-out young player. Both he and the other new call-ups will no doubt have big roles to play with the national side."
Argentina coach Gerardo Martino on Correa's inclusion in the Argentina senior squad this week
"He's a different player to what we have in the final few metres; he can turn well in the box and is very dangerous. He has vision in small spaces, he's capable of winning penalties and he has the audacity and rebelliousness that one needs to play football. He faces up to things without fear and we like this."
Diego Simeone, Atlético coach
Rosario-born Correa was on San Lorenzo's books from the age of 12, and a successful 2013/14 attracted interest from a host of sides in Europe. The Rojiblancos won the race for his signature in June 2014. After a medical detected a heart tumour, the 20-year-old underwent a potentially career-threatening operation and his move was only confirmed in December after a full recovery. He played a starring role as Argentina won the South American Youth Championship, and made his Atleti debut as a substitute in the season opener against Las Palmas.
Playing style …
A tricky, skilful forward, Correa can operate out wide or centrally and can use his acceleration to play on the shoulder of the last defender as a classic No9 or as a second striker. He possesses wonderful technique, quick feet and his attitude and work ethic in recovering from his earlier career setback has impressed many at Atlético.
Shades of …
Young attackers from Argentina are normally dubbed the new Maradona, but in his brief career so far, Correa has earned comparisons with compatriot Sergio Agüero due to their similar build and playing styles. Agüero, of course, also started his European career with Atlético.
Eureka moment …
After making a full recovery from heart surgery, Correa scored four times playing alongside Simeone's son Giovanni as Argentina triumphed at the South American Youth Championship. Having not played competitive football in months, it was a big ask for the attacker to regain his electrifying form; however, he wasted little time, scoring in Argentina's first group stage game against Ecuador.
Best-case scenario …
After receiving a squad number and opening-day debut from Simeone, it looks as if Correa will be a key player for Atlético this season. After scoring on his first appearance for Argentina, he will have sights set on a regular starting berth for club and country.
He says …
"I'm really happy to have made my debut and for the side's win. I went through some very hard months, but luckily the day came."