Real Madrid CF are reportedly among the suitors closely monitoring forward Luciano Vietto's progress at Villarreal CF. We get the lowdown on the 21-year-old.
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This week's UEFA.com wonderkid is Luciano Vietto, the 21-year-old Villarreal CF forward lighting up both the UEFA Europa League and the Spanish Liga this season – and reportedly garnering interest from Real Madrid CF among other heavyweights.
Name: Luciano Vietto
Club: Villarreal CF
Debut: 26 October 2011
Date of birth: 5 December 1993
Preferred foot: right
They say ...
"Vietto is a great player who is playing exceptionally well for us at the moment. His adaptation and performances have been far better than we expected. You always have to be sensible with young players, but it's obvious that he has plenty more room to develop."
Marcelino, Villarreal coach
"Vietto is different. He has the face of a young boy but he does amazing things on the pitch."
Luis Zubeldia, former Racing Club de Avellaneda coach
"He is a very impressive player – one of the best to emerge at Racing in a long, long time."
Diego Milito, former Argentinian international
Vietto grew up in Cordoba, Argentina, but left home at 15 to join Club Estudiantes de la Plata and then Racing Club. A certain Diego Simeone gave him his debut at the Buenos Aires outfit aged 17 and he scored 13 goals in 32 appearances in his first full season, 2012/13. Villarreal brought him across the Atlantic last summer and in a stunning debut campaign in Spain he has contributed 18 goals and seven assists in just 22 starts across all competitions.
Playing style ...
Vietto likes to attack from deep but his pace makes him a threat playing off the last man, too. He dribbles at defenders and has developed a penchant for surprising goalkeepers by getting a shot away early. For a youngster who once said, "when I sleep, I dream of feasting on goals", his link-up play is excellent. Vietto's relationship with winger Denis Cheryshev – on loan from Madrid – has been a feature of Villarreal's eye-catching form.
Shades of ...
His speed and shooting style have earned comparisons to Sergio Agüero. It is a likeness Vietto is not too upset by, saying: "I hope I can be half as good a player as him. That would make me very happy."
Eureka moment ...
Dribbling past Diego Godín to score a late winner at Club Atlético de Madrid in December, getting one over old boss Simeone. "It was definitely one of the most important goals of my career," Vietto says. "Atlético had gone a very long time without losing at home and they are the league champions."
Best-case scenario ...
Vietto fires Villarreal to UEFA Europa League glory, securing a spot in the UEFA Champions League. That would further boost his reputation, though the wealthier teams are already calling. His agent Jorge Cyterszpiler used to represent Diego Maradona, and has boasted: "We know that many clubs are following Luciano Vietto. There is a lot of competition for him."
He says ...
"You have to take praise in your stride. These things come and go in a footballer's career. You have to enjoy it but at the same time I know that I haven't achieved anything. These are my first few months at Villarreal and I have to keep learning and improving in many areas."