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Italian sensation in Argentina

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Ever since Argentina lifted their World Cup title in Qatar in December, there has been a renewed interest in the country’s league. On top of that, Enzo Fernandez’s Premier League record signing on the winter transfer deadline day has further ignited everyone’s interest to see who could be the next superstar to emerge from the Land of the Silver. One of the names that have recently caught particular interest is Club Atletico Tigre centre-forward Mateo Retegui.

Retegui comes from a family who migrated from Italy to Argentina. This is why the youngster had citizenship of both countries and could represent either internationally but chose to represent Italy. The player has spent his youth career at River Plate and Boca Juniors, two of the biggest clubs in Argentina. He has been on constant loan spells since 2019 but has slowly become a force to reckon with in the last two seasons.

And with several clubs now taking an interest in signing him, we look at the talented 23-year-old who could be the next star for his future club and La Albiceleste.

How good is Mateo Retegui?

Born in San Fernando, a city in the greater Buenos Aires metropolitan area, Mateo Retegui came from a family with high achievements in the field of sports. His father, Carlos, was a player and a legendary coach in hockey who won numerous titles (several of them for the first time in Argentina’s history) with both the men’s and women’s teams. Even his sister is a national team hockey player and won the silver medal at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

The family environment was thus a considerable boost for Retegui, who was given all the freedom to pursue any sport he liked. His footballing journey started at River Plate, the most successful club in Argentina. The player stayed at the club till 2016 before he joined Boca Juniors, his current club.

At Boca Juniors, it took a little more than a season for him to go from just a youth team prospect to making his debut for the first team when he played against Patronato as a late substitute. Unfortunately, this is still his only appearance for the club, as he has spent every season after that on loan to different clubs.

His first loan spell came at Estudiantes de La Plata, where he spent the second half of the 2018-19 season. He scored his debut goal in the Copa de Liga clash with Club Sportivo Estudiantes.

The following season though, he made remarkable improvements as he gave a return of five goals from 36 matches. However, Estudiantes were not convinced of his talent, and thus Boca Juniors sent him on loan to Club Atletico Talleres. And while Retegui made considerable improvements scoring six goals and also providing four assists from 44 matches.

Again the same story repeated with his loan club, not sure of his talents. So, when the 2021-22 season arrived, Retegui knew it was a make-or-break season for him, and he came out all guns blazing.

Mateo Retegui stats 

With his back against the wall, Retegui joined Club Atletico Tigre on loan; what followed was his best season to date. Retegui scored 23 goals and provided three assists in 42 matches playing as the designated centre-forward for Tigre. Nineteen of the goals came in the league, making him the highest scorer in the entire league. This helped Tigre finish seventh in the league.

What was more impressive is that 13 of these goals came when Boca Juniors were either in a losing situation or were drawing a match which helped win an additional 15 points. With these impressive performances, Tigre were more than happy to continue their loan spell.

And Retegui has gone a level above the form of his previous season, scoring seven goals in nine matches, including two braces. In fact, the team has only scored ten goals in the league, which shows how dependent they are on the prolific striker.

Mateo Retegui scout report 

Mateo Retegui is a player who is a complete striker and is a menace to the defenders in the attacking third of the pitch. His heatmap from Sofascore is a perfect example of that, which shows him spending most of his time either on inside channels or the penalty area.

Retegui’s greatest assets are his ability to accurately shoot, pass, dribble, make intelligent off-the-ball movements, leave defenders, and create space for himself and his teammates inside the penalty box. In fact, he is so good at it that in the 2022 season, he had an insane conversion rate of 47.4 per cent when he hit the target.

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The trend has continued this season, as his shot conversion rate has been a massive 53 per cent. On top of that, Retegui’s 1.86-metre frame, combined with his heavy physical build, also helps him to hold the ball and allow his teammates to get involved.

A rare ability that Retegui has worked on this season is that he has started to pass the ball to a teammate if he is in a more advantageous situation in and around the opposition’s box. Retegui has also improved his accuracy as he missed 13 big chances last season, the second-most in the league.

However, Retegui has shown that he can be a devastating striker even in a team like Tigre, where he receives minimal service, which is evident by the fact that Tigre has no player among the top ten assists provider in the league this season.

Mateo Retegui transfer news 

Any player that shows the form that Retegui has demonstrated for the last year is bound to attract interest from several clubs. Among them, the top club is Spanish giants Atletico Madrid who want to sign him. However, they are facing stiff competition from Juventus, AC Milan, Eintracht Frankfurt and Leeds United.

Despite this, Atletico appear to be ahead of the pack, with Diego Simeone a key reason why Retegui wants to join the club. Even Boca Juniors know that the allure of playing across the Atlantic is too good for any player and would thus like to exact every penny that they can from the sale of the player.

For now, though, Retegui will be looking to keep his insane scoring streak and hope to show his talent in a top league from the following season.

Saumy Deepak Tripathi
A Bayern Munich fan who is deeply in love with football statistics. Has a soft spot for goalkeepers! (well only he knows why). You’ll find him vibing on 70’s classic songs and spends an abnormal amount of time cooking.

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