21 year old centre back Mateo Musacchio has firmly established himself as Villarreal's first choice centre back since a rapid progression into the first team during early 2010. Musacchio now finds himself in the Argentina national squad and continues to establish himself as one of the best centre backs in European football.
Recently, Musacchio had been linked with a move to Liverpool, but the Reds decided to sign Uruguayan defender Sebastian Coates instead, as Villarreal slapped a 25m EUR pricetag on Mateo. Musacchio has been likened to Jamie Carragher in defensive style.
Musacchio has four years left on his current deal at Villarreal, so the club have no immediate need to enter discussions with any interested club.
The defender made his debut at the young age of 16, and after only 10 games for River Plate, he made the move to Europe.
Back in 2008, Real Madrid were linked with a move for the centre back but Villarreal stole a march on their rivals and completed a transfer.
Some of Musacchio's best qualities include excellent physical presence and strength, whilst defensively he has is tough tackling and has excellent positional play. He is also highly influential. That means in the future, he could well end up as a captain of Villarreal or whichever club he ends up at.
Despite Musacchio's relatively small height for a centre back, he still is an incredible presence in Villarreal's back line.
Whilst playing for Villarreal's second string side, Musacchio acquired the experience that saw him slot straight into the first team immediately once called upon, and his compatriot Gonzalo Rodriguez had been temporarily left on the bench to accommodate Musacchio.
Indeed, such form proved that the centre back is a great fit for the Spanish La Liga; capable to deal with quick marauding runs from the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi, and able to deal with the fast direct football of most top Spanish clubs.
In recent months, Musacchio has moved into defensive midfield and proved to be equally as impressive playing in a holding role.
Whilst he is still relatively unknown to many, the player is sure to burst on the scene in the next two years if he continues his sterling form for club and eventually for country.
For Argentina, Mateo Musacchio will eventually partner Nicolas Otamendi in the heart of their defence. The future looks bright for both of these two high potential defenders.
In 2011/2012, the centre back endured a difficult start to the new season for Villarreal, as the immense weight of responsibility placed on his shoulders surely contributed to the two goals conceded against both Granada and Sevilla. That being said, he has the mental strength to immediately bounce from the setback.
With proper training and development and guidance from a top notch defensive coach, Musacchio has the potential to become one of the best centre backs in the world within 7 years.
Eyefootball Scout Rating
October 7th 2011
Current ability: 80/100
Potential ability: 89/100
Current club: Villarreal