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Player Profile: Juventus’ Rodrigo Bentancur

Photo Credit: Prensa Juventus

Juventus have recently announced the signing of Boca Juniors midfielder Rodrigo Bentancur.

In addition to Guido Vadalá, the Bianconeri have decided to exercise their first option on teenager Rodrigo Bentancur, which derived from the ‘Old Lady’s’ previous deal involving Carlos Tevez’s return to his boyhood club. Pescara’s recently signed Andres Cubas completed that list.

The past couple of summers, Bentancur’s name had been mentioned with multiple big European clubs such as AC Milan and Real Madrid. However, Tevez’s return to Boca placed Juventus in pole position to obtain Bentancur. Here’s what we all should know.

Meet Rodrigo Bentancur

Date of birth: 25 June 1997 (20 years old)

Position: Central Midfielder

Nationality: Uruguay

Club: Juventus

Height: 1,85 metres

International caps: U-20 (8 app, 1 goal)

Upbringing

A native of Nueva Helvecia Uruguay, El Flaco Bentancur is a product of the prestigious Boca Juniors academy. His athleticism and unique set of skill propelled him to make his first unofficial appearance with the first team at the tender age of 17 in a 2-2 draw against Velez Sarsfield; playing 20 minutes of the second half. Prior to his official debut, Bentancur featured in two friendlies against bitter rivals River Plate. He played five minutes in a 1-0 victory by Boca in Mar de Plata. Days later, he was subbed in at La Bombonera where he scored a header in a historic 5-0 rout of River Plate. From this point forward, Bentancur solidified a spot under then manager Rodolfo Arruabarrena.

On April 9 2015, he made his official debut for Boca Juniors in a Copa Libertadores match against Montevideo Wanderers where he came in as a substitute in the second half. Three days later, the Uruguayan would make his league debut in the 0-0 draw against Nueva Chicago playing four minutes. Bentancur scored his first and only official goal for Boca Juniors on February 20th 2016, opening up the score sheet against Newell’s Old Boys in what would later end up as a 4-1 victory for Boca.

Inexperience resulting in subpar performances saw Bentancur fall out of favor most of the 2015-16 campaign, thus failing to find continuity and make an impact in the eyes of Boca fans. Fortunately however, Guillermo Barros Schelotto’s arrival at Boca’s bench provided Bentancur with the opportunity to fully earn his stripes as a starter. Under Schelotto, Bentancur has been a consistent name in the midfield. His ability to transition from defense to offense and vice versa has allowed him to become an important part to the former Palermo manager’s aggressive possession style of play.

The 19-year-old is currently enjoying his highest amount of minutes played, sitting at 1,286 minutes. Bentancur currently has one goal and 44 official appearances for Boca; a number that is not to be overlooked considering how difficult it is for a player his age to have cemented a spot in arguably Argentina’s biggest club.

Bentancur has yet to be called for Uruguay’s national team. He did however play an important role in Uruguay’s U-20 South American championship campaign where he played 8 games adding 1 goal to his name and ultimately leading his country to winning its 8th U-20 South American championship.

What we can expect

Boca Juniors’ midfielder Rodrigo Bentancur (L) vies for the ball with Tigre’s defender Erik Godoy during their Argentina First Division football match, at Jose Dellagiovanna stadium, in Victoria, Buenos Aires province, on October 2, 2016. / AFP / AFP PHOTO / ALEJANDRO PAGNI (Photo credit should read ALEJANDRO PAGNI/AFP/Getty Images)

Juventus fans and calcio enthusiasts as a whole should be excited for Bentancur’s arrival in Serie A.

Still a teenager, Bentancur has experience under his belt that most players his age could only dream of. His ability to dribble at opposing defenders with explosiveness in addition to his impressive size makes him a promising player to build around. Although he is still young, Bentancur possesses the vision and technique to be deployed in a deep play-making role, or as a box-to-box midfield threat or mezz’ala. At Vinovo, he will be training with the likes of Claudio Marchisio, Sami Khedira, Miralem Pjanic and Paulo Dybala. A jump of quality of that magnitude can only make one think just how high is Bentancur’s ceiling?

Although Bentancur knows what it takes to establish himself in a winning team, the cultural and tactical differences in Italy may take some getting used to.

With a very strong and experienced midfield, it is fair to expect Bentancur to be loaned out as early as next season. As we have seen in the past, Juventus are not hesitant in striking loan deals with mid to low tables teams such as Sassuolo or Atalanta. Whether they decide to keep him or loan him, one thing is certain: Rodrigo Bentancur can leave a mark at both Juventus and Serie A.

@ItalianFD

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