Enzo Fernández: Francescoli’s “heir” who quickly convinces

With Enzo Fernández there is usually no time to waste.

At least, when it comes to assessing the quality of the 21-year-old Argentine midfielder for whom the Benfica announced this Thursday to have an agreement with River Plate.

The kid who started playing at La Recova, a club in San Martín, Buenos Aires, was discovered when he was just five years old by Pablo Esquivel, a talent scout who took on Enzo’s team and immediately notified River Plate that he had a diamond in the rough.

It will be him later who will also convince Enzo’s parents to let their son settle soon with the Argentine giant. To the parents and to the child himself, who according to Esquivel “just wanted to play with the children in his neighborhood”.

The call, however, was strong. After all, it was the club that the heart of this humble family of five called Enzo called for. The boy who “inherited” the name of Enzo “El Príncipe” Francescoli, idol of the father of reinforcement Benfica, who shone with the jersey of the Millonarios.

The truth is, boy Enzo, things were going well at River Plate, until he moved from small schools to beginner level.

Then the boy from San Martín began to experience difficulties. For two years he played less and sometimes wasn’t even called up, even considering leaving River Plate.

At this point, Esquivel’s friendship was important again, which helped convince him to stay and fight for his place at the club he loved.

The bet soon paid off. At the age of 16 he started to stand out, and soon after he started working with the reserve team, being one step away from the main team, at only 17 years old.

45 enchanted minutes Doll Gallardo

In the main team, Enzo had someone with unparalleled experience in scouting and launching talent in the main team.

Marcello Doll Gallardo, River Plate’s most successful manager and who has launched more than 40 club-trained youngsters in nine years.

As he had done at age five with Esquivel, Enzo Fernández very quickly seduced Gallardo.

The first 45 minutes of training with the first team, in January 2019, left the coach abandoned and had him take the 18-year-old to the bench for a Libertadores game.

The debut came about a year later, against La Liga de Quito, also at Libertadores.

But the same coach, delighted with the qualities of the youngster, recommended a loan so that he could have more minutes of play in form and not interrupt his development.

“Gallardo called me and told me there was a possibility of being assigned. He explained to me that it would be good to gain experience in the first division, confidence and I don’t never doubted that he was right,” he revealed.

Convinced by Gallardo’s words, Enzo went to Defensa y Justicia. The club which, surprisingly, will win the Copa Sudamericana in 2020, under the orders of Crespo and the Recopa, a sort of South American Supercup, beating Palmeiras de Abel.

At the club on the outskirts of Buenos Aires, the young Enzo was quick to establish himself and conquered a prominent place in the midfield. He played over 30 games in a year in which he scored one goal and two assists.

And that year, it was enough for Gallardo to ask for the return of the player, who had been on loan for a year and a half. River managed to negotiate an early end to the loan, sending another young player to Defensa y Justicia.

Enzo returned to River Plate and became a regular in Millonarios training, to the point of being called up to the Argentina national team four months later, despite not making his debut.

Less than a year after returning home from his loan spell at Defensa y Justicia, Enzo Fernández is set to take another step forward. Direction now Europe. On the way to Benfica.

That year, in the first team of River Plate, Enzo made less than 50 games. 48, specifically.

Since December, the start of the season in South America, Enzo’s talent has exploded. In 25 games, the midfielder has scored 10 goals and made six assists.

Will he be able to convince Benfica supporters again at first sight?

Leave a Comment