16-year-old River Plate gem continues to amaze Barcelona

BUENOS AIRES, ARGENTINA - FEBRUARY 25: Franco Mastantuono of River Plate reacts after missing a chance to score during a Copa de la Liga Profesional 2024 derby match between River Plate and Boca Juniors at Estadio Más Monumental Antonio Vespucio Liberti on February 25, 2024 in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
Photo by Daniel Jayo/Getty Images

Although reliance on young talents has been part and parcel of the history and tradition of FC Barcelona, the Catalan club has seen its emphasis on youth increase another notch in the last few years.

This is apparent from the high number of youngsters playing important roles in the current squad, and the Catalans once again showcased this intent when they signed Vitor Roque from Athletico Paranaense last summer, who joined up with his new teammates this January.

But there are other highly exciting youngsters like Vitor Roque playing in South America, and Barcelona seem to have set their eyes on just such a player. According to SPORT, the Catalans are gathering information about one of the most promising gems to arise in Argentina, Franco Mastantuono.

The left-footed attacking midfielder is gaining increased prominence in South America and has not only broken some records with his appearances at only 16 years of age but has also been instrumental in some of the most high-profile matches in the country.

Rising through the Millonarios youth academy, he was a part of the Argentina squad that participated in the U-17 World Cup in Indonesia last November, where his team finished fourth, but the spotlight was taken mostly by his teammate, Claudio Echeverri.

However, with the latter’s signing for City Group, Mastantuono is getting increased prominence from the new River Plate coach, Martín Demichelis. He has played on the right wing during his recent appearances, but his main position is that of an attacking midfielder.

He was the third youngest player to have made his debut with River Plate, and thus betters the record set by players like Pablo Aimar and Javier Saviola. He also became the youngster player to start in a Superclassico between Boca Juniors and River Plate last Sunday, in a match which ended 1-1.

He could have broken the deadline in the final minutes of the game, but even though he was unable to do that, he passed this test with flying colors.

His best attributes of vision, intelligence, and an eye for goal have set him apart in the last few months, and he has a contract with River Plate until December 2025, including a €30 million release clause.

While Barcelona might not be too keen to pay such a high release clause for a player as young as Mastantuono, it would still be worth the while to keep monitoring him and assess how he grows and develops in the future.

The Latest

Barcelona captain responds to teammate’s criticism following PSG match

The elimination of FC Barcelona from the UEFA Champions League after their defeat against Paris Saint Germain has led to a lot of tension...

La Liga side interested in 18-year-old Barcelona forward

Although Lamine Yamal and Pau Cubarsi have taken most of the spotlight, there have been several youngsters who made a leap during this season...

Barcelona open talks for homegrown pivot’s renewal – Romano

With their season almost over, FC Barcelona are already focusing their attention on work beyond the pitch, as they start planning for the upcoming...

Post-match chaos: Barcelona and PSG players clash in tunnel

The match between FC Barcelona and Paris Saint Germain in the UEFA Champions League quarter-final second leg was a highly tense affair. The history...

Clarification: Spain star’s father meets with Barcelona Director, but for Senegalese prodigy

Although he has not yet made his first-team debut under Xavi, the FC Barcelona youngster Mikail Faye has been playing at a very impressively...

Brazilian Real Madrid star a doubt for the match against Barcelona

The UEFA Champions League quarter-final round could not have been more painful for FC Barcelona. The Catalans were not only eliminated from the competition...

Barcelona director meets with €50m-rated Bundesliga star’s entourage

The aftermath of their Champions League exit could end up being a massive catalyst for FC Barcelona. Changes in the locker room could be...

Barcelona defender responds to Gundogan’s criticism following PSG defeat

FC Barcelona were unable to get a victory in one of the most significant matches for them this season, as the Catalans fell to...

Barcelona defender apologizes for his dreadful error vs PSG

FC Barcelona fell to a devastating defeat against Paris Saint Germain last night as the Catalans were eliminated from the UEFA Champions League at...