Adrián Centurión 20 Midfielder Genoa Argentina
2013 has been....
A reality check. When we commenced the narrowing down of names for The 100 in the autumn of 2012, one South American in particular really caught our eye. We didn't want to make the direct, and perhaps very lazy, comparison with Ángel di María at Rosario Central, but when referring to Racing's rapidly ascending Adrián Centurión it was very difficult not to. This kid was going places.
Although not a carbon copy of the Real Madrid wide man, Centurión does share a lot of similarities; deft and directness being admirable qualities that are notable in both. If anything Centurión is a far more powerful player, and if we're going to start drawing comparisons, the prospect that Racing had discovered a CR7 mark two was a very tangible thing in late 2012.
The 19-year-old scored his first ever senior goal in his fourth game for Racing with a clinically taken finish against Argentinos Juniors and, after only a handful of appearances at club level, Centurión was rewarded with a call to the full Argentina squad. Praised for his work rate on the pitch by Racing coach Luis Zubeldia, Centurión's explosive impact was difficult to suppress but while his piercing runs could do much damage, his final ball, as is so often the case with young wingers, was often lacking.
The initial burst of attention and subsequent call up alerted most of Europe's top sides, and while Juventus, Napoli, Milan, Inter and Barca were prepared to play more of a waiting game to see how Centurión developed, the then cash rich Anzhi made a move in January. Racing President Gaston Cogorno travelled to Russia to conclude a deal but a mix of injury concerns and a disagreement over the financial structure of the transfer meant that Centurión remained in Argentina.
After a string of bright performances in the Tomeo lnicial, a recently diagnosed ankle defect blighted Centurión's second season and stunted Racing's progress. Missing for eleven matches, Centurión returned to the starting line up in a 1-0 defeat at Qilmes but looked in much better shape switching flanks during his final three appearances of the season, all of which ended in wins for his team. The relationship between those two factors should not go unnoticed.
Largely ineffective in his final appearances for Racing and with interest cooler than had been the case at the turn of the year, Centurión was still expected to move this summer, but that it took right up until the final day of the European Transfer window for a relocation to materialise was a little surprising. With most of the big players still deliberating over to whether they could justify meeting Racing's €7m+ asking price, a season long loan to Genoa has offered a good compromise.
Genoa's playing style under Fabio Liverani would probably not have offered Centurión much of an opportunity to play, but with Gian Piero Gasperini back in charge game time for II Grifone should materialise. At time of writing, minutes on the pitch have proved elusive, but that's been more down to Genoa's excellent form since Gasperini's return. Suggestions of poor attitude put forward by some commentators are, we understand, unfounded. Eventually Centurión will be called upon, and it will be at this point that we will gain a clear perspective as to how good he is.
In 2014 Adrián Centurión has an opportunity to impress in Serie A where the initial interest in him was centred. While we can't find any definitive proof, we'd be very surprised to find that one of the bigger outfits haven't already secured first refusal on the young Argentine should his loan period prove fruitful. There's a lot of work to be done first though.
"I've still got no idea why European media insist on calling him Adrián, either, when he's always gone by Ricardo in Argentina. Anyway: he's struggled for playing time at Genoa, from what I've heard, and no-one who saw him for Racing in the first half of this season will be surprised by that. He's been treated worse than many by the South America to Europe transfer route, but if he's mentally strong enough, he's got both the youth and the talent to make it still. Unfortunately, I'm not convinced he is mentally strong enough." - Sam Kelly, Hasta El Gol Siempre
"Since his deadline day switch, Ricardo Centurion has played just 145 minutes of Serie A football for Genoa." - Opta
C- 2014 will tell us what we need to know