17 Striker Cerro Porteno Paraguay
Two footed teenage magician whose displays at 16 for Cerro Porteno made him one of the most coveted young players in world football.
2015 has been…
Slower. There isn’t an awful lot of back story in terms of Sergio Diaz’ career. All you need to know is that in the closing months of 2014, this prodigiously gifted young striker/attacking midfielder caught the attention of scouts *everywhere* after notching eight goals in as many weeks. No sooner had we issued the IBWM100 for 2015 than everyone – and we really mean everyone – was linked with a move for the boy from Itauguá.
They all came looking for good reason. Diaz was utterly explosive in the closing weeks of 2014 as he delivered to the first team the kind of potential he had long shown at youth level under the guidance of junior coach Diego Gavilan - another once tipped for greatness.
Diaz is a wonderful player to watch. Utterly mesmeric with the ball, quick, clever and well balanced, it’s little wonder that experienced opponents were caught off guard. This small kid shouldn’t have been able to embarrass fully grown men in the way that he did, but he did.
With the Clausara wrapped up (Cerro finished second to Libertad), Paraguay’s Torneo Apertura from January saw El Ciclón absolutely romp home, dropping only fourteen of 66 available points to secure victory ahead of Guarani. Throughout the season, Diaz remained a presence but he retained a slightly deeper role for his team, acting as a foil and decoy for the free scoring José Ortigoza or hugging the flanks. After such a huge impact in the latter stages of 2014, Diaz’ five goal tally in a title winning side was not quite as impressive, with four of these arriving between April and May.
The second part of this year has centred on the FIFA under 17 World Cup held in Chile, a tournament which Paraguay will have felt they had as much chance of winning as any, not least due to their brilliant young forward. And while things began well, with Diaz turning in a strong performance in a comfortable 4-1 victory over Syria, he began to look jaded in a 4-3 defeat to France and did not make the first eleven for Paraguay’s crucial final match with New Zealand.
Returning to Cerro for their title challenging clash with Olimpia at the start of November, Diaz turned in 90 minutes but was unable to stop his team falling to a 3-1 home defeat. Used more sparingly of late, Diaz has clearly suffered fatigue and seems to be running at a much lower volume than previously.
At point of publishing (Wednesday December 9, 2015) we sit hours away from a title play off between Cerro Porteno and Olimpia. There is a strong likelihood that the match could be Diaz’ last for the club before he moves on. While the list of teams falling over themselves this time last year to sign him has rescinded, strong interest remains and if he is to move, we’d be much happier to see Diaz land somewhere away from the strongest glare.
Not yet 18, Sergio Diaz could still be one of the best players in world football but what happens next – and we included rest in that assessment – could shape things considerably.
C- Steady rather than spectacular, be careful in 2016
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