Saturday, April 21, 2018

Meet Alejandro Chumacero, South America’s Best Player This Season

Juan Pablo Aravena in Editorial 19 May 2017

Alejandro Chumacero The Strongest

Alejandro Chumacero shines on a weekly basis in the 2017 Copa Libertadores – Credit: APG

South America is one of the richest regions in the world when it comes to football talent. We only need to analyse the top five European leagues to realise there are CONMEBOL players in most teams.

However, South America also have a big amount of talent left in the continent. It only takes a quick look at the Copa Libertadores to realise there are some interesting players. However, one has caught the eye of several European scouts over the past year. His name is Alejandro Chumacero.

His name might not sound familar, and that is okay. Chumacero is the most important player in Bolivia, a nation that is not known for their football talent. However, he has turned heads all over South America with his recent performances at the continental and international level. And it seems he is ready to take the next step in his development.

First of all, who is Chumacero?

As mentioned above, Chumacero is a central midfielder who plays for both The Strongest and the Bolivia National Team. He does not stand out with his physicality since he stands at 5’1″. But the 26-year-old has not allowed his height to become a limitation – instead, he embraces it. And in a way he is pretty similar to Lionel Messi, because he’s short and fast, a deadly combination when given enough spaces in the final third. He’s virtually unstoppable in the open pitch.

Chumacero has always been considered one of the top prospects in the CONMEBOL region. However, it is quite difficult to imagine him playing in Europe any time soon. Leaving aside the fact that Bolivian players tend to struggle when playing away from altitude, his height could become a problem. He might be extremely talented, but can you imagine a 5’1″ midfielder in the Premier League, the Serie A or the Bundesliga? It does not seem likely.

However, when it comes to the CONMEBOL region Chumacero has emerged as an absolute difference maker for The Strongest. He started his career as a fullback, but quickly moved to midfield and so far the positional change has brought dividends.

What’s his playing style?

Chumacero regularly operates as a deep-lying playmaker, but he tends to have freedom to roam forward when given the chance. In recent years he improved his finishing, and that added a new dimension to his game. He’s the top scorer in the 2017 Copa Libertadores with eight goals.

To put things into perspective, if we had to make a comparison to a European player then Chumacero would be a smaller version of Bastian Schweinsteiger. Chumacero is quite smaller and not as strong as the former Manchester United and Bayern Munich player, but he also has he ability to contribute and make an impact on both ends of the pitch. After all, Chumacero is known as “Chumastaiger” in South America due to the constant similarities he has with the Chicago Fire player.

And it seems he won’t stop improving. He’s only 26, so he is a few years away from his prime. Can you imagine how good he will be in two or three more years?

What does the future lie for him?

Chumacero has emerged as one of the best box-to-box midfielders in South America, and it seems he plays better every month. He went from a defensive-minded player, to a scoring threat and a talented playmaker. Unfortunately his height could be a road block on his quest to play in Europe, but he does not lack experience. Chumacero has already played in Brazil, and should move to a bigger team sooner than later.

Right now he looks happy featuring in The Strongest and his national team. And we can’t blame him, since he’s widely considered the top player in the continent. He has proved it on a weekly basis, and he’s the perfect example of the kind of talent we can find in South America if we dig a bit deeper outside Brazil and Argentina.


Juan Pablo Aravena

A freelance writer and sports analyst with almost five years of experience in the industry before joining SoccerNews, Juan Pablo Aravena is based in Chile and currently contributes to several publications and websites including SoccerNews, 12up, and Sports From The Basement, while also working as a fantasy beat writer for RotoWire, as a database editor for EA Sports, and as a football analyst for SmartOdds and InsideFutbol. His areas of focus are Serie A, Bundesliga, Premier League, LaLiga, and Ligue 1, but he has also written about MLS and South American football in the past.



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