Last night, Alvarez netted a brace in Argentina’s convincing 3-0 victory over Croatia in the World Cup semi-finals. We take a look at the young forward who has burst into footballing stardom during this tournament.
Julian Alvarez idolises Leo Messi. A picture from a decade ago shows pre-teen Alvarez smiling from ear to ear as he posed with his idol. Last night (December 13), he scored in the semi-final of the World Cup from a magical Messi assist, one of two goals he netted against Croatia.
Julian Alvarez has come a long way, from idolising Messi in his childhood to actually sharing the pitch with the great man. We take a brief look at who Julian Alvarez is and his footballing journey.
A football crazy kid from Calchin
Alvarez was born to working class parents in Calchin, a small town around 350 km from Messi’s birthplace of Rosario. Like everywhere else in Argentina, football is an integral part of the cultural fabric in Calchin and the Albiceleste hold an exalted status. Young Julian too was obsessed with the game, with an oversized Argentina jersey among his most prized possessions.
He also happened to be quite good, showing flashes of talent as early as 11 years old, when he trialled for Spanish giants Real Madrid. Only his tender age kept him back in Argentina, with new Spanish FA laws making it harder for clubs to sign pre-teens from foreign countries.
Julian’s footballing education would continue domestically, toughening him up for challenges ahead.
A young phenom in one of the roughest football leagues
Argentina’s Primera Division is one of the most gruelling footballing leagues in the world. Games often devolve into gladiatorial contests, with flying tackles and wild brawls a common sight.