A Rising Star: Derlis Gonzalez


Derlis Gonzalez

Age: 22

Club: Dynamo Kyiv

Nationality: Paraguayan

Position: Striker

What does it say about Derlis Gonzalez that he’s 22, and has already spent time with three of the biggest clubs in Europe (Benfica, Basel, and Dynamo Kyiv)? For starters, it might mean he’s pretty good. When Gonzalez was 20, and still kicking for Basel, the young striker netted his first Champions League goal against Real Madrid. He scored twice more in the tournament — not bad for a first taste at global glory.

In last summer’s Copa America, the striker scored a penalty in one of his country’s biggest games ever, leveling Paraguay’s Quarterfinal matchup with Brazil. Minutes later, he converted in a penalty shootout, sending his homeland through to the Semi-finals. With 19 caps in just under three years, it makes sense why so many are high on the exuberant Paraguayan. He already has three goals for his country, and a few dozen more for the assorted clubs who’s names he’s sported on his kits.

While it would be quite a surprise to see Gonzalez carry Paraguay out of the group stage, it’s not hard to imagine him making life difficult for any of the other three squads forced to mark him on set pieces, or keep up with him on the wings. The future is bright for this young star, and this could be his chance to cement a place in Paraguayan lore.

How to cite this article: “The Young Guns” Written by Shaker Samman (2016), Copa America Centenario 2016 Guide, Soccer Politics Blog, Duke University, http://sites.duke.edu/wcwp/tournament-guides/copa-america-centenario-2016-guide/the-young-guns/ (accessed on (date)).