Belgium has been known to produce a vast amount of talent in years of late. With Romelu Lukaku, Kevin de Bruyne, Thibaut Courtois, Dries Mertens, Divock Origi, Eden and Thorgan Hazard amongst the players making a name for themselves in Europes big leagues. There are no doubts about the degree of deservance when it comes to the national team’s ranking, and they are often mentioned in the favorites column when talking about this summers Euro’s.
One player has gotten little of the limelight though, but has shown signs of promise of late. Yannick Ferreira Carrasco, a name you should duly be remembering. After securing promotion for Monaco in his first season after the move from Genk, he stayed there the following two seasons, before being picked up by La Liga contenders Atletico Madrid.
A constant threat with his creative style of play, Carrasco is reminiscent of a certain portuguese wingers early days. Having a style built on fancy footwork and the occasional «Rabona», Carrasco has all the traits to become a superstar. The question is, is Atletico the right club for him?
Luciano Vietto and Eduardo Salvio are two players I’ve hyped in the past. Both with unreal amounts of potential, but none grasping the stardom I predicted. Vietto could still do it though, after a year blemished with bad form and injuries. Salvio however, was a talent for years, I was just waiting for him to bloom, which he hasn’t done just yet. Signs of promise have been shown with Benfica, but in my head he was destined for something bigger a few years back.
The main problem is the style of play. Diego Simeone likes to defend, he likes it so much it sometimes deteriorates the attacking players using most their energy in the final third. Griezmann and Torres the preferred options, are tracking back and looking to catch a break on the counter. Carrasco however, is a more attacking player, who enjoys taking on compact defences, finding openings for a splitting pass, and even sending defenders to the hot-dog stand in the process. There’s not much room for his style with Atletico playing as they are, and even though he has had decent amounts of playing time, his potential will never be fulfilled unless there’s a change of mindset. Undoubtedly full of talent, and a man able to hold up play for his teammates, but is that enough at his current club?
He has not scored too many goals, but I expect them to come flying in with time. I also expect Yannick Carrasco to adapt, track back, and be a bigger part of the build up play. A prime example his last outing against Real Madrid in the UCL final, where Carrasco was the major factor in Atletico’s fight to get back into the match. He scored the goal, but more importantly looked lively and dangerous on the left flank. He used his skill set to create problems for the Real defenders, and also showe dus why he should have started the match. He has the ability and talent to be a deciding factor, and star player for Atletico. With Torres and Griezmann either getting older or being sold for vast amounts of money, Carrasco is ready to step up to the plate, and be the next star to roam the Vicente Calderon. At 22 years old, already having lots of experience from the title challenge both in La Liga and the Champions League, he has the world at his feet, as long as he understands he has to be patient.
In two years time, the super big clubs will come knocking, and they’ll ask how much money they need to throw at Atletico to secure the services of Yannick Ferreira Carrasco, a future star.