For years, the Argentine Primera Division has been dominated by a handful of elite clubs. Boca Juniors, one of the world’s most successful clubs, have won three of the league’s last five titles, with rivals River Plate also getting their hands on the trophy. Both clubs are located in Argentina’s capital, Buenos Aires, as are many of the Primera Division’s past champions.
Many of the world’s elite players come from Buenos Aires. Famous striker Carlos Tevez, for example. Legendary Real Madrid forward Alfredo Di Stéfano. Javier Zanetti. Sergio Agüero. The list of talented players from the Argentine capital is endless.
However, while most of the attention goes to Boca Juniors and River Plate, Argentina’s other clubs have done some brilliant youth development in recent years. In fact, one of the league’s best talents right now comes from another Buenos Aires club — Santiago Hezze of CA Huracán.
CA Huracán were founded in 1908 and quickly rose to fame in Argentina. Per the club’s official website (cahuracan.com), they won the league four times within their first twenty years. However, a drought ensued for the club, not winning the league again until 1973. They haven’t won it since, although they have enjoyed success in cup competitions — notably winning the Copa Argentina in 2014.
This season, the Primera Division has been turned upside down. Many of Argentina’s more successful clubs in recent years, like Lanús and Vélez, are battling at the bottom of the table. Even Boca Juniors and River Plate are having down seasons by their standards. As a result, the challengers at the top of the table are surprising — Gimnasia LP and Atlético Tucumán are first and second respectively, while Huracán sits third in the league after 17 matches. A major part of Huracán’s success this season is 20-year-old midfielder Santiago Hezze.
Hezze was born in Buenos Aires and featured in the Huracán academy — where his uncle Antonio Mohamed played 30 years earlier. In 2020, Hezze debuted for the club at the age of 18, where he became one of Huracán’s youngest ever debutants. Hezze’s reputation within the club continued to grow, and last season he began to feature regularly as a substitute.
This season, Hezze’s career really took off. He has started every match this season, even being named captain in a victory over Newell’s Old Boys — who also have a promising young midfielder, Juan Sforza. Hezze scored the equalizer in a match against Independiente and assisted another game-winner a few matches later. His real strengths, though, are his defensive capabilities.
Hezze has 30 tackles and 37 interceptions in 17 games, per fbref.com. These are both top ten numbers in the league, making him one of just three players to be in the top ten in both. Huracán are significantly better when Hezze’s on the field, as he has the second-highest net-goals (goal differential with him on the field) in the league, with eleven.
Hezze is everything you would want in a central midfielder. He’s versatile and can feature in attacking as well as defensive roles. As the statistics show, he’s a strong tackler, although they don’t show just how well he breaks up opposition attacks. Hezze is good in the air, whether on offense or defense. He’s a strong passer of the ball and gets himself into good positions to receive and distribute the ball.
Already a youth international for Argentina, Santiago Hezze is set for stardom. He’s impressed in Argentina’s top flight and is leading Huracán to one of their most successful seasons in recent years. Although the transfer window for many leagues is closed, he’s unlikely to be in Argentina much longer.
His contract is said to expire in December, so interested teams will have an opportunity they shouldn’t pass up. If clubs don’t sign Hezze soon, he’ll likely cost a lot more in the future.
Image Courtesy of Thomas Khazki y Lihueel Althabe, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons.
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