Julian Alvarez could reach a record that neither Lionel Messi nor Diego Maradona nor Alfredo Di Stéfano achieved. The Cordovan is on the verge of becoming the first Argentine to win the World Cup, the Copa Libertadores and the Champions League. And he will achieve it if on Saturday he lifts the most important trophy in Europe with Pep Guardiola's Manchester City.
If Julián has the possibility of kissing the Orejona, as he did with the Libertadores in 2018 with River and the World Cup, with the National Team, in Qatar 2002, he will become part of a select group in which for now there are no Argentines and four Brazilians: Dida, Roque Junior, Cafú and Ronaldinho, kings of the world with the Brazilian National Team and continental champions in America and Europe.
Julián Álvarez, world champion in Qatar 2022. Photo: AFP
Alvarez already knows what it's like to be champion with City. He lived it twice. Just one season in England was enough to get the Premier League, considered the best league in the world today. And on Saturday, despite not having played a minute, he won the FA Cup, following City's 2-1 victory over Manchester United in football's oldest tournament. Julian was on the substitutes' bench.
Álvarez also tasted the pleasure of important goals by turning Real Madrid into the semifinal that after the 5-1 aggregate (1-1 in Madrid and 4-0 in Manchester) deposited Pep's team in Istanbul to play the Champions League final against Inter. In the return, the 23-year-old striker entered with 2 minutes left and the first ball he touched sent it into the net to seal the goal.
Julian lives a dream season. In Qatar, the footballer born in Calchín waskey for the Argentine National Team to get the coveted third star. He won the position to Lautaro Martínez, began to start from the third game against Poland, became the benchmark of the attack, scored four goals and fulfilled the dream of playing with his idol, Lionel Messi, and helping him conquer the most desired trophy.
By then, he already had some European friction, given that he had arrived a few months earlier at Manchester City, requested by Pep Guardiola, who had been following in his footsteps at River and in the National Team. "It smells a goal and the goal is worth money," the Spanish coach had said when City shelled out 27 million euros to take him.
Until mid-2022, Julián played in River, where he debuted with 18 years and with just a few minutes in Primera he would start with his milestones. A month and a half after officially debuting, he played in the final of the Copa Libertadores. He entered in extra time of the decisive match against Boca at the Santiago Bernabéu in Madrid and ended up celebrating his first title.
Julián Álvarez, Copa Libertadores champion with River after beating Boca in Madrid. in 2018. Photo: AFP
From that excursion to the Spanish capital, it was learned that, in a stretch of the trip, Marcelo Gallardo approached the seat of the plane in which Álvarez was sitting and spoke to him. He told him that, if the match was long, they would need him since Ignacio Scocco would not recover. What the Doll did was start preparing him mentally. The encounter with Boca lasted 120 minutes and the young striker entered in extra time.
And if we talk about the maximum continental tournaments, Julián could enter another select group that until now make up four Argentines and nine Brazilians: that of winning the Libertadores and the Champions League.
Juan Pablo Sorin (champion in the same season, with River of the Libertadores in 1996 and Juventus, of the Champions League, 1995-96)
Carlos Tevez (Boca, in 2003 and Manchester United, 2008)
Walter Samuel (Boca, in 2000 and Inter Milan, 2010)
Wilfredo Caballero (Boca, in 2003, was a substitute in all 14 matches of the campaign and with Chelsea in 2020-2021 he was a substitute in all 13 matches of the tournament)
Dida (Libertadores with Cruzeiro in 1997 and Champions League with Milan in 2002-03 and 2006-07)
Cafu (with São Paulo in the Libertadores 1992 and 1993 and with Milan in 2006–07)
Roque Junior (Palmeiras 1999 and Milan 2003)
Ronaldinho (Barcelona 2006 and Atlético Mineiro 2013)
Neymar (Santos 2011 and Barcelona 2015)
Danilo (Santos 2011 and Real Madrid 2016)
Rafinha (Bayern Munich 2013 and Flamengo 2019)
Ramires Gil Santos (Chelsea 2012 and Palmeiras 2020)
- David Luiz (Chelsea 2012 and Flamengo 2022).