The goal is such a valued asset that it can change opinions pronounced with a definitive tone.
In 2015, the current Italian coach Roberto Mancini disowned the nationalized Eder and Franco Vázquez recruited under the direction of Antonio Conte for the
“The Italian team must be Italian.
An Italian player deserves to play in the national team while those not born in Italy do not, even if they have Italian relatives.
This is my opinion".
Eight years later, faced with a shortage of definitive strikers, Mancini has turned to Mateo Retegui (San Fernando, Argentina, 23 years old), an Italian-Argentine striker on the part of his maternal grandfather who also has Basque ancestors.
Owned by Boca Juniors, but with 50% of his pass belonging to the modest Tigre, Retegui has scored two goals in his first two games with Italy, both appearing in the starting eleven.
On Thursday, against England (1-2), in Naples he fueled Italy's hopes of tying the game with a right cross.
This Sunday, against Malta (0-2), he rose from a corner kick to hit a hammer blow that opened the scoring.
He is a goalscorer, we were looking for him and we found him.
He opened the game;
he was fundamental, ”Mancini praised him.
In the last 50 years, only Chinaglia (1972), Chiesa (1996) and Orsolini (2020) had scored two goals in their first two games for the Italian national team.
Retegui was Mancini's great novelty for this first window of qualifying matches for Euro 2026. “Coming from Argentina and playing for the national team, or for a European club, is not easy.
He is an educated, intelligent, young boy... We have confidence, but we have to give him time.
He is a classic center forward, I don't want to go too far with the comparisons… I can say that he looks like Batistuta when he arrived in Italy.
He needs to meet the companions, but it won't be long.
He is very smart.
It is in attack where we have problems and they are serious.
He immobile is out due to injury, just like Raspadori.
Almost all of our center forwards have played very little in recent months.
Except for Wilfred Gnonto, we don't have another one who is a starter”, Mancini defended.
"The technicians of the Italian federation had been following him for a long time, just like the Milanese teams," explained his father Carlos Retegui, quite a character in his country.
, as his father is known, was a field hockey player and as a coach he led Terrassa and the Argentine men's team (gold at the Rio 2016 Games) and the women's team (silver at the London and Tokyo 2020 Games).
The boy followed in his footsteps and started with the
, but at the age of 15 he preferred to opt for his father's other great passion, soccer.
Friend and admirer of Diego Pablo Simeone, they met in the Olympic village of the Atlanta 96 Games, Carlos Retegui has collaborated with the lower categories of the Argentine team to try to apply hockey movements to soccer.
In the summer of 2022, Carlos Tévez counted on him to be part of his coaching staff at Rosario Central, but in the end he did not take the step.
Before the Italian technicians began to follow him, Retegui had already attracted the attention of an illustrious player from
Francesco Totti, now involved in representation work, revealed in a conversation with Christian Vieri on Instagram that he had discovered in the middle of the pandemic “a player from Argentina, not strong;
He is a midfielder, an attacker... he is devastating”.
Totti did not reveal his name until he convinced the player and his father to be his agent.
Retegui exploded in Tigre last season, when he became the top scorer in the Argentine championship with 19 goals in 25 games.
In this campaign he has six in eight games.
Totti, Boca Juniors and Tigre are rubbing their hands before the more than foreseeable transfer to European football that will take place this summer.
“He is powerful in the race and attacks spaces decisively, something not very common lately in the forwards that emerge in Argentina.
He has drawn a lot of attention among the European clubs that follow him for that reason.
He is right-handed, but he handles the left well and upside down he makes his height count (1.86.) And a very respectable jump.
It won't be long before we see him in one of the big European leagues”, predicts a South American scout who works for various European clubs.
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