Ezequiel Barco was given the honor of being named to ESPN’s list of the top 30 players in the world that are under the age of 21.
The list is not a ranking, only differentiating the top 10 (in which Barco was not named) from the rest of the group. Regardless, it’s an honor for Barco and is a refreshing reminder of how highly regarded the attacking midfielder is — both inside MLS circles and out.
The list gives a comparison for each player and describes Barco as “a fusion of Pablo Aimar and Ariel Ortega.” That is just. Wow. Both players were at one points in the careers among the best players in the world — Ortega a slaloming dribbler and Aimar a tiny, precise technician who thrived in tight spaces.
The list also offers an estimated value for each player. Clearly ESPN is uncertain about how to define the market for MLS players, as the description merely states that Atlanta United “will expect a significant return on investment.”
Hopefully this doesn’t put some sort of jinx on Barco, who in 2019 under Frank de Boer is finally looking like the player that Atlanta United fans expected to see when the club broke the league’s transfer record for his services prior to last season. Barco is currently away from the team as he prepares with his national teammates ahead of the 2019 FIFA U-20 World Cup, which begins later this month. There will surely be plenty of scouts there for Barco to impress.