Update: Enzo Perez is indeed the player chosen. Barco will have to wait four years to realize his World Cup dream.
Enzo Pérez confirma en @TyCSports y en charla con @arevalo_martin que es el reemplazante de Manuel Lanzini. para MA pic.twitter.com/kZlnBoCqMc— César Luis Merlo (@CLMerlo) June 9, 2018
Late Friday night, the Twittersphere was abuzz with rumors out of Argentina that Atlanta United’s Ezequiel Barco is a possible injury replacement for the upcoming World Cup. Usually when a rumor seems too outlandish to be true, that’s usually the case. However, several different sources claim that the 19-year-old is being considered by Argentina’s manager Jorge Sampaoli as a last-minute addition to the World Cup team.
SELECCIÓN | ¿Sorpresa absoluta? https://t.co/1zgTD4OWhs— InfiernoRojo.com (@InfiernoRojo) June 9, 2018
En las últimas horas surgió el nombre de Ezequiel Barco como reemplazante de Manuel Lanzini en la Selección Argentina.https://t.co/1zgTD4OWhs pic.twitter.com/SukRUF8ztg
Attacker Manuel Lanzini will miss the World Cup after suffering a ruptured ACL in training. The Argentinian team is looking for a dynamic attacking midfielder to add as a late replacement. While Enzo Pérez and Guido Pizarro are the front-runners for the spot, apparently Barco’s name has come up as a possible solution.
It would be a wild turn of events if this rumor came to fruition considering that Barco has yet to appear for the senior national team and only has 8 caps for the under-20 team.
Barco was not included in Argentina’s preliminary World Cup roster, but FIFA rules allow for a replacement outside of the initial list to be included if a major injury occurs.
Can be done. Here are the official fifa rules. Release list is the prelim roster. Would be possible...... pic.twitter.com/mMcwZKzfCA— Jay Jaeger (@therealjdj52) June 9, 2018
Argentina are no stranger to giving highly touted youngsters a chance at the World Cup. Some guy named Lionel Messi was named to their roster in 2006 at only 18 years of age.
Is Barco ready for this stage? He’s shown his extraordinary talent in spurts so far with Atlanta, however, this would be a massive jump in quality and pressure for him.
Is this rumor too good to be true? Maybe. But crazier things have happened in the world of soccer. Let’s keep an eye on it over the next few days and see who ends up being Lanzini’s replacement...