Paraguay Talent: Top 5 home-grown strikers

Just over halfway through the Apertura 2012 we look at the Top 5 Paraguayan strikers still plying their trade in the local league. To avoid any claims of favouritism I’ve limited to a maximum of one player per club. Have a look and if you don’t agree then put your list below in the comments!

Ariel Bogado

Ariel Bogado (Nacional)

D.o.B: 24 December 1984

Height: 1,78 metres

Weight: 72 kilos

Position: Striker

Foot: Right

Club: Nacional

2012 Goals: Five

The pony-tailed 28-year-old is deceptively fast and excellent holding the ball up, he has been rotated in the Nacional team with foreign forwards German Cano and Rodrigo Teixeira. He has managed to score in all three levels of football this year (national, continental and international) posing problems for defenders in pitches across Central and South America. Having started with Nacional he moved on to Mexico, enjoying a fairly productive season with Atlas in Guadalajara before move to Tigres further north. Bogado returned to the tricolor for their 2010 Copa Libertadores campaign and helped them win the 2011 Apertura last year.

Derlis Gonzalez

Derlis Gonzalez (Rubio Ñu)

 D.o.B: 23 March 1994

  Height: 1,72 metres

  Weight: 66 kilos

  Position: Forward

  Foot: Right

  Club: Rubio Ñu (loan)

2012 Goals: Two

A teenage sensation with blistering acceleration and lighting quick feet he has tormented defenses this season when fully fit. He is so good in fact that Benfica have already snapped up this star and he is only on loan to his former club Rubio Ñu as they wanted to take him 18 and probably iron out work permit issues. While he hasn’t seen senior international football yet, Gonzalez was a star at the U17s Sudamericano last year and has turned out for the U20s more recently. Who knows we may see him in Brazil and if not certainly Chile (2015 Copa America) this kid has a bright future.

Pablo Zeballos

Pablo Zeballos (Olimpia) - Photo: clubolimpia.com.py

  D.o.B: 4 March 1986

  Height: 1.78

  Weight: 75 kilos

  Position: Striker

  Foot: Right

  Club: Olimpia

  2012 Goals: Eight

Pablo Zeballos or PZ10 as he currently referred to by Olimpia fans burst onto the scene with Sol de América as a youngster having already starred on loan in Bolivia and Oriente Petrolero. His 15 goals for Sol following 14 in 16 games in Bolivia earned him his big break in Mexico with Cruz Azul. But the goals didn’t accompany him up north and after three seasons he was back in his native Paraguay firstly with Cerro Porteño where he was topscorer in 2010 and then arch rivals Olimpia where he was also topscorer in 2011 earning ‘Paraguayan Footballer of the Year’ and the Clausura title. It is his natural finishing that makes him so dangerous but he also possesses a potent free kick and can create chances when playing as a false nine. Zeballos is constantly linked with Europe but his age and price tag might mean we get to enjoy him in Asunción for even longer.

Edgar Benitez

Edgar Benitez (Cerro Porteño) - Photo: Albirroja Prensa

  D.o.B: 8 November 1987

 Height: 1,76 metres

 Weight:  71 kilos

 Position: Winger/Forward

 Foot: Left

 Club: Cerro Porteño

 2012 Goals: Seven

The Cerro Porteño player is equally destructive when employed as either a winger or a forward, he enjoys running at defenders and is a great threat on the break. His seven goals this year don’t do justice to the overall importance he brings to El Ciclón and the Paraguay national team, he often brings those around him into the game and pulls defences out off shape to make room for his teammates. He began his career at Libertad passing through Sol de América on his way to México and Pachuca. The Pajaro enjoyed an excellent spell in Central America and his performances also earned him a place on the plane to South Africa where he represented Paraguay twice in the 2010 World Cup. Don’t be surprised to see Benitez take flight again possibly to Europe.

José Ortigoza

José Ortigoza (Sol de América) - Photo: D10.com.py

 D.o.B: 1 April 1987

 Height: 1.80 metres

 Weight:  73 kilos

 Position: Striker

 Foot: Right

 Club: Sol de América

 2012 Goals: Nine

This strong striker has been loved by fans in Brazil and South Korea for his goalscoring exploits, the high asking price from third party owners meant neither Palmeiras nor Cruzeiro decided to take the player permanently which is why he is back at original club Sol de America. It has been a huge boost for the Danzarín to have somebody of Ortigoza’s outstanding quality in the side and it is no surprise he is joint topscorer in the league despite being out injured recently. His main quality is his strength both on the ground and in the air which has allowed him to bully defenders and at times he has been simply unplayable – just ask Tacuary the team he put four past in March.

By Ralph Hannah

26 April 2012

2 responses to “Paraguay Talent: Top 5 home-grown strikers

  1. Pingback: Apertura 2012: Week 14 Preview | The Paraguay Football Blog

  2. Pingback: Paraguay Talent: Top 5 strikers of Clausura 2012 | The Paraguay Football Blog

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