Guido Carrillo: Estudiantes’ powerful number nine ready for big Europe step-up

Name: Guido Carrillo
Club: Estudiantes
Date of birth: 25th May 1991
Position: Centre Forward


Who is he?

After a match winning brace in the Copa Argentina last week, an emotional Guido Carrillo told reporters: “I cried because this was probably my last match in this shirt that I love so much.” The Estudiantes striker has come through the youth ranks and developed into not only a club icon but one of the best centre-forwards in the Primera. After staying in Argentina considerably longer than most in the modern game, the time has now come for Carrillo to make the step-up to European football.

Born in the town of Magdalena, south along the banks of the Rio de La Plata from the city of La Plata, Guido Carrillo found himself growing up in the catchment area of the Platense giants, Estudiantes and Gimnasia. Thankfully for El Pincha, Carrillo ended up in the red and white and rapidly gained a name for himself in the youth ranks as a striker of considerable potential.

After coming through the various youth divisions of Estudiantes, Carrillo made his first team debut as a second half substitute against Huracan at the tail-end of the 2011 Clausura under interim boss Luis Ceferino Suarez. As a 19-year-old chances were hard to come by but in the following season Carillo notched his first senior goal in a 4-3 win over Argentinos Juniors and gradually over the next year he began to see more and more Primera action.

Up until August 2013 Carrillo had netted 10 times in 60 appearances for the club having largely to settle for a place as back-up to the talented Colombian Duvan Zapata, but when the player signed for Napoli that summer it left Carrillo as Estudiantes’ obvious number nine.

With the new responsibility, Carrillo appeared to develop at a far greater rate and in the 2014 Final, Carrillo netted a career best nine league goals in the 19 matches, only beaten by Mauro Zarate to the title of leading scorer. Rumours already began to surface of interest from abroad given the nature of his performances and this season they have intensified further.

Injuries have hindered his number of appearances domestically but Carrillo led the side to the knockout stages of the Copa Libertadores and despite being eliminated in the last 16, he is still among the leading scorers with seven goals from five matches.


What type of player?

Without wanting to wheel out the old cliché ‘he has good feet for a big man’ – Guido Carrillo does in fact have an underrated technical ability to go with his obvious physical advantages as a centre-forward.

At 6 foot 3 inches (1.91 metres) Carrillo is a powerful number nine, capable of playing with his back to goal and bringing others into play but posing a real threat in the penalty area from crosses and set-pieces.

His presence in the attack makes him ideal to play as a lone striker, as has often been the case for Estudiantes in the past year, but he could just as easily play in a 4-4-2 alongside another striker with wingers providing width and delivering crosses into the box.

In the past two weeks, Carrillo has given perfect examples of what he does best with two late headed goals to give Estudiantes a Copa Argentina victory over Santamarina and another towering header to pick up three points against Defensa y Justicia this week. However, to label him simply as a lumbering target man would be to do him a disservice.

His build-up play is good and his movement and positional sense around the penalty area is excellent. Smart runs and being alert around the six-yard box have made Carrillo equally dangerous with the ball into his feet in the penalty box.

Additionally, Carrillo has emerged as a real leader on the pitch for Estudiantes and has captained the side on a number of occasions. He has thrived under the responsibility but importantly for perspective clubs he has shown a mental fortitude that will stand him in good stead for a potentially testing move to Europe.


What next?

As Carrillo himself said, he has most likely now played his last match for Estudiantes so the transfer appears almost certain but the question remains , where to? There is no shortage of interested clubs in the 24-year-old from across Europe.

Porto at this point appear to lead the chase as the Portuguese giants perhaps prepare for life after Jackson Martinez but they are joined by Inter Milan, Monaco, Olympiakos, Anderlecht and Borussia Dortmund.

Few could argue that it is not time for Carrillo to make the move. At 24 years of age, over four years since making his first team debut and over 100 appearances to his name, the striker has earned his move.

In an era where most are snatched up in the teens with only a handful of first-team appearances, Carrillo has developed the right way at his boyhood club to the point where he requires the step-up to continue in his progression.


Written by Peter Coates

Follow Peter on Twitter @golazoargentino

You can check out more of his excellent work on Argentinian football through his website, Golazo Argentino

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