Another bright young star waits in the wings at Atletico Madrid. Nicolas Schiappacasse was a surprise call-up to Diego Simeone's senior squad for the Primera Division clash away to Osasuna on Sunday. But who is the Rojiblancos' new teenage talent?
Just 17, Schiappacasse arrived in the summer ahead of the club's transfer ban that will restrict the signing of players over the next two windows. A talented winger with a prolific record in front of goal, the Uruguayan was given special permission to join (having already featured in the first team for Montevideo club River Plate from the age of 16) as Atletico resolve problems in their signing of youth players.
That sanction was put back until the next two windows on appeal, thus allowing Schiappacasse to join for a fee of around €1.5 million. And he is already making his mark in the youth team at Atleti, featuring five times for the club's B side in Spain's Tercera Division. So much so that he was called up on Sunday in the absence of the injured Fernando Torres.
Schiappacasse, who has an Italian passport and is 18 in January, has impressed for Uruguay at Under-15, U-17 and U-20 level for Uruguay and is considered one of the country's brightest young talents. That alerted Atletico, a club who have kept a close eye on the Uruguayan market in recent seasons, and the young forward has linked up with senior internationals Diego Godin and Jose Maria Gimenez at the Vicente Calderon.
The 17-year-old completed several training sessions for Atletico's first team in the summer and, even though he was initially signed for the youth side, Simeone has kept a close eye on the youngster and he travelled to Pamplona on Sunday. He was ultimately left out of the matchday squad and watched from the stands as the Rojiblancos beat Osasuna 3-0.
Nevertheless, that is good experience for the precocious South American and he could feature in the Copa del Rey clash away to Segunda B side Guijuelo on Wednesday night.