Toulon Tournament Player Of The Day: Eduardo Vargas

Chile’s two-goal hero against Qatar this evening was the stand-out player in the south of France.
Name: Jesus Eduardo Vargas Rojas
DoB/Age: November 20, 1989 (19-years-old)
Birthplace: Santiago, Chile
Club: Cobreloa
Position: Striker

Burgeoning teenage forward player Eduardo Vargas has shown himself to be one of Chile’s major stars in this year’s Toulon Tournament, producing two displays that have seen him contend with Cristobal Jorquera as the South American’s outstanding player to date.

The forward’s career thus far has not always been straightforward, with his initial attempts to break into senior football with lower division outfits such as Universidad Catolica and Palestino hampered by travelling problems. But luck was to be on his side in 2006 when he played for an amateur outfit in a tournament in Puerto Montt. Strong showings in that competition caught the eye of Osvaldo Hurtado, who pulled strings for the then 16-year-old to be trialed at Cobreloa.

A team that ply their trade in one of the driest regions on Earth, Cobreloa were suitably impressed by the young forward and promptly moved to sign him. If the club were quick to attach him to their books, they were patient regarding his first team chances, allowing him to develop in the reserves until suitable ready for the first team in 2008’s Apertura championship.

Vargas managed just one goal in 11 appearances in the Apertura, but a return of three in nine in the same year’s Clausura highlighted him as a talent to watch.

Such a billing was highlighted further in summer 2008, when he travelled with the Chilean Under-19 side to Northern Ireland for the Milk Cup. A number of terrific performances later, including a hat-trick in a 5-0 win over Wales, and he was pinpointed as the tournament’s top player.

Vargas, who lists listening to music and watching television as his chief interests outside football, possesses skill on the ball and powerful running have drawn comparisons to Milan forward Alexandre Pato. “I think it is [a] beautiful [comparison],” he told La Cuarta. “There are many things in my game that resemble [his style]. The truth? I take him as a tremendous example.”

Deadly Double

Vargas has continued to show promise in the Toulon Tournament, a competition in which he helped his side push for second place last season. He has returned with a vengeance this term, scoring twice in this evening’s 3-0 success over Qatar and helping to lay on the other in the process.

His first goal was a stooping header after the Qatari goalkeeper had made a mess of a cross, while his second goal required a composed finish as he ran through on the custodian.

But Vargas’ display was not only about goal scoring – indeed, he missed a couple of presentable chances, though he deserves credit for repeatedly getting into strong positions. His all-round contribution was vital, with him at the hub of much of Chile’s attack play. A cut-back from ‘Edu’ just after he had opened the scoring should have been rammed home by Jorquera, while he was strongly influential in the build-up to Gerson Martinez’s strike, Chile’s third.

Hoping To Catch The Eye

Still a virtual unknown quantity outside his homeland, there have been no reports of big European clubs ready to pounce on the 19-year-old. Toulon, however, acts as a shop window for such men and Vargas has been sure to have caught the attention of some of the army of scouts who are keeping a close eye on proceedings on the sunny south coast of France.

In any case, Vargas seems content to simply establish himself further at his club side for the time being, explaining to La Cuarta, “It will be complicated because there are very good players in Cobreloa. I have got tremendous confidence [that I can] reach the first team.”

Robin Bairner,