When Eduardo Vargas boarded a plane for Naples in January, he left a void in the Universidad de Chile squad. And not just any void either, but a gaping hole as the Copa Sudamericana player of the tournament and top scorer left in a lucrative move to Napoli.
The Chilean international’s departure, along with that of regular first-team members such as Gustavo Canales, Marcos Gonzalez and Diego Rivarola, meant greater responsibility fell on the shoulders of those still at the club. One player more than most has thrived under the pressure, despite his partner in crime leaving to prove himself in Serie A with Napoli. Meet the Azul’s answer to Dani Alves in the team dubbed the ‘Barcelona of the Americas’: Matias Rodriguez.
For much of January it was speculated that the right-sided Argentine wing-back would also cross the Atlantic and join Benfica’s South American legion, but he stayed in Santiago. Not only has he stayed, he has arguably been transformed into the club’s most important player; impressing so much that the calls for a first cap to the Argentina team intensify with each passing week.
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