Picking up a loose ball 25 yards from goal, Julian Alvarez looked up and saw a gap. Seconds later, River Plate’s number nine was wheeling away in his familiar celebration having lashed a first-time strike past an unsuspecting San Lorenzo goalkeeper and into the bottom corner of the visitors’ net.
Emphatic, ruthless, instinctive and, according to Rodolfo Cingolani, reminiscent of arguably the greatest goalscorer of the 21st century.
“I see things very similar to Cristiano Ronaldo in Julian Alvarez,” the South American reporter said.
Alvarez would go on to score his first career treble against San Lorenzo, following his laser-guided, long-range opener with a second-half tap-in and an inventive third from a tight angle.
The 21-year-old has a long way to go, however, before he can match Ronaldo’s remarkable, record-breaking tally of 58 hat-tricks for club and country.
“He hits the ball like (Ronaldo), not everyone can do this,” adds Cingolani. “He heads the ball, scores goals from free kicks…”
That devastating hat-trick took Alvarez’s tally to ten goals in 12 games – two coming in a man of the match performance in River Plate’s Superclasico victory over Boca Juniors before the October international break.
Aston Villa and Tottenham eye rising River Plate star Alvarez
Interest, as you might expect, is on the rise with Tottenham Hotspur joining Premier League rivals Aston Villa in the race for Alvarez. The River Plate star has been linked with a move to England’s second city since June, when initial talks reportedly took place.
Alvarez also has admirers at AC Milan, Inter, Bayer Leverkusen and Ajax, while Real Madrid are also rumoured to be back in the race for the Copa America winner, who was denied a dream move to the Santiago Bernabeu a decade ago.
Wherever Alvarez ends up, opposition defenders could learn a thing or two from San Lorenzo’s plight. Don’t let Alvarez shoot – from any angle or any distance.
Then again, that’s easier said than done.