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Auth. n.197 by the Court of Milan on 25th June 2015
Offensive. Volante de creación. That’s Nicolás Benedetti‘s label at Deportivo Cali. He plays on the left flank in the 4-2-3-1 shaped by coach Fernando Castro and starts to show his skills starting from that position. Whit his head up, and a relentless run, Nicolás constantly aims to deliver assists to his teammates like any good “number 10”. Benedetti shows oustanding leadership qualities but no egocentricity: that’s a sign of intelligence from the player born in 1997, a distinguishing feature of football geniuses. He is able to create numerical superiority and target the opponents’ goal by taking advantage of his powerful and precise right foot as he did in his adolescence when he played as a centre forward. Benedetti’s not that muscular, but he has explosive strength: for this reason, Nicolás is particularly suitable for counter-attacks and one-on-one situations.
The 20-year-old player has an excellent control of his body, which is well-balanced and strong, good at ball protection, a skill he uses to win possession, accelerate the team’s play and get away for his marker.
Defensive. During his growth process, Benedetti and his coaches, such as Castro, paid a lot of attention to his moves when his team have no ball possession or when Nicolás himself loses the ball, always giving confidence to the young attacking midfielder. In other words coaches let him free to play as he wanted, as long as Benedetti provided defensive coverage to midfielders.
“I love when they call me ‘El Poeta del Fútbol’”. The young rising star of Colombian football Nicolás Benedetti Roa has never hidden that the considers football as an art form.
Indeed he uses his foot as a painter uses his brush. Light and inspired touches, so far from rude “kick and rush” way of playing. And to think that his first love was cycling, but after some falls and three broken teeth football became the sole passion of the son of former Santa Fe footballer Eduardo Benedetti. His father pushed him to Escuela Estrellas del Norte, where Nicolás played until 2009 and later to Escuela Carlos Sarmiento Lora. This latter spell was decisive for Nicolás’ development. After clinching some titles and scoring a good amount of goals (he was goalscorer of Liga Vallecaucana youth leagues and won “Rey Pelé”award as “Copa Disney” Breakthrough Player with Colombia junior side) Escuela Carlos Sarmiento Lora youth coordinator Alexander Cortázar, better known as “El Maradonita”, decided to move him few metres back. He wanted to take advantage of Benedetti’s ability to read the game better than the rest of his peers. Technical skills, wide game vision and intelligent passes attracted Deportivo Cali scouts, who signed him at 16. Wearing the shirt of “The Sugarmakers” Benedetti confirmed scouts’ impressions and in a couple of years he joined the first team, before making his first appearance as a professional. Nicolás played for U-17 team coached by Héctor Armando Sánchez and lost both Trofeo Nereo Rocco in 2014 in Gradisca d’Isonzo, Italy and Torneo Nacional Pre juvenil Interclubes against Independiente Medellín (Benedetti missed the final match due to an injury). Under Deportivo Cali head of youth development Hernando Arias‘ guidance Benedetti won Copa Internacional de las Américas in 2014 and in the following season he would join the first team after leaving U-20 side at the top of the Colombian youth league. Nicolás was precocious and in about ten days he grabbed the spotlight. On 16th July 2015 Benedetti made his debut with the senior squad in Copa Colombia (5 minutes against Boyacá Chicó) and two days later he made his first Liga Águila appearance scoring a goal against La Equidad. In the following days, Nicolás provided assists in the league match against Uniautónoma and he was named MVP in a Copa EuroAmericana game between Deportivo Cali and Spanish side Málaga. Benedetti’s approach was surprising thanks to Nicolas’ good relationship with team veterans, thanks to his friendship with Yerson Candelo and especially thanks to his coach Castro. The manager was able to understand the player’s psychology and to shape him mentally. He worked hard, he took captain Andrés Pérez’s knocks during Deportivo Cali training sessions and listened to coach and teammates’ advices. Despite a supposed controversy between Benedetti’s father and Castro, Nicolás hasn’t lost his way: he made his Superliga de Colombia debut in January 2016, his first Copa Libertadores appearance against Diego Milito’s Racing Club and also played in Copa Sudamericana, scoring a goal against Paraguayan side Sportivo Luqueño. To date, Benedetti keeps inspiring Deportivo Cali strikers, wearing his number 21 shirt. European and especially Spanish clubs are interested in signing the young Colombian talent but there is no hurry. Before moving to Europe, Benedetti should win Liga Águila, after losing it this season in the final against Atlético Nacional (he missed the decisive second-leg due to a ban), in spite of scoring against Independiente Medellín and América de Cali, respectively in the quarterfinals and in the semifinals.
His gestures reflect his shyness, and so do his body (in a interview his father declared that he was afraid of Nicolás’ possible injuries) and whispered voice when he talks to the media. Moreover, a sign of Benedetti’s humanity, he always visits Escuela Carlos Sarmiento Lora kids, that consider him as an example. He attended a bilingual high school, he loves reading (he appreciated so much a book about Diego Pablo Simeone’s football strategy and he was named after Uruguayan poet Mario Benedetti) and after retiring he would like to study sports journalism. As most of his contemporaries Benedetti loves music, especially Gilberto Santa Rosa’s salsa and he enjoys playing videogames. Nicolás has many dreams, one of them is Barcelona, the club where Benedetti’s idol Lionel Messi plays.Role
Attacking midfielder, wingerPro and cons
UP: intelligence, change of pace, ability to provide assists
DOWN: inconsistency, not very concrete
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