Matías Catalan | Berizzo’s surprising bet

On September 23 and 27, La Roja will return to competitive activity under the leadership of Eduardo Berizzo, after the friendly against South Korea and participation in the Kirin Cup. This time, the DT will be fully in charge of the squad, since the Argentine will prepare the list of those summoned, as did not happen in his debut with the national team. There would be a surprise between the calls for the duels against Morocco and Qatar.

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It is about the Argentine-Chilean Matias Catalan. Talleres de Córdoba, a team where the center-back and right-back plays, has already received notification of the footballer’s reservation for the friendlies at the end of September. This does not mean that the defender will finally be summoned, but it does mean that he is in Berizzo’s consideration.

Island Relay

The replacement in the right back position in the Red is a matter of maximum interest, due to the football situation of Mauricio Isla. Obviously, Catalan emerges as an alternative to join the squad, thinking about the start of the next Qualifiers, although his age is striking. The Argentine-Chilean is 30 years old.

Today, however, the man reserved for the new tour of the National Team ventures into another position. He was consolidated as a right center back and it is highly unlikely that he will return to his original location, due to the high level exhibited by Julius Buffarini, former side of Boca Juniors and champion of the Libertadores with San Lorenzo.


The doubt that arises has to do with the functionality that Berizzo plans for Catalan. Indeed, he can act on the right side of the defense, but he already has multiple games in the center of the defense. The unknown is whether the Chilean coach, in the great positional distribution of eligible players, initially included him in one function or another.

A call from the Argentine in the role of central defender gives the impression of not having enough support. Currently, it is the Red zone with the greatest defense alternatives in the peak stage of their careers. The list is not short: Paulo Díaz, Sebastián Vegas, Francisco Sierralta, Guillermo Maripán, Nicolás Díaz and Benjamín Kuscevic. There are six names for only two positions, understanding that Berizzo regularly leans towards the 1-4-3-3 and 1-4-2-1-3 game systems.

“If it ever happens…”

The certain possibility is that Catalan appears on the payroll in the right-back position in view of the panorama of the national centrals. Berizzo’s position regarding the situation in Isla is not defined. Capable that the man from the Catholic University appears on the payroll for the duels against Morocco and Qatar.

In South Korea and Japan, full-backs were Nayel Mehssatou, Jeisson Rojas and Óscar Opazo. Isla turned 34 last July and due to the level shown at UC, confirming that he is one of the best players on the squad, it would not be surprising if the coach of La Roja continued to have the two-time champion of America. The local demands are less and the question is whether with that level of play it will be enough to keep him valid in the National Team.

Catalan has been linked to the national team for some time now and it all started in Jorge Sampaoli’s time at Juan Pinto Durán. “Hopefully at some point it will be possible,” he said in a conversation with AS some time ago.

“I think that when things are done well, opportunities can come. If it ever happens, I will be very happy, more for my old man who is a fan of the (Chilean) National Team “, added the defender, who also passed through San Lorenzo, Atlético Rafaela and Estudiantes de La Plata. In addition, he played in Mexico for Atletico San Luis and Pachuca.

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