To return to playing competitive football after heart surgery is impressive, but to return to football with one of Europe’s top sides, Atletico Madrid, is close to a miracle. For a man who has faced so many adversaries in his life, the story of Angel Correa is nothing short of inspirational.
Growing up in one of the most deprived areas of Rosario, it would have been no surprise if a young Correa had got involved in drugs and crime. For a man who also had to deal with the tragic deaths of his father and brother, to make it to the world of professional football is incredible.
At the age of 12, Correa signed for San Lorenzo, where he would remain until the age of 19. Growing up at one of Argentina’s biggest clubs, the striker will have been looking to follow in the footsteps of the likes of Ezequiel Lavezzi and Pablo Zabaleta, who also came through at the Rayaditos. He is certainly well on the way to doing so.
40 matches were enough to show Atletico Madrid that Correa had the talent to play in La Liga. During his time in Argentina, he helped his side win the Copa Libertadores for the first time in their history. His performances also earned him a place in the Argentina U21s side for the South American youth tournament, a competition he would help his side win.
It was during this summer that he agreed a move to Spain with the Rojiblancos, that a tumour was discovered on Correa’s heart, meaning he would have to have surgery to remove it. To have both the mental and physical strength to undergo such a difficult time in his life showed just how dedicated and passionate he was to play at the highest level.
It was a year after the move was agreed, that he finally moved to Spain. He has hit the ground running in Spain, playing 18 games in all competitions, scoring four goals. Atletico spent big on the likes of Jackson Martinez and Luciano Vietto in the summer, and to have played such a key role in the side shows just how much natural talent Correa has.
The 20-year-old will go far in the game. He has already faced the toughest challenges of his life, so will have the mental toughness needed to be a top player. In terms of technical ability, playing behind the striker, Correa has good pace and control of the ball to work well with the player’s alongside him.
Despite his slight build at just 5ft 8in, the Argentine has an ability to find holes in the defence where he can work his magic. He has been linked with an £8 million move to Manchester City in the summer. With all the money being spent these days on transfers, Correa is worth a hell of a lot more than £8 million.
In football, it is very difficult to find players with the mental strength and technical ability that Correa possesses. He is a gem, and he will go far.