Who is Gianluca Prestianni? The wantaway wonderkid wanted by Barcelona and Real Madrid

Stuart Telford
Stuart Telford
  • Updated: 31 Jul 2023 13:49 CDT
  • 4 min read
Gianluca Prestianni
© ProShots

Barcelona had to give up on their hopes of bringing Lionel Messi back to the club, but they are looking to the future with another diminutive, Argentine attacker in the shape of Velez Sarsfield's 17-year-old Gianluca Prestianni.

The youngster's Argentine club is mired in a relegation battle, which has led to criticism from outside, criticism that the precocious youngster has not been shielded from. In light of this, the winger has reportedly demanded to leave the club.

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But there is one small problem: he can't join a European club until he turns 18 next January unless he acquires Italian citizenship. Nevertheless, several European giants are eyeing a potential move for a player who has at times been compared to a young Lionel Messi.

But who is Gianluca Prestianni and how good is he really?

What position does Prestianni play?

Prestianni has primarily lined up as a left-winger in his career to date, but he is capable of playing on the opposite flank and he could gravitate to a more central position in time with more experience under his belt.

How good is Prestianni?

While Messi is a left-footer who prefers lining up on the right, it is the opposite for Prestianni, a right-footer on the left. The youngster has a low centre of gravity, incredibly quick feet and vision well beyond his years, though, making him eerily reminiscent of his countryman.

Whilst there have been all too many "next Messis", Prestianni's career so far has been exciting. At 16 years, three months and 22 days of age, he became Velez' youngest-ever player with his debut in the Copa Libertadores in May 2022.

He also has two goals and an assist from six Argentina under-17 outings to his name. Across his 30 senior outings for Velez, the 17-year-old has contributed with three goals.

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What clubs are interested in Prestianni?

Previously linked with AC Milan and Chelsea in addition to Barcelona and Real Madrid, it is the latter two who are once again said to be eyeing a move for the talented Argentine.

Given his club's poor form, Prestianni, who is of Italian descent, reportedly wants to leave, but a European side could only sign him prior to his 18th birthday on January 31, 2024 if he were to acquire Italian citizenship before now and the end of the transfer window.

When does Prestianni's contract expire?

Prestianni's current Velez deal runs until 31 December 2024.

How old is Prestianni?

Born on 31 January 2006, Prestianni is 17 years old at the time of writing.

What is Prestianni's Instagram?

Prestianni's Instagram can be found under the handle gianlucaa_11. He has 59.1K followers as of July 2023.

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