Luciano Vietto to Atletico Madrid: Everything you need to know

Villarreal's Argentinian forward Luciano Dario Vietto

He’s the Argentine striker who caused a stir in his first season in Europe. Luciano Vietto is only 21 but scored 20 goals for Villarreal following his switch from Racing Club last summer and has been rewarded with a move to Atletico Madrid and a reunion with Diego Simeone.

But what more do we need to know about Vietto?

Here we look into the forward’s past and speak to Guillem Balague to find out more about the youngster’s potential future…

What’s his background?

Vietto suffered the disappointment of being released by Estudiantes as a young teenager but bounced back at Racing Club soon after and was given his top-flight debut by Diego Simeone at the age of 17. “I will be grateful to him for the rest of my life,” Vietto told LFP.

Racing's Luciano Vietto vies for the ball with River Plate goalkeeper Marcelo Barovero during their Argentine First Division match in September 2012
Image: Luciano Vietto chips the River Plate goalkeeper while playing for Racing Club

He really made a name for himself the following year with eight goals in the Torneo during the second phase of the 2012/13 season. Vietto continued his development and briefly partnered Racing icon and former Champions League hero Diego Milito up front with the ex-Inter man a huge admirer. “He is a very impressive player,” said Milito. “One of the best to emerge at Racing in a long, long time.”

What type of player is he?

Vietto can drop deep or play as a poacher but it’s his savvy in front of goal that has really stood out since his move to Spain. “He’s fast. Not that fast but he’s very clever,” Revista de La Liga’s Guillem Balague told Sky Sports. “Even though he hasn’t got a huge amount of physical ability, he uses his body well and the pace that he has got very well.”

He’s fast. Not that fast but he’s very clever.
Guillem Balague

With his small stature, he’s been compared to Sergio Aguero and, understandably, it’s a comparison he welcomes. “It is great to be compared with players like that,” said Vietto. “I would love to be half as good as Kun Aguero. He is a great player and he shows it every day. I would love to be a player like him.”

How did he do at Villarreal?

His total of 12 La Liga goals put him alongside Mario Mandzukic and only one behind Gareth Bale among the top 20 goalscorers in Spain. No other player under the age of 23 scored as many goals. “He’s definitely the best young player of the season in Spain,” said Balague. “He’s the best in terms of his stats but also in terms of the impression he’s made too having scored five of his goals from the bench.”

Luciano Vietto of Villarreal CF
Image: Vietto showed himself to be an accomplished finisher at Villarreal

There have been some big goals too. Vietto might be grateful to Simeone but that didn’t stop him scoring the only goal in the Vicente Calderon earlier this season to inflict Atletico Madrid’s first home league defeat in over 18 months. “I am so happy for him because he always showed a lot of skills and could do it,” said a gracious Simeone.

What can we expect at Atletico?

The reunion with his compatriot all seems so obvious now, but that doesn’t mean that Vietto will waltz straight into Simeone’s starting line-up – in fact, there was laughter from the coach as Vietto struggled with the pace of one of his first training sessions at Atletico.

Barcelona's Lionel Messi vies with Villarreal's Luciano Vietto during the Spanish Copa del Rey semi-final first leg at the Camp Nou on February 11, 2015
Image: Vietto in action against Lionel Messi in the Copa del Rey at the Nou Camp

Even Antoine Griezmann, now the club’s star player, took time to adapt to the Atleti way so expect the youngster to be eased in. But he has a coach who believes in him and the talent to succeed. As Simeone begins his rebuilding job around young talent, Vietto could have a big part to play in the long term.

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