The South American qualifiers for the 2026 World Cup in North and Central America have begun.
Lionel Messi, the “God of Soccer,” is the center of attention. He won the World Cup in Qatar in 2022. Messi scored the game-winning goal against Ecuador in the first South American qualifier, leading to a 1-0 victory. He missed the second game against Bolivia, which Argentina won 3-0.
But Messi wasn’t the biggest star of the South American qualifiers. It was Ecuador’s 16-year-old prodigy, Kendry Paez.
He plays for Independiente del Valle in the Ecuadorian league. At the age of 16, he’s still a starter for his team. He’s been hailed as one of South America’s “top talents. He proved his worth at the South American U-17 Championship in March, where he scored two goals and provided six assists in eight games.
This earned him a call-up to the Ecuador A team. Missed the first game against Argentina. He started against Uruguay in the second game and played 70 minutes. He played 70 minutes.
In this game, Paez teamed up with Moises Caicedo, who joined Chelsea in the summer transfer window for £115 million ($196.6 million), the highest transfer fee in the history of the English Premier League (EPL). They were side by side in the attacking third.
In this match, the Ecuadorian Felix scored back-to-back goals in first-half stoppage time and 16 minutes into the second half. The first goal was assisted by Caicedo, and the second by Paez. Ecuador went on to win 2-1.
It was a moment in South American soccer history. Paz became the second-youngest South American to ever make an A-Match debut. He also made history as the youngest player to record an assist in a South American qualifier.
“Paz made his A-Match debut at the age of 16 years and 131 days,” said Spain’s ‘As’. He is the second youngest player in South American history to make an A-Match debut. Messi had to wait until he was 18 to play his first A match. Paez was much younger than Messi. Messi beat Ecuador, but Paz didn’t,” the report said.
But who is the all-time leader? Argentine “legend” Diego Maradona. Maradona made his A-match debut at 16 years and 125 days old. He’s only six days behind Paez.
Paez currently plays for the Independiente del Valle, but will join the EPL in two years. He’ll play alongside national teammate Moises at Chelsea.소닉카지노
Recognizing his talent, Chelsea officially announced the signing of Paez in June. They spent a whopping £20 million ($33.1 billion) on the 16-year-old, convinced of his talent and potential. Paes will join Chelsea in June 2025, when he turns 18. That’s why Chelsea are smiling behind the scenes as he makes his A-match debut.