04 April 2022
Saturday 2 April 2022, Juventus Under 23 took to the field against Virtus Verona in Match Day 35 of Serie C Group A. In the 21st minute, the Bianconeri set off on an attack prompted by Enzo Barrenechea and it was the same Argentine midfielder, who had come through the ranks of Newell’s Old Boys in his homeland, that finished the move with his first goal since turning pro.
On seeing the ball cross the line, the 20-year-old released a liberating scream because that goal closed a circle. The moment of sheer joy, those warm hugs from his teammates, encapsulated the nine months, 274 days to be exact, in which Enzo was sidelined, unable to directly contribute and celebrate with his teammates.
And among those celebrating with him on the pitch in Verona was Matías Soulé.
It is necessary to take a step back to gain a proper prospective and fully understand the story.
21 May 2021, on his birthday, Barrenechea was playing for the Under-19 when his season was rudely ended. He had suffered a rupture of the cruciate ligament.
From that moment, Enzo began a long rehabilitation process.
Such a serious injury, which arrived like a bolt from the blue, put the next phase of his career, a step up to the Under-23, on hold. Although he made his debut for Coach Zauli’s team last season, Barrenechea was officially welcomed into the fold of the Under-23 on 20 February 2022 in an away match against Seregno.
The difficulties overcome during the long recovery process were many, but for Enzo the great desire to come back stronger than before was stoked by the closeness of his family and his inseparable friend Matias Soulé, the teammate with whom he had built such a strong bond in their time with the Under-19.
MATI, FROM VELEZ TO JUVENTUS
Matías Soulé Malvano, born in Mar del Plata on 15 April 2003, grew up in the youth teams of historic Argentine team Véléz. He arrived at Juventus in January 2020 as a free agent and in season 2020/21 played with the U19 under coach Andrea Bonatti. The young Argentine immediately showed flashes of his immense talent by scoring his first goal in only his third appearance.
This season Soulé has been turning out for the Under-23 side in Serie C, under the guidance of Coach Zauli, not forgetting his participation with the Under 19 in the UEFA Youth League. The contribution his goals and performances have brought to Bonatti’s boys' European adventure cannot be underestimated. The culmination arrives at the end of this month with the Final Four in Nyon, Switzerland.
Left-footed, endowed with excellent dribbling skills and an encompassing vision of the game, Soulé is deployed according to the needs of the team, either as playmaker, a role he excels in due to his ability to position himself between the opposing lines and link midfield to attack, or as a right winger, which allows him to cut in from the flank on his favoured left foot.
Such a skill set has not escaped the eye of Massimiliano Allegri, who first called the player up for the away match in Naples on 11 September. On his first trip to the Campania region with the senior team he remained on the bench, but not on his second. On 30 November in Salerno, he made his first team debut in the closing minutes of the victory over Salernitana.
He received the same attention on an international scale from the coach of the Argentine national team. Lionel Scaloni first called up the Bianconeri talent in November for the qualifying matches for the Qatar World Cup Qatar against Uruguay and Brazil.
TWO STORIES, ONE FRIENDSHIP
The opening episode of the first original Juventus production Bianconeri Next Gen intertwined the stories of Enzo and Mati, highlighting the deep friendship that binds them and which began with their arrival in Juventus in January 2020.
Mati and Enzo: en diferentes caminos, siempre unidos.