Real Madrid are keeping a close eye on Peñarol winger Facundo Pellistri, who has been making waves in his native Uruguay where he is considered to be a successor to the coveted number 10 shirt for his country despite being just 18 years old. Pellistri has been recommended to the Bernabéu board by Juni Calafat, the club’s chief scout who was also responsible for the arrival of Fede Valverde. However, Pellistri has not gone unnoticed elsewhere with an army of clubs keeping tabs on his development including Manchester City and Real’s city rivals Atlético where his current coach, Diego Forlán, enjoyed a stellar spell in LaLiga.
A right-sided winger, Facundo made his professional debut for Peñarol last August and has only made 17 senior appearances but that has been enough for half the clubs in Europe to sit up and take notice. Boca Juniors and Flamengo are hopeful of making a move for the 18-year-old, who has attracted interest from Wolves, Napoli, Atalanta, Bologna and Valencia. Almería almost pulled off a coup in January by snapping Facundo up but the club’s budget was an issue.
Madrid have a key advantage in Calafat. The club’s south American network has been carefully nurtured by Real’s chief scout, who as well as enjoying considerable influence in Brazil – leading to the arrivals of Vinicius, Rodrygo and Reinier – has done business with Peñarol previously when he snapped up Valverde for €5m in 2016. The Uruguayan, who was also a Peñarol youth product, has gone on to establish himself in Zinedine Zidane’s first team and as a regular for La Celeste, the 21-year-old having already earned 20 caps.
“He’s very young and we’re enjoying having him with us,” Forlán said recently. Peñarol have extended Pellistri’s current deal until 2022 amid growing interest in the youngster and in anticipation of a bidding war for the youngster’s services this summer.