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Franco Vazquez: European Football’s biggest unsung hero?

Almost every football fan who has heard Palermo’s name in the past few months has heard it in reference to one of their top striker, Paulo Dybala, who will be seen in the famous bianconeri of Juventus from next season. However, you might as well want to check out Franco Vazquez’s performance which has gone under the radar somewhat.

After reading the following piece, you might ask yourself, Is Franco Vazquez the biggest unsung hero in European Football at the moment?

But it has famously been said before, that behind almost every successful striker, there is a shy play-maker who stays behind the curtains and is happy to ply his trade by being far away from the limelight. In the last couple of seasons, I haven’t seen any player fit this profile as perfectly as Franco Vazquez does.

Franco Vazquez: European Football’s biggest unsung hero

Franco Vazquez: European Football's biggest unsung hero

Franco Vazquez signed from Belgrano for around £4million during the summer transfer market of 2010/11 season. Although very reluctant initially, Vazquez ultimately signed hoping to “embark on a great adventure”. However, initially, the adventure seemed to have turned in to a nightmare.

With a debut season at Palermo worth forgetting, he was considered surplus to their requirements and was sent on loan the following season, where he wasn’t given enough chances to showcase the qualities he possessed. In the 2013-14 season back at Palermo, Vazquez got more opportunities than his previous seasons and helped Palermo gain promotion to the Serie A.

Franco Vazquez: European Football’s biggest unsung hero?

The 2014-15 season was when Vasquez announced his arrival onto the main stage, and somehow managed to do that with the subtlety of a genius. Assisting and scoring goals with the ease of a seasoned professional. Vazquez ended his season with an impressive 10 goals to his name as well as 10 assists.

It was hard to imagine the fact that he was the same player who was in the mood to return to his birth-land Argentina, where he believed he could showcase the potential he had.

Statistically, he has been one of the revelations of this season which is clearly reflected by the fact that he is included in’s ‘Statistical best XI of Europe for 2014-15’ along with superstars like Eden Hazard, Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi.

Franco Vazquez: European Football’s biggest unsung hero

Franco Vazquez: European Football's biggest unsung hero

His most favored position is the attacking midfielder role but he has also shown his adaptability and willingness to adjust with some gritty performances on the flanks as well as in center midfield. With 1.84 chances created per 90 minutes of action and 1.57 key passes completed per 90 minutes, we can clearly see that he has done better than his fellow attacking midfielders with close competition from Matteo Kovacic who is supposedly Liverpool bound.

Continuing to stress on the stats that Vazquez has produced this season, 30% of Dybala’s goals have been assisted by Vazquez which just shows how instrumental he has been in helping Dybala achieve a big money move to la Vecchia Signora.

Vazquez has chosen to play for Italy, over his birth country Argentina, and also went on record recently to say that he would be honored to represent Italy. If given a chance in the upcoming friendly against Portugal, it would be exciting to see the kind of performance he displays on the international stage.

Franco Vazquez: European Football’s biggest unsung hero

Franco Vazquez: European Football's biggest unsung hero

Dybala struggled at Palermo since joining in the 2012-13 season scoring just 5 goals in his first 55 games. His breakthrough season came along with Vazquez’s and it is a matter of opinion whether that was a coincidence or not. Although watching Dybala at Juventus next season will be very interesting, I would prefer to follow the silent genius and calm-headed brilliance of Franco Vazquez at Palermo.

Vazquez, 26 is not really among the “young promising prospects” like Dybala, but he is certainly yet to achieve his footballing peak. Another impressive season under his belt and you never know, we could be seeing him in the Champions league playing amongst the elite in Europe.

Video Credit: youtube, scoutnation

Stats Credit: Opta

Image Credit: getty

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