The Argentine Under 23 National Team defeated Brazil 1-0 in the last game of the final quadrangular of the Pre-Olympic. The hero of the afternoon was Luciano Gondou, who scored the winning goal that allowed Javier Mascherano's team to qualify for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games.
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He caught the attention of Marcelo Gallardo, he played for River, but the Millionaire did not use the purchase option and returned to Junín
The 22-year-old forward was born in Rufino, province of Santa Fe, the same land as Bernabé Ferreyra, River's top scorer in the 1930s. His beginnings were in the Sarmiento de Junín youth team.
At the beginning of the second half of 2019, a team from River's youth teams played a friendly against Sarmiento de Junín. In that match, Verde beat Millonario 3-1 with a goal and an assist from Luciano Gondou.
(Photo: River Press)
The performance of Rufino's forward caught the attention of the coaching staff led by Marcelo Gallardo and, at 18 years old, he arrived on loan to Millonario until December 31 with an option to purchase.
Gondou played in the Fifth Division, in the Reserve and the Copa Libertadores Sub 20. But, in January 2020 he returned to Sarmiento because the Millionaire did not buy him.
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After his time at River, the forward played for the Reserva del Verde, which became champion of the 2021 League Cup after beating Boca 2 to 1 in the final.
From there, Gondou established itself in the First Division of Sarmiento and in two seasons he scored 17 goals in 81 games. That made him appear on the radar of Gabriel Milito, who asked him to reinforce the attack of Argentinos Juniors: the La Paternal team bought him 80% of the pass for three and a half million dollars and the footballer signed a contract until 2027.
Luciano Gondou's performance in the Under 23 Olympic Pre-Olympic
The forward was a substitute in most of the Pre-Olympic matches, but every time he entered he changed the face of the Argentine National Team thanks to the four goals he managed to score throughout the competition. The most important was against Brazil, in the 78th minute of play, which gave the Albiceleste the victory and qualification for Paris 2024.
“It was the perfect scenario to win it. The goal took a while to wait, we suffered, but we were able to qualify. Now we are going to celebrate and then we are going to think and try to be in the Olympic Games,” Gondou said after the victory.