Angel Correa, one of several Argentinians in Diego Simeone’s Atlético side, has one inspirational story that defines his progress as a professional.
But, for both success and struggle, it certainly does not stop there. His story has only just started.
Like most Argentinian stars, Correa was brought up in poverty – he was born in Rosario, from where Lionel Messi, Mauro Icardi, Angel Di Maria and coach Marcelo Bielsa also hail.
His childhood was far from easy. After losing his dad and brother at the age of twelve, becoming a professional footballer became ten times harder. But, in the same year, Correa joined the San Lorenzo youth team where he later made his debut at eighteen.
He was an instant success, playing a key role in guiding the capitol team to league glory.
The next season, Correa earned himself a move to La Liga giants Atlético Madrid for £6 million. But, after taking his medical, he got the tragic news that he had a heart tumour.
On the advice of specialists, the Argentinian forward had an operation – luckily, for him, it was successful and Angel was off to Madrid.
After the operation, Correa said, “I want to thank the club president, the coaching staff, my teammates and everyone who has supported me at a difficult time in my life, thankfully, I was able to overcome it.
“When I had the heart operation I was not afraid, I said to myself ‘I am with anaesthesia, if I wake up then good, but if I don’t, then it’s my time.’”
Angelito, as he is known, is a fan favourite at Los Rojiblancos, scoring the most goals off the bench last season in La Liga. With pace, hard work and flair, the 21-year-old suits Atletico perfectly.
He’s already managed to get his first goal of the season, leaving his Argentine colleague Mascherano for dead and scoring the equaliser at the Camp Nou.
Correa is already delivering in big games at a young age. The lad has the potential to be world class, but there are still obstacles he will continue to face.
Despite his surgery being successful, Correa still to this day feels the effect of his previous heart trouble and struggles to get through a full ninety minutes of football.
Because of this, he may never be the future number nine at Atletico. But, over time and constant training, he could be able to consistently play to a high standard and earn more minutes.
With this year’s Copa Del Rey coming up, I strongly recommend watching Correa – there’s a very good chance he will start almost every round in the tournament.
He performed well last year and should improve even further this season.