When it comes to recruiting exciting talented players, Borussia Dortmund are always ahead of the curve. With the likes of Ousmane Dembélé, Jadon Sancho and Julian Weigl, The Black and Yellow have gained a reputation of the go-to club for talented football players. Therefore, signing Leonardo Balerdi last January wasn’t a surprise. So, who is Leonardo Balerdi? Will he be able to grow into a world-class player in the Signal Iduna Park?
Who is Leonardo Balerdi?
Leonardo Balerdi is a 20 years old Argentinian born in Villa Mercedes, Argentina. He is a 1.88m defender who climbed ranks for famous South American club Boca Juniors since 2016. Despite playing only 5 games for Boca Juniors during the 2018-19 season, the young center back gathered interest from Borussia Dortmund’s legend Michael Zorc who didn’t hesitate to inquire about the Argentina U20 footballer.
He Started as a Midfielder
It all started when Balerdi was 15. Playing for the Buenos Aires giants Boca Juniors, Leonardo Balerdi started playing as a defensive midfielder. However, he was asked to play in the defense due to a need in that position.
Thanks to that switch, Balerdi succeeded in developing his skill as a defender. Despite playing only 5 competitive games in La Bombonera, Balerdi showed a great aerial duel capability, outstanding game reading and won most of his challenges. In addition, his strong build allows him to take the ball easily from strikers.
A Signing for the Future for Borussia Dortmund
In an interview with Michael Zorc after the signing of the young defender, Borussia Dortmund’s sporting director showed excitement about Balerdi’s future with Borussia Dortmund. “He’s a signing for the future,” Zorc told Bundesliga.com. “It was originally planned for the summer but has now been brought forward. Leonardo is an intelligent central defender, who’s strong in the tackle and in the air. His build-up play and passing are also good. We’re very happy to have signed him and we’re confident he will be an asset for us going forward.”
Second Argentinian Player Named Leonardo
Fans who followed Borussia Dortmund before 1994 would recognize another Argentinian Leonardo who played in the Westfalenstadion. I am talking about a player called Leonardo Rodriguez who wore the BVB jersey in 1994. He was a midfielder who made 7 appearances for the Black and Yellows before moving back to South America.
As a Dortmunder, I hope Balerdi shines and stays in Borussia Dortmund, as he will most likely get some game time in the next season.
From the 2005 Borussia Dortmund, till the title winning squad in 2011 and UEFA Champions League runner up era, Mostafa was always a very passionate Black and Yellow supporter. You would often see him in Coffee shops and Bars on Matchdays. He will be wearing a BVB jersey and sipping on a German beer and most likely swearing at the referee.