The 2012 South American Youth Championship is a football competition for U-20 national teams in South America.

The tournament was held in Argentina and was a showcase of some of the best up and coming youth talent from South American nations.

Here are the top five players who shone:

Nicolás Federico López Alonso | Uruguay | Striker

The AS Roma striker played magnificently in the tournament, and was the top scorer of the competition scoring six goals. His goals carried his nation to third place in the tournament, losing to the eventual winners Columbia only 1-0. He was signed by Roma from Nacional in 2012 at the age of just 18 where he has made first team appearances this season.

Juan Fernando Quintero | Columbia | Midfielder

The twenty-year-old is a midfielder in the Serie A for Pescara. He has already been capped for his full national side in a match against Cameroon. He is known for his impressive playmaking as well as his excellent goal scoring abilities. He finished second top scorer in the tournament with five goals. He was also voted the tournaments MVP. He has been in great form for Pescara and is thought to be on the radar of a number of European clubs. 

Cristian Bonilla | Columbia | Goalkeeper

The goalkeeper was a key part of Columbia's winning squad in these championships. He plays for Atlético Nacional and has featured heavily in Columbia's youth squads. He represented them at the 2011 Toulon tournament in which he played outstandingly, saving two penalties in the final against France to hand Columbia the title. His potential has been recognised and he was heavily linked with Manchester City in 2010.

Matìas Rodrigo Pèrez Marìn | Paraguay | Defender

The centre back plays for Nacional and was one of the standout defenders of the tournament. Paraguay finished second in the final standings just two points behind Columbia. 

He is one of the most promising defenders in Paraguayan football. He was a true revelation of the Championship and his impressive performances drew speculation of a move to Italian giants AC Milan. Serie A fellow sides Roma and Inter Milan, alongside few unnamed Portuguese clubs are also rumoured to have inquired about the talented 19-year-old. He is known for both his solid defending skills as well as his goal-scoring abilities from defence. 

Yordy Reyna | Peru | Striker

This short, slight attacker at just 19-years-of-age is one of the biggest hopes of Peruvian football. His blistering pace, dribbling, flair and agility has seen similarities drawn with Jefferson Farfan. Able to play on the wings or up front, the Alianza Lima forward has been able to feature twice for the full national side, scoring in a friendly against Trinidad and Tobago with a beautifully placed header to put his team in the lead in a match, which they eventually won 3-0. 


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