Giovanni Simeone could become a future star of European football

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Following in your father's footsteps and carving out a career in professional football is never going to be an easy task, just ask Brooklyn Beckham. 

But when your old man is Diego Simeone, with 106 Argentina caps to his name, not to mention being one of the most talented managers in world football, the added expectation associated with your name is even higher.

Spare a thought then for Simeone junior, Giovanni, the 19-year-old River Plate striker who was born in Madrid whilst Diego was playing for Atlético Madrid.

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Early steps

Giovanni signed his first professional contract with River in November 2011 but had to wait until August 2013 to make his league debut for Los Millonarios against Gimnasia La Plata. 

A first senior goal followed on his fifth River appearance, against Tigre, with a high finish into the top corner. 

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His next goal, five games later against Olimpo highlighted his predatory instincts, reacting first to a cross into the box to steer the ball home and give River the lead, although they went on to lose the game 3-1.

Those two strikes were to be his only goals in his inaugural season in which Giovanni made 17 appearances in all competitions. 

Disappointing follow up season 

Giovanni's 2014/15 season was hardly spectacular, despite the fact that it brought him honours in the shape of the Copa Sudamerica.

Often left out of the side, in favour of Colombian striker Teófilo Gutiérrez, Giovanni made just two starts, both in the cup, competing in fourteen games in all competitions overall.   

He managed two goals again, both coming against Libertad in the Copa Sudamerica. His first goal displayed good pace and an improvised finish with the outside of his right foot whilst in the second leg he powered home with his left foot.

South American Under-20 competition  

In need of a kick-start for a career still in it's early stages, Giovanni found just that at the prestigious South American Youth Football Championships, held in January and February of this year.

With a squad packed with home-grown talent, including six River players, Humberto Grondona's side were undoubtedly one of the pre-tournament favourites in Uruguay. 

The spine of the team was strong, in particular Giovanni's River colleagues Emanuel Mammana and Tomás Martínez, whilst Ángel Correa, incidentally managed by Diego at Atlético, provided spark and flair.   

Giovanni excelled as Argentina won the tournament, scoring nine goals on his way to picking up the top goalscorer award, four goals ahead of his nearest rival, Uruguay's Gastón Pereiro.

In truth the majority of his goals came from close range after being laid on by team-mates, but he showed a good range of finishes with his right and left feet, the highlight of which came against Paraguay as Giovanni raced onto a through ball and rifled home a shot with his left foot.

A look back at the previous top-scorers from the competition shows a mixed bag, varying from Hugo Rodallega in 2005, who scored a record 11 goals, to Adriano and Edinson Cavani who took the honour in 2001 and 2007 respectively.

So the award is no guarantee of success, but it is a positive sign of where his ability lies in relation to his others of his age. 

What next?

It would be a romantic storyline if Giovanni were to follow his father to Atlético, but Diego is not a boss that seems prone to nepotism, and for now his son still has a lot of work to do to prove he is ready for the rigours of European football. 

When and if the time does come for a move to Europe Giovanni will be helped by his Spanish and Argentinean dual-nationality, meaning he will avoid the potential pitfall of work-permit issues.

For now Giovanni must focus on starting and scoring regularly for River, whose season is underway once more.

This is by no means and easy feat, given Gutiérrez's form, and the presence of the experienced Fernando Cavenaghi in the squad.  

With four games of the season gone Giovanni has started just once, remaining an unused substitute in two games and coming on for the final half an hour against Arsenal de Serandí.

Time will tell if Giovanni can get close to matching his father's success, but if he possesses the same inner-drive and determination as Diego then you wouldn't bet against 'hijo del Cholo' making his own name in world football.

Is Giovanni Simeone destined to reach the top? Tell us by leaving a comment in the box below!

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