Kendry Paez is youngest South American to net in World Cup qualifier

Ecuador wonderkid Kendry Paez becomes youngest EVER South American player to score in World Cup qualifier… but Chelsea still have to wait two years for £17m 16-year-old to play for them

  • Paez netted Ecuador’s first goal in their 2-1 win over Bolivia on Friday morning
  • He signed for Chelsea for £17.2million but won’t officially join until summer 2025
  • The midfielder is also Ecuador’s youngest ever top flight debutant goal scorer 

Ecuador’s Kendry Paez became the youngest ever South American player to score in a World Cup qualifier on Friday morning – and he is a Chelsea player

The 16-year-old made his debut for his country in September after being called up to the senior squad for the first time in June following time with various youth squads.

He provided the assist for Felix Torres’ winner in a 2-1 win over Uruguay in the last international break, breaking more records as he became the youngest player to feature for the Ecuador senior side.

And on Friday he scored his first goal, netted from close range to give Ecuador the lead against Bolivia in a game they won 2-1.

Paez is technically a Chelsea player, which will excite Blues fans – especially given his goal was assisted by Moises Caicedo – but he won’t turn out for the club for another two years.

Kendry Paez became the youngest ever South American player to score in a World Cup qualifier on Friday

The 16-year-old netted his country’s first goal of their 2-1 win over Bolivia, assisted by fellow Chelsea star Moises Caicedo

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A deal was agreed for Paez to join Chelsea in 2025 when he is 18 in a deal worth £17.2million.

He currently plays for Independiente del Valle in his home country, where he will stay until he moves to Chelsea, and is now a regular in the club’

Basing his game on his hero, Lionel Messi, the midfielder’s strong suits include dribbling and attacking instinct, with it stated that he watched the World Cup winner as a child to help improve his game.

He made his debut for Independiente when he was 15, becoming the youngest ever debutant goal scorer in Ecuador’s top flight after netting in his first game for the club.

He has also captained his country at youth level, starring at the U17 Copa America as skipper earlier this year.

New Chelsea owner Todd Boehly has adopted a youth-focused approach to recruitment in recent months

The club have struggled for form under Mauricio Pochettino but he will be given time to turn things around

Paez is one of the many players that have been purchased as part of Chelsea’s youth-focused recruitment approach that they have adopted in recent months under Todd Boehly.

After a relatively unsuccessful first transfer window in charge in the summer of 2022, Boehly continued to splash the cash in January and this summer in a bid to sign players who will improve in the future.

The likes of Enzo Fernandez, Caicedo and Nicolas Jackson fit that philosophy, and, despite their tough run to start the season, there is hope new manager Mauricio Pochettino will improve the club’s fortunes after a 12th-place finish last season.

The Blues are currently 11th in this season’s table after an indifferent start to the campaign and will face Arsenal after the international break. 


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