As Australian goalkeeper Mathew Ryan tried to get a touch from a back pass, 22-year-old Argentine forward Julián Alvarez quickly took possession of the ball and scored Argentina’s second goal in their round of 16 matchups at the Ahmad bin Ali Stadium on Saturday. The Argentine’s quick action reminded football fans of his nickname, “La Arana,” which means “Little Spider.”
Many in the Argentine camp praised Alvarez and captain Lionel Messi, who scored in his 1000th professional match, even though Argentina held off an Australian challenge late to win the match 2-1. As a young player, Alvarez played for the Atletico Calchin club, which is located in the village of Cochin in the province of Córdoba in Argentina.
Varez also spent time in the village playing with his brothers Rafael and Agustin, as his mother Mariana teaches kindergarten and his father Gustavo works in a cereal factory. Since I was a young child, we had always played together in the small village. We were friends with the same people.
We would get together on a small field we had in the village and play football together for hours. It was simply something that came to me when I was a small child, no more established than four, playing football with my siblings.
“Look at him, like a little spider.”You don’t give up on it as you get older because it just stuck. I like it, and it’s a great name,” Varez once told Sky Sports in an interview about his nickname.
Varez’s parents also recall the time they spent in the 2,000-person village, where he played football and also played inside their house. The paintings and television needed our attention. And then, ever since you were three years old, to the football field in front of the house,” Varez’s father Gustavo told the Manchester City website last year.
When he was 11 years old, Varez participated in trials with Boca Juniors and Real Madrid, scoring twice in Real Madrid’s victory over Boca Juniors in a youth tournament. A young Alvarez signed with River Plate in 2016 despite Spain’s age restrictions, which prevent clubs from signing players under the age of 13.
After five years at the club, he was promoted to the senior team in 2018 and given the number nine jersey by manager Marcelo Gallardo. Alvarez, who made his debut for River Plate against Independiente in 2019 and scored his first goal, went on to become the top scorer in the Primera Division in 2021, scoring 20 goals in 35 games and scoring 54 goals in 122 matches for the team. He was also named the best football player in South America that year.