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Legend in the making?

Giovani dos Santos, Mexico's version of Ronaldinho? Could be. Many in Mexico would like to believe that the 18-year-old wonder boy will be the best player in El Tri's history. Certainly, his resume so far leads one to believe that Gio, as he is affectionately known, is a star on the rise.

September 07, 2007|Jaime Cárdenas

The mercurial teenager will make his debut with El Tri on Sunday in a friendly against Panama in Puebla. Here's a closer look at just who exactly Giovani Alex dos Santos Ramirez is.

* At age 12, dos Santos signed a professional contract with FC Barcelona, one of the premier soccer clubs in the world. At age 16, he helped Mexico win the Under-17 World Cup two years ago in Peru. This year, at the Under-20 World Cup, dos Santos was branded the third-best player in the tournament.

* Dos Santos was born in Monterrey, Mexico, on May 11, 1989. His father is former Brazilian soccer player Gerardo dos Santos.

* Dos Santos received his first notice in a trial his father arranged with Monterrey in 2001. Dos Santos' father coached him on a youth football team that won an U-12 tournament in the U.S.

* In the Under-17 World Cup, dos Santos assisted in half of Mexico's goals. He was awarded the Adidas Silver Ball, which goes to the second-best player in the tournament.

* During Barcelona's preseason this summer, dos Santos impressed Coach Frank Rijkaard [and the media in Spain] so much that he earned himself a spot on the roster. On Sunday he made his Spanish Liga debut in the second half of a 3-1 win against Athletic Bilbao.

-- Jaime Cárdenas

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