One of Chile’s most promising soccer stars is embarking on a fresh challenge, heading across the Atlantic to England after being signed by West London powerhouse Chelsea Football Club. Eighteen-year-old Cristián Cuevas officially signed a five year contract with the team last month.
The young player was on Chelsea’s radar for a couple years, according to various reports and statements from Cuevas. He completed a trial with the squad last year, and now is set to take the pitch with the Blues wearing number 39.
“I’m very happy,” Cuevas said. “Chelsea was following me for more than a year. What I wanted happened, which was joining this club.”
Cuevas, who can play left-back or wing, got his start in soccer through one of Chile’s top-flight clubs, Rancagua-based O’Higgins. He started with the team’s youth program, breaking into the starting 11 in 2011.
This past year, the young player made an impression while representing Chile during the U-20 World Cup in Turkey, appearing in four out of five matches. Cueva’s skill in the back line and left side helped bring Chile into the quarterfinals where they ultimately lost in a tough 4-3 battle against Ghana. He has a total of twelve appearances with the Chilean U-20 National Team, or “La Roja” with three goals despite often playing in a defensive role.
Cuevas joins the squad at Stamford Bridge as famed manager Jose Mourinho looks to reinvigorate the team during his second spell as Chelsea manager. The club has historically been one of the best in England’s Premier League. The Blues have perhaps found the most success in recent years, winning 15 major trophies since 1997 and regularly competing in Europe’s Championship League.
Chile has a growing number of players making a name for themselves in the world’s top soccer leagues. Alexis Sánchez debuted last year with Spanish club Barcelona, considered one of the best teams in the world. Chilean Arturo Vidal has taken the Italian Serie A by storm, donning the classic black and white jersey of top European team, Juventus FC. He signed with the club in 2011 after strong seasons at Chile’s Colo-Colo and German side Bayer Leverkusen.