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Allen Obando: Barcelona’s very own wonderkid emerging on the scene

Allen Obando

Independiente Del Valle's academy is one of the best in the world and attracts attention from Europe’s most agile clubs in the South American market.

The Ecuadorian club continues to develop young talent and showcase why they are the best when it comes to identifying prospects within the country.

While Independiente's impressive work has deservedly stolen the headlines, the country's most successful side, Barcelona SC, has a potential star on their books.

Mike Rice is on hand to discuss 17-year-old Allen Obando’s emergence onto the scene, having caught the eye when leading the line for Ecuador in the 2023 U17 World Cup.

Allen Obando Player Profile

To very little surprise, it was actually Independiente del Valle that gave Obando his first opportunity at the age of 10, but with their demanding checklist continuing to seek new levels, an offer didn't come his way.

Instead, Barcelona saw something in him that Independiente had missed, and it was they who took him in as a boy and have nurtured him ever since.

Born in Quito, his family moved to Esmereldas when he was just two. After impressing in a match against Barcelona de Esmeraldas, he represented them in a domestic youth tournament where he helped lead them to be crowned champions. 

Shortly afterwards, Obando took his opportunity to move to Guyaquil and officially joined Barcelona SC.

Obando’s continued development saw him become a prolific striker throughout the youth age group categories, where he made his senior debut at 16. His first senior goal came at 17, which is why European clubs are starting to take note.

In a highly-rated Ecuador side in the U17 World Cup, Obando was trusted to lead the line in a 4-2-3-1 style system. He justified his selection by scoring the equaliser vs Indonesia when finding space inside the penalty area to powerfully head home a well-placed cross.

Obando’s game is more than just putting the ball in the back of the net. The youngster is comfortable dropping deep in order to help link attacking play with close control, one touch passing, or using his wide teammates to stretch teams while he bursts into dangerous areas.

His leadership was evident in motivating teammates, leading the press, while also organising the support behind him. Opponents were given little time on the ball as Obando showed a great attitude to press out of possession and win possession back in the final third.

Although far from the finished product, Obando is continuously showing great signs of developing as a potential clinical finisher, able to attack the ball in the air and be confident with both feet. 

Having shown a wide range of finishing for both Ecuador’s youth teams as well as for Barcelona SC on his rise to the senior team, Obando has shown the potential to be an all-round centre forward - something quite rare to find in the modern game.

Obando’s bright future

Ever since he was young, Obando has dominated players physically. A tall, strong forward in the youth systems, Obando was often thought to be much older than he was.

The transition to senior football, so far, has come more naturally to him due to his stature and mindset. He’s certainly not one to be overwhelmed when taking the next step.

Obando is much more than a physical number nine though. Possessing quick feet, excellent athleticism to break away and find space with and without the ball, while having good vision to bring others into the game, it’s easy to see why Barcelona are giving him an opportunity.

Having been monitored by European clubs throughout the U17 World Cup, Obando will be hoping they continue to follow his journey throughout 2024 with Barcelona.

Although Independiente del Valle leads the way with their impressive academy, they may have let a fine attacking player slip from their grasp too early.


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