Kendry Paez made history on Tuesday night by becoming the youngest footballer ever to play for Ecuador.
Paez – at the age of 16 years, four months and eight days – shone in a 2-1 victory over Uruguay in a World Cup qualifier.
As well as becoming Ecuador’s youngest player, Paez is now the second youngest footballer ever to play for a South American nation, after Diego Maradona, who was aged just 16 years, three months and 28 days when he made his Argentina debut in 1977.
Paez assisted Ecuador’s winning goal on Tuesday with a fine low cross from the left that found Felix Torres.
Torres had earlier scored an equalizer after Agustin Canobbio had given Uruguay the lead in Quito.
Kendry Paez made his international debut for Ecuador in a 2-1 win over Uruguay
Paez, wearing the no.16 on his back, appeared on the team sheet as one of three central midfielders for Ecuador.
One of the most memorable moments of the match came nine minutes into the second half when Paez roasted Uruguay midfielder Manuel Ugarte, 22, near the right touchline.
Ugarte, who recently cost Paris Saint-Germain €60 million when he signed from Sporting Lisbon, leaned into Paez in an attempt to shove him off the ball, but it did not work.
Paez was pushed off the field but Ugarte fell to the floor himself. Paez then sprinted around the outside of the assistant referee before continuing his dribble.
Ecuador supporters gave Paez a standing ovation when he was subbed off in the 70th minute.
Paez currently plays his club football for Ecuadoran side Independiente del Valle.
But he will join Chelsea in the summer of 2025 following his 18th birthday.
Chelsea announced that an agreement had been reached with Independiente del Valle and Paez in June.