Colombia winger Juan Cuadrado is good enough to play for Barcelona, his national team coach Jose Pekerman said on Wednesday.
Fresh from a stunning season with Fiorentina, in which he scored 11 goals, Cuadrado has reportedly been attracting the attention of some of Europe's big guns such as Juventus, Paris Saint-Germain and notably Barcelona.
If he should leave Fiorentina, Argentine Pekerman is sure the 26-year-old would be a success wherever he goes. "He's a player with great physical conditioning who achieved great things with his club, just as he has done with his country, and he is ready to go to a great club, regardless of how well he does at the [FIFA] World Cup," said Pekerman.
"It's satisfying to have him with Colombia and for sure he will go on to grace the most important pitches in football, and more if he goes to a great club like Barca."
For sure he will go on to grace the most important pitches in football.
The dreadlocked dribbler started his career at Independiente Medellin before heading to Italy and Udinese in 2009 at 21 years-old. He struggled for first team football there but really came of age in a one year loan spell at Lecce in 2011/12, earning a move to La Viola at the end of that season.
Colombia are preparing in Brasilia for their Group C match against Côte d'Ivoire in the Mane Garrincha stadium on Thursday. Having won their opening match 3-0 against Greece, Colombia could all but secure their place in the knock-out rounds with a victory over the Elephants.
Ivory Coast also began with a win, 2-1 over Japan, and Pekerman considers them potential FIFA World Cup™ winners. "We're going to play very experienced opponents, a true World Cup rival who have come to win, who will create difficulties for us and for that reason it will be a tough match. They're going to make life very uncomfortable for us," said Pekerman.
"They know we'll be keeping an eye on certain of their players and beating them will depend on our players' inspiration and the collective strength of a team showing it is ready to fight for qualification to the last 16."
Asked to identify the Africans' primary weapons, Pekerman didn't seem to know where to stop. "Everyone knows the abilities of (Didier) Drogba, Gervinho, Yaya Toure. They have an excellent full-back in Serge Aurier, who scored both goals against Japan, and the experience of Didier Zokora, who has gone from a central midfieder to bringing calm to the team's defence."