Like several of the current crop of Chilean internationals, Eduardo Vargas was a beneficiary of Jorge Sampaoli's unforgettable stint at the helm of Universidad de Chile between 2011 and 2012.
Vargas was on the books of Universidad Catolica as a youngster and even took part in a football reality show when he was 15. However, his real breakthrough came at Cobreloa, which is also where he got his first experience of lining up on the wing rather than as a traditional centre-forward.
A pacy goalscorer known for his incisive diagonal runs, he slowly but surely earned his spurs, aided by Marcelo Bielsa, who twice took him to the Toulon Tournament before giving him his senior Chile debut as a 20-year-old in 2009.
His form under Sampaoli at La U, during which he won three trophies and was the leading marksman and player of the tournament in the 2011 Copa Sudamericana, definitively put his name on the map and kept him in the La Roja mix under Claudio Borghi. It also attracted the attention of Napoli.
Despite struggling to make an impression in Italy, Vargas went from strength to strength at international level after Sampaoli took the reins, leading the Chilean charge en route to the 2014 FIFA World Cup™ with five goals. He later started all four of his team's matches in Brazil, scoring once.
Since then, as well as turning out for the likes of Queens Park Rangers and Tigres, he has been influential in his country's back-to-back Copa America triumphs. After finishing as the joint-top scorer in the 2015 competition, he went one better in the 2016 centenary edition – under the tutelage of Juan Antonio Pizzi – by scooping the accolade outright. It is small wonder, then, that he is one of the first names on Pizzi's team sheet.