Peru under-20 player suspected of being a 26-year-old Ecuadorian

Posted by - January 24, 2013 - International, Oddballs, South America

A player representing Peru at the current South American Under-20 Championships has been sent home from the competition over allegations that he’s actually a 25-year-old Ecuadorian.

Max Barrios was in Peru’s squad for the tournament, which acts as South America’s qualifying tournament for the Under 20 World Cup. But officials are now investigating whether he’s actually called Juan Espinosa, aged 25 and from Ecuador.

South American football governing body CONMEBOL spokesman Nestor Benitez said: “The latest information we have is that Barrios is returning to Lima to explain his situation to the Peruvian Football Federation.”

Ecuadorian officials claim Barrios was born in 1987 in Machala, Ecuador. But the player’s rather, Angel Barrios, denies that his son has cheated the system.

He said: “My son hasn’t done anything bad, he simply has dual nationality and decided to play for Peru. I have all the papers in order.”

Barrios said he had moved to Peru with his son when the child was aged six after separating from his Ecuadorean mother.