Ecuador drop Rangers midfielder Jose Cifuentes for new Chelsea wonderkid Kendry Paez for their World Cup qualifying win over Uruguay.

And the 16-year-old midfielder is now South American football’s second youngest international of all time, second only to the legendary Argentine footballer Diego Maradona.

Kendry Paez would also provide an assist for Felix Torres in the match as Ecuador came from behind to defeat Uruguay 2-1 in Quito.

Augustin Cannobio had given Uruguay the lead with Torres scoring in each half to secure the three points for Ecuador who bounced back from a 1-0 defeat to Argentina earlier in the break.

For Rangers fans monitoring the progress at Jose Cifuentes with Ecuador, the situation with Kendry Paez naturally provides international competition.

Argentina v Ecuador - FIFA World Cup 2026 Qualifier
Photo by Daniel Jayo/Getty Images

Chelsea talent Kendry Paez takes Jose Cifuentes place with Ecuador

The 16-year-old has just signed a reported £17m deal to join Chelsea from Independiente Del Valle but the deal will not be concluded until the May 2025 when the player turns 18.

It comes after Chelsea spent a reported £115m to sign countryman and Brighton star Moises Caicedo, with Jose Cifuentes competing against both players for a place in the Ecuador side.

It’s clear the Ecuador star is up against it to secure a place in the national side and Rangers fans will be hoping that Jose Cifuentes can add to his 17 International caps in the future.

That competition at international level will force Cifuentes to raise his game for his club and it can only be a good thing for the Gers.

Kendry Paez also sounds like a name football fans ought to get used to hearing and Rangers fans will get a continuing insight into his career so long as he plays alongside Jose Cifuentes with Ecuador.

Photo by RODRIGO BUENDIA/AFP via Getty Images

Having joined Rangers in the summer from LAFC after initially signing a pre-contract at Ibrox, Jose Cifuentes has run hot and cold as he settles into life in Scotland.

Whilst the clash with PSV Eindhoven appeared to pass him by, there are high hopes for the 24-year-old midfielder in Glasgow and let’s see how the Ecuadorean does following the international break.

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