Wonderkid Factory | Part 40 | The End Of Wonderkid Factory

As the clock ticked over to 2042, Robinho Lazaró called off his time at Envigado, standing down as a true legend of the club. He’d taken a club from relegation favourites in 2021 to becoming one of the best teams in South America, purely using homegrown talents from the Envigado Wonderkid Factory.

Now aged 57, Lazaró spent 7,320 days in charge of Envigado and took charge of 1,387 games, of which he won 798, drew 280 and lost 309. His teams scored 2,768 goals and conceded 1,719. He topped both the Colombia and South American Hall of Fame listings and finished 9th in the all-time world ranking.

That was as a result of Lazaró leading Envigado to a record-breaking 24 Colombian titles, of which 11 were Apertura wins and 13 were Finalización successes. He also won 3 Copa Libertadores, 2 Copa Sudamericana, 2 Recopa Sudamericanas, 1 Copa BetPlay and 10 Súperligas. As a result, Lazaró established Envigado as the 11th most reputable club in South America, which seemed a little broken to him.

The sheer amount of change at Envigado over the last 20 years is highlighted by the club’s supporter base. The club now has 35 million followers, gaining 11 million in 2041 alone, having had just 11,600 when Lazaró took over. That’s a 301,624% increase! There are also 56,670 people on the season ticket waiting list, having started the save with just 2,400 season ticket holders. Yet the Envigado board didn’t see the value of building a new stadium…

Lazaró’s Envigado Best 11

Lazaró’s focus on youth development means his final best 11 throughout his time managing Envigado is, of course, entirely homegrown.

GK – José Mosquera: Mosquera came through the academy in 2030 and conceded four on his league debut. But things improved as he forced his way into the first team in 2032, conceding just 10 times in 11 games to become the first choice from the 2033 campaign. He played 299 league games, conceding just 267 before joining Flamengo for £15m.

RB – Malcom Mina Camacho: Camacho came through Lazaró’s second youth intake in 2023 and immediately forced his way into the first team. He played 316 league games and scored 32 in all competitions as he was oddly instilled as a penalty taker. He moved to Brazil with Athletico Paranaense, where he strangely scored three goals in six league games in his only season before finishing his career with six years at Colorado Rapids. And he retired aged just 31 in 2038.

CB – Rodolfo Vega: Vega has been an absolute stalwart in Lazaró’s defence, making 512 league appearances and scoring 53 goals since coming through the academy in 2027. He’s also played a record 627 games in all competitions. The coaches no longer rate him highly but he still performs to a high standard with a 7.31 average rating last season.

CB – Eder Franco: Alongside Vega is another current player in the rock-solid Franco. He came through in 2031 and has 412 league appearances. Unlike Vega, Franco has made the Colombia squad and scored twice in seven caps.

LB – Andrés Mira: Left-back Mira is arguably the most talented player to come through the Envigado academy. He graduated in 2027 and racked up 306 league games in 10 seasons. He moved to Wolfsburg for £5m in 2036, where good form earned a huge £33.5m move to Borussia Dortmund in 2039. And he’s made 67 appearances for Colombia.

DM – Juan Manuel Zapata: There’s no question over who would fill the DM role as the legendary Zapata made this role his own. He made over 460 league appearances before leaving in 2031 to end his career with three seasons at Nautico in Brazil, retiring in 2034. But he returned to the club as an under 20s coach, a role that he still holds on Lazaró’s coaching team.

CM – Ronaldo Bermudez: Bermudez was a mainstay of Lazaró’s midfield, racking up 354 league appearances and scoring 95 goals between 2025 and 2035. He moved on to Cruzeiro in Brazil before a loan spell at Strasbourg then a move to Bordeaux. He’s also won four caps for Colombia.

CM – Gianfranco Bahoque: Joining him in midfield is Bahoque, who scored 62 in 298 league games after coming through the academy in 2032. Bahoque earned a £500k move to Real Betis, where he’s struggled a little, and also had four Colombia caps.

RW – Mateo Acevedo: Arguably the biggest legend of this save is the sublime Acevedo. He’s scored 274 goals plus 118 assists in 451 league games since graduating the academy in 2028. Now 29, he’s on massive wages but continues to perform to high levels, scoring 30 and getting 10 assists in 40 league games last season. Having started out as a striker, Lazaró shifted him out wide due to a mass of strike options but he continued to excel in his new role and has become a club icon. He’s also scored one goal in 22 caps for Colombia.

LW – Jaiber Prince: Prince was a crucial player after coming through in 2027, scoring 81 goals and getting 86 assists in 279 league games. He left for £6m to Corinthians in 2035 and a stellar third season in Brazil earned him a £21m move to Al-Hilal, where he’s still pumping in excellent performances. Now 30, he’s scored eight in 49 caps for Colombia.

ST – Edisón Borrero: As far as goal machines go, you’d be hard-pushed to get a better one than Borrero. He’s the all-time record Envigado goalscorer with an astonishing 303 in 362 league games and 384 in 453 in all competitions since graduating in 2031. And, despite the coaches not rating him as highly as other strikers, he still scored 27 goals last season.


GK – Frank Marimón: Marimón came through in 2028 and arguably didn’t have time to live up to the promise he was billed to have before joining Monterrey for £6m in 2032. But he’s made 368 for Monterrey since and won 32 caps for Colombia.

CB – Jhon Banguera: Banguera was at the club when Lazaró joined in 2021 and racked up 384 league appearances in 10 years at the club. He left for Brazilian side Avaí in 2033, where he made 104 league appearances before retiring in 2037.

CB – Diego Ceballos: Ceballos may consider himself a little unlucky not to be in the best 11 and may well be the best defender to come through the academy. He’s made 263 league appearances largely from right-back before switching to his more natural centre-back in the most recent season. And he’s scored once in 25 caps for Colombia.

DM – Diego Mena: Mena may also consider himself unlucky, but had to give way to the heroic Zapata. He’s racked up a club record 561 league appearances since graduating in 2026 and continues to be an absolutely outstanding midfielder. And he’s scored two goals in 40 caps for Colombia.

LW – Luis Ángel Díaz: Díaz was a key player in the early years at the club, racking up record-breaking levels of assists as he racked up 347 league games for the club. He moved to the US with Austin FC in 2032 then quickly earned a move to Genoa, where he scored 19 in 227 league games before retiring in 2039.

RW – Diego Betancourth: Díaz’s foil on the right wing was the excellent 6ft 5in Betancourth, who scored 38 in 248 league games for the club. He left for decent money to join Sao Paulo in 2029 before moving to New England Revolution then spells in Mexico and Austria.

ST – Diego Rodríguez: Last but by no means least is original striker Rodríguez, who long held the club’s goalscoring record with 99 in 167. He moved on to Brazil in 2026, playing for a couple of clubs before retiring in 2032.

However, there are a few obvious names missing from that list.

Marcelo Guzmán: Striker Guzmán was the first real superstar to come through the academy way back in 2023. He scored 73 in 113 league games before earning a move to Bordeaux, where he scored 185 goals in 476 league games, and now aged 34 just moved to fellow French side Brest.

Francisco Ocampo: Following in his footsteps was the outstanding 6ft 4in Ocampo. He came within a few goals of Rodríguez’s record, scoring 93 goals in just 127 league games after graduating in 2026. He earned a club record £15.75m move to Club Brugge in 2031, where he scored 63 in 146 before a failed move to PSV then an even worse move to RB Salzburg, where he didn’t play a single match in his first season. He’s also failed to score in 16 games for Colombia, but Lazaró believed he would have been sensational had he stayed in Colombia.

Jhoao Trivino: Envigado’s record of churning out strikers was ridiculous, as proven by Jhoao Trivino being below all of the above homegrown strikers. He scored 58 in 121 league games after coming through in 2024 and a then record 40 goals in the 2027 campaign. That earned him a move to Mexico before seven years at Toulouse before moving to Brest and Frankfurt.

Josep Mejía: Midfielder Mejía was exceptional in six years at the club, scoring 46 in 195 league appearances. He moved to Mexico for decent money and stayed there until retiring in 2039.

William Hurtado: Hurtado was another key player in the early years, scoring 20 in 185 league games. He went on a mini tour across Mexico before returning to Colombia and retiring in 2038.

Randi Redín: Redín formed an exciting midfield alongside Bermudez and is probably a little unlucky not to be in the best 11 midfield ahead of Baroque. He scored 18 goals in 294 league games after graduating in 2024 then, like Bermudez, moved to Cruzeiro where he played 244 games in seven seasons. He’s just moved to Australia with Perth Glory.

Hernán Dario Lugo: Another excellent midfield player, Lugo played 250 league games after graduating in 2028. He earned a move to Fenerbahce then moved to Valencia, where he’s still yet to make his league debut after three seasons! And he won seven caps for Colombia.

Yelkin Montero: Montero has a claim for the most talented player to come through the academy, putting in exceptional midfield displays for several seasons. He scored 21 in 213 league games before earning a club record £16.5m move to Corinthians, where he’s currently excelling. He’s won 29 caps for Colombia and he’s still only 24, so should become a great midfielder.

Juan José Vizcaino: Given a few more years, Vizcaino would easily be in the Envigado best 11. He’s scored 40 goals and got 95 assists in 226 league games since graduating in 2035 and racked up a new club record 41 assists in all competitions in 2040.

Juan Fernando Rivas: Rivas is one of the unsung heroes in the current Envigado team. But he’s made an impressive 321 league appearances since graduating in 2033, more recently playing a vital role in the midfield. He’s also scored seven in 15 caps for Colombia.

Felipe Parra: Original goalkeeper Parra only conceded 1535 in 173 games for Envigado. That earned him a move to Mexico, where he stayed for eight years then returned with Club América after a year at Gladbach. He also won eight caps for Colombia.

Bringing The Wonderkid Factory To An End

It made sense to bring the Wonderkid Factory save to a close at this point, as it was realistically getting too easy to win the Colombian title. At the same time, there were also frustrations with Envigado’s players not being valued as highly as they should have been, some of the Brazilian clubs being too powerful, and not being able to build a new stadium.

Who knows, maybe we’ll bring the save back in the future. But for now, I hope you enjoyed this journey developing an exciting homegrown team that dominated Colombia and conquered South America!

We’ll be back next week with a brand new save that’s equally focused on going from rags to riches but in a European country. So keep an eye out on Monday!


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