Federico Redondo brings more than his famous last name to Inter Miami


Inter Miami has signed midfielder Federico Redondo from Argentinos Juniors.

After tricky negotiations, the 21-year-old, who just helped Argentina’s under-23s qualify for this summer’s Olympic Games in Paris, arrives on a reported $8million deal. Last week, the deal nearly fell apart when Inter Miami changed the payment structure, but both clubs ultimately agreed to terms. He joins Miami as a U22 Initiative player and as a season-ending injury replacement for U22 Initiative player Facundo Farías, who suffered an ACL injury during Miami’s first preseason game.

“He’s a very promising player who is sharp with the ball at his feet, and shows awareness out of possession,” Miami Sporting Director Chris Henderson said. “We believe in his potential, but also feel he will immediately be a strong addition to our squad as we look to build on our successes in 2024.”

Federico has a famous last name. He’s the son of former Real Madrid, AC Milan and Argentina national team star Fernando Redondo.

At Inter Miami, the younger Redondo will be coached by Gerardo ‘Tata’ Martino, a former teammate of his father’s. They played together for one season with CD Tenerife in 1991. There is also an Argentina World Cup winner in Lionel Messi to help him settle in, too.

Federico is a much different player to his father, although they share some similarities. Federico plays as a passing holding midfielder. He’s slightly taller than his father but still lacks the professional-level strength of a seasoned footballer. Federico’s touch is clean and he plays forward whenever possible. He takes risks with his passes in midfield to keep the ball moving and involve his teammates. Early in his professional career, Federico has shown to be more cerebral than silky.

During the CONMEBOL Preolímpico tournament with Argentina, Federico did more than just sit in space and distribute the ball. He was a determined ball progressor with budding leadership qualities. He won’t beat you with a step-over or a quick twitch dribble like his dad, but if the space is there in front of him, he’ll take it. That skill set is likely what Martino will lean on the most.

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Federico Redondo playing in the Copa Libertadores in August 2023 (Luis Robayo/AFP via Getty Images)

Redondo can play as a classic No. 6 for Miami and partner with Sergio Busquets or even step in for the former Barcelona player. The more likely scenario is for Redondo to occupy a No. 8 role in Martino’s 5-3-2 formation, with dual attacking and defending responsibilities. Over the past year, Redondo has gradually played closer to the opponent’s goal.

If you didn’t see the senior Redondo at his peak, well, you’ve missed out on a truly unique talent. The Argentinian, now 54, was a well-built central midfielder with tree-trunk thighs that could resist the constant physical clashes of mid-1990s South American and European football.

He is considered a legendary player in Argentina — among the country’s best defensive midfielders. His left foot and first touch were elite. His elegant dribbling, his size, the grunge-era hair and silky touches made him a two-way midfielder who was ahead of his time.

Perhaps the most memorable Redondo highlight is one that is still shared on social media today. It took place 24 years ago at Old Trafford when Redondo was in his final season with Real Madrid. By then, Redondo, nicknamed ‘El Príncipe’ (The Prince), was considered one the best foreign signings in Real Madrid’s history.

With the white armband secured tightly around his left arm, Redondo turned a Real Madrid counter-attack into a bold example of cunning individual skill. On that Champions League night in Manchester in 2000, Redondo ridiculed United’s Norwegian defender Henning Berg in a one-v-one near the United penalty area.

Redondo backheeled the ball to himself, then beat a confused Berg for pace to the endline, before calmly passing the ball to a wide-open Raul, who tapped it into an empty net. A member of Argentina’s 1994 World Cup squad, Redondo’s highlight at Old Trafford epitomized how special a player he truly was.

“The guy who I always wanted to avoid playing against was Fernando Redondo because he was too good,” said former Colombia national team hero Carlos Valderrama last year. “I preferred to play against (former Argentina midfielder) Diego Simeone, who would kick you and fight, or (former Argentina defender) Óscar Ruggeri. But when I had to face Fernando, there was no way. Fernando was very good. Now I’ve seen his son play and he too has quality.”

When Valderrama spoke in 2023, Federico had already made his Copa Libertadores debut with Argentinos Juniors, the club famous for developing Diego Maradona.

He started all seven matches and, although his statistics didn’t jump off the page, his steady play and mature demeanor were early signs that he wasn’t intimidated by higher-level competition. The young midfielder, who was born in Madrid, Spain, had also played for Argentina’s under-20 World Cup team that summer.

Interest from European clubs soon followed. AC Milan, for example, were tracking Redondo’s progress and he was linked with Liverpool.

But after deals fell through for Boca Juniors winger Cristian Medina and River Plate midfielder Agustín Palavecino, Inter Miami offered a hefty sum for Redondo, including a 15 per cent sell-on fee for Argentinos Juniors.

Clearly, as both an Argentinian and a former colleague of his father, Martino is keenly aware of Federico’s family pedigree. Federico’s grandfather, Jorge Solari, was Martino and Redondo’s manager at Tenerife. Solari, like Martino, is also a Newell’s Old Boys legend, and the Inter Miami manager has described his former Tenerife coach as an early coaching influence.

Federico’s uncle is Santiago Solari, the former Real Madrid midfielder and another former teammate of his father’s. Federico’s 29-year-old brother — also called Fernando — played professionally for Tigre in Argentina, and a cousin of his, Augusto Solari, played two seasons for Celta Vigo in Spain’s La Liga and is now playing for Atlas in Mexico.

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Fernando Redondo at the 1994 World Cup (Christian Liewig/TempSport/Corbis via Getty Images)

Federico was compared to his father as soon as he joined the Argentinos Juniors academy. Federico, in a series of interviews last year, spoke openly about his father’s influence. The two speak often about football and tactics. Federico also said that he has watched every one of his father’s YouTube highlights to the point that he has memorized the details of each video.

“He’s the best No. 5 in the history of the game,” Federico told Sudanalytics in 2023.

Not a surprising admission, but still noteworthy considering that Federico’s Argentina under-23 coach is Javier Mascherano. Asked by Diario Olé that same year if he had copied anything from his father’s game, Federico explained why that’s a difficult proposition to pursue.

“We’re very different players even though we play in the same position,” Federico said. “It’s different eras. My father was a complete player who dribbled forward a lot and that, in today’s football, isn’t something I do often.”

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Federico Redondo celebrates after scoring against Paraguay on February 8 (Federico Parra/AFP via Getty Images)

What he has copied from his father, he said, is the character and sense of responsibility that the elder Redondo displayed as a professional. “I’ve always admired my father’s personality, to be accountable and to get on the ball during difficult matches,” Federico said. “He was a great leader and that makes me very proud.”

There’s no pressure, Federico said, to be the son of a former great player. Still, as he begins his next chapter with Inter Miami in MLS, Federico Redondo will remain under the spotlight with the challenge of writing his own story.

“I’m used to it,” Federico said about the comparisons to his father. “I try not to think about it. I’ve always said that every player is different, with their own career and that’s how I’m approaching this.”

(Top photo: Marcio Machado/Eurasia Sport Images/Getty Images)





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