Barto and Camilo Castagnola brought plenty of chemistry and experience to England, having played at the high-goal level in Dubai alongside patron Rashid Albwardy. The brothers played together for Desert Palm in 2018 and 2019 in Dubai, capitalizing on that familiarity throughout the UK season.
SNAPSHOT: CAMILO CASTAGNOLA
Arguably the breakout star of both the 2019 Cartier Queen’s Cup and the Gold Cup, Camilo had a dominant offensive showing throughout the season. Ranking third in scoring in the Queen’s Cup (7.0 goals per game) and fourth in the Gold Cup (5.3), at just a 5-goal handicap, Camilo was scoring at a rate higher than notable elite players like Sapo Caset, Pablo MacDonough, Agustin Merlos, Nico Pieres and Juan Britos. Camilo trailed only Facundo Pieres and Facundo Sola in scoring consistency throughout the season.
Playing the #1 position, Camilo executed the stereotypical #1 role perfectly. He was great running with the ball and was a constant receiver for Barto and Du Plessis. Impressively, Camilo led the Gold Cup in shots per game and was second (behind Facundo Pieres) in the Queens Cup. His ability to constantly generate scoring opportunities was crucial to Dubai’s success. He also shot over 50% on the season (55%), further highlighting his ability to finish with accuracy, which provided Dubai with an edge.
SNAPSHOT: BARTO CASTAGNOLA
Barto was equally as effective as Camilo, playing a more well-rounded style with contributions on both sides of the ball. He played effectively alongside Ignatius du Plessis defensively to transition from defense to offense, while finding the appropriate time to join Camilo on the attack.
He led all players in the UK high-goal season, with 28 assists (in part due to Camilo’s finishing ability), which produced their combined dynamic. While du Plessis was steady defensively, when Dubai got possession it was Barto who often started the counterattack.
Barto played a more end-to-end style than his brother, contributing more defensively in the #3 position and using the pass effectively to begin Dubai’s attacks. He led the team with 2.6 assists, often finding Camilo, who was constantly on offense and effective running with the ball downfield.
Barto increased his scoring from 2.6 goals per game in the Queen’s Cup to 4.1 goals per game in the Gold Cup. That was due in part to him splitting penalty-taking duties with Camilo, but he also moved forward in the game more aggressively, following up Camilo on the attack.