Eintracht Frankfurt and Ecuador defender Willian Pacho is all smiles off the pitch, but as business-like as they come on it. - © Bundesliga Collection via Getty Images
Eintracht Frankfurt and Ecuador defender Willian Pacho is all smiles off the pitch, but as business-like as they come on it. - © Bundesliga Collection via Getty Images
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Willian Pacho: Who is the Eintracht Frankfurt and Ecuador central defender?

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Eintracht Frankfurt's Willian Pacho is one of the unsung heroes of the 2023/24 Bundesliga season so far. bundesliga.com has the career skinny on the highly rated Ecuadorian centre-back...

Stats correct as of 31 January 2024

Willian Pacho

Age: 22 (born 16 October 2001)
Club: Eintracht Frankfurt
Position: Central defender
Country: Ecuador (nine caps)

Key stats

Pacho has become the bedrock of the Frankfurt defence in no time at all. A summer 2023 signing from Royal Antwerp, the 6'1" centre-back had started all but two their 30 competitive games by the end of January 2024, including 19 in the Bundesliga. The left-footed Ecuadorian ranks ninth league wide for challenges won (188), and third in the Eintracht charts for passes completed (87.61 percent). He's also helped top-six candidates Frankfurt record five clean sheets, while their 22 goals conceded is the third lowest tally in the division ahead of Bundesliga Matchday 20.

Pacho's seamless transition perhaps isn't all that much of a surprise. He was a virtual ever-present for an Antwerp side that won a league and cup double in 2022/23, only missing one of 40 fixtures across the two competitions. Prior to his two-season stay in Belgium, the Frankfurt No.3 got his hands on the 2018/19 Copa Sudamericana and 2021 Ecuadorian championship with Independiente del Valle, as well as the 2018/19 U20 Copa Libertadores. He has been a fully fledged senior international since March 2023, playing the full 90 minutes in Ecuador's first six 2026 FIFA World Cup qualifiers.

Plays a bit like: Evan Ndicka

A left-sided central defender with superb spatial awareness, inch-perfect passing skills and a tackling game that's been honed to perfection, Pacho is proving to be a tailor-made replacement for Frankfurt predecessor Evan Ndicka, now of Roma. He also has the technical nous to be able to play out from the back, and the pace to stay touch-tight to speedy opposition players.

Did you know?

Regularly linked with a move to the English Premier League, Pacho came through the same Independiente del Valle academy that produced Bayer Leverkusen counterpart Piero Hincapié and Chelsea and Ecuador midfielder Moisés Caicedo.

Pacho is looking every bit the complete centre-back at Frankfurt. - IMAGO/Kessler-Sportfotografie

What they're saying

"He's doing a great job, and is getting better all the time. He's really reliable and has world-class potential." - Frankfurt head coach Dino Toppmöller

"Willian is a very clever player, who listens well and is quick to implement what's asked of him. His speed and strength in the tackle are what make him stand out." - Markus Krösche, Frankfurt sporting director