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Juan Sebastián Verón
Juan seba veron.JPG
Personal information
Full name Juan Sebastián Verón
Date of birth 9 March 1975 (1975-03-09) (age 35)
Place of birth La Plata, Argentina
Height 1.86 m (6 ft 1 in)[1]
Playing position Midfielder
Club information
Current club Estudiantes
Number 11
Youth career
1993 Estudiantes
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1994–1996 Estudiantes 22 (2)
1996 Boca Juniors 17 (3)
1996–1998 Sampdoria 61 (6)
1998–1999 Parma 26 (1)
1999–2001 Lazio 53 (11)
2001–2003 Manchester United 51 (7)
2003–2007 Chelsea 7 (1)
2004–2006 Internazionale (loan) 49 (3)
2006–2007 Estudiantes (loan) 29 (2)
2007– Estudiantes 37 (10)
National team
1996– Argentina 70 (9)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 00:02, 24 July 2009 (UTC).

† Appearances (Goals).

‡ National team caps and goals correct as of 17:21, 29 March 2009 (UTC)

Juan Sebastián Verón (born 9 March 1975 in La Plata) is an Argentine professional football player who currently plays as the captain and midfielder for Estudiantes de La Plata in the Argentine first division.

Verón's career started in Estudiantes, continued in Argentina's Boca Juniors, and included stints in several Serie A clubs (where he won the Scudetto with Lazio and with Internazionale, and a UEFA Cup with Parma), and England's Manchester United and Chelsea. In 2006, Verón returned to Estudiantes, where he is team captain.

In 2004, he was included in the FIFA 100 centenary list of the 125 greatest living footballers, selected by Pelé as part of FIFA's centenary celebrations. Verón has both Argentine and Italian citizenship.

His nickname is La Brujita (Little Witch), a nod to his father Juan Ramón who was known as La Bruja (The Witch) and was also a championship winning player with Estudiantes.[2]

Usually a playmaker, Verón is most famous for his vision and perceptive passing. He compensates his limited physical speed with his considerable experience and vision. He is also known for his powerful long shot and set pieces.

Contents

Biography

Juan Sebastián Verón is the eldest son of former Argentina striker Juan Ramón Verón, who scored against Manchester United in the 1968 World Club Championship at Old Trafford for Estudiantes. He was born the day his father played a derby for Estudiantes against cross-town rivals Gimnasia y Esgrima. As a boy, Verón dreamed of playing for English club Sheffield United, as his uncle, Pedro Verde, played for the club at the time. When his son started to play professionally, his father tried to persuade one of his former clubs Panathinaikos to sign him. However, after a short trial with them, they finally decided that he wasn't good enough for their team. After his transfer to Manchester United, Verón said, "So there I was hoping to play for Sheffield United and here I am at Manchester United!"[3]

In 1993, Verón signed for Estudiantes de La Plata and in 1995 helped the team to return to the Argentine premiership. In 1996, he joined Boca Juniors, playing 17 games and scoring three goals, alongside Diego Maradona. He made his international debut for Argentina against Poland in the same year. Sven-Göran Eriksson signed him for Sampdoria shortly afterwards.

Italian triumphs & passport controversy

In 1998, after playing for Argentina in the 1998 World Cup, he signed for Parma in a £15 million deal. The following year, Parma won the Coppa Italia and the UEFA Cup. Eriksson then signed him again, this time for Lazio in an £18.1 million deal, with Verón reportedly netting a weekly wage of £48,000. He made his debut for Lazio in the Italian side's 1-0 victory over Manchester United in the European Super Cup in Monaco.

In 2000, Verón was the driving force for Lazio as they captured the Scudetto, the Italian Cup and the Italian Super Cup.

But in February 2000 he was under investigated by Italian police for possible fake Italian passport in order to avoid the non-EU quota. However, the charged was cleared by FIGC in June 2001, because his passport is really issued by Italian officials and avoided a ban.[4] But a new controversy was exposed that Verón and his agent may used fake documents submitted to Italy government in order to alleged the government that Verón had Italian descent and granted him an Italian passport, which claimed an Italian, Giuseppe Antonio Porcella was Verón's great grand father Ireneo Portela.[5] Manchester United even inserted a clause in the transfer document for a possible ban.[6] In July 2002, he was called to appear before Italy's state prosecutor to answer allegations he illegally acquired an Italian passport. [7] Elena Tedaldi, the agent that helped Verón to get the passport, was jailed for 15 months,[8] [9] but Verón and Sergio Cragnotti, former Lazio president were acquitted in 2007. [10] It is because Verón also had Italian descent though another great-grand parent and it was Ms. Tedaldi to use fake documents. [11]

After the 2000–2001 season, he moved from Lazio to Manchester United on 12 July for £28.1 million in a five-year deal, the most expensive transfer in English football at that time. On signing for Manchester United, he was quoted as saying that he had no fear of the Premiership.

Spell in England

However, his spell at Old Trafford was not a great success. He had trouble adapting to the faster pace of the Premiership and was not allowed the same space and time on the ball. There was plenty of pressure on him at the start of his second season at Old Trafford, and his performances did improve considerably, especially in the Champions League, where he scored four goals and was at the heart of United's successes in the group stages. However, injury meant that he missed much of the end of the season. Questions over his performance led to an expletive laden tirade against the media by manager Alex Ferguson in support of Veron: "...On you go. I'm not fucking talking to you. He's a fucking great player. You are all fucking idiots."[12]. However, fans and pundits alike agreed that the signing was an expensive flop.[13].

When Chelsea came in for him following the arrival of Roman Abramovich, Verón claimed that he wanted to stay and fight for his place at Old Trafford, but Ferguson was willing to let Chelsea talk to him, and he was eventually convinced by then Chelsea manager Claudio Ranieri that his future lay at Stamford Bridge, where he had much to prove. His transfer fee to Chelsea was about half that of his record-breaking transfer of just two years before.

Verón made an excellent start to his Chelsea career by scoring the opening goal in a 2-1 victory away at Liverpool,[14] but he fell away as the 2003-04 season progressed and made only 14 appearances for Chelsea.

The Times listed Verón's transfers to Manchester United and Chelsea amongst the 50 worst transfers ever in Premiership history.[15] His several big-money transfers made Verón the most expensive footballer in history with a cumulative total of £77 million (this was surpassed when Nicolas Anelka went to Chelsea in 2008 taking his tally to £85 million, and then again by Cristiano Ronaldo's £80 million move to Real Madrid, taking his total transfer fees to £92.24 million in just two transfers)

Return to Italy

When José Mourinho took over as Chelsea manager the following season, Verón was loaned out to Internazionale initially for 2004-05, but he subsequently returned to Inter on loan for a further two seasons. With Inter, he was part of the squad that won the 2005 and 2006 Italian Cup, and also by default the 2006 Serie A title after Juventus were stripped of the title for a match fixing scandal.

Returning home

In mid-2006, Verón made it known that he wished to return to his native Argentina for the 2006-2007 season. He received offers from Boca Juniors and River Plate, but chose his boyhood club Estudiantes de La Plata, of whom he is a declared fan and has made significant donations in the past to upgrade the club training facilities. Chelsea agreed to loan Verón to Estudiantes for a season, until the end of his contract with the English club. On 13 December 2006, he helped Estudiantes win the Apertura 2006 tournament, its first in 23 years, in a final play-off match final over Boca Juniors. Some rival fans booed him, arguably dating back to his sub-par performances during the 2002 FIFA World Cup, but Verón was ranked among the top three players in the 2006 Argentine League by sports newspaper Olé.[16]

Following his donations to the club's training grounds, Verón was a decisive factor in the agreement with La Plata city hall to update Estudiantes' historic stadium to modern standards. Verón personally engaged Argentine then president Néstor Kirchner to kick-start the negotiations, which had been stalled by La Plata mayor Julio Alak.[17] Verón indicated that he may run for the presidency of Estudiantes in the future.

Verón suffered from a string of minor injuries after his return from the 2007 Copa América, and missed a number of important games during the 2007-08 season. His fitness improved in time for the 2008-09 season, in which Estudiantes reached the finals of the Copa Sudamericana and secured a place in the 2009 Copa Libertadores.

In July 2007, Kevin Payne, president of Major League Soccer club D.C. United, met with Verón in Buenos Aires to discuss a possible transfer, but Verón decided to stay in Estudiantes.[18]

In early 2008, several football personalities chose Verón as the best player in the Argentine league.[19] [20]

In 2009, he played in the Copa Libertadores for the second time, having seen Estudiantes eliminated in the round of 16 in the previous year by eventual champions Liga de Quito). After displaying his usual excellent level of play throughout the tournament, he found himself leading Estudiantes into the final for the first time since 1971. The Copa Libertadores has long been the most special competition for Estudiantes and its fans, ever since the team won three consecutive championships from 1968-1970 with Verón's father playing a key role on the left wing). Verón certainly shared this affinity for the most prestigious title in the Americas, as evidenced by his declaration before the final: "I would trade everything I've won for this title."[21] His dream came true as Estudiantes won the final, 0-0 in La Plata and 2-1 in Belo Horizonte against Brazil's Cruzeiro.[22] [23] Verón was chosen by visitors to fifa.com as the best player of the 2009 Copa Libertadores.[24]

Verón was twice elected South American Footballer of the Year (2008 and 2009) by Uruguayan diary El País, a title that is cited worldwide.[25] [26] [2] [3]

Argentine national team

Verón was called up for the 1998 FIFA World Cup in France, where Argentina was eliminated by the Netherlands in the quarter-finals. A rumour (never confirmed) that Verón had failed an internal doping test, and allegations of laziness hampered his relationship with the media and fans. He was called up again for the 2002 World Cup in Korea/Japan, where Verón was regarded as a key player and captained the side in place of the injured Roberto Ayala. Some fans held him personally responsible for Argentina's dismal performance, which included a loss to England and elimination in the group phase.

After the then national coach Jose Pekerman omitted him from the 2006 World Cup squad, his replacement, Alfio Basile recalled Verón to the national squad in February 2007, based on his performance in Estudiantes's 2006 championship team. Verón was a starter in the Argentine team that reached the final of Copa América 2007. Due to injuries and Estudiantes's busy schedule, Verón did not feature in the immediate plans of national coach Diego Maradona, but was recalled to the Argentine squad as a second half substitute in the 4-0 win over Venezuela on 28 March 2009, Maradona's first competitive game in charge of the national team. He also played in the starting XI in a 2010 FIFA World Cup qualifier against Colombia on 6 June 2009.

Career statistics

Club performance League Cup League Cup Continental Total
Season Club League Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals
Argentina League Cup League Cup South America Total
1994-95 Estudiantes La Plata Primera B Nacional 7 0
1995-96 Primera División 15 2
1995-96 Boca Juniors Primera División 17 3
Italy League Coppa Italia League Cup Europe Total
1996-97 Sampdoria Serie A 32 5
1997-98 29 2
1998-99 Parma Serie A 26 1
1999-00 Lazio Serie A 31 8
2000-01 22 3
England League FA Cup League Cup Europe Total
2001-02 Manchester United Premier League 26 5
2002-03 25 2
2003-04 Chelsea Premier League 7 1
Italy League Coppa Italia League Cup Europe Total
2004-05 Internazionale Serie A 24 3
2005-06 25 0
Argentina League Cup League Cup South America Total
2006-07 Estudiantes La Plata Primera División 30 2
2007-08 18 7 8 2
2008-09 9 3 10 1
Total Argentina 96 20
Italy 189 22
England 58 8
Career Total 316 50

Honours

Club

Estudiantes
Lazio
Manchester United
Internazionale

Individual

References

  1. ^ "Juan Sebastián Verón". us.imdb.com. http://www.imdb.com/name/nm1617351/bio. 
  2. ^ La Brujita nació en un clásico (Spanish)
  3. ^ [1]
  4. ^ "Players banned over false passport scandal". The Independent. 2001-06-28. http://www.independent.co.uk/sport/football/internationals/players-banned-over-false-passport-scandal-675847.html. Retrieved 2010-03-09. 
  5. ^ "The £28m show pony". The guardian. 2001-07-15. http://www.guardian.co.uk/football/2001/jul/15/sport.comment. Retrieved 2010-03-09. 
  6. ^ "Football Focus: United's `safety-net' clause in Veron deal". The Telegraph. 2001-10-13. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/football/leagues/premierleague/manutd/3014691/Football-Focus-Uniteds-safety-net-clause-in-Veron-deal.html. Retrieved 2010-03-09. 
  7. ^ "Veron faces passport charges". BBC Sport. 2002-07-02. http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport2/hi/football/teams/m/man_utd/2085420.stm. Retrieved 2010-03-09. 
  8. ^ "DAN KING: So who got the Alonso millions at Liverpool?". Daily Mail. 2009-10-24. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/football/article-1222732/DAN-KING-So-got-Alonso-millions-Liverpool.html. Retrieved 2010-03-09. 
  9. ^ "Raids linked to Italian passport probe". journallive. 2008-07-14. http://www.journallive.co.uk/newcastle-sports/football-news/2008/07/14/raids-linked-to-italian-passport-probe-61634-21334569/. Retrieved 2010-03-09. 
  10. ^ "Verón y ex presidente de la Lazio absueltos por pasaportes falsos" (in Spanish). EMOL. 2007-02-23. http://www.emol.com/noticias/deportes/detalle/detallenoticias.asp?idnoticia=246917. Retrieved 2010-03-09. 
  11. ^ "Lazio: La vera storia del passaporto di Veron" (in Italian). ju29ro.com/. 2007-05-10. http://www.ju29ro.com/altri-scandali/82-lazio-la-vera-storia-del-passaporto-di-veron.html. Retrieved 2010-03-09. 
  12. ^ "Ferguson rages at Veron critics". guardian.co.uk. http://www.guardian.co.uk/football/2002/may/07/newsstory.sport3. Retrieved 2009-01-31. 
  13. ^ {{http://www.manutdtalk.com/sir-alex-ferguson-5-worst-signings/296/))
  14. ^ "Hasselbaink sinks Liverpool". BBC. 17 August 2003. http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/football/eng_prem/3140907.stm. Retrieved 4 November 2009. 
  15. ^ The 50 worst transfers | Football - Times Online
  16. ^ ""Nunca pensé en renunciar a la Selección"" (in Spanish). Olé. 2006-11-03. http://www.ole.clarin.com/jsp/v4/pagina.jsp?pagId=01302317&fecha=20061103. 
  17. ^ "La radiografía del peor momento del fútbol argentino | LANACION.com". Lanacion.Com<!. http://www.lanacion.com.ar/deportiva/nota.asp?nota_id=860532. Retrieved 2009-07-21. 
  18. ^ Ole (Spanish)
  19. ^ Ole (Spanish)
  20. ^ Ole (Spanish)
  21. ^ Ole (Spanish)
  22. ^ "Cruzeiro 1 - 2 Estudiantes La Plata". ESPN. 2009-07-16. http://soccernet.espn.go.com/report?id=261095&cc=5739. Retrieved 2009-09-22. 
  23. ^ "Juan Sebastián Verón leads Estudiantes to Copa Libertadores triumph". The Guardian. 2009-07-16. http://www.guardian.co.uk/football/2009/jul/16/estudiantes-veron-cruzeiro-copa-libertadores. Retrieved 2009-09-22. 
  24. ^ fifa.com (Spanish)
  25. ^ corrieredellosport.it (Italian)
  26. ^ 1 January 2009 23:17 (2009-01-01). "soccerway". soccerway. http://www.soccerway.com/news/2008/December/31/juan-veron-wins-south-american-footballer-of-the-year-award/. Retrieved 2009-07-21. 

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