Why You’ll Like Him
Argentina’s midfield maestro has mutant-like vision and an extraordinary passing range; also has the most caps in Maradona’s selected 23-man squad with 70. Has won trophies with Estudiantes, Parma, Lazio and Inter Milan. And lest we forget that Messi isn’t half as brilliant without a dependable supply line.
Why You’ll Hate Him
In 2000, he allegedly faked his way into Italy by claiming he had a non-existent Italian grandmother. Also failed to acclimatize at Manchester United, despite nabbing the largest transfer fee ever at that time. Veron has also been held culpable for Argentina’s less-than-stellar performances at the World Cup this past decade.
Club Teams: Estudiantes (1994-95), Boca Juniors (1996), Sampdoria (1996-98), Parma (1998-1999), Lazio (1999-2001), Manchester United (2001-2003), Chelsea (2003-2007), Internazionale (2004-2006), Estudiantes (2006-present)
National Team Debut: 1996
World Cups: 1998, 2002, 2006
La Brujita (The Little Witch) quickly followed in his father’s footsteps by joining Argentine giants Estudiantes and helped them win promotion to the Argentine Premiership in 1995. He was then signed to Serie A-side Parma by Sven Goran-Eriksson and helped them win the Coppa Italia and UEFA Cup. Veron then followed Erikkson to Lazio where the playmaker guided the team to a scudetto,Coppa Italia and an Italian Super Cup.
After the very successful spell in Italy, he moved to Manchester United for the 2001-2002 season. He didn’t seem to adapt to the burly nature of the Premiership and injuries compounded his lack of success at Old Trafford. He then had brief stints in Chelsea and Inter Milan before moving back home to Estudiantes in 2006.
He experienced a career revival in 2009 as his club won the Copa Libertadores for the first time since his father won the prestigious tournament four decades earlier.
He was first called up for the 1998 France World Cup but failed to impress as Argentina were eliminated in the Quarterfinals. He then captained Argentina in 2002 but again faced national disappointment as Argentina were shockingly eliminated in the group stage. Still recovering from injury, Veron was not selected in the 2006 World Cup squad.
He was also not originally in Maradona’s sights for the 2010 World Cup qualifying campaign but after his extraordinary performance in the Copa Libertadores he was called up, presumably for his leadership and experience. He is expected to be a key player again this for Las Albicelestes.
What To Look For
Assuming the 35 year-old still has gas in the tank, expect some pin-point passes into the feet of Argentina’s three nippy forwards. Also watch out for Veron’s legendary free kicks. Prepare to be bewitched.
Jenna Pel runs her own bewitching blog, All White Kit, devoted to global coverage of the women's game. She will be contributing content as part of SB Nation's coverage of World Cup 2010.
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