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G. Heinze Player Profile
Heinze, nicknamed ‘El Gringo’, is a journeyman in the world of football. He has played for a number of clubs but he is also highly respected for his work ethic and for his love of the beautiful game.
He began his career at Newell’s Old Boys in 1997. He only played a small handful of games, but it was enough to take him to Spain in the summer of that same year when he joined Real Valladolid. He failed to settle in with the Pucelas, however, as he played no more than ten games in his first two seasons and the club decided to loan him out to Portuguese side Sporting CP.
It was there that he started to blossom as a player and he eventually returned to Valladolid to become their first choice defender. He grew immensely and had an outstanding two years, which earned him a move to PSG, helping the French side lift the Coupe de France in 2004.
He finally joined his first big club in the summer of 2004 when he was snapped up by Manchester United. At Old Trafford, he had his ups and downs, but he showed great potential in his first season and he won over the fans instantly. But a year later, an anterior cruciate ligament injury in 2005 ruled him out for an entire season and when he returned, he was never able to rediscover his form. In spite of his dip, he still managed to convince Real Madrid to sign him.
His versatility made him an automatic starter with Los Merengues as he often switched between the centre-half and left-back roles. He managed to win La Liga in his first season, but his second term would prove to be less fruitful. The arrival of Florentino Perez as Real Madrid’s new president in the summer of 2009 forced Heinze out of the squad and he left the Spanish capital to join Olympique Marseille.
With the Argentine national team, Heinze has long been an important figure. He made his debut in on April 30, 2003. He won the gold medal at the Athens Olympics a year later and he was also part of the squad at the 2006 World Cup in Germany, where Argentina reached the quarter-finals.
His last major tournament was the 2007 Copa America. The Albicelestes finished as runners-up, with Heinze totalling four appearances and one goal. The 2010 World Cup looks set to be his final outing in an international championship and Diego Maradona is unlikely to overlook him.
Did you know?
Heinze is known in the all the teams that he plays for as the man who is responsible for giving encouragement to his team-mates in the dressing room tunnel.
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