Matias Mirabaje, a 29-year-old Uruguayan, was roped in by the Delhi Dynamos management in 2017 to add steel to their midfield ahead of the league season. Alongside the likes of Vinit Rai, Paulinho Dias and Seityasen Singh, Mirabaje was expected to contribute towards the objective of a playoff spot but things went awry.
The former San Lorenzo midfielder made 12 appearances for Miguel Angel Portugal's Dynamos side and registered three goals and an assist to his name. His stint was way below the expectations of the club management but not just due to the numbers.
Mirabaje made headlines just once and it was for the wrong reason. He sent off by the referee after he was involved in a tussle with Mumbai City's Sehnaj Singh during an ISL match. It was a braindead moment which resulted in a four-match ban at a crucial juncture in the season.
After the midfielder moved on at the end of the season, Delhi Dynamos director Rohan Sharma hit out at Mumbai City's acquisition of the player. Rohan argued that the Uruguayan was not match-fit for the majority of the season.
😂 to all the Mumbai City FC fans in my mentions— Rohan (@MrRohanSharma) August 17, 2018
Good luck with a midfielder who was out of shape for 75% of the season and with a coach that we immediately rejected . Clearly they were #MadeForMumbai
It was Delhi Dynamos who chose to sign the player and the social media mockery of the player implied that the management expected much more from the player. While fitness and disciplinary issues troubled him, Mirabaje definitely has quality on the ball which was evident last season.
While we aren't privy to information about potential off-the-pitch issues involving the player, Mirabaje deserves an opportunity to respond and the fifth season of ISL offers him exactly that.
Interestingly, the Uruguayan will be teaming up with Sehnaj Singh in midfield at his new club, the same player he tussled with last season.
With the likes of Paulo Machado, Raynier Fernandes and Sehnaj competing alongside Mirabaje in the Mumbai City midfield, the former Delhi Dynamos midfielder is faced with a challenge. If he can prove his fitness and earn a first-team status this season, he can respond to critics in the best way possible and let his former club know who erred.
A repeat of last season's issues at his new club, however, will prove the Delhi Dynamos management right. So, can the midfielder revert in style?