Name: Juan Camilo
Date Of Birth:
December 14, 1985 (age 23)
Place Of Birth:
Nacional Medellin (2002-2008), Siena (2008-2009)
Juan Camilo Zuniga was
born and raised in Colombia, and at the age of just 16, he made his debut for Atletico Nacional Medellin in the Futbol Profesional
Colombiano. He managed to hold his own in his first few appearances for the
club, however as is the case with any player these days, he did come under
scrutiny for various reasons.
Zuniga currently stands
at just 172cm, so his short stature was an issue early on for him. He was
criticised for his inability to challenge in the air, and for his poor jumping
and heading skills. Not much was expected of the pint-sized right-back, however
to his credit, he certainly has proved his critics wrong over time.
Bursting Onto The Scene
Juan Zuniga undoubtedly
made a name for himself at the 2005 Under-20 World Youth Cup, when he led his
Colombia side to a top place finish in their group. In fact, the Colombians
failed to concede a single goal in their first three matches of the tournament,
as they finished with a maximum nine points following three victories against
Syria, Canada and Italy.
From this point, the
talented defender was an internationally known figure, however somewhat
surprisingly it took three years for a European club to make their move. In the
summer of 2008, Siena from the Italian Serie A purchased the rights to the
player, for a fee of around €3 million, which certainly was a bargain at the
Zuniga is an attacking minded defender, whilst also being
extremely solid at the back, something that assisted the Bianconeri in having
the best defensive record outside the top five clubs last season. In fact, the
Tuscan-based outfit conceded just 44 times in the 2008/09 campaign, only a few
more than the likes of Juventus, Fiorentina and Genoa.
He is a confident player when in possession of the ball, one who certainly is
ready to move to a big club in Italy or even abroad in Europe. He has the potential to be a star of world
football, and for this reason he will be an extremely significant loss to
Understandably, the consistency of this player has
attracted fellow Serie A sides, most notably Milan, Juventus and Napoli, three
clubs that have been strongly linked with acquiring the services of the
23-year-old at some stage this summer. Zuniga’s pace, control with the ball,
and ability to also play in the midfield would make him a great addition to any
of these squads.
The Rossoneri and the Partenopei reportedly met with Siena to
discuss the future of the Colombian, however it was Napoli who won the race for his signature. The transfer became official on Thursday, July 9.
Did You Know?
- The Italian press labelled Zuniga as the heir to Cafu and Roberto Carlos
during the Under-20 World Youth Cup.
Adrian Del Monte, Goal.com