Home   |  Issues  |  The Daily Star Home | Thursday, July 14, 2005



Sorts Star Exhibit

By Quazi Zulquarin islam

An exciting runner with the ball and with panoramic vision, Pablo Aimar has long been regarded as the natural successor to Diego Maradona in spite of playing for Diego's hated rival's River Plate. His sudden change of pace and wonderful passing ability make him an asset to any team he plays for. Small but wiry, Aimar makes up for his lack of height by being a tough competitor. Purveying skill, creativity and lightning pace, Pablo Aimar helped turn Valencia CF from perennial bridesmaids into champions.

National team

'El Payaso' - the clown - first came to prominence in the 1997 FIFA World Youth Championship in Malaysia but also caught the eye by scoring on his national-team debut against Paraguay in a 2002 FIFA World Cup qualifier. Played three times at Korea/Japan, but was not involved as Argentina reached the final of the 2004 Copa América.

Schooled at CA River Plate, Aimar was thrust into the first team in the 1997/98 and went on to star in a formidable team who won the Clausura in 1997 and the Apertura both that season and in 1999, although he did not play when they lifted the Copa Libertadores in 1996.
2001: Valencia beat off competition from clubs across Europe to bring Aimar to the Mestalla in January 2001. They soon had reason to be glad as the pocket-sized attacking midfield player inspired his team to the 2001/02 Primera División title.
He had arrived in a €24m deal, penning a seven-year contract, and played in the 2001 UEFA Champions League final defeat by FC Bayern München.
2003/04: After a return of eight goals from 31 games in 2002/03, the following season was less productive on a personal level as he collected more bookings (five) than goals (four). However, he still played a part as Valencia savoured success in the Primera División and the UEFA Cup, beating Olympique de Marseille 2-0 in Gothenburg.
2004/05: In a season of utter turmoil at Valencia, a squad packed with stars failed to live up to anything close to their reputations. Pablo was almost always a benchwarmer under Ranieri who always seemed uncertain of his immense ability.
He looked ever the shadow of his former self. To be honest he was plagued with injuries all season long but he still scored a stunning goal against Real Madrid.

Did you know?
One observer who has no doubt about Aimar's quality is Diego Maradona, who said: "Pablo is the only current footballer I would pay to watch." Some recommendation.
Pablo gave up a place in medical school to pursue his football career.





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