Maxi Rodriguez is the veteran attacking midfielder in Argentina’s star studded World Cup roster. He’s nicknamed The Beast, a name he earned during his long-playing career in the Spanish league.
Here’s what you need to know about one of the most unpredictable players in world soccer:
1. He Will Be Forever Remembered For His 2006 World Cup Goal
In extra time of Argentina’s World Cup second round game against Mexico, the right-footed Rodriguez, beautifully chested the ball down before hitting an unstoppable volley with his left foot into the top corner of the goal. The Argentine team went on to win the game but were eliminated from the competition in the quarterfinals in a penalty loss to Germany.
2. Maxi Has Been With His Wife Since they Were Kids
In an Argentine newspaper report, Maxi Rodriguez’s wife Gabriele, is referred to as his “lifetime girlfriend.” She goes by Gabi and is mother to the couple’s two daughters. In 2002, when Rodriguez was transferred to Spanish club Espanyol, she moved with him from their home in Rosario, Argentina.
3. He’s Playing in His Third World Cup
Amazingly this is the third World Cup that the 33-year-old Maxi Rodriguez will play in. He’s represented his country in 2006, 2010 and now 2014. In both of his previous tournaments, he’s only gotten to the quarterfinal stage. His total record for Argentina since his 2003 debut is 56 games and 16 goals.
4. In His Club Career, He Is a Nomad
Beginning with Newell’s Old Boys in Argentina, his local team from his home city of Rosario, Rodriguez first moved to Spain to play for Espanyol in 2002. From there, he moved up to play for Atletico Madrid from 2005-2010, in total he played nearly 250 games in Spain. After his spell in Madrid, he made arguably the biggest move of his career when he went play for Liverpool in the EPL. Although his performances were good, he failed to command a regular place in the first team. His record in England was 15 goals in 57 games. From England, Rodriguez decided to move back to Argentina to play once again for his boyhood heroes, Newell’s Old Boys. At the time of the 2014 World Cup, Rodriguez is still playing at Newell’s.
5. Rodriguez Is Calming Influence in the Argentina Setup
With the entire nation of Argentina enthralled with the team’s first appearance in the semifinals since 1990, Rodriguez appealed to his teammates for calm. Speaking to the media, Rodriguez said:
Our mentality is always the same. In the World Cup, you have to be focused 100 per cent. It is a reality that great teams were eliminated at the beginning. We had never thought that it could happen.
I think that if you are not concentrating, any team can win. It is everyone’s dream. Not only them it is one country. We are palying to get the glory, I think this is the best thing. When you wear this shirt, you feel inspired. This is the most beautiful thing that can happen to player, to wear this shirt in a World up.