Legend Juan Sebastián Verón Retires From Argentina

John Tilghman Correspondent IAugust 27, 2010

Verón directing traffic in South Africa against Greece.
Verón directing traffic in South Africa against Greece.


Estudiantes de La Plata captain Juan Sebastián Verón has called time on his international career after 14 years of wearing the white and sky blue of Argentina. 

At 35, Verón realizes that his time was dwindling at the highest level, stating: "I believe that (interim coach) Sergio Batista is thinking about building a team for the next World Cup, and the truth is I don't see myself there... The truth is I didn't even think about the call-up list to face Spain, and from here my cycle in the national team has ended." 

Verón entered the 2010 World Cup as one of Diego Maradona's key players, but was strangely left out of the team for Argentina's quarterfinal loss to Germany, and after a month of silence, the former Manchester United and Inter man came out to criticize Maradona's tactics and choice of players.

Despite his less than amicable ending with Maradona, Verón stated his support for the national team and manager Sergio Batista, stating: "It's good that Batista is the coach of the National Team... I've crossed paths with "El Checho" a few times and we've always gotten along very well."

Verón made his debut with Argentina in 1996 under Daniel Passarella, and took part of the 1998 World Cup in France where Argentina reached the Quarterfinals, where they lost to Holland.

Four years later, La Brujita captained the side that failed to advance from the group, causing fans and media alike to heap the majority of the blame on Verón's abject performance. 

Verón was then looked over for the squad for the 2006 World Cup, as Jose Pekerman preferred Juan Román Riquelme to be his playmaker. 

At a time when it appeared La Brujita's time with the Albiceleste was over, Verón returned to Argentina after a successful spell with Inter, to his boyhood club Estudiantes, whom he helped win the league title in his first term back in Argentina. 

His fine form for the La Plata club earned him a recall to the national set up by Alfio Basile for the 2007 Copa America in Venezuela.

Basile elected to field both Verón and Riquelme at the same time, a tactic that worked with great success until the Final, when Argentina fell to Brazil, 3-0. 

During the Copa America, Verón became a bit of a mentor to young striker Lionel Messi, as the two began an interesting friendship both on and off the field. 

The two stars were roommates in South Africa, and even though Messi played at his best with Verón on the pitch feeding him the ball, Maradona elected to play without a playmaker against Germany, and Messi was forced to drop far too deep to have the kind of impact needed. 

The early candidates to take over Verón's role in the team will be Valencia's Ever Banega, and Palermo's Javier Pastore, who plays a bit farther up the field than either Verón or Banega. 


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