Santiago Hernan Solari, an Argentine footballer from Rosario, is a midfielder and one who has gathered many accolades for his performances in some of the best leagues around the world. Solari began his playing career at the youth team at River Plate. From his earliest days, there were signs that he would go on to greatness, especially with his fondness of running at defenders.
He broke into the first team at Atletico River Plate, a team that already boasted the likes of Ariel Ortega, someone who almost played in the same position as Solari. Making his debut in 1996, Solari played with River Plate for two seasons, scoring 13 times in 60-odd appearances. Spain came calling and Solari was on his way to Atletico Madrid.
Solari settled down well in Madrid and became a key first team player however, he failed to keep the club from going down to the second division and when that happened, Solari jumped across to join cross town rivals, and one of the biggest clubs in the world, Real Madrid.
At Real Madrid, Solari became part of a dream team that boasted of the likes of Ronaldo, Raul, David Beckham, Luis Figo and the wonderful Zinedine Zidane. It was quite understandable that the young Argentine would find it hard to make a place for himself in such a formidable lineup but he kept trying. Eventually, Solari would find a place and soon, became indispensible to Madrid once Figo had moved on to Inter Milan.
In 2001-02, Solari was mainly used as a substitute who could come on and run at defenders when the need arose. Real Madrid went on to win the 2001-02 UEFA Champions League title and Solari played a vital, albeit small, role in that win. At the European Super Cup though, Solari was rampant, getting a chance ahead of the preferred Luis Figo. The Super Cup was the main reason Solari moved into the starting lineup but after failing to help Madrid win any title that season, he was offloaded to Inter Milan for a 3-season contract.
The team immediately found a place for the Argentine in their starting lineup and the move paid dividends as Inter Milan, led by Solari’s skill, went on to win the 2006 Coppa Italia. Inter Milan would also win the 2006 Serie A title as well as the 2007 and 2008 titles, although the 2007 was awarded to them by default after Juventus, the team that won the title, were relegated on match fixing charges while AC Milan, the team that came second, were docked points as well, putting them into third place.
Once Solari’s contract expired, in 2008, Inter Milan released the player who had slowly moved out of the starting lineup. He moved back home to Argentina where he signed up with San Lorenzo de Almagro for a single season. Released at the end of the season, Solari moved to Atlante F.C. where he continues to be a part of the first team squad, providing vast experience to an otherwise young lineup.
Solari is truly a part of a football-family. He is the cousin of Fernando Redondo, a player who played with Real Madrid; his brother Esteban plays with Almeria, in Spain, while Jorge Solari, his uncle, played at the 1966 World Cup before retiring and going on to coach Tenerife, also in Spain.
At the international level, Solari has been a part of the Argentine national team on numerous occasions however has failed to get much playing time with the likes of Ariel Ortega, Kily Gonzalez, Pablo Aimar and Jonas Gutierrez, all playing in the same position as him.
Solari remains one of the most promising players to have never made a significant mark on the international scene for being surrounded by greats who were insurmountable.