Nicknamed ‘La Brujita’, or Little Witch, Juan Sebastian Veron is an Argentine footballer, who began his professional career with Estudiantes de La Plata, his current club, in 1993. He remained with the club till 1996, before moving on to Boca Juniors. During his tenure with Boca Juniors, Veron enjoyed stints with several Serie A clubs such as S. S. Lazio and Inter, with whom he won the scudetto, and also Parma A. C., with whom he won a UEFA Cup. Other clubs that he has played with include, Manchester United, the English club as well as Chelsea.

After his sojourn with all these clubs, Veron returned to Estudiantes in 2006, where he soon became the team captain. Meanwhile, in 2004, Veron was shortlisted for the FIFA 100, which is a list of the 125 greatest living football players, which is selected by Pele. Veron possesses both Argentine and Italian citizenship.

Coming from a football family, Veron owes his nickname to his father, Juan Ramon Veron, who was nicknamed La Pruja or The Witch, who was a championship winning player with Estudiantes de La Plata. Veron was the firstborn son in the family, and in fact, was born on the day that his father played a derby for Estudiantes against chief rivals Gimnasia y Esgrima.

Position Midfielder
Height / weight 1.86 m /
Born 9 Mar 1975
Nationality Argentina Argentina
Team History
Estudiantes de La Plata Estudiantes de La Plata 2017
Estudiantes de La Plata Estudiantes de La Plata 2013 - 2014
Estudiantes de La Plata Estudiantes de La Plata 2007 - 2012
Asociación Coronel Brandsen 2012
Estudiantes de La Plata Estudiantes de La Plata 2006 - 2007 (loan)
6 chelsea fc Chelsea 2003 - 2007
38 inter milan Inter Milan 2004 - 2006 (loan)
1 manchester united Man Utd 2001 - 2003
97 ss lazio Lazio 1999 - 2001
Parma Calcio 1913 1998 - 1999
98 sampdoria Sampdoria 1996 - 1998
Estudiantes de La Plata Estudiantes de La Plata 1994 - 1996
375 boca juniors Boca Juniors 1996

Particularly known for his perceptive passing and vision, Veron was also popular for his set pieces and his powerful long shot. After Veron joined up with Estudiantes in 1993, his tremendous skill became clear when he played a vital role in bringing the team back from relegation in 1995. His international debut for his country was against Poland, in 1996. Following this debut, he was soon signed by Sven-Goran Eriksson, for Sampdoria.

But Veron only stayed there till 1998, the year that he played for his country again, in the 1998 World Cup. He moved to Parma, signing a £15 million deal, and proving it instantly by bringing home the Coppa Italia and the UEFA Cup. After these successes, Eriksson once again signed Veron, but this time for Lazio, for an even bigger £18.1million deal. It was reported at this, that Veron was taking home a weekly wage of £48,000. Veron proved himself immediately, winning his debut match for Lazio against legend Manchester United, in the European Super Cup, held in Monaco.

But Veron’s major victory with Lazio was winning the scudetto, the Italian Super Cup and the Coppa Italia. In early 2001, when rumors about the validity of his passport began to fly, Veron shifted to Manchester United at the end of the season, for a lucrative £28.1 million in a five-year deal, which was the most expensive transfer in the English football then.

Optimistic about his tenure with Manchester United, Veron was under a lot of pressure to perform. He fell through to expectations by playing key roles in United’s successes at the group stages, but he soon suffered injuries, which ruled him out for the remaining season. Any doubts raised about his performance were met with expletive laden responses from his manager Alex Ferguson.

Following the arrival of Roman Abramovich, Veron was serenaded by Chelsea, with whom he was initially reluctant to join. But on persuasion by Chelsea manager Claudio Ranieri, Veron decided that his future lay at Stamford Bridge instead. His transfer fee was half of what he had commanded in his previous deal, an indication of the decline in his reputation.

Even though Veron started well with Chelsea, scoring the opening goal in the 2-1 victory they bagged against Liverpool, he soon fell out of the limelight, making only 14 league appearances in the 2003-04 season. Veron’s transfer to Manchester United and Chelsea was listed amongst the 50 worst transfers by The Times, but Veron was the most expensive footballer in history till 2008 with a cumulative value of £77m, when Nicolas Anelka surpassed him with a tally of £85 million.

In the following season, after Roberto Mancini took over as team manager, Veron was loaned to Inter, for the 2004-05 season. At the end of this season, Veron once again returned to Inter, on loan for two more seasons. Regaining his form somewhat, Veron won the 2005 and 2006 Coppa Italia wih Inter, and also bagged the 2006 Serie A title, following a match fixing scandal, which resulted in Juventus being stripped of its title.

By the middle of the 2006 season, Veron was ready to move back to Argentina for the remaining of the season. Both Boca Juniors and River Plate offered them a spot on the team, but Veron ultimately decided to rejoin his boyhood club, Estudiantes de La Plata. During his time in Europe, Veron had constantly shown his support for this club by giving donations which went towards up-gradation of training facilities.

This decision was supported by Chelsea, which agreed to give Veron on loan to Estudiantes for one season, after which his contract with the English club would end. Using his considerable experience to make up for his lack of physical speed, Veron was instrumental in the 2006 Apertura win, its first title win in 23 years, with the final match being against Boca Juniors.Despite negative reactions, mostly from rival fans, especially regarding his below-expectations performance at the 2002 World Cup, Veron was ranked amongst the top three players in the Argentine league in 2006, by sports newspaper Ole.

Veron played a crucial role in rebuilding Estudiantes’ historic stadium to meet modern standards. He personally initiated Nestor Kirchner, the president of Argentina at that time, to start negotiations, which had previously been stopped by Mayor of La Plata, Julio Alak. Confirming his belief in the team, Veron has also indicated that he would like to run for presidency of Estudiantes sometime in the future.

After his return from the 2007 Copa America, Veron was faced with several minor injuries, which ruled him out of several important games in the 2007-08 season. By the next season, Veron had regained his health, and soon reached the Copa Sudamericana with the team, consequently securing a spot in 2009 Copa Libertadores.

In 2007, DC United president Kevin Payne, had approached Veron regarding a possible transfer, which he declined, opting to remain with Estudiantes instead. In early 2008, Veron was elected as the best player in the Argentine league, by several prominent personalities. Another award he was elected for was the South American Footballer of the Year, 2008, by Uruguayan sports newspaper El Pais.

Vernon has had many opportunities to play for his country, with the first being for the 1998 FIFA World Cup, which was held in France. The team was ruled out in the quarter-final stage, against the Netherlands. At this point a rumor had started about Veron failing an internal doping control, as well as insufficient effort on his part, which led to strained relations of the player with the media and his fans.

Veron represented his country again at the 2002 World Cup, held in Korea, but did not perform up to expectations. Many held him personally responsible for the team’s performance, and its subsequent elimination at the groups phase itself.

His latest opportunity to play for the national team, was in 2007, when national coach Alfio Basile called on Veron for the Copa America, where the team reached the final. Currently due to his tight schedule with Estudiante’s and some injuries, Veron is not a part of current national coach Diego Maradona’s immediate plans.

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