Clemente Rodriguez — After failing to win a call-up during the qualifying competition for South Africa 2010, Clemente Rodriguez caught Diego Maradona’s eye with some exceptional performances for Estudiantes. The left-back, who can also operate down the right, was a feature of the side that won the Copa Libertadores last year and narrowly lost out to Barcelona in the final of the FIFA Club World Cup UAE 2009.
The 28-year-old emerged from the highly productive youth set-up at Boca Juniors before going on to win three Copa Libertadores titles with Los Xeneizes. Rodriguez went on to have spells with Espanyol and Spartak Moscow before moving to El Pincha from Russia last year.
At the start of his international career Marcelo Bielsa drafted him into the squad for the 2004 Copa America in Peru, where Argentina finished second, and the Men’s Olympic Football Tournament later that year. Making four appearances in Greece, Rodriguez played his part in La Albiceleste’s gold-winning campaign.
Jose Pekerman then called on his services for the qualifiers for Germany 2006 only to overlook his claims for a place at the finals. Four years on from that disappointment, Rodriguez has the chance to make up for lost time and fill the gap created by Juan Pablo Sorin’s retirement and Javier Zanetti’s omission from the squad.
Rodriguez was part of the gold medal winning Argentine Olympic football team at the 2004 Summer Olympics and has played for the full Argentina national team on an infrequent basis since 2003. He was called by coach Diego Maradona to play the 2010 FIFA World Cup.