Alvaro Pereira — Alvaro Daniel Pereira Barragan is another fine example of how perseverance and sacrifice are crucial ingredients for a successful football career. The Montevideo native started out with lowly Miramar Misiones where he made his debut in 2004. Two years he later he crossed the Rio de la Plata to try his luck with Argentinean outfit Quilmes, with whom he suffered relegation to the Segunda Division in 2007.
A tireless runner who can play as either a full-back or a midfielder, Palito was soon back in the Argentinean Primera Division when picked up by Argentinos Juniors where his powerful left-foot shot saw him finish the 2007 Apertura as the club’s top scorer with seven goals.
Six months later the opportunity arose to move to Europe to join little known Romanian team CFR Cluj. Having impressed with his performances in the UEFA Champions League 2007/08, Pereira soon found himself part of the plans of national team coach Oscar Tabarez who was already familiar with him from his days with Gustavo Ferrin’s U-20 team.
Palito won his first full international cap in November 2008 in a scoreless draw against France in a friendly match played in Paris. In his next appearance, a 3 – 2 friendly win over Algeria in March 2009, he scored his first international goal. That same month he played the full ninety minutes of the FIFA World Cup qualifier against Paraguay.
Pereira made his debut for Uruguay against France, on November 19, 2008, scoring in his next match, another friendly, now with Libya, in Tripoli (3 – 2 win).
He was an undisputed starter for the nation during the second half of the 2010 World Cup qualifiers, also starting in both legs of the successful playoffs against Costa Rica, as the Charruas returned to the FIFA World Cup. In the finals in South Africa, he played in all the matches, scoring through a rare header in a 3 – 0 win against the hosts.