Maximiliano Pereira’s main strength is his versatility. Ever since making his debut as an 18-year-old for Defensor Sporting in 2002, Pereira’s adaptability has been his trademark, enabling him to play anywhere on the right, either as full-back, winger or in attack.

It was precisely that ability that aided Pereira’s ascension into the national team towards the end of 2005. Still plying his trade in Uruguay at the time, Pereira was given his first chance at international level by Jorge Fossati.

 

However, it was not until Oscar Tabarez’s reign that Pereira became a regular for the national team. His displays impressed Benfica enough to secure his services and he is now an undisputed starter at the Portuguese outfit too.

 

Pereira, known as el Mono (the monkey), featured in 15 of his country’s 20 games en route to securing their ticket to the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa™, only ever missing out through injury or suspension. Unsurprisingly, he played in all seven of Uruguay’s matches at the global showdown and appeared in all six games a year later at the Copa America triumph, his first career title.

 

Now in his seventh season at Benfica, Pereira remains both an integral figure at his club and with La Celeste, as highlighted by his almost permanent presence during Brazil 2014 qualifying.