Sebastian Abreu has been waiting some time for the opportunity to take part in his second FIFA World Cup™ finals. Famed for his extrovert character, El Loco can easily be described as a complete centre-forward. An archetypal poacher, he also poses a formidable threat in the air and is an equally adept team player on the deck. And though he is not Uruguay’s first-choice striker, he has never let his country down, becoming a role model over the years, both on and off the pitch.
Abreu was still playing in his hometown of Minas when he was called up for the 1993 South American U-17 Championships in Colombia. Making only a 45-minute appearance in the last game, he nevertheless found time to score two goals, prompting a scramble for his signature between Nacional, Danubio and Defensor Sporting. Defensor won the day, with the gangling forward joining their youth set-up.
His rise to the first team was nothing short of meteoric and in 1996, two years after making his professional debut, he scored six goals in Defensor’s run to the last 16 of the Copa Libertadores. That July, national coach Hector Nunez called him up for his first senior appearance, a 1-1 draw against China in Beijing.
Before the year ended he was off to San Lorenzo of Argentina, the start of his lengthy international travels, during which he has played for two clubs in Spain, six in Mexico, two in Brazil, one in Greece and another in Israel. On top of all that he has also had two spells with Argentina’s River Plate and three with his beloved Nacional, where he remains an idol to the fans. Abreu has only failed to score goals for one club, Israel’s Beitar Jerusalem, and has finished top scorer four times in Mexico and once in his native Uruguay.
El Loco has over 50 caps to his name and more than 20 international goals. During his lengthy career with La Celeste he has played in the 1997 and 2007 Copa Americas and also stepped out in the qualifying competitions for France 1998 and Korea/Japan 2002. He appeared in all three of Uruguay’s games in the 2002 FIFA World Cup(tm).
Although he was absent from their failed bid to reach Germany 2006, Abreu has figured in current coach Oscar Tabarez’s plans almost from the start. And even though Diego Forlan and Luis Suarez were El Maestro’s strikers of choice for the South Africa 2010 campaign, the wayfaring front man still chipped in with six goals, including the strike that sealed Uruguay’s place in the world finals at the expense of play-off opponents Costa Rica.