Edgar Barreto is heading to South Africa determined to make up for the disappointment of the 2006 FIFA World Cup Germany™ when he was surprisingly omitted from the starting XI at the last minute.
“I only came on for a few minutes against Sweden and then against Trinidad and Tobago, when we were already out of the tournament,” Barreto told FIFA.com back in March. “I’m waiting ... so I can put things right.”
Getting the chance to do that will not be easy, especially with so much competition for places in the Paraguayan midfield. Coach Gerardo Martino has the core of the team already in place, though there could still be a slot for Barreto when he gets round to choosing the side for their Group F opener against Italy.
The Atalanta midfielder made 12 starts during the qualifying competition and came on as a substitute in two other games, and while he might lack the profile of some of the Albirroja’s better-known stars, his consistency in the role of midfield ballwinner and distributor has helped him earn Martino’s confidence. “You don’t really see what I do on the pitch, but the coach obviously does. He wouldn’t call me up otherwise”, said Barreto in that March interview in reference to his attributes.
The younger brother of international goalkeeper Diego, Barreto’s challenge in the short term is to get fully fit for the world finals, having been sidelined for much of a frustrating season with a hairline toe fracture and a knee injury.
Now 25, he has considerable international experience behind him, having appeared at the FIFA U-17 World Cup Trinidad and Tobago 2001 and the FIFA U-20 World Cup UAE 2003 en route to winning an Olympic silver medal at Athens 2004, one of the biggest achievements in Paraguay’s footballing history.