Centre-half Dario Veron could well turn out to be coach Gerardo Martino’s lucky charm at the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa™. The powerful 30-year-old defender has enjoyed a trophy-laden career wherever he has played, and seems to have the happy knack of picking up silverware even against the odds.
He started his career in 1999 with minnows 12 de Octubre, where he was part of the legendary team that in 2002 brought home the first national championship in the club’s history only five years after their promotion to the first division. In fact Veron scored the goal that clinched the title, striking late in the second half against Guarani.
He was signed by Chilean club Cobreloa the following season and Veron’s Midas touch did not desert him, playing his part in helping the club to its first league title in 11 years. Even when he went to Mexico, signing for Pumas in 2003, he was hugely influential in helping them to the Clausura championship, their first trophy in 14 years.
In 2004, Pumas, with Veron once again to the fore, won the Apertura championship, sealing their status as Mexico’s dominant team. The club’s fans took the Paraguayan to their hearts, and he responded with a series of fine displays, based on his natural leadership and his first-rate positional sense. Five years later, in 2009, Pumas again struck gold, winning the Clausura championship once more.
At international level, however, Veron took a little more time to make his mark. He was first called up in 2001 for the Copa America, but did not manage to force his way into the side. Former coach Anibal Ruiz brought the defender back in 2004, although that first cap still eluded him.
It was not until the South Africa 2010 qualifying campaign that he cemented his place in the squad, coach Gerardo Martino putting his faith in the experienced stopper and picking him in 11 of Paraguay’s 18 matches. He is now an automatic choice, and will be hoping to bring his good fortune and good form to bear in his first appearance in the finals.