Ask any FIFA World Cup™ coach as to the qualities he is looking for in his players and experience will figure high on the list. Paraguay’s versatile defender, Claudio Morel Rodriguez, has it in abundance.
Morel comes from exceptional footballing stock. His father, Eugenio Morel, was a talented striker for his country and blazed a trail through Argentinian football in the 1970s and 80s. Claudio started his career south of the border as a 20 year old with San Lorenzo, winning the 2001 Clausura championship, the 2001 Copa Mercosur and the 2002 Copa Sudamericana in a highly successful spell with the Almagro club.
In 2004, he made the switch to Boca Juniors, where he continued his happy knack of picking up silverware. As well as three championships, Morel won two Copa Sudamericanas (2004 and 2005), two Recopa Sudamericanas (2005 and 2006) and capped it all by playing a key role as Boca won the Copa Libertadores in 2007, even though their FIFA World Club Cup campaign ended in defeat in the final at the hands of AC Milan.
Morel’s other great strength is his adaptability. Although he is nominally a left-back, Claudio has played in the heart of the defence, on the left-hand side of the midfield, and even as an orthodox central midfielder. Coach Gerardo Martino clearly values the versatility that the former Paraguayan Footballer of the Year brings to the squad, a versatility that will ensure Morel as one of the key figures in the Albirroja’s campaign in South Africa 2010.