Having turned 30 and made just a solitary friendly appearance since Diego Maradona took over as national coach, Ariel Garce was a surprise selection in the Argentina squad. Known as El Chino since his childhood, Garce had planned to travel to South Africa with his friends to support La Albiceleste, but was more than happy to change his travel arrangements after getting the nod.
A well-built, combative yet talented defender, Garce plays his club football for Colon and can operate in the centre and on the right, though he has also been known to play in central midfield. He showed that versatility in Argentina’s recent friendly with Haiti, in which Maradona successfully deployed him at right-back.
Garce is no stranger to the national set-up. Marcelo Bielsa called him up for the 2003 tour of Honduras, Mexico and the USA, though a doping ban two years later ended his hopes of claiming a place in the squad for the 2006 FIFA World Cup finals Germany™. His inclusion in Maradona’s 23-man squad for South Africa 2010 is easily the pinnacle of his career to date.
A River Plate youth product, he made his first-team debut with Los Millonarios in 1999 and won four league titles with them. Aside from two spells with the Buenos Aires aristocrats, Garce has played for a number of other less fashionable Argentinian clubs and also had a stint with Monarcas Morelia in Mexico.