The flowing locks and exuberant personality of Chilean holding midfielder Manuel Iturra have often invited comparisons with Spanish defender Carles Puyol and Argentina's Fabricio Coloccini. Equipped with power, fighting spirit and explosive pace, Iturra - very much his own man - is highly valued by Chile coach Marcelo Bielsa for his versatility, displaying equal competence at full-back and centre half.
Iturra has only ever put on two strips in his career, that of his club, Universidad de Chile, one of South America’s most successful and popular sides, and the red shirt of his country. Former national coach Nelson Acosta handed him his international debut in a friendly match against Peru in August 2005.
During Chile’s qualifying matches for the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa™, Iturra’s appearances were sporadic. He did not play at all in 2008, before amassing a total of 295 minutes playing time in five games, the last of which came in October 2009. However, after having overcome a series of injuries, Iturra is now back to his top form and ready to put his services at the disposal of Bielsa in South Africa.