A safe pair of hands between the sticks for both Universidad de Chile and the national side when called upon, Miguel Angel Pinto was voted South America’s finest custodian in 2009 by Uruguayan daily El País. A one-club man, Pinto has modelled his game on flamboyant former Paraguay No1 Jose Luis Chilavert - though without the penchant for scoring from set pieces - and has impressed for Universidad ever since making his first-team debut back in 2002.
A regular in the Chilean senior national team set-up since Argentinian coach Marcelo Bielsa took the reins in 2007, he is yet to displace La Roja’s first-choice shotstopper and skipper Claudio Bravo. Indeed, Bravo was ever-present throughout Chile’s successful 2010 FIFA World Cup™-qualifying campaign.
“I dream of playing some part at the World Cup, if Claudio (Bravo) lets me,” said Pinto, who made his name on the South American scene during the 2009 editions of the Copa Libertadores and Copa Sudamericana. And thanks to those sterling displays against the likes of Brazilian heavyweights Gremio, Internacional de Porto Alegre, Cruzeiro and Fluminense at continental level, La Roja supremo Bielsa knows he will have a solid and reliable back-up keeper in South Africa.