At 31 years of age, Pablo Contreras is one of the most experienced players in the Chilean squad, earning him the nickname ‘El Abuelo’ (Grandad). This elegant and versatile defender has stamped his stylish brand football on a number of South American and European clubs since 1997.
Having served his apprenticeship in his homeland with Colo Colo, Contreras made his full international debut in a friendly against Guatemala in February 1999, with Nelson Acosta at the helm. From then on he became an automatic choice for the senior side, as well as winning bronze with the U-23s at the Olympic Football Tournament Sydney 2000, where he was voted the competition’s top defender.
He represented La Roja in the Copa America 2004 and in qualifying matches for the 2002 FIFA World Cup Korea/Japan™ and Germany 2006. However, during the 2007 Copa America in Venezuela, acts of indiscipline meant he was handed a suspension of 20 games by the National Association of Professional Football (ANFP).
Marcelo Bielsa brought him back into the international fold in 2008, sending him on for a few minutes against Colombia in a South Africa 2010 qualifier. He soon became a regular in La Roja’s squad once more, and is now well placed to play an important role at this summer's showpiece.
As far as his club career is concerned, Contreras made the leap directly from Colo Colo to Monaco in 1999, which speaks volumes for his quality. Following his time in France, his career has taken in spells at Racing Club de Avellaneda, Osasuna, Sporting Lisbon, Celta Vigo, Sporting Braga and current employers PAOK Salonika of Greece.