A skilful, canny and incisive playmaker who knows where the goal is, Jorge Valdivia is widely regarded as one of the greatest players in Chilean football history. Aptly nicknamed The Magician, he is the epitome of a South American No10.
Born to Chilean parents in Venezuela, Valdivia is a graduate of the Colo Colo academy. However, he shot to fame following a loan switch to top-flight new boys Universidad de Concepcion in 2003, whom he inspired to qualify for the Copa Libertadores.
After aborted spells in Spain and Switzerland, Valdivia returned to Colo Colo under Claudio Borghi, swiftly winning the 2006 Apertura. By that time he was a regular in the international picture, having starred as a Chile U-23 side fell at the last hurdle in the Athens 2004 Pre-Olympic Tournament and during the unsuccessful qualifying campaign for the 2006 FIFA World Cup Germany™.
A move to Palmeiras beckoned next, where the tricky schemer was named the best midfielder in Brazil in 2007, but he then grabbed the headlines for all the wrong reasons at that year's Copa America, being hit with a 20-match ban by the Chilean FA for a disciplinary misdemeanour.
On the pitch, though, Valdivia continued to dazzle, both in Brazil – where he lifted the 2008 Campeonato Paulista – and following a surprise move to the United Arab Emirates. Indeed, having had his suspension reduced, he was handed an international recall by Marcelo Bielsa and made a key contribution in the latter stages of qualifying for South Africa 2010 and at the tournament proper, where Chile reached the Round of 16.
The playmaker, now back at Palmeiras, went to the 2011 Copa America in Argentina, only to be frozen out of Claudio Borghi's side following more off-the-pitch antics. The maverick's rollercoaster ride continued at club level, as the Green and Whites tasted glory in the 2012 Brazilian Cup and then experienced relegation and promotion within the space of 12 months.
After Jorge Sampaoli ended the wizard's nearly two-year international exile in August 2013, Valdivia impressed in a 'false 9' role in the last three Brazil 2014 qualifiers, offering a glimpse of what could be in store this summer.