The son of a Spanish footballer who played in Argentina, Rodrigo Palacio is a versatile centre-forward who is known primarily for his poaching ability but whose pace and dribbling skills also make him well suited to wide roles. Dubbed La Joya (The Jewel) for his array of skills, the right-footed Palacio began his professional career in the Argentinian second division in 2002. After trying his luck with Real Betis in Spain two years later, he signed for Banfield, spending six months there before joining the mighty Boca Juniors at the start of 2005.
His stop-start international career began that same year, when Jose Pekerman selected him for a friendly in March. Though he did not make the trip to the FIFA Confederations Cup in Germany and was hardly used in the qualifiers for Germany 2006, Palacio did make the squad for the world finals, where he played one game.
Despite collecting the adidas Bronze Ball at the FIFA Club World Cup Japan 2007 and staying in among the goals with Boca, Palacio virtually disappeared from the Albiceleste set-up thereafter. His return came when Alejandro Sabella took over, by which time he was enjoying his most productive season with Genoa. The front man has since moved on to Inter Milan, where he has become a first-team regular. Sabella has kept the player in his plans, using him in eight Brazil 2014 qualifiers, during which Palacio scored one goal.