Long renowned as an explosive, hard-running attacking midfielder, Enzo Perez was nevertheless considered a long shot to be on the plane to Brazil 2014. However, his superb performances as one half of a holding duo this past season at Benfica ultimately earned him a spot. Named after the great Enzo Francescoli – his dad supports River Plate, where the former Uruguay star is considered a legend – Perez had a lot to live up to.
Though he has not quite reached Francescoli’s heights, the 28-year-old has had a solid career since coming through the ranks at Mendoza side Godoy Cruz, where he made his debut as a 17-year-old in the Argentinian second division. In 2007 he made the step up to Estudiantes, where he enjoyed substantial success under Sabella, winning the 2009 Copa Libertadores and the 2010 Apertura title and claiming a runners-up medal at the FIFA Club World Cup.
Perez was given his senior Argentina debut by Diego Maradona in 2009. He played once on the road to the 2010 FIFA World Cup™ but did not make the final squad for South Africa. Current Albiceleste coach Sabella knows the midfielder’s game inside out, even if he barely used him after recalling him to the international set-up midway through qualifying for Brazil 2014. Consequently, for some his inclusion in the final 23-man squad was something of a surprise.