Monday, June 5, 2023

Otamendi will celebrate 100 matches with the “Albiceleste”

Nicolas Otamendi will play his 100th game with the national team / @argentina

Defender Nicolás Otamendi, one of the leaders of the team led by Lionel Scaloni, will celebrate 100 games with the Argentina national team in the Qatar 2022 World Cup final against France today.

The experienced 34-year-old defender will reach this important appearance mark with the “Albiceleste” as soon as Polish referee Szymon Marciniak officiates the World Cup final at Lusail Stadium.

In the historical table, Otamendi will move past Oscar Ruggeri (97), Sergio “Chiquito” Romero (96) and Diego Armando Maradona (91) to match Sergio Agüero in seventh place.

Above “Ota” are still Lionel Messi (171), Javier Mascherano (147), Javier Zanetti (143), Angel Di Maria (128), Roberto Ayala (114) and Diego Simeone (104).

The Velez-raised defender joins Messi and Di Maria on the active players’ podium, all members of the current squad looking to embroider a third star on the Shield tomorrow.

The “General” is one of the team’s most important figures in the tournament and played every minute of the World Cup alongside goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez and captain Lionel Messi. Otamendi will have his own bit of personal revenge, as he was left out of Alejandro Sabella’s final list for Brazil 2014 after playing in the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.

The current Benfica player also played in Russia 2018 and is participating in his third World Cup in Qatar 2022.

Of the 99 games he played, 35 were for the South American qualifiers, 28 for friendly matches, 22 for the Copa América, 13 in the World Cup and the rest in the Finalissima against Italy.

The defender, born in Pacheco in the northern part of the Buenos Aires suburbs, scored four goals with the “Albiceleste” shirt: the first was in Sabella’s debut as coach in 2011 in a friendly against Venezuela (1-0) in Calcutta; He then scored one in the 2016 Copa América Centenario in the United States, in a win against Panama (5–0); In the same year, on the way to the World Cup in Russia, he saved the defeat of Edgardo Bauza’s team against “Vinotinto”; And his last celebration was in Russia’s last match against Spain (1-6) in a forgettable friendly.

Otamendi became champion of the 2021 Copa América and Finalsima with the national team and won titles at all clubs except Valencia: Velez, Porto and Benfica in Portugal, Manchester City in England and Atlético Mineiro in Brazil.

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