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Encyclopedia > Juan Sebastian Veron

Juan Sebastián Veron (born March 9, 1975 in Buenos Aires) is an Argentine football player. He will play the 2004-05 season with Italian Serie A powers Inter Milan, having moved on loan from Chelsea of the English Premier League.

He is the son of Argentina striker Juan Ramon Veron, who was known as 'The Witch' ('La Bruja') and who scored against Manchester United in the 1968 World Club Championship at Old Trafford.

In 1993 the 'Little Witch' ('La Brujita') signed from school for Estudiantes de La Plata - his father's former side. In 1996 he joined Boca Juniors, playing 17 games and scoring three goals. He made his international debut for Argentina, against Poland, in the same year. Sven-Göran Eriksson signed him for Sampdoria shortly afterwards.

In 1998, after starring for Argentina in the World Cup, he signed for Parma in a £15m deal. The following year, Parma won the Coppa Italia. Eriksson then signed him again, this time for Lazio in an £18.1m deal, reportedly netting a weekly wage of £48,000. Coincidentally, he made his debut for Lazio in the Italian side's 2-0 victory over Manchester United in the European Super Cup in Monaco.

In 2000, Veron was the driving force for Lazio as they captured the Scudetto, the Coppa Italia and the Italian Super Cup. But in February the following year, the rumours about the validity of his passport caught up with him.

After the 2001 season, he moved from Lazio to Manchester United on July 12th for £28.1million in a five-year deal, the richest transfer in English football at that time. Upon signing for Manchester United, he said he had no fear of the Premiership. Unfortunately, after an impressive start, the English game started to get the better of him, as some games passed him by, and he was unable to settle into the United midfield.

His future at United was constantly debated throughout the season and into the 2002 World Cup, where he again started well, but faded as Argentina fell at the first hurdle.

There was plenty of pressure on him at the start of his second season at Old Trafford, and his performances did seem improve considerably, especially in the Champions League where he scored four goals and was at the heart of United's successes in the group stages. However, injury meant that he missed much of the end of the season, and that may have convinced Sir Alex Ferguson that he could do without the Argentinean.

When Chelsea came in for him following the arrival of billionaire Roman Abramovich, Veron claimed that he wanted to stay and fight for his place at Old Trafford, but Ferguson was willing to let Chelsea talk to him, and he was eventually convinced that his future lay at Stamford Bridge, where he had much to prove. His transfer fee to Chelsea was about half that of his record-breaking transfer of just two years before, showing both the fall in the transfer market and the decline of his reputation.

Veron made only 14 appearances for Chelsea in the 2003-04 season; he was bothered by a back injury for most of the season. After José Mourinho took over as manager following the season, Veron became the first casualty of Mourinho's promised cleanout of the Chelsea roster.

In 2004, he was chosen for the FIFA 100, a list of the 125 greatest living footballers selected by Pelé as part of FIFA's centenary observances.



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