Aimar playing for Johor Darul Ta'zim in 2014
|Full name||Pablo César Aimar Giordano|
|Date of birth||3 November 1979|
|Place of birth||Río Cuarto, Argentina|
|Height||1.70 m (5 ft 7 in)|
|Playing position||Attacking midfielder|
|1985–1993||Estudiantes Río Cuarto|
|2013–2014||Johor Darul Ta'zim||8||(2)|
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.
A technically gifted and creative attacking midfielder with a vast array of skills, Aimar excelled as an advanced playmaker, where he was best able to utilise his dribbling, vision, and passing ability to create chances for team-mates. Due to his talent and flamboyance, he was given the nicknames El Payaso (the clown) and "El Mago" (the wizard) throughout his career. Aimar also holds a Spanish passport. As a youth, compatriot Lionel Messi stated in 2002 that Aimar was one of his biggest influences as a player.
After starting his senior career at River Plate in 1996, he amassed La Liga totals of 215 games and 32 goals over eight seasons with Valencia and Real Zaragoza between 2001 and 2008, before spending five years in Portugal with Benfica, winning nine major titles between the three teams.
Aimar earned 52 caps for Argentina over ten years, representing the nation in two World Cups and as many Copa América tournaments, as well as a Confederations Cup. He reached the final of the 2005 FIFA Confederations Cup and the 2007 Copa América with the Argentine national side.
- 1 Club career
- 2 International career
- 3 Personal life
- 4 Career statistics
- 5 Honours
- 6 References
- 7 External links
River Plate / Valencia
Valencia of the Spanish La Liga signed Aimar at age 21 in January 2001 for €24 million. Former Argentine World Cup winner Diego Maradona said at the time, "Pablo is the only current footballer I'd pay to watch," and due to his talent and displays, the media soon labelled him as a potential heir to Maradona.
At Valencia, manager Rafael Benítez built a system to suit Aimar's style and slight physique, with physical midfielders, strong wingers and a target forward. Aimar helped Valencia reach the 2001 UEFA Champions League Final, although he was taken off at half-time and Valencia lost to Bayern Munich on penalties. The following year, he appeared in 33 league games and scored 4 goals to help the club win the 2001–02 La Liga title, and in 2004, he helped Valencia win the 2004 UEFA Cup Final and the 2003–04 La Liga title.
In Summer 2006, Aimar joined fellow top flight club Real Zaragoza for €12 million. He made his league debut on 27 August in a 2–3 away loss against Deportivo de La Coruña, and scored two goals in his first four matches.
The Aragonese side were relegated at the end of 2007–08, with the playmaker appearing in 22 contests without scoring while also often hindered with injuries. During that season, he teamed up with former Valencia teammate Roberto Ayala.
On 17 July 2008, Aimar signed a four-year contract with S.L. Benfica from Portugal, for a fee of €6.5 million. After struggling with injuries to start the 2008–09 season, he finished strongly.[clarification needed]
In the 2009–10 campaign, Aimar was reunited with former River Plate teammate Javier Saviola, who was let go by Real Madrid following his own injury struggles. The two combined as double trequartista to support striker Óscar Cardozo, along with fellow Argentine Ángel Di María on the wing. Saviola said of Aimar, "I have never played with another player who knows where I'm going to be or just lifts his head knowing where I'm going to." Benfica won the club's 32nd championship following a five-year wait. He played 46 games in the 2010–11 season in all competitions and scored seven goals, winning the Taça da Liga.
On 6 June 2013, after 179 official appearances and 17 goals, 33-year-old Aimar announced he was leaving Benfica, thanking the club for "five wonderful years."
Johor Darul Ta'zim
On 7 August 2013, Tunku Ismail Ibrahim, the president of Malaysian club Johor Darul Ta'zim, confirmed that Aimar had signed a two-year contract with the team. He made his debut in the Malaysia Super League six months after signing, in a 2–0 win against Perak FA.
Aimar was released on 21 April 2014, due to injury problems.
Return to River Plate
On 5 January 2015, Aimar returned to River Plate for preseason training. He said that he would sign with the club only if he could deal with the physical demand, after two surgeries to his heel and not having played since leaving Johor Darul in April 2014. On 31 May, he played as substitute in a home win against Rosario Central in Primera División. Aimar announced his retirement on 14 July 2015 after River Plate coach Marcelo Gallardo informed him that he was not included in the club's squad for the semi-final stage of the Copa Libertadores. Gallardo said Aimar was "suffering" and had struggled with injuries through the preseason.
Aimar first represented Argentina at youth levels. Along with future senior team stars Esteban Cambiasso and Juan Román Riquelme he won the 1997 FIFA World Youth Championship, and went on to gain over 50 full caps since his debut in 1999; he played in the 2002 and 2006 FIFA World Cups.
In the 2002 World Cup, for which he was picked ahead of Riquelme, Aimar appeared against England, subbing in for Juan Sebastián Verón in the 0–1 loss, which led coach Marcelo Bielsa to start him against Sweden at the latter's expense.
Aimar scored the last goal of the 2005 FIFA Confederations Cup during Argentina's 1–4 loss in the final to champions Brazil, also appearing with the national side in the 2007 Copa América (losing in the final to the same team, this time 0–3).
After several months in the sidelines, Aimar received another international callup in October 2009, for decisive 2010 World Cup qualifiers against Peru and Uruguay. In the match against the former he repaid the faith placed in him by coach Diego Maradona, assisting Gonzalo Higuaín for Argentina's opener with a through ball, in an eventual 2–1 win.
Aimar's younger brother, Andrés, is also a professional footballer and a midfielder. He represented several teams in his country – starting his career at River Plate – also playing for a few months in Israel.
|Johor Darul Ta'zim||2014||8||2||0||0||—||—||8||2|
|1.||16 August 2000||Estadio Monumental, Buenos Aires, Argentina||Paraguay||1–1||1–1||2002 World Cup qualification|
|2.||27 March 2002||Geneva, Switzerland||Cameroon||2–1||2–2||Friendly|
|3.||30 April 2003||June 11 Stadium, Tripoli, Libya||Libya||3–1||3–1||Friendly|
|4.||6 September 2003||Estadio Monumental, Buenos Aires, Argentina||Chile||2–0||2–2||2006 World Cup qualification|
|5.||9 September 2003||Estadio Olímpico, Caracas, Venezuela||Venezuela||1–0||3–0||2006 World Cup qualification|
|6.||15 November 2003||Estadio Monumental, Buenos Aires, Argentina||Bolivia||3–0||3–0||2006 World Cup qualification|
|7.||29 June 2005||Waldstadion, Frankfurt, Germany||Brazil||1–4||1–4||2005 FIFA Confederations Cup|
|8.||28 June 2007||José Pachenco Romero, Maracaibo, Venezuela||United States||3–1||4–1||2007 Copa América|
- River Plate
- Primera División: 1997 Apertura, 1999 Apertura, 2000 Clausura
- Copa Libertadores: 1996
- Supercopa Sudamericana: 1997
- Recopa Sudamericana: Runner-up 1997
- La Liga: 2001–02, 2003–04
- UEFA Cup: 2003–04
- UEFA Super Cup: 2004
- UEFA Champions League: Runner-up 2000–01
- Supercopa de España: Runner-up 2002, 2004
- Primeira Liga: 2009–10
- Taça da Liga: 2008–09, 2009–10, 2010–11, 2011–12
- UEFA Europa League: Runner-up 2012–13
- Taça de Portugal: Runner-up 2012–13
- Supertaça Cândido de Oliveira: Runner-up 2010
- Johor Darul Ta'zim
- Argentina U-17
- Argentina U-20
- FIFA U-20 World Cup: Bronze Ball 1997
- South American Team of the Year: 1999, 2000
- UEFA Champions League: Top Assists 2002–03
- Trofeo EFE: 2005–06
- Cosme Damião Award: Footballer of the Year: 2011
- Aimar's divine improvisation; UEFA.com, 23 September 2004
- "Da "Nuovi Maradona" a "Nuovi Borghi": Pablo Aimar". Retrieved 7 February 2015.
- Aimar jura la Constitución y será jugador comunitario (Aimar swears the constitution and will play as a non-foreign); El Periódico de Aragón, 14 June 2007 (Spanish)
- "Aimar, Messi's childhood idol". Retrieved 7 February 2015.
- Brassell, Andy (6 April 2010). "Benitez welcomes former protege Aimar to Anfield". ESPN FC. Retrieved 3 February 2015.
- "Pablo Aimbar". World Soccer. 2 September 2003. Retrieved 3 February 2015.
- Davies, Christopher (19 February 2001). "Aimar aims for immediate impact". The Telegraph. Retrieved 3 March 2015.
- Abdullah Shams Al-Deen (16 June 2009). "Goal.Commentary: Where In The World Is Pablo Aimar?". Goal.com. Retrieved 3 February 2015.
- Aimar adds zest for Zaragoza; UEFA.com, 29 July 2006
- Zaragoza lose Aimar inspiration; UEFA.com, 30 January 2007
- Aimar leaves Zaragoza for Benfica; UEFA.com, 17 July 2008
- Marcotti, Gabriele (20 April 2010). "Portugal's Benfica Helped by Reunion of River Plate Teammates". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 3 February 2015.
- Cox, Michael (2 March 2010). "Benfica – the most attractive side in Europe?". Zonal Marking. Retrieved 3 February 2015.
- "Aimar and Saviola of one mind for Benfica". UEFA. 22 November 2010. Retrieved 3 February 2015.
- "Pablo Aimar despede-se do Benfica: "Foram cinco anos maravilhosos"" [Pablo Aimar says goodbye to Benfica: "I had five wonderful years"] (in Portuguese). A Bola. 6 June 2013. Retrieved 6 June 2013.
- "Tunku Ismail Ibrahim has confirmed that the former Benfica player, Pablo Aimar, will join Johor Darul Takzim next season". Goal.com. 7 August 2013. Retrieved 10 August 2013.
- "Johor Darul Takzim confirm addition of Pablo Aimar for next season". Fanatix. 7 August 2013.
- "Johor Darul Ta'zim 2–0 Perak: Southern Tigers overcome defensive Seladangs". Goal.com. 18 January 2014. Retrieved 22 April 2014.
- "Troppi infortuni: club malese scarica Pablo Aimar" [Misfortunes galore: Malaysian club releases Pablo Aimar] (in Italian). Sky Sport. 21 April 2014. Retrieved 22 April 2014.
- "Aimar: I am anxious to play but I need to be in form". Buenos Aires Herald. 6 January 2015. Retrieved 12 January 2015.
- "River Plate's Aimar announces retirement". FourFourTwo. 14 July 2015. Retrieved 16 July 2015.
- Argentina – Record International Players; at RSSSF Archived 17 January 2010 at WebCite
- "Pablo Aimar: "Cuando hablamos con Andrés le digo que Estudiantes va a salir de esta situación"" [Pablo Aimar: "When i talk with Andrés i tell him that Estudiantes will turn things around"] (in Spanish). Telediario Digital. June 2011. Retrieved 22 April 2014.
- "P. Aimar". Soccerway. Retrieved 22 April 2014.
- Pablo Aimar at ESPN FC
- "South American Team of the Year". 16 January 2009. Retrieved 10 March 2015.
- "Galardões Cosme Damião distinguem Chalana e Aimar" [Galardões Cosme Damião distinguish Chalana and Aimar]. SAPO Desporto (in Portuguese). 28 February 2012. Retrieved 1 March 2016.