|Name:||Gabriel Ivan Heinze|
|D.o.B:||19 April 1978|
|Clubs:||Newell’s Old Boys, Real Valladolid, Sporting Lisbon, PSG, Manchester United, Real Madrid, Marseille, Roma, Newell’s Old Boys|
Gabriel Iván Heinze is an Argentine former footballer who operated as either a left-back or a central defender, and is the current manager of Atlanta United in Major League Soccer.
Nicknamed Gringo (“Blond” in Argentine–Spanish slang), he made a name for himself at Paris Saint-Germain, moving in 2004 to Manchester United and subsequently to Real Madrid, winning three trophies with the latter two clubs. He started and finished his 18-year professional career with the team he supported as a boy, Newell’s Old Boys.
Heinze played 72 times with Argentina, representing the nation at two World Cups and as many Copa América tournaments.
He was born in Crespo, in central Argentina, and was brought up with a ball at his feet from a very young age. As a child Gaby hated losing, which is one of the reasons he plays football with such ferocity and determination. The ability he showed in his eight games for Newell’s Old Boys – based in Rosario and the nearest big side to his home-town – prompted Spanish side Real Valladolid to bring him to Europe in 1997.
His tackles weren’t always perfectly timed, but his effort, work-rate and ability on the ball proved that he was a world-class footballer in the making. He spent a year adapting to the pace of the game, and then another year out on loan at Portugal’s Sporting Lisbon, before making a first team spot his own, aged just 21.
Heinze started to establish himself as one of the World’s top defenders throughout his 3 year spell at Paris Saint Germain in France, which he came to view as a home from home. Playing superbly in the biggest European competitions ensured that he was noticed by the top clubs from around the World, as well as his national side – he made his debut for Argentina in April 2003.
As Heinze grew older his tackling ability developed, stopping him from flying into needless tackles as he had done in his earlier days. Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson recognised that Gaby had come of age as a defender, and he quickly won a place in the fans’ hearts.
His hard-hitting tackles and willingness to chase after seemingly lost causes made him a favourite with the fan, who chanted for him whenever he wins the ball from the opposition strikers. He could play at centre-back, but was more accomplished on the left, when his neat attacking link-up play can be fully appreciated. His game was suited to the physical English game.
He jumped at the chance to move to Real Madrid, and became part of the most formidable defence in Spain, alongside experienced professionals like Fabio Cannavaro and youngsters such as Sergio Ramos. In his first season in Madrid, Heinze won the Primera Liga title, and Real competed with the very best, both at home and in Europe.
After falling out of favour with new management, Gabriel Heinze moved on to Marseille and Roma, where he again proved popular with the fans for his guts, tenacity, and passion.
He had always dreamed of returning to play back at the club where it all started at Newell’s Old Boys, and he did for the last couple of seasons as a player, before he retired in 2014 and started to make his name as a Football Manager.
After winning the B League in Argentina with Argentinos Juniors, he moved onwards and upwards to manager Premier League Velez Sarsfield, and, after performing well there, to help newly formed Atlanta United in their first season in the MLS. Good luck Gaby!