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Martín Palermo: The optimist of the goal

We recall some of the events that led to the career of the Argentine striker to be recognized worldwide .

Martin Palermo

These are some of the most determining facts of Palermo in his career as a footballer. / Photo: Carlos A. Cermele

LatinAmerican Post / Thomas Handley

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Leer en español: Martín Palermo: El optimista del gol

On November 7, 1973, was born who would later be recognized as one of the most important soccer players in Argentina . An idol for many and loved by locals and strangers, Martín Palermo managed not to go unnoticed in his career as a soccer player. His life is worthy of a movie, with chapters ranging from one of the greatest joys that a soccer player can have, to tragedies that no player wants to be part on. We select the most decisive facts in his career as a professional player.

Martín Palermo at Boca Juniors

Martín Palermo arrived at Boca Juniors in 1997 from Estudiantes de la Plata , where he began his career as a soccer player. In his time wearing the blue and yellow jersey, interrupted by his departure for Spanish League, he was classified as "the optimist of the goal", given his ability to place himself in the right place and time to score. Although he had goals of all kinds and importance, we can highlight the ones that were scored by both the player and the club. Among them, his midfield goal to Independiente, in the 1997 Apertura Tournament, or to Vélez in 2009 . The latter would set a record since he headed the ball from a distance of 39 meters . His goals also meant great titles for his club, as was the case in the Intercontinental Cup in 2000. He scored twice, giving Boca victory over Real Madrid, and proclaiming himself champion of that contest .

A separate chapter would be necessary for his scores against River Plate , staunch rival of the Xeneize team. These took on a logical extra relevance for having that team as a victim. With a total of 18 goals against the millionaire team, Palermo started his account on October 25, 1997 and was decisive, since with his goal Boca managed to overcome a 1 to 0 against to end up winning by 2 to 1. Also after a serious cruciate ligament injury managed to become a nightmare for the classic opponent. This was for the Copa Libertadores in 2000 . In the previous game, the River Plate coach made fun of his possible return in such an important game. He did not even forget to mark them in what would be his last superclassic, before retiring from soccer in 2011.

In his two periods at Boca Juniors, Martín Palermo scored 236 goals. That number placed him as the top scorer in club history . In addition, he won 14 titles between local and international.

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Martín Palermo's contribution to the Argentine National Team

Martín Palermo made his debut for the Argentine national team on February 3, 1999 . Although he did not score goals in the victory against Venezuela, he did so in other moments that were framed in history. The agonizing goal against Peru on a rainy night was key for the Albiceleste team's qualification for the 2010 Soccer World Cup. In that World Cup, held in South Africa, they entered the 80th minute in a group stage match against Greece. It took him 9 minutes to score a goal, becoming the longest-serving Argentine player to score in a world cup . At 36, he beat Diego Armando Maradona, who had done it at 33, against the same rival 16 years ago. Coincidentally, it was Maradona in charge of summoning him to join the Argentine squad in South Africa and make him enter the field in that match.

But not all were positive records for Palermo. His long career as a Soccer player also included bad moments. Playing for Argentina, in the 1999 Copa América in Paraguay, the striker was responsible for kicking three penalties in the same match against Colombia. Incredibly, the striker missed all 3. To make matters worse, the match ended in a 3-0 defeat.

In his appearances wearing the "celeste y blanca" jersey, Palermo scored 9 goals in 15 games, adding friendlies and competition matches. He was called up for the 1999 Copa América, the 2010 Qualifiers, and the Soccer World Cup of the same year.

The numbers of Martín Palermo's professional career

In short, Martín Palermo played a total of 623 games, in which he scored 306 goals . This left him an approximate average of one goal every two games. As for his record, he won 15 titles in total. After his retirement and until today, he continues to be linked to soccer as DT.