HOPES ON LABRUJITA

JUAN Sebastian Veron is arguably one of the best midfielders to ever play the beautiful game.

JUAN Sebastian Veron is arguably one of the best midfielders to ever play the beautiful game.

Roma coach Claudio Ranieri described Veron as "the best midfielder in the world" when he signed for Chelsea, where Ranieri was the manager back in 2003.

The "Tinkerman's" assertion drew laughter from the British press who felt that Veron had done little to justify about $40million (R324milion) Manchester United paid Lazio to bring him to Old Trafford.

Veron struggled with the fast pace of the English Premiership where he was not afforded space and time on the ball. This brought him heat from the press. His then manager at United Sir Alex Ferguson came to his defence - he told a reporter that La Brujita, which means Little Witch, was "a f*cking good player".

Although he struggled in the league, Veron would be a completely different player in European Champions League matches.

This left many a United fan frustrated and asking themselves why couldn't he transfer that form to the league matches.

He was eventually sold to Chelsea, where his stay was not a fruitful one. He is back home in Argentina now playing for Estudiantes and Maradona will hope his experience will lead Argentina to World Cup triumph.

Argentina, the 1978 and 1986 champions, open their World Cup Group B campaign against Nigeria. They also face Greece and South Korea in the group stages.

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