Why City were never going to bewitch Verón

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Because you are a mercenary.
Because you were rubbish at Manchester United.
Because you were rubbish at Chelsea.
Because you can’t dribble round a lamp post.
Because you are too old to keep playing.
Because you drive a Ferrari to training.

There are 74 more reasons, similar to those above, that have led one particularly angry (and arguably unbalanced) individual to dedicate considerable time and effort into putting together a website reasoning why we should all hate Juan ‘$eba$tián’ Verón.

That said, ‘hate’ is too mild a term to express this supporter’s bile towards the midfielder.

So it is that most of the 80 Reasons To Detest Verón are unpublishable on several grounds - they are mostly litigious, based on ridiculous rumours, highly offensive, and in several cases, just plain wrong.

The website, together with links to ‘evidence’ that Verón was on England's side in the 2002 World Cup, does serve one purpose, however.

It shows how divided opinion is in Argentina on the midfielder.

Like Guns n' Roses guitarist Slash, the divide is fairly easily drawn.

On one side you have Estudiantes fans. On the other, you have everyone else.

Verón’s relationship with most Argentina supporters never recovered after the 2002 World Cup, with the Brujita – Little Witch – shouldering the blame for the Albiceleste’s early exit.

"Here you are, old boy"

As Manchester United and Chelsea fans can confirm, however, the early noughties were far from providing the high water mark in Verón’s career.

After a spell at Inter Milan, Verón decided to return to the club where he started out – Estudiantes.

Verón had broken into the Pincha’s first team in 1994 and helped the club gain promotion back to Argentine top flight.

On returning more than 10 years later, he led the side to its first league title in 13 years.

Just last year, he guided the team to become champions of South America by winning the Copa Libertadores.

He then came within two minutes of emulating his father Juan 'El Brujo' Verón’s achievement from 1968 - winning the transatlantic showdown with the European champions.

Barcelona, however, were too busy finishing off a remarkable year to allow the Veróns another moment of glory.

They can't take this away...

Despite the silverware, and despite recently winning a second consecutive South American Player of the Year award, Verón’s tie with Estudiantes is tighter than any other player.

Even while he was away in Europe, he regularly contributed money for the club to develop its facilities.

Last year he signed a new contract that included earning 40 percent less than his previous deal.

The money he gave up was part of the agreement – it would pay for new installations and also buy a new bus to transport the Estudiantes youth team players to games.

Any references to Verón’s performances in or against England are ignored.

"You have to remember," one devout Pincha fan once told Argie Bargy, "that for Estudiantes fans, and in La Plata, Verón is God."

It's not just gestures like renouncing money that elevate Verón to that status.

He's still regularly producing goals like this one, and perhaps it was that which made City try to lure him back to Manchester.

City reasonably believed that an economically-challenged club in Argentina wouldn’t turn their nose up at £7 million for one of their players.

They also reasonably thought that at 34 years of age, the player in question wouldn’t turn his nose up at a final payday. (Patrick Vieira certainly didn't).

"I couldn't leave you guys"

Yet not even the promise of seven million petropounds all for himself was enough to convince Verón to join Manchester City – or more to the point, to leave Estudiantes.

At most, Verón has two years left in him before quitting the game.

An upstairs role at Estudiantes – one which will pave the way for him to become club president in the future – awaits.

For now he is still the club’s most important player. The slower game in Argentina allows him to dictate matches, something which is hard to imagine him doing in the Premier League.

But it is even harder to imagine him leaving Estudiantes.

And that is surely one reason to like Juan Sebastián Verón.

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