Nicolás Gaitán

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Nicolás Gaitán
Benf-Zen 2016 (4).jpg
Gaitán playing for Benfica in 2016
Personal information
Full nameOsvaldo Nicolás Fabián Gaitán
Date of birth (1988-02-23) 23 February 1988 (age 33)
Place of birth San Martín, Argentina
Height 1.74 m (5 ft 9 in)
Position(s) Attacking midfielder, Winger
Club information
Current team
Braga
Number 10
Youth career
2001–2008 Boca Juniors
Senior career*
YearsTeamApps(Gls)
2008–2010 Boca Juniors 66 (12)
2010–2016 Benfica 152 (25)
2016–2018 Atlético Madrid 29 (3)
2018–2019 Dalian Yifang 28 (2)
2019 Chicago Fire 27 (4)
2020 Lille 4 (0)
2020– Braga 6 (1)
National team
2009–2016 Argentina 16 (2)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league onlyand correct as of 21 February 2021
‡ National team caps and goals correct as of 18 June 2016

Osvaldo Nicolás Fabián "Nico" Gaitán (Spanish pronunciation:  [ozˈβaldo nikoˈlas faˈβjan ˈniko ɣajˈtan] ; [lower-alpha 1] born 23 February 1988) is an Argentine professional footballer who plays for Portuguese club Braga [1] and the Argentina national team, mainly as an attacking midfielder.

Contents

A product of Boca Juniors, he joined Benfica in Portugal, where he won three Primeira Liga titles, one Taça de Portugal, five Taça da Liga and one Supertaça Cândido de Oliveira in six seasons.

Club career

Boca Juniors

Born in San Martín, Buenos Aires, Gaitán rose from the ranks at Boca Juniors, having entered its youth system at the age of 13 in spite of doubts regarding his future due to his small frame. [2] He made his competitive debut with the club on 1 June 2008 in a 3–1 win against Arsenal de Sarandí, [3] and scored his first two Primera División goals two months later in a 3–0 success at Huracán. [4]

On 23 September 2008 Gaitán netted his first goal in an international tournament, that year's Copa Sudamericana, against Liga de Quito. Two days later he again made the scoresheet, in the 4–2 win over Newell's Old Boys where he also set up Lucas Viatri for his side's final goal. [5]

Gaitán scored seven times in 33 games in his last season with Boca, who only managed to finish 11th in the Apertura and 16th in the Clausura.

Benfica

On 3 May 2010, Portugal's Benfica confirmed they had reached an agreement to sign Gaitán for €8.4 million, [6] as a replacement for countryman Ángel Di María who had just been sold to Real Madrid. [7] He made his official debut for his new team by starting and playing 66 minutes in a 1–2 away loss to Nacional, opening his scoring account also with a brace, at home against Naval on 14 November (4–0).

Gaitán finished his first year with the Lisbon side with 48 appearances all competitions comprised, scoring nine times as it finished second in the league and won the domestic league cup. For his performances, he was named Portuguese League Breakthrough Player of the Year. [8]

In the 2011–12 campaign Gaitán led the UEFA Champions League assists table, until the knockout stage. [9] In 2013–14 he contributed with eight goals overall as his team conquered the treble, including the game's only goal in the Portuguese Cup's decisive match against Rio Ave on 18 May 2014; [10] His performances were praised throughout the season. [11] [12] On 31 August 2014, Gaitán scored his first goal of the season against Sporting CP, while also being named 'Man of the Match'. [13]

On 11 November 2014, he extended his contract with Benfica until 30 June 2018 and set a release clause of €35 million. [14] On 30 September 2015, Gaitán scored a goal and later assisted the second goal in a win at Atlético Madrid (1–2) in the UEFA Champions League. [15] On 9 December 2015, he signed an improved contract through June 2019, increasing his release clause to €45 million. [16] [17] On 9 March, Gaitán scored his fourth goal of the season in the Champions League, against Zenit Saint Petersburg in the second leg of the round of 16, helping Benfica to reach the quarter-finals of the competition with a 3–1 aggregate score, after a 2–1 win in Russia. [18] [19] On 15 May, he scored twice in a 4–1 home win against Nacional, helping Benfica to secure the league title for the third consecutive season. [20] Five days later, he scored Benfica's fourth goal in a 6–2 win over Marítimo in the Taça da Liga final. A minute later, he was substituted and received a standing ovation while leaving the pitch in tears. After the final whistle, he said it was probably his last match with Benfica. [21] [22]

Atlético Madrid

On 16 June 2016, Benfica and Atlético Madrid agreed on the transfer of Gaitán for €25 million, with the contract to be signed after medical exams in July. [23] [24] [25] His official presentation for the Spanish side was held on 19 July at the Vicente Calderón stadium. [26]

Dalian Yifang

On 26 February 2018, along with teammate Yannick Carrasco, Gaitán joined Chinese Super League newcomers Dalian Yifang, which was also hold by Atlético Madrid's partial owner Wanda Group. [27] On 3 March, he made his Chinese league debut in an 8–0 away loss to Shanghai SIPG. [28] [29] He temporarily lost consciousness and was taken to hospital following an elbowing from Li Lei during a league match against Beijing Guoan on 16 March 2018. [30] On 7 April 2018, he scored his first goal in China as well as assisted Wang Jinxian's goal in a 2–2 home draw with Chongqing Dangdai Lifan. [31]

Later career

On 14 March 2019, Gaitán signed for MLS side Chicago Fire on a free transfer for one season, with a club option until 2020. [32]

On 31 January 2020, Gaitán joined Lille in France on a six-month contract until the end of the season. [33] Gaitán left the Lille in June, having played only four games before the season was suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic. [34]

On 11 August 2020, Gaitán signed for Portuguese club Braga on a one-year deal with an option for a further year. [34]

International career

Gaitán made his international debut for Argentina on 13 October 2009, as a substitute in a 2–0 friendly win over Ghana, [35] and he made his first start in a 3–2 success against Costa Rica on 26 January of the following year. [36] During Sergio Batista term, he made three appearances, playing against Costa Rica, [37] Nigeria [38] and Poland. [39] With Sabella, Gaitán did not make an appearance but with the appointment of Gerardo Martino, he returned after a two-year absence, playing the final minutes, after replacing Sergio Agüero on 3 September 2014 in an away win against Germany. [40]

Style of play

Gaitán began playing as a midfielder, sometimes leaning to the left. After moving to Benfica he assumed a more advanced role, where he seemed more comfortable.

A left-footer who is also able to play on the right, with good dribbling skills and close control, Gaitán's main asset is ball distribution as he is able to cross from either flank, and while on the right he possesses the vision to pick holes when cutting inside. [41] [42]

Career statistics

Club

As of match played 21 February 2021 [43] [44]
Appearances and goals by club, season and competition
ClubSeasonLeagueCupLeague CupContinentalOtherTotal
DivisionAppsGoalsAppsGoalsAppsGoalsAppsGoalsAppsGoalsAppsGoals
Boca Juniors 2007–08 Argentine Primera División 100010
2008–09 Argentine Primera División325111436
2009–10 Argentine Primera División33720357
Total66121317913
Benfica 2010–11 Primeira Liga 267513013 [lower-alpha 2] 11 [lower-alpha 3] 0489
2011–12 Primeira Liga253104014 [lower-alpha 4] 1444
2012–13 Primeira Liga233612013 [lower-alpha 5] 1445
2013–14 Primeira Liga264512110 [lower-alpha 6] 2438
2014–15 Primeira Liga27420205 [lower-alpha 4] 01 [lower-alpha 3] 0374
2015–16 Primeira Liga25410238 [lower-alpha 4] 41 [lower-alpha 3] 03711
Total152252031546393025341
Atlético Madrid 2016–17 La Liga 233415 [lower-alpha 4] 0324
2017–18 La Liga60205 [lower-alpha 7] 0130
Total29361100454
Dalian Yifang 2018 Chinese Super League 28220302
Chicago Fire 2019 MLS 27410284
Lille 2019–20 Ligue 1 4040
Braga 2020–21 Primeira Liga6110003 [lower-alpha 8] 1102
Career total3124730415488113044866
  1. In isolation, Gaitán is pronounced [ɡajˈtan] .
  2. Five appearances in UEFA Champions League, eight appearances and one goal in UEFA Europa League
  3. 1 2 3 Appearance in Supertaça Cândido de Oliveira
  4. 1 2 3 4 Appearances in UEFA Champions League
  5. Four appearances in UEFA Champions League, nine appearances and one goal in UEFA Europa League
  6. Five appearances and one goal in UEFA Champions League, five appearances and one goal in UEFA Europa League
  7. Four appearances in UEFA Champions League, one appearance in UEFA Europa League
  8. Appearances in UEFA Europa League

International

As of match played 18 June 2016 [45]
National teamYearAppsGoals
Argentina 200910
201020
201130
201432
201530
201640
Total162

International goals

Scores and results list Argentina's goal tally first. [45]
GoalDateVenueOpponentScoreResultCompetition
1.14 October 2014 Hong Kong Stadium, Wanchai, Hong KongFlag of Hong Kong.svg  Hong Kong 3–07–0 Friendly
2.6–0

Honours

Club

Boca Juniors

Benfica

International

Argentina

Individual

Notes

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