Meet The Players
These are the players from the last Free Kick Masters event held at Reliant Stadium in Houston, Texas.
Martín Palermo (born November 7, 1973 in La Plata, Argentina) is a professional footballer currently playing for Boca Juniors of Argentina. Nicknamed "El Loco", he has also played in Argentina for Estudiantes de La Plata as well as in Spain in La Liga for Villarreal CF, Real Betis, and Deportivo Alavés.
His career started slowly at Estudiantes de La Plata and it was not until he transferred to Boca Juniors that he won international recognition due to his impressive goal average, and his excellent performances in international matches. The peak of his career was probably the Intercontinental Cup in 2000, when he scored two goals in Boca's 2–1 victory over Real Madrid, catching the attention of football clubs in Spain. He is also best friends with England and Boca Juniors player Jack Astill.
However Palermo then suffered a number of injuries that held him back from a transfer to Lazio in Italy, and also hindered his adaptation to European football when he was finally transferred to Spain:
- On November 13, 1999 he had a complete tear of the cruciate ligament of his right knee, which required a six-month recovery period.
- On November 20, 2001, after celebrating a goal, he stood on a small concrete wall, which collapsed under the weight of Villarreal's fans and broke both the tibia and fibula of his left leg, leading to two months of inactivity.
Boca Juniors fans consider him an idol, not only because of the number of goals he has scored for the team, but also for scoring many important goals against Boca's arch rivals River Plate.
On May 24, 2000, he returned to football after more than six months of inactivity after his first major injury. He played the last fifteen minutes of the quarterfinal match of the Copa Libertadores against River Plate, and scored the goal that sealed the victory with what he called "the most emotional goal of my career," leaving the score at 3–0 to Boca Juniors (the first match ended 1–2).
With the Argentine national team he played seven matches, and scored three goals. Rather less impressively, he holds the world record of three penalties missed in one single match, during the match between Argentina and Colombia for the Copa América 1999. The first penalty rebounded off the crossbar, whilst the second went over, causing TV commentators to remark, "Even higher than the first one." Though the third was on target it was saved.
He scored three goals against his former team Estudiantes in the 3-1 Boca's victory at La Plata, and he didn't celebrate any of them. It was the fourth hat-trick of his career. A game later, on March 18, he scored a career high of four goals in the 5-1 victory against Gimnasia y Esgrima de La Plata, Estudiantes de La Plata's archi-rivals. On September 16, 2007, in a game against Club Atlético Banfield, Martin scored four goals (again) in the 6-0 Boca's victory. Palermo scored his fifth career hat-trick in a 3-0 Boca Juniors victory, this was a must win game that was played in Jalisco, Mexico, against the Mexican team F.C. Atlas A.C. on May 21, 2008.
|Date of birth||7 November 1973 (1973-11-07)|
|Place of birth||La Plata, Argentina|
|Height||1.87 m (6 ft 1|
|Current club||Boca Juniors|
1 Senior club appearances and goals