A pedigreed campaigner

Published : May 30, 2015 00:00 IST



Having enjoyed such a long and distinguished career, Esteban Cambiasso found himself in an unusual position at the lower end of the table with Leicester, but they have enjoyed some notable scalps, including a thrilling 5-3 home victory against Manchester United. By Simon Dent.

Leicester City’s veteran midfielder, Esteban Cambiasso, has already won some of the biggest prizes in world football and his experience has proved crucial for the Foxes during a tense end to the season.

The former Argentina international signed for Leicester as a free agent ahead of the current season, their first in the Premier League since 2004. Now 34 years old, the ex-Inter Milan stalwart has won the Champions League as well as the Serie A title five times, boasting a glittering CV that few can match.

Before he arrived at Inter Milan in 2004, where he made over 300 appearances in a 10-year spell, Cambiasso was part of the Real Madrid youth team before embarking on stints with Club Athletico Independiente and River Plate.

After proving his worth in Latin America, Cambiasso headed back to Real Madrid, winning La Liga, the Intercontinental Cup and UEFA Super Cup in his first season as a senior professional in Spain.

Surprisingly, given his pedigree as an international player and a player who contributed to a winning side, he was not offered a new contract by Madrid and Inter Milan came calling for him — a move which saw him win 15 trophies in just 10 years, three of those coming in one season under Jose Mourinho.

The now-Chelsea boss is full of praise for his former player, saying: “I won the treble with Cambiasso. He belongs to my golden team, was fundamental in my golden team. He's one of the players who means a lot to me and he's been phenomenal for them. I'm very happy for him.”

The highlight of his time at the club came when Inter won the Champions League during the 2009/10 season. Cambiasso scored at the San Siro as Inter dumped out Chelsea before playing his part in the final as the Italians beat Bayern Munich 2-0.

His time at the club came to an end last year when no contract extension was offered, although it was suggested he could return to the club to enjoy another role at some point in the future.

It was Leicester that won the inevitable scramble for his signature, with Cambiasso offering to reward their determined pursuit of him. Having enjoyed such a long and distinguished career, Cambiasso found himself in an unusual position at the lower end of the table with Leicester, but they have enjoyed some notable scalps, including a thrilling 5-3 home victory against Manchester United.

Leicester manager Nigel Pearson knows the importance of Cambiasso to his team, and believes his star man can still improve despite his age.

“As you get older as a player you have to accept there will be certain areas of your game that you won’t be able to do quite as well as you could when you were younger,” he said. “The flip side of that allows you to build experience and understanding and you can become an even better player.”

Recent results suggest Leicester can secure survival against the odds and Cambiasso insists it will feel like winning a trophy if they do so. “For me, it's like another Cup," he told BBC East Midlands Today. “When you start another season you have an objective, and this is the objective for us. For me, winning a Cup or winning the League with another team is the same now as having the possibility to save Leicester in the Premier League.”

That is quite a statement coming from a player who has won more titles than any other Argentinean footballer in history.

FACTFILEName: Esteban CambiassoPosition: MidfielderClub: Leicester CityD.O.B: 18/8/1980Argentina caps: 51Argentina goals: 5

Moment to remember:Being part of the Inter Milan side that won the treble in the 2009/2010 season.

Moment to forget: Not being offered a new contract by Inter Milan at the end of last season.

© PA Sport

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