The new season is now a few weeks old in Europe, so I thought it was about time we had a look at the contributions of some of Argentina’s foreign legion in the European leagues. So far Sergio Agüero and Gonzalo Higuaín have enjoyed great starts for the two Madrid sides in Spain, whilst in Italy ‘Argentine’ Inter have just lost the Milan derby to ‘Brazilian’ Milan, and Mauro Zárate is scoring by the bucketload for Lazio.
Higuaín was named last week in an online poll of Real Madrid fans as their first choice for the centre forward position, ahead even of club demi-god Raúl, so much has he impressed over the last twelve months. He’s spoken of his hope that his form will lead to a full call-up for the selección before long, although bafflingly he’s been left out for the upcoming matches against Uruguay and Chile by Alfio Basile. One man surprisingly included, though, is his clubmate Gabriel Heinze, and it was the defender who scored against Real Betis on Saturday as the champions won 2-1. Elsewhere in Spain, Lionel Messi scored a late penalty to help Barcelona to a 2-1 win away against Espanyol in the city derby, and Agüero’s and Ever Banega’s Atlético de Madrid lost 1-0 at home to Sevilla.
In Italy, Nico Burdisso was sent off as Inter lost ‘away’ to Milan by a single goal. Ronaldinho – who played alongside countrymen Alexandre Pato and Kaká – scored the only goal of the game against an Inter side which also included Esteban Cambiasso and Javier Zanetti in the starting lineup. Better news for Argentines elsewhere, though: Mauro Zárate scored twice for Lazio – one a penalty – away to Torino as the Rome side won 3-1, and he is now the highest-scoring Argentine in a big European league this season with six goals (Raúl Bobadilla, of Grasshopper Zurich in Switzerland, has seven). Germán Denis scored the only goal late on as Napoli won away against Bologna, whilst on Saturday Diego Milito was left on the bench as Genoa lost 1-0 away to Fiorentina.
And the other leagues: Manchester United beat Bolton 2-0, but only after Carlos Tevez had been withdrawn for Wayne Rooney in the second half; Fabricio Coloccini continues to be referred to as ‘Fabio’ by the Daily Telegraph, I can only assume because of the popularity of England’s current manager, and was mentioned by them this time for being beaten in the buildup to one of Blackburn Rovers’ goals as Newcastle lost 2-1 at home. Pablo Aimar came on for Benfica in the second half of the Lisbon derby against Sporting, and set up José Antonio Reyes for the first goal in a 2-0 win. Angel Di María also came on late on. Fernando Cavenaghi scored the equaliser for Bordeaux as they drew 1-1 at home to St. Etienne. Cavenaghi has four goals from seven matches for Bordeaux so far this season, continuing his excellent form of the previous campaign.