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Maximiliano Rubén "Maxi" Rodríguez (born 2 January 1981) is an Argentine professional footballer who plays for Newell's Old Boys in the Argentine Primera División. Nicknamed La Fiera (Beast in English) he is commonly used as a winger on both flanks, but can also operate as an attacking midfielder.[2]

Rodríguez arrived in Spain in his early 20s, and went on to spend the bulk of his professional career there, playing for Espanyol and Atlético Madrid and amassing La Liga totals of 232 games and 58 goals over the course of eight seasons. He also spent two years with Liverpool in England.

An Argentine international in the 2000s, Rodríguez represented the country in two World Cups.

ContentsEdit

 [hide*1 Club career

Club career[edit]Edit

Newell's / Espanyol[edit]Edit

Born in Rosario, Santa Fe, Rodríguez came through the youth set-up at Newell's Old Boys in the Argentine first division, and played for the club for three seasons before moving to Spain.

In 2002 Rodríguez moved to La Liga with RCD Espanyol, his league debut coming on 2 September in a 0–2 loss against Real Madrid. He played 37 matches in every campaign with theCatalans, scoring 15 goals during his last season, including the club's 2000th Spanish league goal.

Atlético Madrid[edit]Edit

At the start of the 2005–06 season, Rodríguez moved to Atlético Madrid for a transfer fee of €5 million,[3] where he continued to post consistent numbers. In his second year he suffered, alongside teammate (and winger) Martin Petrov, a serious knee injury (anterior cruciate ligament), which limited him to only 10 appearances.[4]

On 10 November 2009 Rodríguez put four goals past UD Marbella in the Copa del Rey round-of-32 second leg, in an eventual 6–0 home win (8–0 aggregate).[5] After the 2007 departure ofFernando Torres to Liverpool, he was selected as the new club captain; he took no part in the Colchoneros' 2009–10 UEFA Europa League campaign, which ended in conquest.

Liverpool[edit]Edit

[1][2]Rodríguez training withLiverpool in 2011[3][4]Rodríguez playing with Liverpool

On 13 January 2010, Rodríguez completed a free transfer to Liverpool, signing a three-and-a-half-year deal, Rafael Benitez described him as "comfortable on the ball, can pass and keep possession. He is good at getting into the box and scoring goals and a good finisher."[6] At Liverpool, he was given the number 17 shirt.[7] He made his debut for the club as a second-half substitute in a Premier League match against Stoke City on the 16th,[8] his first full start coming a week and a half later, away to Wolverhampton Wanderers (0–0 draw).

In his first games for Liverpool Rodríguez gained two league assists, both of which were for former Atlético teammate Torres. He scored his first goal for the club in a 4–0 win over Burnley at Turf Moor on 25 April 2010, playing the full 90 minutes.[9]

2010–11 was a good individual season for Rodríguez, who netted 10 league goals for the Reds, including two hat-tricks, against Birmingham City (5–0 home win)[10] and Fulham (5–2 at Craven Cottage). In the latter he scored twice in the opening seven minutes – the first being just after 32 seconds – and completed his exhibition with a 25-yard strike.[11]

On 8 July 2011 Rodríguez switched his jersey number to 11,[12] and he scored two goals in a pre-season friendly with Malaysia shortly after, which finished 6–3 to Liverpool. On 24 August, he was given his first start of the season in a League Cup tie against Exeter City, and netted the second in an eventual 3–1 away success.[13]

On 20 November 2011 Rodríguez scored against Chelsea following a build-up with teammate Craig Bellamy, with Liverpool winning it 2–1 at Stamford Bridge.[14] Nine days later, against the same opponent, in the same venue and again with the decisive pass being made by the Welshman, he found the net in a 2–0 League Cup triumph,[15] and his team went on to win the latter competition.

On 26 December 2011, Rodríguez scored just his second league goal of the season in a 1–1 draw at Anfield against Blackburn Rovers.[16] He netted his last two against the same adversary, on 10 April 2012 (3–2 away win).[17]

Return home[edit]Edit

On 13 July 2012, after 73 official games and 17 goals scored, Rodríguez left Liverpool and returned to his first professional club Newell's Old Boys.[18] He wrote an open letter to the Reds fans before his departure, thanking them for their support in his two-and-a-half-year stint with the club.[19]

Rodríguez played his first match for the club since leaving on 5 August 2012, in a 0–0 draw against Club Atlético Independiente. According to him, football in his country was now 'worse than 10 years ago'.[20] In June 2013 he won the Torneo Final, being selected Best Player in the league in the process.

International career[edit]Edit

Rodríguez won the 2001 FIFA World Youth Championship with the Argentina under-20s on home turf, scoring four goals in seven matches, including the first and last for the eventual winners.[21] He made his full squad debut in a friendly match against Japan on 8 June 2003, in which he also found the net.[22]

After being part of the 2005 FIFA Confederations Cup squad, Rodríguez was called for the 2006 FIFA World Cup by national boss José Pekerman and, on 16 June, he scored twice in Argentina's 6–0 victory over Serbia and Montenegro in the group stage. In the round-of-16, he scored the winning goal against Mexico in a 2–1 extra time victory: he controlled a cross-field pass from Juan Pablo Sorín with his chest before volleying it into the top corner of Oswaldo Sánchez's net from outside the penalty area with his left foot, in the 98th minute;[23] in an unofficial online poll by FIFA, it was voted the best goal of the tournament.[24]

After Argentina lost the quarter-final game against Germany on 30 June 2006, Rodríguez punched opponent Bastian Schweinsteiger in the back. FIFA fined him CHF5,000 and suspended him from two matches in the 2007 Copa Américafor violent conduct.[25] However, after a serious knee injury in a friendly with Spain in October 2006, he missed the continental competition, as national team manager Alfio Basile, whom initially intended to select the player, eventually rested him for precaution.[26]

Rodríguez scored in Diego Maradona's first game in charge of Argentina, a 0–1 friendly win in Scotland.[27] On 19 May 2010 he was named in the squad of 23 for the 2010 World Cup in South Africa[28] and, in the last home game before the finals five days later, scored twice against Canada, netting from a freekick from a sharp angle and after receiving a pass from Carlos Tevez in an eventual 5–0 win.[29]

International goals[edit]Edit

Argentina's goal tally first

Goal Date Venue Opponent Score Result Competition
1. 8 June 2003 NagaiOsakaJapan Japan 4–1 4–1 Friendly
2. 17 August 2005 Ferenc PuskasBudapestHungary Hungary 1–0 2–1 Friendly
3. 30 May 2006 ArechiSalernoItaly Angola 1–0 2–0 Friendly
4. 16 June 2006 Veltins-ArenaGelsenkirchenGermany Serbia and Montenegro 1–0 6–0 2006 FIFA World Cup
5. 16 June 2006 Veltins-Arena, Gelsenkirchen, Germany Serbia and Montenegro 3–0 6–0 2006 FIFA World Cup
6. 24 June 2006 ZentralstadionLeipzig, Germany Mexico 2–1 2–1 (a.e.t.) 2006 FIFA World Cup
7. 22 August 2007 UllevaalOsloNorway Norway 1–2 1–2 Friendly
8. 4 June 2008 QualcommSan DiegoUnited States Mexico 3–0 4–1 Friendly
9. 19 November 2008 Hampden ParkGlasgowScotland Scotland 1–0 1–0 Friendly
10. 28 March 2009 El MonumentalBuenos Aires, Argentina Venezuela 3–0 4–0 2010 World Cup qualification
11. 24 May 2010 El Monumental, Buenos Aires, Argentina Canada 1–0 5–0 Friendly
12. 24 May 2010 El Monumental, Buenos Aires, Argentina Canada 2–0 5–0 Friendly
13. 10 September 2013 Defensores del ChacoAsunciónParaguay Paraguay 5–2 5–2 2014 World Cup qualification
14. 15 October 2013 CentenarioMontevideoUruguay Uruguay 1–1 2–3 2014 World Cup qualification
15. 15 October 2013 Centenario, Montevideo, Uruguay Uruguay 2–2 2–3 2014 World Cup qualification

Honours[edit]Edit

Club[edit]Edit

Atlético Madrid
Liverpool
Newell's Old Boys

International[edit]Edit

Club statistics[edit]Edit

As of 23:00, 11 March 2012 (UTC)[30]
All-Time Club Performance
Club Season Domestic League Domestic Cup International

Club Competition

Total
App Goals App Goals App  Goals App Goals
Liverpool 2011–12 12 4 9 2 0 0 21 6
2010–11 28 10 1 0 6 0 35 10
2009–10 17 1 0 0 0 0 17 1
Total 56 15 10 2 6 0 72 17
Atlético Madrid 2009–10 14 2 2 5 8 1 24 8
2008–09 33 6 0 0 6 3 39 9
2007–08 35 8 0 0 4 0 39 8
2006–07 10 6 0 0 0 0 10 6
2005–06 29 10 4 1 0 0 33 11
Total 121 32 6 6 18 4 145 42
Espanyol 2004–05 37 15 0 0 0 0 37 15
2003–04 37 4 0 0 0 0 37 4
2002–03 37 7 0 0 0 0 37 7
Total 111 26 0 0 0 0 111 26
Newell's Old Boys 2001–02 33 15 0 0 0 0 33 15
2000–01 18 5 0 0 0 0 18 5
1999–2000 6 0 0 0 0 0 6 0
Total 57 20 0 0 0 0 57 20
Career Totals 346 93 16 8 24 4 386 105

Other ventures[edit]Edit

In 2009 Rodríguez appeared in a music video for Coti, starring alongside Atlético teammate Diego Forlán.

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