Thursday Jan 28, 2021  
  15/07/2011: El Matador
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Marcelo Salas, born on December 24, 1974 in Tumeco, Chile. Like many other prominent Latin American players, he spent his childhood in poverty. There were 2 kinds most popular way of breaking away from the surrounding poverty during his childhood in South America: Become a writer like Borges, Cortazar; or become a football player, like Pele or Maradona. Salas choose to become a football player. He was always look bored when he was not chasing the ball. In the dirty work quarter Naw El Bout Salas spends playing football with the kids at his same ages.

Marcelo Salas has an Indian Mapuche’s descent. He was a product of the Deportes Temuco youth team, until his father took him to Santiago de Chile to be incorporated into Universidad de Chile. Salas debuted playing for the Universidad de Chile in 1993. He became a starting player on January 4, 1994. Salas helped the team to get titles in 1994 and 1995 leaving a trail of 50 goals in 75 games.

He played overseas for the first time, sharing the bench with legendary player Hugo Sanchez, among others, with the Atlante first division team in Mexico. He finished his participation with Atlante in 1995.

In 1996, Salas moved on to Argentina to play with River Plate in the first division, a move that was met with some criticism by the Argentine press, as a Chile born player had never really had an impact playing in Argentina. The move was also criticised by Argentine great Diego Maradona as Salas was scouted by archrival Boca Juniors prior to joining River. Salas quickly silenced his critics and won over Argentine fans, as a major contributor to one of the clubs greatest runs ever. From 1996-1998 Salas scored 26 goals in 51 games, helping River to win the Torneo de Apertura 1996, the Clausura 1997, the Apertura 1997 and the 1997 Supercopa Sudamericana. These accomplishments would cement his legacy in Argentina as one of its greatest foreign-born players. His nicknamed El Matador (The Killer), he got it from a song that Argentinean group of fans had sang every time he scored a goal in River Plate.

Salas with SS Lazio

In the same year, on the strength of his performances, he was sold to S.S. Lazio for US$18,000,000.
Salas played in Italy for five years, three with S.S. Lazio (1998–2001), as he was a key catalyst in helping turn around Lazio team that hadn't won a Scudetto since the 1973-1974 season. His first Serie A appearance was on October 4, 1998. He scored his first goal playing for Lazio a few days later against Inter.

His left foot shot has led to some spectacular goals with Lazio; one of his memorable goal was against Manchester United in the European Super Cup 1999 Final, that led Lazio to become a Champion:

European Super Cup 1999 video link

With SS Lazio, El Matador has won:
- Italian Super Cup 1998
- UEFA Cup Winners Cup 1999
- European Super Cup 1999
- Italian Serie A 2000
- Italian Cup 2000
- Italian Super Cup 2000

In 2001 he was transferred to Juventus where Salas would endure the worst moments of his career; he was hampered by injuries, allowing him to participate in only 14 games and scoring just 2 goals, compared to his 34 goals in 74 games with Lazio.

Salas with National Team

In 1998, he participated with Chile in the World Cup making a strong performance with 4 goals in 4 matches.

With the Chile National Team, El Matador has scored 37 goals in 71 games.

(Ali Alkatiri)

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