Argentine Caballero set to hold midfield togetherPosted: Wednesday May 01, 2002 6:50 AM
MEXICO CITY (AP) -- Gabriel Caballero became a Mexican only last December, but he could become one of the country's most important players during the World Cup finals.
There was an outcry among Mexico's nationalist soccer fans when coach Javier Aguirre called the Argentine-born Caballero to the Mexican team in March for games against Albania and the United States. Aguirre kept him on 23-man roster that will train for the World Cup.
Caballero, a 30-year-old midfielder who can play fierce defense or launch a fast attack, could be the player that Aguirre needs to tie his injury-depleted midfield together.
Caballero doesn't have anything to prove to his coach, whom he played for from 1998-2001 on Mexico's Pachuca team.
Aguirre and Caballero were important pieces in Pachuca's championship in the 2000 winter season.
Born in Rosario, Argentina, Caballero made his debut for Rosario Central. Some years later, he left his country to play for Antofagasta in neighboring Chile.
In 1995, he was hired by Mexico's Santos, and helped lead that team to the 1996 summer championship.
Caballero, who started with Santos as a forward, led the league in goals in 1997 with 12.
"I'm going along with the same idea I had from the start, to help and collaborate in everything," he said upon being called on by Aguirre to play on the national team. "I know I will give it my best during each game."