Happy birthday to Marcos Rojo, his up and down Argentina national team career

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A big happy birthday to Marcos Rojo who turns 30 today!

Rojo has had an absolute roller coaster of a career with the Argentina national team. Making his debut for Argentina in a 2-1 win vs. Portugal in 2011, Rojo didn’t have the best start to his national team career. Despite playing only a few matches, then Argentina coach Sergio Batista selected Rojo for the 2011 Copa America.

Marcos Rojo in his Argentina national team debut.

The center back turned left back only played one match in the tournament, a 1-1 draw vs. Bolivia. It wasn’t the best match of his career as he was dropped from the starting eleven after that match. Batista would be replaced by Alejandro Sabella and Rojo’s fortunes would slowly begin to change.

Alejandro Sabella knew Marcos Rojo from their Estudiantes days and would stick with Rojo for the first two 2014 World Cup qualifying matches. A Gonzalo Higuain inspired hat trick in the team’s 4-1 win vs. Chile was followed by a shock 1-0 defeat to Venezuela in the next match. Rojo would not take part in the following two qualifiers but would gain many Argentina caps throughout 2012 and 2013 going into the World Cup.

Arriving for the big show in Brazil, Rojo was not only selected but the starting left back in the team. Initially seen as one of the weak links in the team along with Sergio Romero, the two would prove to be among Argentina’s best players that tournament as they made the final. For Rojo, he would grab part of the headlines in the opening match vs. Bosnia-Herzegovina. A rabona from inside his penalty area to clear the ball would be and remains talked about to this day.

He would also score his first goal in the sky blue and white in Brazil. A goal off a set piece in the final group stage match vs. Nigeria would prove to be the winner and not the last time he would score in the last match of a World Cup group stage vs. Nigeria.

One of Argentina’s best players of that tournament, Rojo’s tricks weren’t done there. In a World Cup semi-final, Rojo would find play a nutmeg pass through the legs of Arjen Robben as Argentina would make the final of the World Cup.

Next year’s Copa America would see another Marcos Rojo goal and even another rabona. He would go on to also score at the tournament in the 6-1 win vs. Paraguay.

At this point, Marcos Rojo had already made a move to European and English giants Manchester United. His never say die attitude earned him the appreciation of the fans. In particular one moment where he reportedly lead a brawl vs. Manchester City. The infamous headline reads “A marauding bare chested Marcos Rojo” who lead United through a tunnel to fight Manchester City players.

With Rojo selected for the 2018 World Cup, the now experienced defender had one more ace up his sleeve. It was the final group stage match for Argentina and once more it was against Nigeria. The score was 1-1, it was mayhem off the pitch and on the pitch it wasn’t too pretty for the two time world champions.

Argentina needed a goal or else they were heading out of the World Cup. But not to worry. Gabriel Mercado would play a cross into the penalty area and with Lionel Messi and Gonzalo Higuain there, it was Marcos Rojo of all people who would strike it beautifully with his right foot and score. A finish even Gabriel Batistuta would be proud of. Rojo scored, Argentina celebrated, Diego Maradona put two fingers in the air and the legend of Marcos Rojo just got that much bigger and better.

No longer a focal point of Argentina’s back line, Rojo was part of two World Cup and two Copa America squads for Argentina. Taking part in three finals, saving Argentina in one World Cup, all the while proving many doubters wrong. Now back on loan at Estudiantes, Rojo is looking to be back in the Argentina national team.

Happy birthday to Marcos Rojo!

 

19 COMMENTS

    • Nice job.

      Why is the % saved scale in thousands? Why not make it from 0-100%?

      How is CG rating calculated?

      Would be great to include Armani and Andrada if the stats available.

      • The xCG is calculated by using newer post-shot-xG from statsbomb.com. According to them this is more accurate way of calculating goalkeeping ability. (The actual formula used in graph is ((Post-shot-xG-conceded) – (goals conceded))/(post-shot-xG-conceded)).

        The 0 to 1000 is due to normalisation of x-axis and y-axis which I think, will make differences more visible (maybe I am wrong here).

        I started this by thinking I can include all argentine goalkeepers but had to settle for only these

  1. I don’t know what happened to Rojo at MU; the best year of 2014 under Sabella gone so fast. Even Van Gaal admire and pick him as his player

    Felixe Cumple, stay healthy and have a wonderful day

  2. What a beautiful goal by Rojo against Nigeria!

    Went down a youtube hole last night and saw this. DAMN it was a wonderful and exciting moment.
    Argentina vs Netherlands WC Penalty Shootout 2014
    youtube.com/watch?v=p9QuQBrPTE8

  3. although i do criticise him a lot he was a player who failed to bring out his full potential .the manchester transfer was a disaster he was amazing in the 2014 world cup as a left back although he has the traits of a centre back i guess injuries and mourinho hampered his progress .

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