Mariners snare World Cup winning Argentine

The Central Coast Mariners have made arguably their biggest signing to date, with the news that Argentine Under 20’s World Cup winner Patricio Perez will be on board for the next two Hyundai A-League seasons.

The Central Coast Mariners have made arguably their biggest signing to date, with the news that Argentine Under 20-s World Cup winner Patricio Perez will be on board for the next two Hyundai A-League seasons.

The 25-year-old was part of Argentina-s squad which was crowned Champion at the 2005 Under 20-s World Cup in the Netherlands, playing alongside the likes of Manchester City midfielder Pablo Zabaleta and World player of the Year, Barcelona superstar Lionel Messi.

Perez also has also tasted success in both the Under 17-s and Under 20-s South American Cup-s, after representing his country from Under 15-s.

Those days were spent jumping on buses to national team training with a childhood pal by the name of Carlos Tevez, who has of course gone on to represent both the Blue and Red sides of Manchester and confirm his place as one of the world-s most lethal strikers.

Perez has been learning English on a weekly basis in Buenos Aires, and says he-s looking forward to the challenge of the Hyundai A-League.

"Clubs in Portugal and Greece came but I chose Australia because of the seriousness of Graham Arnold when he was in Argentina,” said Perez through his agent.

"I found out what the A-League is like, (it-s) a major league and is expanding.

"He (Arnold) spoke wonders of Australia as a country and it has aspirations of hosting the 2022 FIFA World Cup."

Arnold was quick to return the compliments.

"I-ve seen Patricio play live on several occasions in Argentina and I-m really impressed with what I-ve seen, so we-re hopeful Patricio will live up to that expectation and be a hit in the Hyundai A-League," said Arnold.

Perez was an integral part of the Velez Sarsfield side which was crowned Clausura Champions in the 2004/05 Argentine Primera Division - the second part of a domestic season split in two - with a squad featuring players such as Newcastle United-s “Spiderman” Jonas Gutierrez and Lazio striker Mauro Zarate.

He has also had experience in the Mexican First Division, as well as time with Chilean giant Everton.

Most recently with ambitious promotion chasing Argentine Primera B side Defensa y Justicia (Defence and Justice), Perez scored five goals in 28 appearances in the 2009/10 campaign.

"On the occasions I saw him play he scored two great goals an created plenty more chances for his strikers," said Arnold.

"He is an attacking midfielder who scores goals, has a great work rate and is also very creative.

"He-s had the privilege of playing alongside some of the best players in the world and he will bring real quality to the Mariners.

"He is only small in stature but is so strong both on and off the ball, has wonderful vision and will bring plenty of excitement to the fans at Bluetongue Stadium, which is something I have set out to achieve from day one."

The creative attacking midfielder with an eye for goal will show off his South American skill at Bluetongue until the end of the Hyundai A-League 2011/12 season, and brings the Mariners squad size for the new season to 21.