Edgar Barreto: Paraguay's workhorse
Not the standard bearer for Paraguayan football, but Barreto essential
Born: July 15, 1984, in Asuncion, Paraguay
Clubs played for: Nijmegen Eendracht Combinatie brought Edgar Barreto to Europe from Paraguay's Cerro Porteno in 2004, but the 25-year-old didn't distinguish himself until he arrived in Reggina in 2007. Barreto created structure within Reggina's midfield for two season from 2007 to 2009, but he couldn't save Amaranto (Dark-reds) from relegation last season. Atalanta paid a $6 million transfer fee for the Paraguay international last summer.
International career: Barreto was a member of Paraguay's squad that won silver at the 2004 Summer Olympics. He made his senior debut that same year, played at the 2006 World Cup and was ubiquitous in La Albirroja's (White and red) midfield during World Cup qualifying.
Why is he so special? Barreto plays a number of roles as Paraguay's midfielder. When under pressure, he does whatever is necessary to win back possession, but when his countrymen tilt the field he can be seen running into the opponent’s final third. Barreto's ceaseless running makes him elusive and aggravating.
His most famous moment: In April 2008, Barreto fired a 25-yard bullet past Milan goalkeeper Zeljko Kalac. Reggina lost the game 5-1, but Barreto's strike emphasized his shoot-always-from-everywhere offensive approach.
He said it: "I'm not a standard bearer for Paraguayan football like Roque [Santa Cruz], Haedo [Valdez] and Salvador [Cabanas], so I have to work hard at what I do.…You don’t really see what I do on the pitch, although the coach obviously does. He wouldn’t call me up otherwise!"
What they’re saying about him: "[Barreto] played here [in the Netherlands] for three-and-a-half years.… [Italy] is a nice step for him, a big European competition." — Jacco Swart, NEC Nijmegen director
Here is an interesting fact: Barreto says that his dream is to return to Paraguay and win a league title with his first club, Cerro Porteno: "My aim is to go back and do just that!"