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Nicolás Otamendi, the centre-back who represents the national soccer team of Argentina, has been enthralling the world of football lovers with his skills on the field for almost a decade. He also plays with Manchester City, one of the English Premier League Champions.
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In the early years of his career, Otamendi was mainly a representative of Vélez Sarsfield and Porto. In fact, his presence brought eight big titles for Porto, which include the Europa Cup 2011, and national championships. After that, he shifted to the Old Trafford club in the year 2015. During his tenure at Argentina since 2009, he has represented the country at World Cup 2010, as well as in Copa América twice.
Otamendi began his soccer career in the youth program of Vélez Sarsfield in 1995, and continued till 2007, before being called up to join the senior team. He debuted in Primera División for the club in May 2008, in a Clausura tournament match against Rosario Central that resulted in a 2–1 win. During the tenure of coach Hugo Tocalli, Otamendi was a fifth-choice stopper. But, as Ricardo Gareca took over the role as the head coach of the team, Otamendi’s role in the first team saw a change for the Clausura 2009. He was seen playing in the third match, and gradually went on to acquire the starting place in his team. He played in 17 out of 19 matches in the winning campaign of the team.
Otamendi made his first goal as a professional footballer for his club in Apertura 2009. It was a match that ended in a 3–1 win over Arsenal de Sarandí. Throughout the entire season, his debuts came in an international club tournament, Copa Sudamericana. His performances were recognised all through the season, and he got selected for the South American Team of the Year.
In August 2010, Otamendi shifted to FC Porto for a fee of €4 million. It was a contract of five years. His former team, Vélez, kept half of his rights for registration; Otamendi’s price was pre-set at another €4 million for Porto to pay before September 2011. He scored in his debut game which ended in a 2–0 win over S.C. Olhanense. In his first season, he made 5 goals in 15 games, the most notable of them being the two goals in the 2–0 victory over S.C. Braga, as the Portuguese team won the Primeira Liga.
In September 2011, Porto used their rights to sign the rest of playing rights of Otamendi. He then went on to appear in 30 official matches in that season, and helped Porto to win two more major titles, the most notable among them being the consecutive domestic league victories. Otamendi’s tenure at Porto proved to be immensely successful for the club, as the team earned wins in many competitions, and giving great performances in others. Besides emerging as runners-up in the Taça da Liga in 2012–13 and UEFA Super Cup in 2011, they have earned the following titles:
In February 2014, Otamendi was acquired by Valencia CF for a fee for €12 million for five years, with the contract period beginning in July. He then moved to Clube Atlético Mineiro on loan, and went on to play in 19 games for the club from Belo Horizonte, and made the first goal for the 4–1 victory over América Futebol Clube (MG) in March in the semi-finals of the state championship. He debuted in the Spanish top tier campaign in August 2014, in a 1–1 tie with Sevilla FC. His first goal for the new club was scored in October, leading to a 3–1 win over Atlético Madrid.
In January 2015, he led Valencia to a win with 2–1 in a game against Real Madrid, he helped Los Che reach the Champions League, which was their first time in four years, and he became the club’s first stopper to have made six goals in the league, and the only Valencia player to be counted in the La Liga Team of the Year.
Late into 2015’s pre-season, after Otamendi’s refusal to be associated with Valencia for training or playing purposes, to avoid jeopardizing his possibilities of joining a different club, he signed with Manchester City in August. It was a deal of five years, and the initial fee was £28.5 million. He debuted for the English team in September, in a 1–2 defeat to Juventus F.C. in the group stage of Champions League. His debut in Premier League came soon after this, in a game that ended in a 1–2 loss to West Ham United. In October 2015, he made his goal for Manchester City in a match that ended in a 2–1 victory over Norwich City. It was a 120 min game, and his team went on to gain the Football League Cup in February 2016, winning over Liverpool in the final game.
Otamendi has been associated with the Argentine football team since 2009. In the month of April of the year, Otamendi received a call-up by Diego Maradona, the Argentine manager, to appear in a friendly match against Panama. In the qualifying campaign of World Cup 2010, he performed the role of his team’s centre back in a game against Ecuador which ended in a 0–2 loss. He was a right back in a 1–0 victory. In May 2010 he became a member of the 23-player squad for World Cup’s final stages, and was featured among starting eleven to face Greece in the group stage’s final.
Otamendi was seen facing Mexico in the round-of-16 match that ended in a 3–1 win for his team. He was criticized for his performance in his final game of the tournament, i.e. the quarter-final that ended in a 0–4 loss for Argentina to Germany. The decision to make him play as a right-back was not taken favourably, either.
Otamendi’s first Argentine goal was in September 2011, in a win of 1-0 over Venezuela. He was dropped from the squad of World Cup 2014 but manager Gerardo Martino selected him to participate in Copa América 2015. In the final, Argentina lost to hosting team Chile, but Otamendi was announced in the Team of the Tournament.
During his association with the team, Argentina has so far given some memorable performances, and while they have not won any major competitions, they ended Copa América 2015 and 2016 as the runners-up, after giving tough competition to their opponents.
Born in the capital of Argentina, Buenos Aires, Otamendi grew up in a small neighbourhood of El Talar. In his youth days, he showed as much interest in boxing as he did in soccer, until he decided to devote his life to soccer. He is married to his childhood sweetheart Michele.
The current market value of Otamendi is £31.5 million, and this is the highest market value acquired by the player so far in his career, with the second highest value being £28.8 million, which he acquired in 2016.
For his contributions to his national team, as well as the clubs that he has represented, Otamendi has earned himself several individual honours, which include the following: