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Get to know Maxi “El Mono” Pereira, because Jobu thinks you’d like him.

It’s been a while since I’ve introduced you guys to a new Uruguayan, and what better time to get back to it than during the qualifying period for World Cup 2014 in Brazil. I really feel that Uruguay has a strong contender for Brazil, and I think you should meet as many of them as possible, so expect more of these GTKAU posts in the near future.

Today’s Uruguayan of choice is, in my opinion, a very underrated player on the world stage. His name is Maximiliano Pereira, but you can call him Maxi, or “El Mono (the monkey),” as he is more commonly known. He currently plays right wingback for S.L. Benefica in the Portuguese first division but, internationally speaking, he’s one of the starting midfielders for los Charrúas.

Maxi was born in Montevideo in 1984, and was eventually signed to the youth program of Defensor Sporting, one of the teams in the Uruguayan Primera Division. He eventually made it to the parent club at 18 years of age, and forged a formidable one-two punch with Álvaro González, whom you will eventually meet on this blog as well. As happens with every single good player from the Primera, Maxi was eventually transferred abroad.

“El Mono” helped Uruguay advance past Ghana in South Africa in 2010. (Clive Mason/Getty Images)

Maxi, along with countryman Cristian “El Cebolla (the onion)” Rodríguez, went to S.L. Benefica, where he has remained for the last five seasons. Lisbon signed Maxi for €3 million and 70% of his rights. Initially used as a right midfielder, Pereira has found his most success since switching to right-back. In 2009-2010, scored five goals and helped Benefica win the league title.

Internationally speaking, Maxi has slowly become one of my favorite players. Much like a lot of the players on this Uruguayan team, Maxi is a bit of a bulldog on the pitch. He’s tough and gritty in helping lead a pretty formidable Uruguayan attack, and that’s why we love him. He debuted for the team in October 2005, and has represented La Celeste in several international tournaments, including the 2007 and 2011 Copa America Tournaments and the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.

Barring something ridiculous, he should be representing in the 2014 World Cup in Brazil as well, and he’s been playing quite well in the qualifiers. He scored his second career international goal in the game this past Sunday against Perú (the other came in the 2010 World Cup semis against the Netherlands). Hopefully he’ll continue the progress he’s made in his game the last couple of years, and help Uruguay make it even further in the Brazil. Maxi Pereira, everybody!

Featured image courtesy of: EPA/TIAGO PETINGA

Martin Stezano

About Martin Stezano

Uruguayan born and American raised with a unique perspective on the domestic and international sports scenes. It will both tickle your funny bone and enlighten your mind. Love it or hate it...just read it.

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